Crosssing Bridges

We have all heard the saying, “Becareful for the bridges you burn.” or like repeated in the song, Then What,  “Whatcha gonna do when you can’t turn back to the bridges you burn, then what, oooooo, then what!?” It really is a good saying, to teach people to be careful for what they say and do to people and the way we leave jobs etc. We always want to keep as many doors and friendships open as we can. But I think this has a way of limiting as well.

Isn’t it funny though, how often we use them as a metaphor? I think a bridge is a great one to use for the beginning of the year, for aren’t we all starting a new journey to get to the other side of who we aspire to be. My favorite metaphor is the bridge illustration they use to explain how Jesus is our way to have everlasting life with God.

I love the latter of course as my oldest has recently accepted Jesus Christ into his heart and is going to make an outward profession of his faith through baptism this month!!! Guys I have been waiting for this moment for so long for the little dude. Im excited to be able to be a part of his spiritual walk. To help them all kind of understand the meaning of the bridge illustration the children and I act out a skit of our lives as we are walking through cross walks and discuss the dangers (the cars) of not accepting Jesus, and then we finally accept Jesus and make it across to the other side safely, to live an everlasting life with God.

We love to look at pictures of bridges and think about what the other side looks like, what the end destination will be. I think that we don’t always have to look to the other side of the bridge as the destination we need to be at. Instead we need to look at the bridge itself and all the parts to truly understand how to make a strong and steady bridge. A bridge that is functional and can serve it’s purpose; one that we can actually cross. So what’s the metaphor? We are the bridge, with all it’s different parts that we need to correctly build so we can live that overall well balanced life.

The bridge has the support, the span, and the foundation. It takes all three in order to build a bridge, and they must be properly built to have a strong one. We obv need strong support, this is the part that props up the bridge, these are our friends, our family, our community. These are the people we run to when we need help, and people you al know we can’t go very far when we try to do things alone. We enlisted a group of people to be our friends for a reason, so utilize them, they are our support. The foundation as discussed before is Jesus our Lord. He’s our structure that transfers the weight of the structure (bridge) into the ground.

Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

The foundation plays a crucial part as well. What about that span? Do you think it is important? You have your support and foundation the span is just the walk across it’s the easy part. Right? I feel like this tends to get overlooked. The span is indeed the distance between the two structures, however the span is a significant factor in finding out the strength and size needed of the appropriate beam as it determines the maximum bending moment and deflection. Do you see what I’m getting at? We have to know who we are and who we want to be but while we are “walking the span” in our journey we need to evaluate ourselves; do we have the support we need when times are hard, do we have the mental capacity and emotional wellness to overcome heavy ‘loads’ in our life? Do we know what our breaking point is? How much of something can you handle and not handle in order to keep you in your zone or happy state? Is your body, a machine, getting all the nutrition it needs to be able to function properly and do its job? Let’s take it back a little bit, the it’s a significant factor in finding out the strength needed….isn’t it funny how they say “It is within yourself that you will find the strength you need.”

People, I want you to search within each of your very own spans, test your foundation, try, fail, put on a whole bunch of weight, and see what your true strength is. I hope that you push yourself in a way that you can’t help but run into your inner strength. See your true potential and believe in yourself. for those who have experienced the hardships and walk around carrying your heavy loads, look at how strong your bridge is! Look at how strong you are!!!

God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength – 1 Corinthians 10:13

God knew you can carry it bc he believes in you, so believe in yourself too! Now let’s go and build bridges with purpose for our lives, and where it’s possible, direct your efforts into strengthening all ‘parts’ of your bridge and most importantly-> crossing the bridges in our life that we fear the most. I hope to see you on the other side✌🏻 if you’re brave, comment below what may be a bridge in your life, are you at the beginning, are you focusing on the structure right now, or the foundation? Or are you rocking out already enjoying the walk across? 👍🏻

The Meaning of Christmas

Can you believe Christmas is tomorrow??! Crazy huh? The year has flown!!! I hope you all have been enjoying your 25 days of Christmas traditions and festivities! All those festivals, Christmas parties, treats and we can’t forget the annual visit to Santa. We have our old traditions that have brought us some awesome Xmas cheer, but this year I wanted to do some things a little different. Don’t get me wrong the Xmas fun is still there, you can even check out our recent Christmas fun. {You can even see our extremely fun experience at Ice! last year} We really did have so much fun revisiting all the old traditions with all three kiddos remembering each one. Even reminding us of some of the things we needed to do! Haha

However, this year I wanted to add some more magic to the season. The magic of knowing the true meaning of Christmas.

To change the kids thinking from how many gifts they want to why we celebrate Christmas to begin with. I added 5 Easy activities that focused on Jesus’s birth. I want the littles to worship and praise the good news. That’s exactly what I got this year, Merry Christmas to me!! And Merry Christmas to all you mommas, try these fun and meaningful activities that will help your children have fun while learning the true meaning of Christmas.

Five Christmas Activities to help your children learn the true meaning of Christmas.

1. Christmas trees– we watched one of the twelve videos of the Jelly Telly Series discussing what Christmas really means. One of the videos is of the true meaning of Christmas Trees. We learned that they are a way to worship Jesus. Originally others were worshiping other Gods, {Thor} and a guy walking around speaking truth and proved to them that Thor wasn’t real by cutting down a tree and not getting struck by lightning. So everyone brought a tree into their homes as a way to worship Jesus. Some sorry right?! I loved it, so it was cool to discuss the meaning of the epitome of Christmas revolving around the messiah. I never even knew this, so it was fun learning this with the kids.

2. Kindness Hay. This one is my favorite as it’s something that super easy and very meaningful. It seemed like it was the kids favorite this year as well. I got the idea off of Abcjesuslovesme from a whole list of other fun and meaningful Christmas activities. When your kids do something kind for someone they get a piece of Hay. They put the Hay in Jesus’ bed with the goal of making it thick and cozy so baby Jesus will be nice and warm when he’s born on his birthday. The first week everyone would scream and run downstairs to fill his bed with their Hay! Now they just do kind things so willingly for one another that it truly has been a sight to see. Even my youngest has been kind to everyone, picking up stuff for her siblings, getting water for them, and helping them when they fall. It seriously has been the sweetest. Daddy has even noticed when I’m being nice and gets the kids to shower me in Hay so I can pitch in as well. It’s been my favorite Christmas activity this year for sure.

3. Countdown for Jesus’s birthday. We have a snowman that we have used for three years that countdown to Christmas, but this year we have changed one simple thing…verbiage. We stop saying “5 days till Christmas” to “5 days till Jesus Birthday!!” So each day the kids know exactly what we are celebrating, what is coming and what we are getting excited about!

It coincides perfectly with the church and their bible studies this month and all the living nativity scenes acted out at Awana. Awana is a faith based club that helps the children grow their faith. That’s why I’m so glad that we have our church community and other people speaking the truth into my children. I have discussed before how crucial it is for a child’s spiritual growth to have a community that aligns with home beliefs.

I honestly feel like this Christmas the kids are filled with the true Christmas magic. They are able to tell me the story of Jesus birth and can even share it with others. It’s been a very very impactful Christmas for us all.

4. Angels. This cute activity is another find from abcjesuslovesme. It’s simple and the kids loved it because we got to use glitter lol. When we finished them I had our three little angels yell “hallelujah” praising how our true King was born for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, he sent his one and only Son.

5. Star of David dress up game!! We discussed endlessly why we have the tree and so we had to discuss the Star on top of the tree!

family gathered around Christmas tree

I saw this idea on Pinterest to dress up as shepherds and find the stars around your house to represent the journey of the wise men.

