Monthly Archives: February 2016

Unshakable Moms–Just Be Held

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Last week, I came across this Reading Plan on YouVersion.com. It was a huge blessing to me. And it’s good for those who aren’t moms too…if you know a mom…or you’re struggling with insecurities, this is a great 6 day reading plan. I challenge you to read the whole chapter of Scripture instead of just the couple of verses on the daily reading to get fuller context and deepen your time in the Word.

Some of my favorite quotes from the devotionals:

“So often, I set my feet upon my circumstances. It’s easy to do, because we naturally make agreements with what we can touch and see. …But we’re not called to live by human nature. We are called to walk by the Spirit, and in order to do that we have to stand on a sure foundation. One that’s been tested and approved. One we know won’t ever be shaken by the quaking and shifting of life. If we stand on what we can see with human eyes, we will constantly shift with an ever changing world. That’s not a life anchored in Jesus. …He is the security we are called to build our lives upon.”

“If you want to be an unshakable, joyful, kingdom building mom, you need only follow Jesus. He is the expert, and He’s already carried the burden upon His shoulders. Breathe deeply of His grace today and walk confidently knowing He is building something incredible in you.”

“Sometimes life feels like those precious toddler masterpieces that hang (or once hung) on your refrigerator; a myriad of colorful scribbles. It’s pretty, but it’s hard to make out what it’s supposed to be. It’s wild and tenacious and a little overwhelming. Even the best and most fruitful seasons can catch you off guard. …It is so comforting and so hopeful to know that no matter the season, one thing will always remain True. One thing will never change. Jesus is the Trustworthy Rock you can lean on. …When all you see are scribbles on a page, He sees the finished masterpiece. Don’t lean on your own finite understanding. Trust His infinite wisdom. Lean on His Everlasting Love.”

“We’ve been talking about building an unshakable foundation. One that can stand the test of time, that is built firmly on the word of God. But are you safeguarding for when the storms come? Because it’s inevitable, the storms of life will come. It’s easy to say you’re unshakable when all is well, but we know that storms are coming or maybe you’re in one now. …Are you ready to stand fearless in your storm? Stand firm in the beautiful truth that Christ has already conquered them all!”

I was challenged to dig deeper into the Word now, building my foundation in Christ and His Word, so that as life gets messy and shaky, intense and insecure–as it inevitably will in this fallen world–that foundation will be able to be unshakable.

I heard this song on the radio several times over the last week, while I was reading this study, and it seemed to fit perfectly:

“Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns (emphasis added to key phrases that stuck out to me)

“Hold it all together;
Everybody needs you strong;
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on.

And when you’re tired of fighting,
Chained by your control,
There’s freedom in surrender;
Lay it down and let it go.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away,
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held,
Just be held, just be held.

If your eyes are on the storm,
You’ll wonder if I love you still;
But if your eyes are on the cross,
You’ll know I always have and I always will.

And not a tear is wasted.
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes.
Your life is in My hands.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away,
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held,
Just be held, just be held.

Lift your hands, lift your eyes.
In the storm is where you’ll find Me.
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart.
I’ll hold your heart.
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away,
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held (stop holding on and just be held),
Just be held, just be held, just be held, just be held.”

To be unshakable, we must be willing to release control and surrender our lives to the Sovereign Jesus. Easier said than done, I know. But He’s in control anyway, and striving to control the details of life is ultimately futile. And there is rest and peace and joy and freedom in leaving everything–big and small–in the hands of our good and gracious Father. May you find that freedom in His unshakable foundation today.

Top 10 New Mom Resources

There is SO much information out there for new parents. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. I was fortunate to come across some really great resources. Here’s my list–which is mostly about eating and sleeping:

  1. Recipes for Babies and Toddlers: 365 Quick and Healthy Dishes by Bridget Wardley and Judy More. (I have the 2004 edition that I found at TJ Maxx. Below is 2006, but the inside is nearly identical from what I can tell. The biggest differences is that the newer edition includes recipes for children beyond the toddler stage. My favorite part is the meal plan by age at the back.)

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2. “Feeding Guide for the First Year” by John Hopkins Medicine Health Library. (This one has charts for each month and was hugely helpful! Just remember that every child is different.Also note that the “ounces” recommendation is for bottle-fed babies; number of nursings is for breast-fed babies. Don’t let yourself stress about how many ounces if you’re breastfeeding. If they’re happy, eating, soiling diapers, and sleeping, they’re probably pretty healthy, even if they’re not at the exact month on the timeline.)

3. “Lists and Schedules” under “Baby Basics” on Cloudmom.com. (I especially found the Baby Feeding and Sleeping Schedule for Breastfeeding a 4 to 6-month old helpful. But she has videos on everything from basics on breastfeeding to bottle feeding to first baby foods, baby care, baby books and gear, traveling with baby, baby sleep basics, breastfeeding tips, etc. Truly a wealth of information from a very knowledgeable, completely judgment-free mama.)

