Month: January 2017

Mom Crush Monday: Empty Nest {Guest Post}

First off, I want to apologize for not getting a Wednesday Devotional up this past week. We were on our 2 day voyage back to Thailand from the States, so I wasn’t able to get one up. If you aren’t already, you should really check out my other series “Wednesday Devotional”. Check out my latest post here. Anyway, I am glad to have you joining us today for Mom Crush Monday! The guest post today is so good, just like all the past ones! Her story was very touching, and I hope you like it just as much as I do! Sara is talking about something I fear will come too quickly-the empty nest. Show her some love in the comments and follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #momcrushmonday every Monday! To read other awesome mom bloggers, make sure to come back here every Monday!

The Empty Nest
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The Empty Nest

It felt like my heart was being crushed. That is how the emptiness first arrived.

Tears I never expected poured out.

I’ve always heard of the empty nest syndrome and choked it up to moms who can’t separate their identity from their child’s.

Here I am, crying my heart out. Feeling as though my child was yanked out of my heart.

I, for the first time in my son’s life, was not in control of where he slept, whom he spent his time with or even that he ate properly.

The empty nest syndrome can be likened unto grieving.

Before dropping my son off at the airport, I was numb. I knew the change was coming and disagreed with his choice. I let him go anyway.

Once we said goodbye and he boarded the plane, my heart sank. It was a physical pain akin to having an elephant (I think) standing on top of your chest.

I disconnected from life, spent a lot of time sleeping, comforting myself with carbohydrates and crying.   

It may have been harder on me because my son moved over 2,000 miles away, just turned 18, and graduated high school.

It may have been harder on me because I let my son go knowing full well that the decision he just made might be a bad one. One he will regret. One that can possibly harm him.

Parenting is being responsible for another’s life, but, also, allowing that other life to slowly and eventually transform into a “separate but together” relationship.

You find that parenting isn’t just about guiding, but also about letting go. It is painful.

One year later my son returned home – broken, hurt, embarrassed and much wiser.

Am I happy about the fact that I was “right”? NO, no, no However, I’ve learned that even though something seems overwhelming, impossible and tragic, I (and my son) can get through it.

I didn’t die and neither did he and, believe me, there were times this overpowered any rational thought in my mind.

Children are a gift and a huge responsibility.

No matter how old they are, you, as their mother, will grieve. Learning how is the key to traveling this road we call motherhood.

Have you experienced a situational loss in your child’s relationship? How did you get through it?

The Empty Nest
Sara

About Sara

Sara Duggan is a mom of 2 boys, 21 and 16, traveling the road of motherhood, growing pains and all. She’s a virtual assistant to business bloggers and writes about productivity and taming to-do lists.

Read her blog, follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and make sure to show her some love on each of these social media channels!

Mom Crush Monday: Why I Take Medication {Guest Post}

It’s Monday, friends, which means it Mom Crush Monday. Today, Kaitlyn shares a mom story that is dear to my heart about why she takes medication for her postpartum depression and anxiety. I know there are many mamas who struggle with this same issue, and so, friends, I ask you to please read! Also, keep up with us on Instagram and follow the hashtag #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers every Monday to check out the awesome mom bloggers showing up right here on the blog!

Why I Take Medication
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Why I Take Medication

Anxiety.

Fear.

Dread.

Anger.

Self-loathing.

These are all things I felt when I became a new mama to my beautiful baby boy in January of 2016. This was not like what I heard motherhood was supposed to be like. Why didn’t I feel joy in taking care of this tiny human? Why didn’t I feel a bond with him like every mama talks about? Worst of all, why did I feel like I was the worst mom on the planet?

Little did I know, I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. This made it extremely difficult for me to think clearly and to even begin to comprehend that motherhood is the best thing in the world, which I fully believe now.

The reason I now know that is because I started taking medication to help with the depression and anxiety, and I am not ashamed of it. I need the medication so that I don’t start to have scary thoughts of hurting myself and my baby again. I use the medication so that I feel hope for the future. I must take the medication so that I don’t get scary angry. I need the medication so that I can be a good wife and mama, and believe that I am.

There is a stigma in our society that if you take medication for mental health issues, you are in the wrong. That is so not true! You are facing the reality that you can’t do it on your own. For that, you are stronger than you will ever know.