My kiddos love scavenger hunts {who doesn’t} and this is a very easy and simple to do activity. You can use just stickers, star shapes, or star lights!! This game can even be used during Xmas without causing to much havoc just in case the kiddos are getting bored waiting for food. I used a special star in “Jesus bed” so they can see exactly where the star led the wise men and the star has stayed there since bc Ayden said that it had to stay there until baby Jesus was born so we can always remember where to go. ❤️❤️❤️


Christmas isn’t about how many Xmas events you can go to, or getting all the gifts. Yes they’re all fun, and make great family traditions and memories. It’s not even about making it to the four different Christmas parties that you have to rush around to even try to make it to everyone. If that’s what you like to do then do you, If you’re one of the families who have adopted to not run around, stay at home with yours and enjoy Xmas as a close nit family then awesome. I see it becoming more and more popular now that people feel like they have a right to do that. Which everyone does, families are big, running around is tiring and def takes away from the true meaning of what we are even celebrating. Which ever way you do Xmas, the busy runner, the awesome wrapper, the chill joyful homebody, or the extremist, just take time to think of what we are celebrating, think of the sacrifice that was made for you, and think of others.

Have a very merry Xmas everyone, whether you believe or not, you’re loved beyond measure and by celebrating Xmas, you’re celebrating the birth of a King!! It truly is the best gift we could ever receive!!!

A Weekend Getaway | Road Trip Across West Texas

Go Across West Texas + Big Bend  in One Weekend

Are you trying to squeeze in a quick vacation before school starts like we did? I really wanted to take our kids somewhere before school started this year. After all, this is Ayden’s first year at school full time! I’m starting to have those anxious thoughts that moms have about school starting and school is still a week away!

I hate the idea of not having the freedom to just go when ever I want, or wherever I want. Until now, I could just take the kiddos on any lil day trip or weekend getaway starting on a Wed or Thursday and go. Now, this option for us is out of the question starting next week. It’s lame, makes me angry and all kinds of different emotions and thoughts that I can’t explain.

This alone made it very important for me to get us away on a lil mini vacation that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and I wanted adventure so the kids could remember.

Josh and I discussed that this would be the first vacation that our 6 year old would probably remember for the rest of his life. We can recall as far back as 5, some little moments, but definitely anything big that happened from 6 and up we remember. With that thought in my head I really wanted to go to Disney, but due to the short time with Ayden this summer we just couldn’t swing that trip. Somewhere tropical? Well, we weren’t mentally, financially, or emotionally prepared for a trip like that with the kids. Besides, you can’t go somewhere like that with three kids for a weekend and expect to enjoy it when most of the trip you’re flying there and back.

I wanted our trip to count, be meaningful, connect us, and to add adventure and dreams to our lives before we all go through this new chapter of our lives. My hubster asked me one night, how bout we just take an RV somewhere? I was ecstatic! I was all in and put together this fun and adventurous road trip for us. We left on Wed night and came back on Saturday night. If you’re trying to get a way for a weekend that’s quick, easy and cheep– this is the trip for you!!!

If you’re interested in what we used to help make the trip easier see this guide of Five things to take for kids on road trips.

The RV

We rented a RV from our favorite place, American Dream Vacations. We’ve rented a RV 5 times now from them and each time the RV’s get better and better. We’ve considered investing in one and keeping it there with them because their service and upkeep has been great for us. If there was ever a problem they were fast to make it right or credit us if they couldn’t solve the problem. They have 24/7 helpline and are always willing to help us out when we need them.

Alpine, Texas FREE

We chose Alpine for our first stop on our way to Big Bend. This stop was 7 hours from Austin, Tx and was a great stopping point for sleep. It was a great way to kick off our adventurous outdoorsy trip. We took I-10 the whole way.

We stayed at Lost Alaskan RV Park and I’m not even going to lie, to wake up with the mountains around us, was so refreshing! This was seriously one of the best RV parks I have ever seen. They had tent set ups, tiny homes to rent, and spots for your own + all the accommodations for RV travelers. The kids swam first thing in the AM and played on the playscape and I could’t get over the views. Let alone everyone there we met had traveled our trip countless times, shared great trips, and had awesome stickers, and memorabilia that kept our interest peaked.

Hike Hancock Hill

Our first adventure in Alpine was to hike Hancock Hill at Sul Ross University. We pulled into gate 4 and parked  right in front of the museum but to get right next to the trail, you can park at the uppermost parking lot by Mountainside Dormitory. Three students carried “The Desk” in 1981, with a notebook left inside so all who comes can sign it, and leave a little part of themselves behind. The desk is the endpoint after a 20 minute hike. Once you pull in head towards the …building and the path is right there. It looks like ummm, should we do it, there’s no signs, or navigation guides so you have to take a chance but it is the only path there. Once on the path it does split so it’s easy to get confused but all the info I read said go directly up the hill to the big pile of rocks. Along the way we did see a message letting us know we were going the right way.

Well, sadly we never found the desk. I started to see little hints along the way, like some rocks being painted with white spots along the path, but they got farther and few in between. Once we were at top the path had many splits. So we never made it to the desk although online it says, once you get up the hill the desk is easily to find. We got to the top after a 20 minute hike with the kids, looked around, walked for five minutes down one path, and saw multiple paths and had no idea which way to go from there. So, unfortunately that was a bummer, but we didn’t let it affect any of us. The two big kids made it all the way to the top on their own, even after our 3 year old kept telling herself that her legs were too tired. Then would take a drink of water and say to herself, “You got this! You can do it!.” We were so proud of them. They were so excited to be on top that they were screaming.

There was an awesome pile of rocks on the top that they got to climb on and see the whole town from up there. All of alpine and it’s small quirky character was visible. I will admit if you are taking kids with you it’s doable, but the weather at this time of the year might be a little much for the kids. We got super lucky, or as I called it the whole time, a blessing from God, because there was a rain storm happening literally right next to us, but never got to us. Josh was a little concerned because it was lightening but literally the storm stayed in the town like it was stuck in between all the mountains. The breeze made the climb so bearable, and easy to deal with. It even sprinkled a few times and it was so nice!! The views here were quite beautiful, the scenery was amazing and I’ve never been high enough on foot to see a whole small town right in front of my eyes.

Parenting Tip: Frozen water

If you’re going on any hikes with littles, freeze bottles of water and grab a few to take with you. The kids are in love with the frozen waters, and it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to start thawing out. Right when you’re ready for replenishment the cold water is ready.

Musuem of Big Bend

The museum was easy to go to next, as it is at the University. So, this spot is definitely a twofer. I think this slot was great for the kids becuase not only did they see the history of the area we were going to visit but they saw a preview of where we were headed. So it made them Uber excited to get to big bend.

The museum had some really cool interactive models for the kids with lots of buttons to push. It was a highlight. Plus the interactive videos along the way made the tour a little more interesting.

Marfa, Texas- FREE

Marfa was a 35 minute drive from alpine so it’s a great next stop during the day while traveling with kiddos. We went specifically to see the Marfa Lights. It’s something to see because it’s a very mysterious and unexplained activity. Unfortunately, like the desk, we didn’t see the lights. It was cloudy and rainy so we were told that most likely we wouldn’t see them. However we tried anyways and it was a fun adventure for the kids and us because we pulled out our night goggles and explored. And what kids don’t like being night explorers? They all said they saw lights, and other people around us said they saw them but I have no idea what they saw because Josh and I never saw anything.

Prada Store. Another great photo op in Maria is the cute little Prada store.

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The Capri

If you do go to quirky Marfa, then you need to stop at The Capri! It has an eclectic relaxing and quaint vibe going on. With the hammocks, and fire pits buried in a garden it was a lucky find for sure. Marfa’s restaurants close at 5:00 pm so you have to be careful not to miss out on the good food. We got lucky because this place didn’t open up until 5:30. However if you have picky eaters this is not the stop for you. The only option they had for the kids was Duck Liver. Luckily, it was sweet and the kids mopped it up, along with their Mexican Street Corn. Of course we had to end the meal with some yummy ice cream.

Marathon, Texas- FREE

On the way to big bend leaving Marfa we drove through a town called Marathon and got to stop at the little Target store. This was my favorite because I am obsessed with target lol. So to find a store that I could take with me in my pocket, I was in love!!! Plus the views!!

It had a cool post to leave your logos, your message, or your stamp behind!!

McDonald’s Observatory

We didn’t make it to this destination, although we really wanted to but after the hike and the museum we would have only had about 30 – 45 minutes to be there. So we opted for a nice restaurant instead.