4. “What to Eat and What to Avoid While Breastfeeding” from Healthfulmama.com. (Great chart for us visual learners! See below.)

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As far as the “Fennel tea” and “Honey (raw)” goes, a friend gave me “Mother’s Milk Tea” by Traditional Medicinals, and it really grew on me–someone who is NOT a huge fennel or licorice fan–and it worked! I found a 6-box pack on Amazon for a really great price and added it to my Amazon registry to get an extra 10% off.

5. “Five Things to Avoid When Sleep Training Your Baby” on Parents.com. (Sleep traps and cheat sheet for how much sleep is needed per age.)

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6. “Pumping Essentials” and “Pumping to 1 Year: Tips & a Cost Analysis from a Working Mom Who Did It” from ThePhotographersWife.com. (I was so nervous about the whole pumping thing with going back to work at 8 weeks, but this site really helped walk through the details. And at 4 months, Kyle switched himself to only eating 4x per day–breakfast, lunch, supper, and bedtime–so I only have to pump during lunch at work.)

7. IdealistMom.com was a huge help with going back to work after maternity leave! My favorite posts were “7 Tips for Postpartum Fashion,” “9 Secrets for a Successful Return to Work after Maternity Leave,” and “How to Keep Breastfeeding after Going Back at Work.”

8. “6 Natural Ways to Treat Infant Gas” from TheStir.CafeMom.com. (The biggest tips for us were the feeding positions and massage.)

9. “Pumping Schedule from NB – 12 MO” from NaptimeTales.com. (Very practical advice and low stress methods.)

10. “6 Tips for the First Month of Breastfeeding That You May Never Have Heard” by BreastfeedingPlace.com. (I also still vividly remember bawling my eyes out that first week home out of exhaustion and frustration, not being able to reach a nurse or lactation consultant because of a random snowstorm, and my husband having to call my sister-in-law to ask my questions then put her on speakerphone to calm me down and tell me I was doing a great job and to try leaning back or lying down so the baby had to slow down and not eat quite so fast. Blessings on her!!)

I am so thankful that I got to become a new mom at the same time as some of my best friends. And I’m thankful for my friends who were experienced parents when I became a new mom. It’s nice to be able to text a friend and say, “Please pray for me today. I’m really struggling with this mommy-hood thing” and know that they are already praying…and that you’re not alone (they either are or have struggled with similar things).

I didn’t have a ton of time to research like I wanted to, and I honestly believe God brought these blogs and books across my path on purpose. I skimmed through On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ecko and Robert Bucknam. I found it largely repetitive and a little too rigid for me, but the one thing that I did take away from it was the pattern: Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat. And that worked really well for us (slept 6 hours by 6 weeks, 9 hours by 11 weeks, 10-12 hours by 14 weeks).

One caution: resist the urge to over-analyze or over-research things that moms have been doing by instinct for centuries. Do the best you can, ask your doctor and friends for advice, and know that God loves your baby more than even you do! And He loves you too, mama!

What were your top resources for those first 12 months of being a parent?

A Snoopy 1st Birthday Party!

It’s hard to believe our little guy is already 1! We have had so much fun being his mommy and daddy! He loves to eat and laugh and play. His favorite word is “Daddy” with a close second of “Uh-oh.” And he just started shaking his head to say “no” and saying “Yeh” for yes. It’s fun to see his preferences come through.

For his first birthday, I gave Bryan 3 or 4 different themes I had narrowed it down to, and he picked Snoopy. It was so much fun putting this together for Kyle! And we’re so thankful to be able to celebrate this birthday in our new home! (Also thankful my folks could make it in for the party and help us by staying up late to hang curtains, pictures, and put final touches on decorations!)

I found Snoopy invitations here. And we got the “Peanuts Greatest Hits” CD by the Vince Guaraldi Trio that we played on loop throughout the party.

Since we just moved in one month ago and got new appliances, we had large boxes to use. So we decorated a Snoopy doghouse and Lucy’s Psychiatric Stand. The kids LOVED playing in these!

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The Menu:IMG_4126Bryan did made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches (we had half a dozen types of cheese to choose from), and who doesn’t love grilled cheese with tomato soup or pumpkin chorizo soup?! I found some awesome little paper trays and styrofoam bowls at Joyce Equipment Store and Restaurant Supply (great place for anyone who likes to host parties!). And we decorated with The Peanuts figurines collection!
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Then there were the cakes made by our good friend Barb Illsley! She’s amazing!

IMG_4121photo 2Opening Gifts:IMG_4136 IMG_4141Finally, we sent each of our kid guests home with a little goody bag of play doh, snoopy stickers, and The Peanuts fruit snacks in personalized bags. We certainly won’t do this every year, but we definitely wanted to do something extra special for Kyle’s first birthday. And this was!IMG_4125

Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love you very much!

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