The Sisterhood of Mothers

“You were teaching me before I ever knew it…Welcoming me into the Sisterhood of Mothers”

Isn’t it amazing to be a woman!  I have had such a crazy few weeks between the everyday life of running my business and household, helping out with a women’s gathering at church, becoming an “auntie” again and Mothers Day; I am all sorts of charged up on the glorious state of being a woman and even more…a Mother!

In reflecting on the blessing of motherhood and of being a woman, whether you bear children or not, I am reminded of one incredible phrase…

“I am who my Creator made me to be…Worthy”  fb_img_15266087273901700557613.jpg

This past weekend made me want to celebrate and recollect on all the amazing women in my life who have helped to shape me into the person I am today.  Women that God put in my path that were examples of grace and compassion, strength and poise and most importantly, love.  I also gained a realization that my impact on other women , including my daughters and surrogate daughters (aka my basketball team), is of great importance and I count the opportunity as a pure blessing each and every day.  It is in fact their presence in my life that reminds me of the person I continue to strive to be, of who I believe my God has made me to be.  It is certainly a call to action or in some cases inaction!

20170506_1540192074152420.jpgI was raised by possibly the strongest  woman you can imagine.  She was gritty and tough when she needed to be. She maintained a career (even changed careers to better provide for my sister and I), developed a loving home, somehow managed to accomplish all the regular mom goals with two super active kids all by herself, taught us the importance of faith and raised my sister and I to truly believe that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to if we were willing to work for it!  It is quite remarkable thinking about how she managed everything….I can’t imagine functioning day to day without my Husband helping out!  Even more so, she lost her own Mother at a very young age to cancer; her support system and friend.  It makes me truly thankful to have the blessing of my Mother to be a presence in the lives of my children.  I gift for which I will be forever thankful.

I am also very grateful for other amazing women that I have come across at all stages in my life that impacted me in almost every way.  A grandmother that shared a love for simple pleasures like the miracle of growing flowers in your garden and great-grandmother who was not only an entrepreneurial pioneer in her small community but also the matriarch of our family and had no problem keeping my grandpa in line, even as a grown man.  The mothers of many of my friends in elementary school and high school who welcomed me into their homes and whom gladly would have cared for any need I had and knew my mother did the same for their daughters; one of which could also give a glare to us teenagers in the back pews of the church on Sunday morning that made everyone within its path take notice and start shouting “amen!” Our pastor’s wife in the small country church I grew up in that loved so deeply and shared an amazing relationship with her Husband; multiple teachers in the elementary and high school I attended that taught me passion for topics I was interested in and how to turn that passion into a career as well as the importance of social conscience – the tiny community in which I grew up knew how to take care of its members in times of joy and in the depths of despair. College friends who warm my heart by just keeping in touch and seeing this families grow!  My first “real” boss when I was straight out of law school was an outstanding mentor, she was accomplished yet humble, very poised and stringent with detail but also kind and caring, especially to those within her inner circle, and super supportive as I took the first steps of independence in my legal career. The ladies in my women’s group at church that I have only recently met, but have given me an outlet like no other, that brings me closer to God and the woman and mother I was meant to be each day just by being around them and sharing our crazy family stories or kid catastrophes! And finally, my own two daughters and basketball team, which I have had the true blessing to watch grow into amazingly wonderful young women and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them or how they will impact their communities, families and the world!

It is abundantly clear to me that being a woman is of great importance; even God ordained Mary to be the mother of the Savior and his supreme supporter even until the end.  Mary was trusting of God and his plan, courageous, strong in character, and accepting of her role in this life, even if it wasn’t easy or popular! Isn’t that what we as women strive to be; whether we are blessed with little tornadoes in our homes or not, we all have the ability to impact others around us in positive ways – and in the same ways God called Mary to impact the world.

So my friends, welcome to the Sisterhood of Mothers or maybe better put the Sisterhood of Strong, Courageous, Compassionate, Loving and Impactful Women…go forward and support the women in your life, love them, and be a woman whose presence will positively influence the lives of those around you.

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The Four Words…

There are four words that, when said, will bring out the best in your team, your employees and your family. They are:

“I believe in you.”

Coach K.

Not that I am a Duke or Coach K. fan in general, but he’s hit the nail on the head! It is a motto for my life as a mother, public service provider and basketball coach and mentor. Those four words change everything!