If you schedule enough time then this is a must stop!! Joshua was a little bummed because we weren’t going but even he knew it requires the appropriate amount of time. But just look—>  HOW COOL IT IS

Big Bend National Park $33

After a full morning of driving we made it! The kids were excited. We watched the mountains go by and get bigger and bigger. Our favorite game we played was I spy and the littles loved when we got the chance to spy a Sand Tornado. We drove by several and the kids had the same reaction every time.

The entrance fee is $33, but it was for a whole week pass so that’s not that bad at all.  I recommend to grab all the literature from the park guide when you pay, because it was completely different literature than what we found at travel guide places, RV Park, or the Museum. I had originally planned for us to hike two trails, The Lost Mine Trail, and the Chisos Basin Trail. The Lost Mine Trail is a 4.6 mile hike, and the Chisos Basin Trail is a 2.5 mile hike. Just remember while you are out there you are the only one who knows you’re limits and you have to always remain flexible. When we arrived the map that we received had two colored paths on it and one was red saying no big trucks or RVs could pass on those roads, well both our trails where Red Trails.  Which both hikes we planned where on those. So we did the safe kid friendly touristy route without hikes and there was still plently to keep our day full + without wearing out the kiddos, It was actually a relief becuase our youngest started getting a heat rash, so being able to go right back to the RV every 20 minute after a small  adventures was perfect for her. I mean honestly, if you have kids, the RV at Big Bend was a nice retreat to have.

Discovery Fossil Exhibit

First Stop–Dinosaur Bones!! When we had to quickly change our POA I was super nervous, but the fear quickly went away once I saw this attraction on the map. It’s easy to miss when driving by so keep your eyes open for the one sign that points to it. It also says no RV turnaround but we went down there and parked with plenty of room. However yes, if the Park is full of tourist then no, we couldn’t have fit, but considering it is the the 8th least visited national park, I doubt you will have anything to worry about. We spent about 3 hours there and we only saw maybe 4 other cars pull up.

To think we almost parked our RV on the side of the main road and walked down a mile. WHEW, so glad my husband is a risk taker.

Overlook Hill (View)

At the exhibit up just right of the Discovery Exhibit there is an awesome Overlook Hill with a stunning view of big bend! We got so lucky to come across this view. The climb up is made for visitors with stairs and a smooth sidewalk leading up to it making it very kid friendly, but keep your kids near because there are no rails. The winds up here were strong and felt amazing. It was very refreshing!! We all felt close to God, imagined that’s what it would be like to be birds  and just took in the scenery.

The Exhibit

This was another unexpected treat considering we only planned our trip 15 mins before. Again the views!!! I mean views for mom, fossils for Dads and Kids, it’s perfect!! The fossils were really cool too, it was filled with things I’ve  never seen before. It had three huge rooms of fossils that were found there at big bend with signs of information and facts of everything. We saw the huge (bird fossil) that was highly spoken about at the museum, and the kids got to play with the Dino heads and were amazed at their teeth. I personally loved the last room as I saw countless fossils of water creatures were the coolest. Give me a sec while my inner geek …

Moms, another cool spot for kiddos!!!  Joshua and I both made constant comments on how we were shocked how great the breeze felt. The breeze and our frozen water was perfect combo. This exhibit had several photo ops but by this point kiddos weren’t having nothing with me, it was all about the Dino’s.

DID YOU KNOW:

That horses came from this little guy. 😮😮

Adventure Hike

Ayden wanted to go exxxplooooore, “the unknown lands” as he calls it. We let him choose a place that he wanted to see, and  found a cool little grotto/cave to play around in that was right next to the exhibit. I wasn’t too nervous about snakes or anything like that, but mind you, the ants here where the biggest ants I’ve ever seen. Then there was the pesky horse flies but other than that we didn’t have too many critters that were bothersome.

The big kids enjoyed the 5 minute hike to the cave and loved climbing through it and on top of it, with yet another beautiful view of Big Bend.

After the kids were done playing around in the cave we walked back and the kids stopped to play in the dirt. They made piles and kept putting little flags in it, so it inspired me to leave our mark behind with rocks. Aliyna and Addie both jumped up screaming “like Moana!” Since they were excited about it we went ahead and did it and the look of sincerity in Aliynas eyes is too much sometimes. Guys you don’t always have to do big things to impact our kids, something so small as stacking rocks and leaving our mark somewhere can define them, and allow their hearts to become full of wander, and adventure. She now knows she’s a voyager that traveled across Texas.

Panther Junction Visitor Center

This is a must if you have kids. I had done research before and this visitor center is one of the 2 in the whole park that has amazing interactive exhibits that provide an overview of geology and natural and cultural histories of the park. It was a  great center for the kids to retreat to for another adventure with AC, and it has water fountains, and restrooms, making it a great stopping point + have fun with all the interactive guides. The visitor center also has a theater, with a park orientation movie shown every 30 minutes, 9:30AM to 4:00 PM.

The visitor center complex includes a Big Bend Natural History Association bookstore, U.S. Post Office, and restrooms. The Panther Path, a self-guided nature trail, begins adjacent to the porch of the visitor center.

The second Visitor Center is Chisos Basin but we didn’t go to that one since that was the one close to the red trail. But it is said that this is the second best visitor center to go to if you have children.

Honestly, if you are doing what we did and don’t want to do big hikes that they have mapped out, just drive around Big Bend and you will see plenty of little mountains that you can climb and get shots with stunning views. Not to mention along the way there’s little drive off spots on the side of the road for pics. My favorite is the one by The Panther Junction Service Station, 200 yards west of the visitor center, its open every day.  It had rocks that we could stand on and take cool family pictures.

This store closes at 6 but the pumps do stay on. If you are traveling with a card then you have nothing to worry about. We were terrified we weren’t going to get gas and were concerned if we could even make it out of the park. So don’t pass up the gas station while you’re there at the park after all it is 800000 acres. If hiking isn’t your thing, then tour the visitor centers there each one showcases different things, but keep in mind each one is atleast 30-45 mins apart.

If you haven’t traveled to Big Bend, try it, it’s beautiful and very doable with kids. I can’t believe it’s one of the least visited spots, it’s beauty alone took my breathe away. I can only imagine if we did complete some of the hikes and got to actually be in the heart of the park. The hikes I read about were beautiful, easy, an hour long, and you would see plyographs along the way. So maybe another time when we have a car we will actually complete these hikes.

We ended our night with eating supper under the stars and sat there viewing the meteor shower with nothing to get in our way. Except the moon, it was a full moon so it cast a ton of luminous light but it didn’t stop us from seeing ten or so long tailed shooting stars. I can only imagine the stars on a night the moon isn’t lighting up the sky. Plus, we saw a weird desert  kvmtm/j jY  ju o98ob9phenomenon that looked like a spaceship casting down a light from above down on to the ground. It gave us the biggest goosies, and I’m not even going to lie, I was afraid to look up and see something that I didn’t want to!! It was nothing though, we looked it up, and turns out the moon reflects light through the desert that creates these eerie lights. We may not have seen the Marfa Lights but we did see the Big Bend Mystery Lights.

Waco, Texas

Josh really wanted to go to Waco first because he couldn’t wait to have some water fun. The slides are worth the drive, giving Waco another attraction than just magnolia silos. With Waco just an hour and half away go for it!! I’m dying to go back so I can do a wall art hunt there!!

BSR Cable Park

BSR Cable Park was an adventure for sure!!! This was our first “water park” adventure with the kids. It has four 50 foot water slides at various levels and a about a 25 foot slide for the kids. A cable Park with ramps and rails for the advanced wake borders, a wave pool for surfers, and a lazy river. The two oldest kiddos loved the water slides. They were a little nervous but overcame their fears and did the slide twice!! They were so brave!!! The lazy river was small and simple for us so it was good for the first time for our family but get there early because people show up fast around noon on the weekends.

This trip can easily be done in three days if you’re just doing BigBend trip. Any of these can be split up into separate weekends. However I think if you do it like we did and just hit up the main attractions along the way, it keeps the trip moving along and helps keep up the morale. I hope you have enjoyed going along with us on our trip, and if you have any questions please feel free to email me.

