Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Have Courage & Be Kind

I took the girls to see the new Cinderella.

As we all know, she loses her parents; and in this version, her mother is dying and leaves Ella with five little words.

"Have Courage & Be Kind."

This was the message throughout the entire movie. 

I left thinking about these words and have already shared them with my girls, more than once.

We're given the opportunity to have courage and be kind on a daily basis. 

And the more I've thought about it, the more I believe, much of the time, it takes the most courage to BE KIND.

When my husband hurts me. 
When my children disobey or speak disrespectfully.
When my family isn't there for me.
When my friends betray me.
When a complete stranger is rude to me.

These are the moments that take the most courage. 

It takes no courage to disrespect my husband with my words or actions.
It takes no courage to lose my patience with my children.
It takes no courage to ignore my family member until they apologize.
It takes no courage to drop my friend like a bad habit.
It takes no courage to respond to that stranger with a few choice words.

Courage is strength in the face of pain.

Courage can sometimes look like an act of service, despite a strained relationship.
Courage can sometimes look like a soft answer with a side of grace.
Courage can sometimes look like seeking restoration.
Courage can sometimes look like staying in touch.
Courage can sometimes look like silence, but with a sincere smile.

I want to teach my girls by example. 

I want to teach them to be kind. 

And it's most challenging to be kind to those who don't "deserve" our kindness.

And it's not okay to just ignore; we're called to do more.

I loved the part in the movie when Ella looks at her wicked stepmother and says, "I forgive you."

In the movie, Ella was the perfect example of not only finding courage to endure her circumstances, but having the courage to be kind to the ones who least deserved it. 

So yes, to my Amelia and Sydney, "Have Courage & Be Kind."

But even better, HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE KIND, in the most difficult of circumstances, towards the ones that least deserve it. 

For it's in those moments that you look the most like Jesus. 

Love to all,

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Day of "Yes"

I don't know about you, but the word, "no" comes out of my mouth a lot.

I have a five and three year old.

That's the only explanation I need to give, right?

I read an article about a mom who decided to say "yes" to her daughter for 24 hours and she shared what she learned from that experience.

As soon as I read the article, I decided we would have a day of "yes."

I was curious.

Curious if they would understand.

Curious what they would ask for throughout the day.

Curious if it would bring stress or joy to our home.

So I looked at the girls and said, "today is the day of YES!"

And they looked at me like they were in trouble.

And then I explained that my response to anything they asked on the "Day of Yes" would be "yes."

Amelia immediately got it. Oh the smiles and laughter.

I could just see her little mind thinking of all the things she would ask.

Her first question, "Mama, can I have a piece of gum?"

The more I said, "yes" to Sydney, the more she caught on to what this day was all about.

And she was happy. Real happy.

Her first question, "Mama, can I have a drink WITHOUT a straw?" (Girlfriend spills her drink all over herself without one)

"Can we play outside??"

"Can I take a bubble bath to wash off the mud??

"Can I make a squished tomato sandwich for lunch??"

"Can I throw this squished tomato sandwich away?? It's nasty."

"Can I have chips for lunch??"

"Can I watch Wizard of Oz (for the millionth time)??

"Can I pick clothes out of the MIDDLE DRAWER (her non-play clothes)??

"Can we vacuum for you??"

"Can we watch this DVD??"

"Can we play with play doh??"

I learned a few things from saying, "yes" all day.

Or rather, I learned why I say, "no" so much of the time.

1. I see the mess that will come from it. 

Something as simple as playing in the mud.

Why not? They're kids. Kids will wash and so will their clothes. A little mud never hurt anyone and giving an extra bath isn't a big deal.

2. I see it as a waste of time. 

This was hard for me to admit, but it's true.

Like vacuuming.

They can barely push the thing and the vacuum is in the air the entire time, not on the floor.

But who cares. They feel as though they're helping me and they're so proud of themselves.

And they want to see that I'm proud of them too.