An important note to remember, believing and investing in people more DOES bring out the best in our family, peers and players and create positive change, but these positive attributes do not necessarily happen on our time schedule. We must continue our commitment to those in whom we bestow our belief, even when they disappoint us or move more slowly then we would like. Keep believing and providing loving support, I promise its an investment that costs very little and yet the gains are unimaginable!

I Believe In You!

The One Hour Laundry Blitz!

20180120_213908698876566.jpgCommence the laundry blitz!  Its Friday morning, the kids are FINALLY back in school.  Husband has a meeting and is out of the house.  He graciously folded a mountain of laundry which now inhabits the dining room table and will surely increase the amount of clothes hidden in our bedrooms that already needs put away!  I am so desperate not to have to deal with this mess any longer that I rescheduled an appointment in my office to eek out a precious hour to run around my house like crazy destroying laundry piles in my path! I have exactly one hour…On my mark, get set, GO!

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Seems absurd to “schedule” time for simple chores like putting away laundry; but for a working momma of 3 who also coaches a high school basketball team, attends everyone’s extracurricular endeavors and wants to enjoy any “free” time not spent in the bleachers with her husband and kids…it is a necessary evil!  I’ve found that “scheduling” time for specific chores in my home or office serves me better than opting to “get to it when I have time.”  In that event laundry piles up, the house looks like an episode of Hoarders and I can’t remember when I last swept or mopped the floors!

On the flip side of this, please know that I have pinned and attempted the “weekly cleaning chart” genre and find that it does not, in any way, work for my family.  I do not always have time to scrub the toilet, nor would I want to, on Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m.  So, we all have to figure out for ourselves what works for our family calendars.  As for mine, we have a full morning of recreational basketball and team pictures with Hayden, to be followed by a quick shoot around with my team and then 4 more basketball games before we make it back home…No time for laundry today but, this laundry basket and I have scheduled another date tonight!!

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Happy Folding!!

Snow Days and Legos – A Quick Organizing Project for Our Little Toy Hoarder

This week a flu scare and being quarantined to this house for a day or so actually gave way to a little organizing project in Hayden’s room! We recently cut down our daughter’s loft and Hayden-sized it to fit his room. This gave us extra, much needed, play space for him and a way to attempt to wrangle his ever-growing Lego collection.

 

I had the bright idea to move the thousands of Lego bricks to plastic organizational drawers a few months ago. We initially attempted to sort said bricks by color….bad idea! We aborted and just threw them all in the drawers with mini-figures and teeny tiny pieces in the top two drawers! 20180116_1837391849956972.jpg These drawers are not stylish by any means and I am sure there are nicer ways to organize this collection but for my 7 year old these drawers work like a gem! And I’m not overly mad when he “accidentally” marks on them with permanent marker. The clear plastic drawers allow him to see the contents while keeping it all contained in one place, well sorta!

I had originally wanted my husband to build Hayden a Lego station and had elaborate plans for him, BUT….it basketball season, our oldest is playing travel volleyball, Hayden is in recreational basketball and John and I both still work….the likelihood of a project like this getting completed if we wait to build something….HIGHLY UNLIKELY….scratch that, IMPOSSIBLE! SO, I  started searching around the house and found the perfect little table in my home office. Granted, it was holding my basketball files, records, playbooks, etc…but with a little switching around I unearthed the perfect sized table!!! It is a little folding black table, probably originally purchased for camping; heck, I really don’t know how it got into this house but I was thankful all the same.

 

I added adhesive block strips to the edge of the table to help keep the tiny pieces on the table instead of in the floor and squeezed it all under his loft perfectly! The rest of the day was spent tidying up the other storage spaces, cleaning out his storage bins and purging anything I could get away with without Hayden figuring out what I was doing! The result: a pretty nice space for him to play and utilize his Legos without them being strewn across the floor like a sadistic game of Frogger for his Dad and I while trying to carry our weary carcasses to bed at night!

Not to bad for a momma feeling like crud!!

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Surrendering to the Insanity: A To Do List Confession

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I am a To Do List Junkie….there I said it!  I have grown to have a serious love/hate relationship with my list making.  In the last year I have taken this action to new and almost obsessive lengths – I can’t stop the madness and I think I LOVE it!!