Remembering a Death of a Loved One

Count Down to Atticus’ Due Date.

Miscarriage is something I never knew I would talk about so much. I never thought I would be in this category. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Although there are the foreseeken inevitable moments that bring you down to your knees but we have also had some amazing moments that we relish in. We have found beauty in this chapter because it has brought us all so much closer and has strengthened our marriage. We’ve learned that Gods plan is strong for us, and that we need him.

We’ve learned to rely on one another. Believe it or not, but that we can also lean on our own children. They truly are blessings from God. Their innocence is beautiful and has a way of catching you off guard in all the right moments that just melt your heart. My sweet Ali-girl (Aliyna) has spoken of her baby brother every day. Not one day does she leave him out. She prays about him, plays with him, and has even gotten him his own cup, or plate from time to time.

She speaks of her baby brother like she knows him deeper than any of us, even me, she carries him with her and it’s quite beautiful. They say it’s the way to keep our families alive, is to keep them present here with us. It was difficult though, to get used to her speak of him so freely. It used to break us down, Josh and I would talk about how we barely could handle it. We didn’t want to tell her to stop and just assumed it would eventually go away, it hasn’t. Five months later, it hasn’t. So we’ve accepted it, and now find peace and joy in it. One day she was rocking him (a stuffed animal) in a carrier, I thought it was the cutest thing ever. I saw a glimpse of what my life would have been like. All three kiddos got around and kissed on him, sang to him, and covered him with blankets to keep him warm. It was cute to see Addie play along, bc I always wondered what she would do with a baby in the house, I thought she would be an angry type, but she chose to share her bouncy chair, didn’t throw a fit, and played along. Now if u know her and her bouncy chair , this was an incredible move on her part. I cried, wiped the tears from my cheeks and even played along, I think every mom should play along if they’re presented with this moment, it was healing in its own magical way. I thought every moment with him was robbed from us, that I’d never be able to delight in moments like these. Although they’re just pretend, they mean so much because I came to the realization that we can all still share intimate moments like these even though he’s not here. Not everything is gone or unattainable like I thought it would be. Yes, he’s not there, but the moments with the other kids aren’t entirely lost forever.

So to say the least we’ve learned to roll with this phase. We’ve set the table with food just for Atticus, placed bottles on the high chair for him. These little things that Ali-girl just randomly does to include him have become memories that I won’t forget. It’s also a sweet reminder to send my boy some love. That he’s with us, and will always be apart of our family.

So as we approached the due date I was nervous. I mean it’s all been such a process. First month- fighting against depression. becoming emotional stable again. 2nd month – Finding myself again, getting back to my core, finding my mission, spirituality awakening. 3rd month- spent focusing on Meditation, becoming mentally stable again. Fourth month I was trying to find passion again. I was deliberately taking steps that I believe to be necessary to stay healthy but every month anniversary it would seem like I would just get broken all over again.

I didn’t know how I’d be on this day, if I’d handle it so well or if I should even bring it up with kiddos. I knew I had to because they’re apart of everything. I felt like we needed to celebrate him in one way or another. After all, I celebrated Valek’s first birthday with friends and family, it was a great way to remember him, and I had to do the same to remember our sweet Atticus. I came up with the idea to have a chalk party to remember him by. I had purchased these chalk bombs for maternity pics for when my belly got bigger. I couldn’t wait to use them. So when he passed away we thought about using them at his funeral but then I decided to go with the balloon technique so the kiddos could write special comments to their baby brother to send to heaven instead. I’m glad I didn’t use them then, because I didn’t realize how much healing I would feel from this.

Letting go of Balloons to send to Heaven

Now before I share all the awesome pics, I wanted to say, it was hard getting the bags out of the closet, getting all the supplies together, and setting everything up, getting the initial pics before sent me into tears. I could hardly swallow. It was one of those moments were you want to stop doing what you’re doing if it hurts that bad, but yet, I knew better- it was a moment that I had to go through. It was one of those moments I wore the tears proudly because I wanted them there, I wanted to feel the warmth of them, because they reminded me of why I was there to begin with. This was my something to recognize the day that I would have held him. Kissed him, brought him home.

I started thinking about what that would have looked like, and I thought well there would have been a thousand pics for sure, so I decided to take pics with a bear that we received in the hospital. After I delivered Atticus the nurses put him in a crocheted pouch blanket so we could hold him in. All of this little baby could fit in there with just a little glimpse of his face showing. It was a way to cuddle him and love on him before we could never hold him again. At first josh didn’t want to hold him. When my water broke and they told us what would happen he said he thought it be best to not hold him. But once he was here with us. We both wanted to. Had to! It was a must! It was also something we’ve been so happy that we did because there’s no going back. If we opted out and then buried him without ever holding him, giving our son kisses, or laying with him, it wouldn’t have been something we wouldn’t be able to live with. The blanket was a nice touch, and we were so thankful the hospital assisted us with this all.

 

Then the nurse came in and gave us this box with all kind of things in. It was a box from an org called Luke Lives On. One of them is a swatch that matches the crocheted blanket that Atticus was in. So we could always have a piece with us. The ‘Attucus’ bear, paperwork explaining the org was created by parents just like us, a willow tree angel statue, prayers, and a book. All of it touched us so deeply that we couldn’t help but be thankful that these people went above and beyond to help others like them during this hard time. My favorite however and most meaningful gift, was a bracelet. A leather bracelet that had a verse on it, can u guess which one?

It had the exact verse that I have spoken of sooo many times. The verse that was read at my first sons funeral by two different people, the verse we have hanging in our house, the verse I have in the tag line on this site! It was a moment that God was there with us. I put it on and have never taken it off. However, I take it off when I shower and there’s always one person to help me put it back on, my son. No one else can do it but him. He’s said that. It’s something he likes to do for me, he said mommy I’ll always be here to put this on for you, I know it’s important to you, so it’s important to me. Are u crying yet!! These kids I tell you they just get to you don’t they!!!

He’s exactly right though, it’s a bracelet that I’ve found identity in, for so many reasons that I can’t even go into detail just yet. I’ve tried making a video and speaking about it but I guess I’m just not there yet. My main point though, I’ve kept it near because I feel like it’s God’s way of letting me know his hands are still on me.

Little did we know that that bracelet would connect us in so many more ways to Gods plan for us, let alone, for me. – Ashly Williams

We received a call about a month later from the Drs after they did an autopsy on our son. What they found has sent us to a whole other level of wow-ness. The doctors said that Atticus shared the same genetic disorder that his older brother in heaven had. G a s t r o s c h e s i s. Not only did he have that, but his liver, and his gall bladder were on the outside of his belly as well. Now, when I talked to my OBGYN once these results came in, she explained to me how rare this was. For a mom to have one child with Gastroschesis is rare enough, but to have the same mom give birth to two kids with it, ASTRONOMICALLY RARE. She sent my results to two Drs she knew and they all said the same thing. We have no idea what this means for the me, for our family, but we do know that I have to go see a geneticist to find out. This appt has been set. Can you imagine being told that you are an astronomically rare case and to hear these words come from several Drs.

I was confused at first, I don’t understand quite yet how that can happen to me. Especially after I’ve had three healthy kids. I didn’t understand why with my first and last boys. I’m still at a loss. One thing was made clear for me though, that this community that I moved away from before I was all of a sudden thrown back into. I was reliving Valek’s death, along with Atticus’s death. It somehow connected us all together. I was living in this loop that kept coming back to the beginning. The beginning were I found God. When I was pregnant with Valek I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. After he came home from the hospital I was baptized at Zilker park with him there with me, with my church HCBC along with my friends and family. I heard God speaking so loud to me, that this is where I’m supposed to be again. My faith needed to remain that strong, needed to be moved, and willing to do his good works again. I’ve rejoined with Hand 2 Hold an org that helps parents adjust during their time in the NICU.  I’ve come to contact with someone who works, builds, and campaigns for Agape- a pregnancy resource center,  where I accepted Jesus Christ. Discussed how crazy it was that we ran into one another at Re|Engage, a place we never would have been at if we didn’t have a miscarriage, and discussed volunteering there. I’ve rejoined Gastroschesis groups and feel like that voice that I had before is burning brighter and deeper.