3. It's just not the way I want to spend MY day. 

But these are their days too. 

I'm going to be honest, I rarely think about it being their day, unless it's their birthday. And that's just wrong.  

4. The more I said, "yes" the more they said, "yes."

True story.

I asked them to pick up their toys-------->they willingly did it without complaint.

I asked for them to share something-------->they happily shared.

I told them it was nap time-------->no meltdown, went to their rooms to nap.

Saying "yes" not only made them happy, it gave them a heart to obey.

Amelia literally laugh out loud, every time I said, "yes."

And then I would start laughing.

There was no fighting today.

It brought peace and joy to our home.

My only rule for the day: no asking to do anything that could hurt yourself or your sister. 

I was actually surprised with the type of things they asked to do. They weren't big things. They weren't things that cost money. Just things that kids like to do and that I've been selfish in saying, "no" to them.

I think as parents, we should start trying to say, "yes" more often. Stop before we say, "no" and ask ourselves why we're saying "no."

These are their days too.

This day also has me thinking about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

He wants me to always have a "heart of yes" towards Him. And it's through that type of heart that brings obedience and that obedience brings peace and joy.

Amelia asked if March 20th could always be "Yes Day."

I said, "yes."

Love to all,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sydney Faith is THREE!

We started off the birthday weekend with dinner at Outback. 

After arriving, we asked Sydney where she wanted to go to dinner on her actual birthday.

Her response, "NOT HERE, I wanna go to McDonald's!" 

My gift to Sydney was allowing her to dress herself.

She chose a beautiful lavender top, jeans, and a burgundy headband around her forehead. (HA!)

She has a very strong opinion on what she wears. We have many an argument over it, so I'm TRYING to give a little and just not care if she matches all the time.

We were all happy to be out of the house.

The ice/snow had finally melted enough for us to be free!

Saturday was Sydney's actual birthday.

She was excited for her birthday party at Build-a-Bear!

She was in her own little world much of the time. 

They played games before filling their animals with fluff.

Time to fill her puppy!

This was our first "away from home" birthday party.

The kids seem to enjoy it and it was so easy on me. 

We may never have a home party again. *wink*

Sydney and her friend, Caitlin.

After Build-a-Bear, we headed to the food court for lunch and cookie cake.

Sydney and her cousin, Kandace.

Birthday girl with Daddy and Mommy.

Sydney is really into pigs right now.

She watches Charlotte's Web all the time and holds a little ceramic pig that was given to her by her Nana. It belonged to her Great Grandmother. Makes me a nervous wreck every time she holds it, but it's hers and she adores it.

And she can't watch the movie without it!

She actually asked for a real pig for her birthday.

The best I could do was a cookie cake with a pig's face.

Our Roo-Roo.

Sydney is the mini-version of Victoria.

They're best buds.

Sydney was scared to death of the CFA cow, but Amelia really wanted her picture with him.

We were at the mall all afternoon and Sydney had a little bathroom accident.

I don't think I took her to the bathroom all afternoon. OOPS!

We had to stop by a store in the mall for some new pants before heading to dinner.

Uncle Drew and Aunt E were in town and stopped by to give the birthday girl a gift.

Sydney changed her mind from McDonald's to the "place with fire" for her birthday dinner.

She loves the filet at Kobe.

She opened a present from Papa and Granny that evening.

A peppa the pig set!

Amelia baked her sister a cake. 

Sydney was surprised and loved it. 

Make a wish!

Sydney Faith,

You are one of a kind.

You are incredibly smart.

You are tough.

You are sensitive.

You don't back down easily.

You are so observant.

You can read people very well.

It's easy to see the people that make you feel truly loved and accepted - those are the ones you are drawn to.

You love babies.

You love pigs.

You love Wizard of Oz.

You love to be tickled.

You love to make people laugh.

You love to dance.

You love to sing.

You love to run.

You love pancakes.

You love your family.

I love that you belong to me.

Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet girl!