On Sunday mornings my craze begins.  I sit at our dining room table before church with my notebook, or occasionally three different notebooks, and make my lists for the upcoming week, as well as a menu plan, grocery list and family activity calendar that I am now reducing to to a Word document and posting in the kitchen so not a single member of my family can say, “You didn’t tell me I had  to __________.”  I am even color coding the family calendar!! time-management-3

I proceed to make a list of everything that needs completed for work, my basketball team, our family, this blog and personal appointments, not to mention the ever illusive home improvement list.  I occasionally divide said lists by topic, re-copy them into one big list or make daily lists with the most important tasks listed first – its madness I tell you, madness!  I know that you are reading this saying “Isn’t there an app for that?”  The answer is yes! And I use it too, just in case I do not have my trusty notebooks with me at the grocery store or in case I leave it in my office!  I really like the Any Do app with Google Play.  I use the free version and it works great for dividing my list making into topics and is super useful when things pop into my head in the middle of the night or as soon as I lay my weary head on the pillow.  I simply roll over and add whatever bright idea came to mind at 11:30 p.m. to my Any Do app!

15087618731823599681841763978666.jpgWhile some may argue that this incessant action is a sign of emerging mental illness, I point to that fact that for a large family with multiple commitments, it is the only way I have found to survive and get to all the places we need to be and accomplish all the tasks required in a week!  Occasionally, I feel a little like Edgar Allan Poe, giving in to the voices in my head and embracing the madness.  While I am far from hearing my beloved lists beckoning me from the floorboards and quoting “Nevermore” from the bedroom windows, I do try to view this list-making hysteria as a tool for relaxation and stress-relief rather than a burden.  Getting my thoughts and nagging reminders out of my head and onto an app or notebook is a huge relief for my sanity!

Happy list making to all of busy people out there!

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A Zero Day

Once in awhile, its nice to just be Mom for a day!

Sounds cliché, I know, we all enjoy motherhood and think20160313_142226.jpg it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us and frankly, you wouldn’t be reading this post otherwise! We hold these thoughts everyday of our lives, even when we are washing our 18th load of laundry or in the middle of an important meeting at work or at a parent-teacher conference to discuss why our little one licks the desk, or even when we are away on a much deserved “adult” weekend with daddy! Even though we as mom’s always feel this way without a shadow of a doubt we are often so busy, working cleaning, organizing, chauffeuring and trying to survive that we do not take the time to truly relish in the joys of motherhood! Sure, as we kiss them goodnight and say bedtime prayers we take in those moments and they renew our strength and bond, but if we are honest with ourselves, sometime during the hour it takes you to wrangle the Lil booger to bed you weren’t thinking how precious motherhood is, but whether or not you think you could stay awake long enough for that much needed glass of wine you had promised yourself if this nocturnal beast would ever go to sleep!!!

Today though, I was blessed with an entire day of motherhood bliss! Hikers call it a “Zero Day,” a day they come off the trail, eat a hot meal and relax to truly enjoy their surroundings and refocus on their journey ahead. That is exactly what I did with my son today. It all started with record breaking temperatures for late February here in the Appalachian Mountains and an article I had read about children, especially those with focus and hyperactivity issues, needing to simply play outside more often. So, I took that 70 degree forecast as a sign from above that we needed a mommy/son-play outside all day- kind of day! I didn’t go into the office, I let him miss school (yes I said it, he’s only in kindergarten) and we spent the day in the sunshine! We walked our dog around the lake and discovered she is quite the swimmer! We dug in the dirt and talked about different kinds of trees and the seasons. We identified signs of Spring and read numbers on the road signs and played spelling games as we laughed and sang at the park and for the first time in a long time I felt like an honest to-goodness, “good” mom! I felt so good, I even came home and made a homemade dinner, with dessert!

Today, I didn’t allow myself to feel rushed or stressed to achieve an unreal number of goals I typically set for myself in a day. I did take two brief business calls while my little man threw rocks in the lake! Otherwise, I didn’t tell him to be quiet or to stop fidgeting or running or jumping or not to get dirty; I simply enjoyed the day with him and appreciated his enthusiasm and excitement! What I achieved was more than I could have ever imagined. He and I were both immensely happy and settled and whole, and think even our lake swimming pooch would agree as she snores heavily at my feet!

When considering how I spend my time, I often spend weekends when we are home and not otherwise obligated, to accomplishing tasks around the house, catching up on cleaning I can’t complete during our busy week or preparing for the upcoming week. I rarely ever just take a walk or sit and watch the kids play. Parenthood isn’t  a dream sequence, we can not just sit around leisurely every weekend, we have a home and family and businesses to run, but that is why I believe taking days like today are so important, not only to us as parents but to our children as well.   I am so thankful for our Zero Day and I hope to carve out more of those in the future!