Always Better When We’re Together

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Ever heard the Jack Johnson song? It’s called Better Together and I simply love the line he sings “I tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together”.

It’s so beautifully true. Being together as a family, makes us a better family. Spending time with my husband makes me a better wife and spending time with my daughters makes me a better mama.

Time is so precious. I feel like how I choose to spend my time with my children now will determine how my children choose to spend time with me in the future. They are worth every second I have to offer, and I know that the days of them being little, being with me every day and under my wings, are short and sweet compared to the days after they fly off to their own families and dreams. So for me, being a stay at home mom trumped everything. It’s never been easy in a financial sense (yet God has always always always provided) but it’s been easy in every other way and I’m so grateful this is my life right now. I would never change it.

For me, time is more than just hours. It’s the quality of those hours. I will purposefully leave my phone in the other room. I will get down on the floor with my babies. Hold them in my lap and determine not to think of my to do list.

When me and my husband were first married, we decided to make it a goal to take a family vacation at least once every year. Our special place is Kona, Hawaii (where we were married) and so far we’re doing it! We both have such good memories of vacations growing up and want to make it a priority with our own kids.

Along with valuing quality family time, we also really value fun. (another reason to vacation!) Laughing is good medicine, even Jesus says so. And I think if God has a sense a humor, then I should too. I love my husband and daughters because they so easily bring out the lighthearted, silly, and fun side of me. And not taking myself too seriously really does make me a much better mama and wife.

This week, go spend time with your family. Maybe listen to this song. Dance to it, sing to it. Be silly, be fun, but mostly, be together.

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Freedom and Choices

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photo credit – backyard*INK http://backyardink.wordpress.com/

My job as a parent is not to control my child. It is to teach my child to control herself. It is to teach her how to navigate and use her God-given freedom to its fullest potential.

And really, even if I thought it was my job to control my child, it’s not possible. Trying to would only end in fighting and hurting and disconnection. God designed every single one of us to be completely free. Not even the Creator himself has an ounce of control over what we choose to do or not to do. (which to me is amazing, because He absolutely holds the power to, He just chooses not to) Freedom is necessary for true love to exist. Love itself is a choice and can never be forced. So in order for it to exist, we must have the ability to not love.

Learning that you cannot control you child (or anyone for that matter) saves an enormous amount of energy and heart ache. Who I can control, is ME. And that is where my focus as a parent, as a wife, as a friend, should be. No matter the emotions or actions of someone else, I still choose to be loving, to be happy, to be peaceful, to be honoring and respectful.

Freedom means having choices, and choices are something I must give my children. (I think attempting to withhold choices from children ends in rebellion, as this is the only choice they feel they have left to walk out their God given desire for freedom) I think choices look different at different stages, but truly almost any situation you can imagine yourself in as a parent has at least 2 wonderful choices for your child. At age 2, I’m probably going to limit choices to 2 different things as to not overwhelm her. An example would be showing her 2 different snack options or 2 different shirts to wear for the day. I expect her options to grow as she grows 🙂 Even my sweet 4 month old is getting to practice her freedom. Now that she is playing with toys, I enjoy holding 2 out in front of her and seeing which one she she picks.

A few months ago, we told my precious girl it was time to pick up toys for the evening. Normally, this was a fun game and done quickly, but that night, she seemed to realize she had the option to not pick up toys. And she was absolutely right. It had the potential to turn into a war of arguing, anger, yelling, punishments, etc. But instead we calmly let her know we were okay with her not picking up toys. That was one choice she had and it would include not getting to watch a show before bed. Her other choice was to clean and then watch her favorite show before bed. Let me tell you, this girl is a genius. She, on her own, decided cleaning was a good decision. Kids are really really smart. You just have to patiently give them the opportunity.

Lastly, valuing freedom in our home also means that we encourage, we don’t force. I encourage my child to try new food, come unload the dishwasher with me, or dance during worship at church. In the years to come I’ll encourage her to learn new things, try different sports, etc. But I will never force her.

My encouragement to you this week is to look for areas where you can provide your child with choices. Get creative! And begin to settle in your heart that you control no one else but yourself (and as Danny Silk would say, that’s on a good day!).

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Words Create Worlds

I remember the first time I made the connection that the words I speak actually create my environment. I was reading over the beginning of Genesis and it just hit me. God spoke – world created. I’m made in His image and have His authority so my words create worlds. That was probably around 5 years ago and I’ve been on a journey ever since to truly be careful of how and what I’m speaking.