We don’t have a lot of the answers, some we will get from the specialist, and some we won’t but I know one thing is for sure. That during this time in my life, I have never felt so close to God. I’ve wondered what would have happened to my son if my water never broke, if I carried him for another 15 weeks before they did another ultrasound to find out then what he had…I can’t even imagine the weight it would have put on our family, on Josh, on our kids. It’s so hard to try and imagine, there’s so many what ifs that it doesn’t play out just one way in my brain. I’ve thought about this loop He keeps putting me on, and how everything keeps pointing to one thing, HIM. He works in mysterious ways, His plans for us are so magnificent that we can’t even fathom. Through all this I’ve found a purpose again, and the will to pursue it. I don’t need the answers, I just need him.

I am < God therefore_sign.png I NEED Him

So, this brings us back to the Chalk party, crazy how the chalk I purchased for the gender reveal are the same colors as Miscarriage Awareness. The kids loved it, Aliyna ate some and her teeth and tongue were blue for over four hours no matter what she ate, or drank. LOL, and the coolest part, once again, my bracelet. Look how it turned out. I’m never washing it out!!! It’s just how it was meant to be all along.

Moms Boho Bracelets covered in blue chalk after mom commemorates her son.

I know it’s crazy to think a miscarriage has meaning, or that it’s all a part of a “plan” but I have to believe that all of this realigns together just so perfectly that I can’t help but know that all of it, all of this, is in Gods hands. If you have experienced a miscarriage, I send hugs to you, and am so sorry for your pain. I just say to you now, try and rejoice in the moments that bring you closer to your baby, remember them, and celebrate them. The healing from it alone is worth it. Plus you never know you might get an angelic visitor like we did during our chalk party. Call it what you want, but we think someone came to play with his family.

Do you see the glowing angel?

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How To Fix Your Marriage

Two Steps to Fix Your Marriage

Marriage faces so many different bumps along the way. Some poeple’s are mounds, or hills, while others have to climb through valleys, and overcome mountains. Here’s two easy ways that show you by maintaining self awareness it can help save your marriage.

The faculty of a person that enables them to be self aware of themselves, and others is known as, the mind. You have to be completely conscious at all times and present with yourself to constantly be looking inward. To fully understand what is going on with you. In Re|Engage we focus on ourselves, we draw circles around ourselves and focus on ways to work on our struggles, emotions, and problem areas so we can better serve our spouse. Believe me, it’s not so easy at first, every week I have to remind myself to do just that. I literally have to draw that circle around myself to remind myself what I need to be doing. That alone has helped so much with stopping  little bickering before it has even started. The one thing that we are constantly reminding ourselves with is that “I’m my own marital problem.” It may sound silly, especially if your spouse is lying and cheating. but it’s a helpful reminder to focus on your actions and to see if you’re coming from a place of love. if you’re ready to fix your marriage then take two  steps, just two, that will help you allow your marriage to move freely, and openly. Are you ready to start?

Focusing on yourself by following two easy steps:

1. Be Honest. I think we all have problems being honest with ourselves. Sometimes it can be scary to look inward and see just who you’ve become. Especially if who we are is someone stuck on the bathroom floor, feeding our own addictions. In hard and dark times, it’s very hard to look inward and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. I know from experience it just seems so much easier to find a reason to blame it on other people. To hang on to the anger, pride, walk around with hatred, and even hold on to guilt or even fear. The best thing is that Fear is a Liar! Don’t let it destroy you! Overcome the fear and rise above it because life is waiting for you. They always say, you’re the only one holding yourself back. If you are a timid person or the opposite spectrum carrying around anger because of fear listen to Fear is a Liar, by .

We have nothing to be afraid of: God is there for you. There’s is freedom found when we lay our lies down at the cross. We can be who we are meant to be once we let go of all that baggage. Don’t waste your life holding on to all that that shame and darkness when your already been freed. Your freedom is just waiting for YOU!!

2. Self Awareness. Be honest with yourself as well. Combat the fear of being honest, don’t blame the people around. Being aware allows you to be authentic with people, allows real relationships to happen and allow God to move in the real vulnerability of the raw friendships that you have. How can u be real if you don’t know your self? Honestly, repeat that question, how can you be real if you don’t even know your self? Besides being self aware allows you to be your own driver of your own life, not a victim of your past.

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

How to Have a Successful Marriage When Times Get Tough

Steps for Wives and Husbands:

My husband and I go to weekly marriage to get tools we need to fight for our marriage. Atfirst, I thought it was going to be something good for us because of our recent struggles, but honestly it doesn’t matter what phase of marriage you are at, every married couple should go through something to get you closer together. If you so happen to have a Christ -Centered program available, GO! If you are struggling like we were, close to divorce, dealing with addictions, GO!

I’ve mentioned before at Re|Engage we discuss how to focus on ourselves vs. our spouse. We have to face the notion that we are all broken. Now if you understand that you yourself are broken, and so is your spouse and you want to love them anyway, be there for them despite their problems, then take these 2 Easy Steps to Help you Become a Great Spouse. Despite the fact that you are still filled with hurt, and pain, you can move forward. Now if you don’t want to, just remember they love you despite all your struggles, moods and unpleasant sides. They love you and are not you’re enemy. Someone far greater is the enemy. If you decide you are still willing to support your spouse then here are acronyms for each one of you to help the other spouse through their battles, struggles, and addictions. Now if the roles need to be changed depending on  who is currently struggling then do so, but these two acronyms are ways to just show you how to be there for one another.

Men – You are the leaders of your own home, so use LEAD to guide you to lead over your marriage.

L– Let go and let God – Build a team for accountability. Men tend to keep everything bottled up. We all know this, they’re told to be tough, they need to be strong. But in hard times no matter what we need the help of others. Especially if you are the one struggling with addiction, cheating, or lying. Men, need to learn they can’t control everything, can’t fix everything, and can’t do it alone. Reach for God, let him take control. Place it at his feet even if it is just to take the weight off your shoulders.

E– Engage your helpers. Enlist them to be there, call upon them. Only you know when you need help, so don’t be afraid to ask.

A– Accept counsel even when they suggest to do the hard things. When you hear what you don’t want to be told, the last thing you want to do is listen, but just try and remember they are removed from the situation so they are coming from a perspective of love, and truth. Take the words they say, and atleast try it out and see what happens. In the end, it could be the best advice you ever received, and you won’t know unless you try. Doesn’t your marriage deserve the effort?

D– Don’t settle! Ever!! God has something better for your marriage and more for your life. When u better yourself, spears around you reap those benefits WOW!! Amazing! Can you imagine, by fixing myself and constantly drawing that circle around myself, focusing on what I need to change, changes my relationships with my wife, my children, and my friends. My whole life! That can be you! Reach for progression not perfection- perfection is unattainable- again strive for progression and that will take yourself + marriage out of the rut.

Women – Extend grace, hurt is natural, the feelings will always need time to heal, like everything else, but to extend grace to your husband will fill them with love and comfort, and show them you are their partner not their enemy. They will want to come to you even when they know they bear bad news. It’s okay to have those feelings and emotions I’m not here to tell you not to feel. But now you have the chance to respond to those previous actions and emotions in a loving way and in a helpful way. Therefore, use HELP to allow you to be that helpful companion vs an argumentative and cold partner. When your husband needs you especially when he’s at his weakest because he’s struggling with something, this can help you help him.

H- Hang onto God. Woman we must accept that perfection is unattainable so we need to strive for progression not perfection. We also need to keep in mind that progress doesn’t mean that conflict doesn’t exist. It’s the time of the fight and argument that changes when you have the tools to work through them. Things get better and fights become fair. So trust in God, hang onto him, and let him lead you in your marriage.

E– Enlist others. The same for Men applies to woman.

L– love with grace + Truth. In everything you do love with grace and truth. It also important to set yourself up with friends and the community who are like this too. Yes the friends who you can call upon immediately to vent to, the runs that always talk you down and are on your side is great. But they speak with emotions first. So when your telling them all your problems of course they’re going to take your side. In the hard times you need someone who is willing to tell you the truth that you need to hear. The truth that will align you back to where u want to be. You need to have friends that align with your beliefs it’s crucial!