Stop trying to be wonder-mama or wonder-dada. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to admit when it is too much. I am so grateful that I did, or I would probably not still be here to watch my baby boy grow.

 Kaitlyn

Why I Take Medication
Kaitlyn and Her Sweet Family

About Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn Brough is a novice mama to a beautiful baby boy. She has come to realize in the last year that there is no such thing as a mama that has it all together. She loves the show “Parenthood” and spends her days snuggling her baby boy and husband. She is running a half marathon in June. She spent 5 days in the hospital earlier this year after the struggle with PPD became too much. She has made it her mission to help every mama realize that they are not alone in their fight against their mind. This is her sole purpose in launching her blog at the end of 2016.

Make sure to check out her blog, My Postpartum Life, and show her some love! Also, follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see more of her story!

My Postpartum Life
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Wednesday Devotional: Shoes Are Made For Walking

We have been in Ephesians for the last 2 weeks talking about the armor of God and the tools God gives us to stand against Satan. Review the last 2 weeks of Wednesday Devotionals here and here, and then jump into this week’s Wednesday Devotional. In order to stand firmly against Satan, one must have shoes on her feet, so we are going to talk about boots and high heels today! Woo hoo! Come on ladies, who doesn’t like to talk about shoes…and men too because I know I do!

The Scripture:

Ephesians 6:15 “…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” 

These Shoes Are Made For Walking
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What It Tells Us About Our Shoes:

We will start by figuring out the purpose of footgear. First of all, they make us cute, stylish and hip; am I right? Some shoes are more comfortable than others, but they are actually intended to make our feet comfortable. In the same way, they are made to protect our feet from stepping on things and sometimes from even dropping items on top of them. Some give us traction to help us run or to not slip and fall. Footwear has many different purposes nowadays. However, think about this fact: we wear shoes so we can take steps without being fearful of our feet getting hurt. Have you ever stopped to think about it this way? I don’t usually think about it this way.

This idea is exactly what these Scriptures are telling us. Shoes allow you to be ready to take the Gospel forward. When you put them on your feet, you aren’t afraid to go out and share the Gospel with others. We must have something on our feet to be ready to go out, and so, we must always have our shoes ready to be prepared to share the Gospel with everyone we meet.

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for giving us the Gospel and calling me to share it among the nations. Forgive me for standing still and not always moving when and how You ask me to do so. Help me to move as You call me to in the future. Give me the faith and fearlessness to always be moving forward and sharing Your Gospel. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

After reading this post, what steps do you need to take to aid you in strapping on your gladiator shoes to prepare for battle and share the Gospel?

STAND, THEREFORE, HAVING FASTENED ON THE BELT OF TRUTH, AND HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND, AS SHOES FOR YOUR FEET, HAVING PUT ON THE READINESS GIVEN BY THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.
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Mom Crush Monday: When He’s Sleeping {Guest Post}

It’s Mom Crush Monday! So glad you are joining us today! How many out there love to watch your child when he is sleeping? I know I do! They are just the cutest! Anyway, today, an awesome blogger mama is sharing sentiments toward her sweet, sleeping son. Please show Klara some love in the comments and by checking out her blog. Also, don’t forget to follow along with us on Instagram and make sure to the hashtag #momcrushmonday for a shoutout to your favorite mom friend!

When He's Sleeping
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When He’s Sleeping

My son is precious. He is sweet, loving, cheerful and just the right amount of cheeky; everything a little boy should be. My son laughs from his belly, and he runs to me when he’s hurt. He plays with the utmost focus, and he carries his favourite toys in circles around our home. My son is crazy about his Dad, and he’s obsessed with dogs and cats. He strums the ukulele and bashes the piano with the kind of grim determination only a toddler can muster. My boy wraps towels and clothes over his neck like a scarf, and he claps his little hands when we drive.

Everything he does is perfect to me.

When he is sleeping, that’s when I come undone. Something unfurls in my heart and makes me want to hold him, protect him, keep him tiny and innocent, bundled tightly against my chest, for the rest of my life.

There is just something about the sweetness of a sleeping boy.