Right now, the most important place this applies to in my life is with my family and especially my parenting. Every day I have a choice of what I will say to my husband, what I will say to my daughters. My words create my family. They create the atmosphere we live in daily. They are affecting my girls, even my 3 month old who may not understand much as far as english goes.

What I say might go over my child’s head – but it always goes in her heart, in her soul.

A few Sundays ago, my pastor preached a message on words and had a really cool video to accompany it. Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, experimented to see if and how water changed when different words were spoken.  It’s amazing how you can see the water react to opposing words like hate and love. My pastor made an excellent point that if we are made of mostly water, then obviously we are changed by what is spoken to us. Below is a picture and a video from the study – cool right?

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This is why there is absolutely no yelling in my home. It’s important for me to never speak in anger. God says to not let the sun go down while we are still angry, which to me means if I find anger in my heart, I better get rid of it as quickly as possible. And while I’m getting rid of it, I have no business trying to parent my child. For a moment, everything goes on hold. I bite my tongue, breathe, ask for Holy Spirit, and get some joy back in my soul.

What you will find in my home are calm and loving and gentle and even passionate tones when we speak to each other. You will find encouragement, praise, and positive words. I make it a point to tell my girls that I’m proud of them, that I love them, that I like them. I tell them they are smart, powerful, and beautiful. I tell them that God loves them and that they will be world changers.

Start changing the way you speak and it will change your family.

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Relationship Over Rules

In my home we have rules. We have boundaries. We have routines and schedules. But on the list of what’s important in our hearts, they don’t even make the cut.

Relationship is number one. And you’ll have to go a good 100 feet down before you find anything else on that list 🙂 At the end of the day, I don’t care that my child did exactly as I told her. I’m not obsessing over the possible failures or mistakes of my daughters and husband. I care about connecting to their hearts. I care about Love.

In the Old Testament, God gave us the Law, the 10 commandments. Basically an impossible list of things to do or not to do. Then Jesus came in the New Testament and gave us relationship, grace, love. Jesus even said the greatest commandment was to love God and love each other. I figure if it’s that important to God, it should be that important to me.

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I think the first time I realized just how important relationship was to God and how amazing it could truly be, was holding my baby girl after she was born. I felt such love for her and such love from her. We were made for each other. Every baby craves relationship – it’s their greatest need. They desire to be held, touched, loved. God even went as far as to make the body of the mother the source of nutrition so that the child and mother are connected. We are created out of relationship (between a man and woman) and created for relationship.

So what does this look like practically in my home? It looks like dishes being left on the counter and in the sink so I can go lay on the floor and color with my 2 year old and do raspberries with my 3 month old. Like bedtimes being pushed back so we can stay up as a family and watch a movie and eat homemade popcorn. It looks like taking my child aside and having a heart to heart when she’s not interested in cleaning toys instead of jumping to a punishment. It looks like putting off my chore list, like my husband setting work aside, so we can connect in our marriage. Family Dinners with the TV off. Going for walks. Leaving phones aside and actually looking one another in the eye and truly enjoying that moment. It looks like a lot of Grace – a lot. And it’s absolutely worth it.

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The Family I’m Creating

My 3 month old was up a little later than normal last night. We were just hanging out in bed when she sees her daddy come in after putting our oldest to sleep. She bursts into the cutest giggles and biggest smile. Every time my husband said something or moved, she laughed harder and harder. Her joy was so contagious that soon we were saying how much our cheeks hurt but we couldn’t stop laughing.

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 I absolutely love how much joy is in our lives. I love that this experience is the norm for our family and not the exception. I love that our home has an atmosphere of peace and love and happiness and that others notice this when they’re with us. 

It’s been really fun creating this culture/atmosphere with my husband over the years and we have every intention of continuing it as our family grows. And that’s the thing, it’s all been intentional on our part. It didn’t happen by accident. I realized this week that I have lists in my head of things that I will always do and things I will never do. I have core principles and values I live by that are written deep within my heart.

Over the next weeks, I’m going to write them down and get into each one specifically. Hopefully, they will inspire you and encourage you to be intentional with your own family and the kind of life you are creating. No matter our age, single or married, children or not, we’re all constantly creating our own environments.