P– Promote Christ in Him calling out goodness!! Tell him he’s worthy, praise him for his actions. Build him up. It sucks to say, but your husbands are like children, if you’re not there to build them up, then they will seek it other places. I hope these two acronyms will help you if you’re currently trying to overcome battles in your own marriage. Marriage is hard, living with someone else’s mood swings, life stages, and their challenges is a lot of work. But I believe that God sends you your spouse for a reason. You’re meant for one another. He wants your marriage to be full of great things. If you’re not struggling with major issues and you just need help getting through your marriage day to day these will help you too. These will help you to focus on what matters through all the crazy chaos in life- that’s your spouse. They are not the enemy. They are mostly good, so give your marriage the effort it deserves. Put in the work. I hope this motivates you to atleast try to take steps to build up your marriage. I also hope you learn a lot about yourself so you won’t put the whole burden of making your marriage work on your spouse. If you need prayers or help with any of this or want more info on Re|Engage feel free to reach me.

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

Re|Engage

Reconnect with your Spouse

Going to Re|Engage has been an amazing experience for Josh and I. We are half way through the program and I already see the difference in our lives. We look towards one another versus looking for outward help. We seek God together, pray more, and it has even changed the way we argue. No, it won’t stop all arguments, we are human after all, but it has helped get us to the resolution faster, and with an end that is actually progressive.

In Re|Engage we discuss how to focus on ourselves vs. our spouse. We of course want to fix our spouse that’s why we are there. We all enter that room with the same thoughts, “They are the reason for…” or “They did this to me…” or “if only they….” But in reality to love your spouse we have to focus on ourselves and learn how to love like God because unfortunately our spouses will disappoint us, will hurt us, and will occasionally let us down. They’re human, we are too. So we too will do the same. We have to understand in the end we are all broken, marrying someone else who is broken. No one is perfect.

During our first week as we were listening to other people’s testimony they mentioned they had a friend who was married 5 times. During his divorce for his 5th marriage he made the comment, “If I would have known, that the last marriage would have been like the first one, I would have stayed with the first.” In other words, we are all broken married to broken people, trying to figure out how to make our marriage work.  Now if you understand that you yourself are broken, and so is your spouse and you want to love them anyway, be there for them despite their problems, even though your still filled with hurt, and pain. Read How to have a successful marriage when times get tough. It helps us to be better partners despite all our brokenness.

Once we come to this realization that we are all broken then we can then focus on the how. How do I love a broken person? How do I love a broken person with addictions, lies, problems, secrets, and hurts?  I’m sorry but, NO, there’s no fast answer, if you are in a spot where you are facing divorce then I say seek counsel, go to your church, join a small group for married couples. Or perhaps join Re|Engage.

There’s also no way I can share all what I’ve learned so far, it’s something you should go through with your spouse and let God make moves in yalls lives. However, I wanted to share some simple ways to help you and your spouse take steps to making your marriage what God wants for yalls marriage- For it to be great!

The best way to move forward is to start pursuing your spouse. You want to get closer? Then get to know them. We think we know one another but guys, people change, people have new interest you know this by the gifts you buy for them, each year it’s different right? Well you may ask Ashly, I don’t need to do this, I’ve been married for 15 years. Then my question is, do you sit at home, on your phone at night, in bed? Do you watch TV while your eat dinner? Are you making time to talk to one another? Know eachother? The same way you research things on your phone is the same way you should pursue your spouse. Unfortunately, yes it is harder than looking up www dot. Are you willing to follow your vows and do the hard work?

The second thing, is to pursue Christ– run from sin and straight into Christ’s arms. Stop carrying around the weight of your past, your sins, or the hurt of others, you need to know today you are free from all of that!!

You’re free because he died for you.

Isn’t that beautiful?! Amazing?! Can you believe it, we are loved beyond measure. I think once we accept that whole heartedly, and actually believe you are loved, love begins to grow. For yourself, for your spouse, for your life. When I have put my life in God’s hands, I have more good days then bad. My days aren’t full of judgement, hate, and anger. Marriage is hard, so I hope that you find time to do these 2 Easy Steps to ReEngage with your Spouse.

 

Start It, Commit to it, Succeed in it!

Ashly Williams

Parent/Child Dedication

Dedicating Our Lives to Disciple Our Children

On Mother’s Day we all stood up before the church and dedicated our lives to leading our children down a path that speaks the truth. It was a great experience and a wonderful gift to me I must say. This was the first time as a married family that we stood together side by side dedicating our lives outwardly in a faith based way to symbolize the effort, the hope, and the desire to steward their lives towards this reality! For our lives as well.

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This outward expression was so important to me for so many different levels. The significance however was tremendous for me because recently Joshua and I have turned to God  whole-heartedly to help lead us through this difficult chapter in our lives. We know how important it is to seek his guidance first, even above our own. We’ve established our foundation on God because we knew without him we would not be able to go through this feat alone. I tried that, and it sent us down a path were we talked, and even considered separating. We discussed getting a divorce the week after our miscarriage. We clung to one another the week before, during all the sickness I needed him. The week of I only wanted to be near him, to guide and lead me through the dark days. Then it was like a tornado of emotions just hit me all at once the week following. It was horrible, I was spiraling out of control full of sadness, anger, guilt, and remorse. Life was just breaking me down. Instead of reaching to one another for moral support I was looking inward and only saw and felt anger and lashed it out accordingly to who I thought deserved it. My husband was my punching bag, and I started to open up all the problems and warning signs from years ago, and made up accusations from the past. It was not fun. I started leaving the house once a week, to “get away”. I wanted to be far away from the person that was trying to be there for me. He didn’t understand why I was acting out the way I was, he didn’t know how to stop it, he didn’t have all the right things to say, so he didn’t say anything. The only thing that saved us at the time was our wedding vows.

One day I went on a coffee break and spent 30 mins watching my wedding video thinking, is this it? Our marriage ends before we even make it to an official two months. I then listened to myself speak our vows…on repeat. I flooded my brain with words of truth over and over and over again. These are the words I heard:

I Ashly, Take you Joshua to be my husband. To have to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, In sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, to love and cherish,  to be faithful to you alone, as long as we both shall live.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is what our whole ceremony was based around and it speaks of a way to love one another without end. I told myself that night, I will not fail God, I will not fail myself, I will not give up on Josh. I told Josh that night how salvation came throug our vows. That I didnt think he deserved my love, that he didn’t do anything to change my mind, but purely based off the gift of love that I know I don’t deserve given to me everyday despite my mistakes, sins, and wrongdoings. That’s the love I always said I’m going to give long before I met Josh and that’s the love I vowed to give when I married Josh. I said we needed more truth in our lives and that’s when I saw my husband show me his commitment to our marriage.

We’ve started attending Re|Engage weekly, and have successfully attended 8 weeks of it. We have picked up an amazing toolbox for our marriage by going through the process. I’m so thankful for this community we have joined in. We needed them, we needed the influx of wisdom, and the words of truth spoken to us through our marriage. If you need more of this read about our Re|Engage experience and if you need prayers for your marriage please feel free to pm and I will add them to my prayer list.

The words of truth have saved me so many times in my life. So many times when I found myself going down the wrong path, even in those times I pushed God away and he said I don’t think so, “I’m not done with you yet” and drug me out of the darkness by my feet.

Williams Family Parent/Child Dedication

I want my children to relish in his words of truth in all their future days. That is why I wanted to go through the parent/child dedication in the first place. To know that we are dedicated to give them these tools to allow God to work in their lives. For the dedication you could choose a verse for your family. We chose:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

– 3 John 1:4

I hope more than anything that they find peace in his words when times are hard. Comfort in knowing they are loved, and salvation knowing he sent his son so we could be saved. All I dream and hope for my children is that they walk in the truth. I fear the day I die for one reason only. That I die too early- too early to know for sure my children rely on God above all else. I hope in that time they are old enough to reach for the Bible in times in need versus friends that speak ill hearted, figures that speak selfishly, or family that directs them wrongfully.