When He's Sleeping
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Maybe it’s the way his lashes, longer than mine by far, brush his cheek. The little sighs that he utters when I place my hand on his back, checking him before I go to bed at night. The blissful roll of his eyes as he stirs and then settles again. Maybe it’s the way his golden hair, overdue for a cut, splays around him like a glorious halo. His pink lips parting in anticipation as I brush a wayward pacifier against them. His little bum pointing skyward, his face, chest and knees pressing down onto his mattress. It’s intoxicating, all of it, and someone needs to find a way to bottle this goodness!

On the hard nights when he wakes and needs me, I cannot begrudge him, because then I get to hold him, feeling him snuggling in and moulding himself to me. I get his face nuzzling into my neck, his warm breath grazing my skin. I get his wriggling little body relaxing against mine as precious sleep takes over once more.

Yes, I’m so tired. Yes, my bed is calling my name. However, my boisterous boy is still and snuggly, and he’s all mine.

When he’s sleeping, he’s not growing before my eyes, he’s not hitting developmental milestones, he’s not walking or talking or mastering skills. At the same time, all those wonderful things pause. When he’s sleeping, for one more night, he’s my baby.

When He's Sleeping
Klara

About Klara

Klara is a wife and mum from Perth in Western Australia. She blogs and works part-time in her church’s finance department. She has one son, Jackson, who is a 15-month-old ball of joyful, boisterous energy – and is a lot of fun! When she’s not parenting, crunching numbers or blogging, Klara loves scrapbooking, crochet, playing piano and writing a novel that she will probably never get around to finishing.

Make sure to check out Klara’s blog, Her Happy Heart and show her some love there! Be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest too!

Wednesday Devotional: Truth & Righteousness

Happy Hump Day and welcome to today’s Wednesday Devotional! Today, we will follow up where we left off in last week’s Wednesday Devotional. I would love for you to read it if you didn’t get a chance to last week. Anyway, last week we talked about standing firm and getting our strength from the Lord. The scripture this week gives us some practical ways of how we can do it. Let’s dive into the scriptures to see what it says about wearing the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.

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The Scripture:

Ephesians 6:14: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…” 

STAND, THEREFORE, HAVING FASTENED ON THE BELT OF TRUTH, AND HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS...
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What It Tells Us About Truth and Righteousness:

First off, let’s start by developing an image in our brain about what a Roman soldier looked like in Biblical times. In your mind, what did an ancient Roman solider in his full armor look like? Check out some examples on my Pinterest. Also, you can check this one out if you need a quick visual.

The first thing Paul talks about here is putting on the belt of truth. Roman soldiers wore a belt, almost like a girdle to protect the lower part of their stomach, their private area and their thighs. Think of it as a sort of leather skirt made for protecting against the enemy stabbing them with their swords. It also had to go on in order to secure all the other pieces of armor in their proper place. Their armor was heavy, so this belt acted as an aid to hold everything else in place. It was one of the first pieces of armor the Roman soldier would put on before heading into battle.

Let’s take a closer look. What is the belt of truth?

Truth is a verifiable fact or principle. If we look back into ancient history, including historical documents outside of the Bible, we will find verifiable facts about the Bible and who it depicts this Jesus man to be. Jesus is not just a Man of the Bible, but a true historical figure, where facts back up the Man the Bible tell us about. History shows us Jesus was a sinless man. Therefore, His profession to be God was proven by the facts. Jesus died on the cross. History proves this fact. Many people were there to see His death and see Him buried in a tomb. Soldiers were put outside of His tomb to make sure no one got in or out. He appeared to hundreds of people after He rose again. Jesus is the truth, and since Jesus is God, we can conclude God is truth too! Likewise, since the Bible is God’s inspired Word and God is truth, we can also agree the Bible is truth too!

So now we understand what the belt of truth is, let’s put it on and stand (as we talked about in last week’s Wednesday Devotional) against Satan and his schemes by knowing the Gospel and having a relationship with God. We need to let our actions reflect the truth because it is at the core of us. Where is the core? In the center. Where is a belt worn? In the center. Let the Gospel be the center of your life and act as if it is in the core of your being.

Next the scripture says to “put on the breastplate of righteousness”. Again, visualize how a breastplate would look on an ancient Roman soldier. A breastplate covered the soldier from his neck down to his belt, both in the front and in the back. Not only did it come all the way down to the belt, it rested on the belt to provide some relief of the heaviness, which characterized it. It protected the soldiers vital organs. In ancient Biblical times, emotions were thought to be held in ones innards. Have you ever heard of having butterflies in your stomach? Well, this thought is how that saying came about.