This week, it’s short and sweet and the foundation for everything I do. Above everything, I love God. I love Jesus. I love Holy Spirit. Out of this relationship comes every other relationship in my life. Loving God shapes how I love my husband, how I love my children. I think most Christians agree that they desire to be like Christ. The differences come into play because we don’t all see Him the same way. That’s why it’s important for me to really get to know Papa God – how I see Him, is how I will be.

What do you want your family to look like? What’s the culture, what’s the atmosphere you’re creating? What are the core values and principles in your heart and how are you walking them out?

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Inviting Holy Spirit To Bed

When I was thinking about what I wanted to write this week, my brain took me in what felt like a hundred different directions. I’ve had so many wonderful moments of learning and growing and loving life since becoming a mom. What I kept coming back to was the first time I felt the need to journal what I had just experienced. What He practically taught me, I’m still using – just a few nights ago 🙂 This was my lesson, touched up with more wisdom I’ve gained since then.

My 9 month old had just figured out how to roll over and push herself up to sitting so she could crawl around. I was so proud of her. Then came bedtime when I laid her down next to me to nurse her to sleep.

Roll, roll, roll. Pick her up, lay her down beside me. Roll. Pick her up, lay her down beside me. Roll, roll, roll…About an hour and a half later, I start to find myself asking “What do I do?” Thinking she’ll never fall asleep.

Instead of getting frustrated and angry (as I felt my patience growing lower and lower) I took a breath and invited the Holy Spirit into bed with us. Learning to invite His presence into my daily life has been one of the most precious tools that I’ve learned as a parent. Then, I began to whisper in tongues – all while baby girl is sweetly crawling all over the bed and me. This immediately strengthened my spirit. I was at peace and I asked for wisdom. I was answered with this. “She’s learning how to make herself comfortable to sleep. This is brand new for her. You know what’s comfortable but she is just discovering that. Allow her to learn. This is only a short season.” Five seconds later – She was ASLEEP! And the next night only took 40 minutes.

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I had already had my prayer language for a few years at that point. I knew how to use it. But really, I used it only in church and church like settings. For some reason it never crossed my mind that I could use it during my daily tasks. During washing dishes, putting my children to sleep, changing diapers and cooking dinner.

And while I often prayed and talked to God and Jesus during daily life, I never thought to specifically ask for Holy Spirit. I had read John 16:7 before, but never really grasped it in my heart and soul. Jesus said it was better for him to go so that we could have the holy spirit. Holy Spirit is translated as Comforter, Advocate, Helper.

I find so many moments as a parent where I need help, where I need comfort, where I need peace. Realizing that I could intentionally invite Holy Spirit into moments beyond church, moments of exhaustingly trying to be the best possible mom to my children, was and still is a favorite revelation.

I encourage you, the next time you find yourself frustrated and losing patience as a parent, invite the holy spirit into bed, into the car, to the dinner table. Speak in tongues, sing in tongues, allow your children to hear you and allow yourself to be comforted and helped 🙂

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Supernatural Mama

This has been stirring and building in my heart for a little over 2 years now. And I’m wonderfully terrified to finally let it out and into a tangible place.

In June of 2010, me and my husband found out we were pregnant with our first child. I’ve never been the same since. This journey took me into the world of midwifery and homebirths, to organics and health, to grace and the supernatural, to an intimacy with God I could have never dreamed.

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My heart’s desire is to encourage and empower other mamas. That is my ultimate intention for this blog.

As for the title, it can be taken 2 ways (intentionally). First, me and my husband were married in 2009 and immediately took off to California to attend Bethel’s school of Supernatural Ministry. This was the best decision we could have ever made as it completely reshaped our lives into what they are today. I love God. I love Jesus. I love Holy Spirit. And I believe all 3 to be present in my life today.

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” – Jesus

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Jesus

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I want to see Heaven invade Earth. To see people encounter Papa God.

Second, these past 2 or so years of my life I’ve began to become more and more natural. I had a homebirth. I breastfeed. We buy organic. I prefer to change something in my diet before turning to prescription medication. I even stopped highlighting my hair (that’s a whole other empowering story in itself!) And so on and so on.

The mama part is, of course, because I’m a mama. And it is by far my favorite role in life. I’m convinced mothering my children is the greatest thing I will ever do. I have this feeling that even when I’m out of my child-bearing years, when my children are grown, I will still be mothering in some form or another. It’s who I am, and I love it. 🙂

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