Yesterday I watched a video about kids showing hatred and racism at a playground against a little boy who had to be about 5 or 6. My heart weakened knowing this is the generation my kids will live with. It’s not just one way either, I watched kids that are 10 and 11 making videos of them bullying and beating up white kids because they live in the same projects as they do.

My first instinct of course is to blame their surroundings, their parents, their community for showing them this is okay. I know the world is harsh full of broken people, full of sinners, hate and built up anger. It’s always been full of that, but now it’s full of it with a button that enhances it, spreads it, and fuels it. The hatred Timmy has in virginia is shared via internet by some sort of media, and Alex in Utah sees it, and agrees with it and displays the same anger. We have to be conscious of what our children see. Yes that means everything! We have to ensure that our children are not corrupted by the wrong things. We have to step up our parenting game. I spoke of this on Mother’s Day about raising up motherhood. It’s important. I know everywhere we hear good job, especially on Mother’s Day. We are told you’re good enough. You a great mom, look at all the things you’ve done. I’m sorry but it’s not, raising your child isn’t good enough, we NEED to lead and guide them.

I also heard on Mother’s Day moms in the restaurant I was in that day, at the store, and of course all over online, say to their kids, “this is MY day.” I’m not joking in the bathroom at pluckers where I was eating a mom said to her son when all he was trying to do was talk to her, she wanted to wash her hands in peace apparently, “Can u please just be quite today, stop just for one day, this is my day!”

I was enraged! I would have made a comment about being thankful if I was next to her but I was in the stall, and of course I’m not going to yell across five stalls so this woman can hear my opinion. That wouldn’t have gone great lol. Atleast not even close to the hopeful way I would have intended it to be. Lol can u imagine that taking place lol.

I have sat and brewed on this sentence for three weeks now though, still getting upset by the words. If you have said this in some form or fashion I want to simply remind you, the only reason you have that day is because of them. They are supposed to be what you cherish on Mother’s Day. That’s what’s wrong with the holiday, is it’s so twisted. People think it’s a day for them! You have your birthday for that. Yes, it’s a day of recognition of your efforts to raise well rounded people, but if you’re selfish and talk to your children on that day like that, then no wonder our younger generations are growing up the way they are. It’s all about me me me me me. It needs to change!

Moms, dads parents, please I beg you change your perspective of parenting. Do more than just okay with our kids. They need so much poured into them now. We can’t just get away with bare minimum of hopes everything will end up okay. What was okay with us, is not okay with them. Especially now that they get so much information from all the different outlets and sources at their fingertips alone, nvm their friends, their schools, or their community. We have to work harder to try and combat all this… this N E G A T I V I T Y filling our world.

I know this is hard stuff to swallow sometimes as a parent. We all knew it was hard but we thought of my parents did it and with what they had then we can to. But our parents didn’t have to worry about all we have to. We must attack this new generation X with a different light. For I’m scared if we don’t, what my children will have to fight for growing up is 100 x more than what I had to deal with at the age of 20.

So what do we do? Well I can only leave you with one word- Commitment. Commit yourself to your children in a way that leads them. Dedicate your whole self to them, not your tired, just got off work self. Not I just need a minute, not the mom who just wants her day. Because after all before u know it you’ll have all the days you need once they run off to other people who give them that time they long for. Dedicate your lives to raising well balanced people for our world so desperately needs it. Don’t just raise them, lead them, L E A D by example. Hopefully with your efforts and theirs we can all change this back around.

If you want notes, tips, and direction that we received from our parent child dedication class check out 5 ways to Lead your Children. I hope that it will inspire you to want to lead your children down a path of truth. Even if you don’t believe in God, these tools can help you to atleast ensure that you are placing your children in the right community to make sure they grow up filled with love, kindness, and courage.

Most importantly remember to embrace your role as a parent. God has called upon you to help lead and guide them. Here’s the verse the church gave us to help guide us to impress our children with the good news, to pass on love and knowledge of God because he so desperately wants them close to him.

 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

-Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I hope this verse helps keep you motivated even in the hard days. You don’t need to stand up above a whole church, but you do need community and a team so ask your family to help keep you guided and accountable. Ask your community what they are about and if they have the same morals and beliefs, lead our future generation to kindness and love so they too have a chance to love and serve for the better good.

Church with Kids

Going to Church with Kids: Challenges, Motivation, and Blessings

I get excited for Sunday’s, I really do because I never know what will be in store for us as we all take on the challenge of going to church with the kids. You know what challenge I’m talking about, sitting quietly for an hour as I try to intently listen to the message as my children whisper/ yell-whisper at the same time. Yes, that challenge. Admittedly though, I have actually created a great system for when we are in church that keeps them pretty calm. Calm enough that I have been approached by someone every time that I have all my kids with me in church. Last Sunday, I got told that I was an inspiration to all mothers from a church member that walked across the isle to motivate me. The elderly couple behind me told me I have great patience and was doing a great job. This isn’t me bragging, okay maybe a little, I’ve worked hard on this, but I want to share the joy of the reward that my devotion has paid off. Today a mom with the same age children who sat next to me with her five year old complimented on how well behaved the kids are. We laughed about how much of a Ham liladster is. We discussed how her other children were in class and I told her mine would have but they all opted to be with Mommy today. We laughed about the hardships that come with bringing your children to church and that we wish there was a simple easy button.

To all the other parents I know it’s always a hard decision to make, should I take them with me? Should I put them in class where they can be exposed to sickness? Will I really learn anything if they are sitting with me? Will they even learn? I know in their class they will atleast get a little more out of it then with me? Right?

All of these questions are legit, now that I think about it, it really shouldn’t be that hard of a choice. Yet, sometimes it can be for some parents. I obviously, was that parent. With each child I had new fears. New worries and doubts, I didn’t know if I could handle it. I want you to know I support whichever decision you make.  I have noticed there are benefits of both. The good news is, either way they are learning about God and building a relationship with him. So you’re already winning!

Like everything, it’s a balancing act, there are times that I’m alone when they all go to class, there are times when I have just one kid. There are times when someone voices their opinion and tells me they want to join me. The kids love the music and we sing the songs all week long at home and this has become one of my favorite times of the week. The constant singing brings such joy to my soul and warms my heart that it actually has become a big part to refueling me.

We are partaking in a parent/child dedication ceremony on Mother’s Day and we have to take a devotional class beforehand. During our class we discussed that the church ministry only has about 33 hours a year with your child. That’s the average amount of hours  each year that each kid will get in Sunday school after missed days due to illnesses and holidays. That’s not enough for your children to grow a relationship upon. Children need us, you, a community to help them grow in their relationship with God. The awesome part about sharing church with your child is they get to see how you worship God, and how you praise him. I let myself go during the music so they learn to feel it completely and vurnerably. Christian music has always had such a profound place in my heart, body, and soul that it literally has only deepened my relationship with God. So, I like to allow it to take me to my place of serenity, and want my children to see that.

The kids are more funny in church then angry it’s just the youngest hasn’t quite got the whisper thing down. I always get a kick out of it though when she chimes in with laughter at all of Pastor Tim’s corky jokes perfectly on cue. Now, don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been perfect, we’ve had our days were the youngest is sleepy and throws a fit and I have to rock her and miss out on the message and watch it later on podcast. That mostly happened when she was younger. There were moments were we made messes and spills, and my goodness can you just stop. There were even moments were I wanted to get up and leave, but I didn’t. I did however step out and recover, but I always go back. I’ve noticed the devotion has paid off. It has taught them to try to remain silent, listen and soak up one good lesson for mommy. The devotion now lies within them as well. They always walk in confident and ready to participate in church. From saying hello to everyone, singing, and yes, even the listening. If they choose to sit with me and not go to school I told them they need to walk out and tell me one thing they heard so we can discuss it further and we can understand it a little better.  This has helped keep some of the chatter down as they do listen for something. I will say, it has been fun to hear their side of the sermon they heard. Sometimes, Aliyna just clings to one word Tim said.