Next, what is righteousness?

Righteousness means being just. Another way to put it is righteousness is holiness. We already established the truthfulness of the Bible, Jesus and God already and we understand history confirms the righteousness of these things, now we must have faith the Bible, Jesus and God are all righteous too. Furthermore, the Bible tells us Jesus died for us in order to give us His righteousness. Therefore, we are righteous, or holy, just like Jesus is if we believe Jesus is God!

We must start living like we are holy in the same way Jesus is holy. Will we mess up? Of course we will, but thank God for grace and forgiveness because as soon as we mess up, we are forgiven and made holy again. Just like I said in last week’s Wednesday Devotional, we have ownership in the matter too. We must live obedient to the Bible and the life God has called us to live. We need to ask for forgiveness and repent. It is essential for us to try every day, every hour, every minute to be holy.

So, in conclusion, put on the belt of truth and live like you believe it. Put on the breastplate of righteousness and live like you are Jesus!

Our Prayer: 

God, thank You for being truth and for being just. Forgive me for choosing to stray away from the truth and not living close to You in holiness. Create in me a desire to constantly seek Your Word and grow in knowledge of the truth You have given me. Help me to always seek holiness instead of sin. In addition, put people in my life who will help me grow closer to You. I love you, God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

What do you need to do to live more in God’s truth and holiness?

Truth and Righteousness
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Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

 

Mom Crush Monday: Dear Mummy {Guest Post}

Welcome back to Mom Crush Monday! Today, I am sharing a sweet letter mummy blogger, Lara Sil, wrote to her own mummy. Don’t forget to check back every Monday to see a new mom blogger featured. I am so excited about this series and the opportunity to share many other great mommy bloggers with you. Follow along on Instagram too and be sure to use the hashtag #momcrushmonday ! Show Lara some love in the comments and check out her blog listed at the end of this post!

Dear Mummy
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Dear Mummy

Dear mummy,

When you first became a mother, you were 5 years younger than I am now. It’s hard for me to imagine you at 28, holding a newborn me in your arms. Your long-awaited child after trying for so many years. I wonder what you thought about during those first weeks. They must seem so long ago.

Follow the Dyers www.followthedyers.com
Marcell, Lara’s mom

Becoming a mother is like being born anew. The insecurities we try to hide, the baggage we bring with us, the feeling of joy and pride as we watch our children blossom, the fear when we can’t protect them.

You always seemed omnipotent to me, like you always had it together. Confident, clever, certain of yourself. I looked up to you so much, but I was a little bit scared sometimes: society taught us at every turn that girls are supposed to have soft corners and speak in lilting tones. You were so much tougher than me. I’m still a sensitive little marshmallow. You seemed more adult even then than I seem now. (I get a little too excited about watching My Little Pony with Natasha, and I get the feeling I’ll still be watching it when she’s bored of it.)

I didn’t know that you often felt vulnerable too, but when you tell me the parts of my childhood that I didn’t know – that you cried when I got beat up in high school, that when I came home upset after being bullied that it hurt you to know that someone was hurting me – it somehow makes me feel much closer to you.

You’re not just mum, you’re Marcelle. A woman, who was also an 8-year old girl, sewing dresses for her Barbies and taking care of baby Jacqui. A teenager going to the boys’ school because the girls’ school didn’t teach physics. A passionate anti-apartheid activist in Johannesburg, hiding black people in your garage who were afraid to go home because of rioting in Soweto, at a time when the security police were known to “disappear” people who helped blacks break the pass laws. Going door-to-door, and often getting those doors slammed in your face, while campaigning for a fairer country. An idealist kibbutznik in Israel listening to a stranger giving an impassioned speech about his love of the land. A man who would eventually be my father.

A few years later, living in Canada, balancing motherhood with a successful career. Looking forward to getting home to your family and bathing the kids. Dad stayed at home and looked after us (which was almost unheard of in the early 80s), and I never realized how hard it would have been to miss out on first steps. I see how much joy you experience in watching Natasha grow and change every day. You inspired me to believe in my potential as an intelligent, capable woman, and taught me that the glass ceiling is there to be shattered.