It is a funny thing though, I don’t get motivation from others nearly as often or any other time as I do when I have all three of my kids. Well maybe a handful of times, women come up to me when I have my two youngest. It could be when they see my youngest, she is something else. It’s like, they see me with all my hands tied up and feel like they should motivate me, and to be honest I’m glad they did, because it is exactly what they are doing, motivating me. I’ve gotten positive motivation from other church members, nearly every Sunday since I’ve had my three kids. Literally, I can remember other moms telling me good job, and saying they didn’t know how I do it by myself when Addie was a newborn. Yet, I have to say this, GOOD JOB TO EVERYONE!! Everyone, you made it to church so go you!! I think everyone who goes deserves a praise every now and then. So I dare you to go up to anyone and tell them good job for being there, not just the moms who are juggling kids.

I read a blog the other day about a man telling the mom in church good job. It was beautiful. Calming her worries about the “challenges of church” and saying keep it up. That he sees her efforts and says good job. It got shared over a million times and felt good to read as another person says good job to us moms. Its tiring sometimes, and can even get deflating when church is supposed to be about building yourself up for the week. It’s about setting your mind on what matters. If you find yourself struggling with the “church challenges” with your children then try getting a new perspective. You are there to help build a relationship with yourself and your children. So do that, don’t focus so much on the message. If you need to, go back later and listen to the online sermons when you have peace and quite like I sometimes do if I feel like I missed too much. Most churches offer recaps online. Use the time as an opportunity to experience God with your child.

I have made Sunday’s all about the experience of church vs a “to do. I let the kids explore church and the grounds all around. Today we found this hallway filled with an art gallery! It was pretty awesome talking about all pieces with the kids. They kept running and asking what this meant, and I even made them guess on a few and it was funny to hear their obvious answers.

I let them see Jesus in all the scenery and devotionals the church has put up.  I don’t rush out of church, or hurry the kids out because I want to get it over with. I walk around, allow the kids to shake peoples hands, and tell all the older people hello, because they always get a kick out of them and their smiles. Last week, we even waited in line to shake the pastors hand. I want them to see community in our church not selfishness. I let them play outside if the weather is good. Their favorite is the water fountain out front of our church.

They’ve always enjoyed it and this last Sunday, I was blessed to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit inspiring my son. Last Sunday, after church service, he asked to stay so he could pray and worship longer. The kiddos stopped and said hello to Pastor Tim, said thank you for the words he says to strengthen our relationship. Then, when we walked out we made our usual stop at the water fountain. While we watched the water and all three kiddos had to pose on the cross like Jesus, Ayden asked why the cross was there. We’ve seen that cross for years and he has never asked that before. I explained to him that it’s called a “Meditation Fountain”. That as you sit there on the rock, you look at the cross and let it remind you of all the good works and sacrifices that Jesus did for us, and then you close your eyes and allow the water to quiet your soul while you wait to hear God whispering in your heart. He said let’s try! I couldn’t wait!!!

I sat down next to him and closed my eyes, peaked them open to see him with his head bowed down, eyes shut, and mouth quiet. He silenced himself to hear God. He listened to the water, and it was such a beautiful sight. It was. For a passer by thought so too, they took our pic and showed it to us! HOW SWEET!!!! THANKS FOR THAT!

I feel like I mess up a lot in parenting. I honestly sit at night and think about if I could have said something better to help them grow in any way. I don’t want to miss moments of opportunities that I could have shared intimate moments with them that can help them in their future.

Again, I have to say thank you to all the woman and older couples that come up to me each week and tell me I’m an inspiration to mothers, and that I handle all three of my kids by myself each week with such grace and patience. It’s def a daunting task sometimes so to get constant motivation each week from fellow church members feels good. No one has ever told me that my children bother them so thank you. I think if I felt like we were bothering people then I would never get moments like these. I know it’s difficult and tiring, most people want to go straight home, but try something different at church with your kids and see if yalls relationship with God grows together. It’ll be something either one of you won’t be able to forget.

-Start it, Commit to it, Succeed

Ashly Williams

Law of Pure Potentiality

Image by Ashly Williams of our Late Rupert Gossett on one of his last adventures before Cancer took him from us.

Law of Unity

I am revisiting, “>The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by the infamous, Deepak Chopra. I mentioned previously that this book has helped me before, however I have abandoned some  of the techniques. I love the timing that this has come up for me because after all Spring is in the air. I feel as if this time is the season of “regrowth” with a combination of “new growth” to help my mental stability. So, this is actually pretty exciting for me as I am too in this season of “regrowth” with myself personally. I want to readminister these habits back into my schedule so my mental state and stability continue to stay on the positive side. Anytime anyone experiences depression, or a devasting time and event, such as our miscarriage, the mind goes through a chemical reaction. I realized that I was slipping because I became angry faster, agitated, and the moment I realized that I was constantly apologizing to my family for being grumpy, I knew I needed to focus on my mental state again.

I’m focusing on one law at a time for 30 days so I can ensure that they each properly get placed into my life and schedule with the right amount of focus and clarity vs cramming all seven in my brain at once.

  • side note, I feel like anything new that you are trying out should be handled with the same mindset. Take baby steps, don’t try and do it all at once, you’re only setting yourself up for failure and possibly self destruction. Focus on it for 30 days and measure where it is that you stand with the new habit.

The fun thing about revisiting this specific law is that it is Intellectual Growth that connects you with endless opportunities and the chance to connect with the world in a spiritual way. So it’s a two-fer deal. It blends mentality with your spirituality to allow you to become completely one with your core you-ness. To me tactics like these are the most beautiful, because they allow you to learn how to work different facets of yourself as one. I feel like I need to practice this more often which is why I am re reading this book to begin with.

My goal is to rebuild my zen within and make sure that it is connected to God, and nature so I can be re awakened. For I feel like I have been spiritually napping. I am picking up my daily habits of connection with my Father, however I’m not encompassing his beauty around me as much as I used to so I have been dramatically focusing on this other side of his beauty that allows me to open up in a way that refuels my heart, my spirit, and my inner strength. Therefor rebuilding my inner core into yet again this strong, mystic, free being.

Now to put your Chopraness in full effect start by making a commitment by taking these  three steps:

  1. I will get in touch with the field of pure potentiality by taking time each day to be silent, to just BE. I will also sit alone in silent meditation atleast twice a day for approximately 30 minutes in am and 30 minutes in the evening.

Soaking up the views, smells, and sounds of freedom.

 

 

 

When you learn to experience the field of pure silence + pure awareness it leads to infinite correlation, infinite organizing power and you realize everything is inseparably connected to everything else.

– Deepak Chopra

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2. I will take time each day to commune with nature and to silently witness the intelligence within every living thing.

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I will sit silently and watch a sunset, sunrise etc. For in the ecstasy of my own silence, I will enjoy the life throb of ages. The field of pure potentiality and unbounded creativity.

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Stillness– is the first requirement for manifesting your desires because in the stillness lies your connection to the field of pure potentiality that which then orchestrates an infinite amount of details for you.

-Deepak Chopra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. I will practice non judgement. I will begin each day with the statement “Today I shall judge nothing that occurs.” Throughout the day I will remind myself of this for this creates silence and clarity in my mind.

Again, I feel as if this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for my family and myself. I have been drawn to nature lately and have brought my children down this path of appreciation with me. It’s kind of a coincidence as well that in there at home curriculum right now we’ve been talking about how God talks to us by whispering in our hearts, not in our ears. So we must learn to quiet the world long enough to allow his words to imprint on their hearts. You see, this is another lesson that you can do with the whole family. Take them outside, sit in silence together.

I will reconnect in comments below to describe any hiccups, problems, or breakthroughs for the next thirty days while I go through this process. I hope you can join me and sit in silence just for a moment. If all you can do is five minutes then take a family time out, start there and eventually see if it’s enjoyable enough to lead you to more moments of silence. If this does indeed move you to try and sit outside, in front of a garden, or even in your own backyard, or just a silent room, filled with darkness. Take a photo, put in the comments below or let me know on overallfitness4all’s facebook page. I’d love to see people try to connect to who they are meant to be.

If you are curious to know more about the book or want to further deepen your Chopraness check out his site here.

All pictures courtesy of Ashly Williams