You also taught me that when things are broken, you don’t sit around waiting for other people to fix it. Tithing 10% of your income to charity, teaching me to feel compassion for the needy, and that making a difference in the world is an obligation, not something you do just when it’s easy and convenient. As you put it, “It’s important to give more to the world than you take.” Yes, it’s important to be happy, but the most important thing is to be good and to be brave.

You taught me about my Jewish heritage, roots, history and faith, and to value and respect the traditions of others and this beautifully diverse world. You and dad taught me to love learning, and introduced me to so many of my favourite books.

You put family first because people are what matters. You turned down promotions time and again so that you could leave work at 5pm and spend your evenings with us instead of at an office. When you had to retire early because of chronic pain, you were devastated-you loved your work. I’ve learned from you that your life’s work shouldn’t just be a job, it should be work that fulfils your potential and that you’re proud of. I’ve also learned from you that my most important work is being the best mum that I can.

Since becoming a mother myself, I understand so much more than I did before. I am grateful for your love, for teaching me how to be a person and for the huge part you’ve played in forming the woman I have become. I am so happy to have had a wonderful mother who fought for me, who loved me (even when it was hard) and who rocked tiny newborn me in her arms while feeling joy, excitement, fear, worry and a dozen other emotions.

Thank you for being my mum, for being Natasha’s beloved bobbe (*grandmother in Yiddish), and for being a unique and special person, who I am lucky to have in my life.

With love,

Lara

Dear Mummy
Lara

About Lara

Lara is a Canadian-born writer, student, essayist, poet, and mummy blogger. She lives with her lovely 2-year old Natasha in sunny Perth, Australia. She enjoys reading, bushwalking and toddler cuddles.

Make sure to check out Lara’s blog Happy Eco Mama!

Dear Mummy
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Wednesday Devotional: Strength From the Lord

How strong are you? Maybe you are very strong because you workout? Perhaps you don’t have very much strength for a numerous reasons? Are you emotionally strong or not so much?

Well, it really doesn’t matter how strong you think you are because our strength comes from God anyhow.

God gives strength to all Christians, so if you are struggling with something, rest assured God will give you the strength to get through it.

However, like all things in Christianity, we cannot sit idly aside and think we will magically gain strength. No, we must do our part. In order for God to strengthen you and help you through the weary times, you must, first, be a Child of God. God promises to pour out His blessings and His strength on those who follow Him. Furthermore, in order for God to give you His strength, you must realize that you lack strength on your own, and you are weak without Him. God shines through our weaknesses and is glorified through them, so we may not boast, but His strength will be amplified! However, in order to trust Him in your weakness, you must be confident in His strength.

A strong Christian is one who relies on God. 

The Scripture:

So let’s look at Ephesians 6:10-11. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL.
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What It Tells Us:

To be able to “stand against” means you must be courageous. You can have courage because you are confident in the Lord’s strength. Again, we are not bystanders in this war! We must put on the armor of God and stand firm in the trials. It is imperative to be confident in the Lord to stand against the devil.

So what is the armor of God anyway? Christ. You can read the specific pieces of armor Paul talks about in Ephesians, but in a nut shell the armor of God is Christ. When we put on Christ, He becomes our strength, and He fights our battles. Thank God! Honestly, I am tired of fighting battles by myself, and I don’t really like the idea of war, much less being caught in the middle of it! It is so relieving to know I can let Christ fight my battles for me! Wahoo!

Our Prayer:

God, thank you for being my strength. Forgive me for trying to fight my own battles instead of enlisting You to fight them for me. Help me to realize I cannot fight any spiritual battles on my own. Constantly remind me that I am weak on my own, and give me strength when I am weak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

Keep in mind, however, we cannot trust God without following His Will, even when it is uncomfortable. So, where is God pushing you to become uncomfortable?

Strength From the Lord
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Here is last week’s Wednesday Devotional just in case you missed it!

Mom Crush Monday: Mom Anxiety {Guest Post}

Mom Crush Monday is a brand new series where I will be sharing stories of other mom bloggers every Monday, so make sure to come back every Monday to see who will be sharing with us! This series is going to be so much fun, and I hope you will enjoy it too! Follow along with us on Instagram at #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers ! Today, Fi is going to share with us about her experience with anxiety as a mom! Show her some love in the comments as well!

Mom Anxiety
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Mom Anxiety

Hi everyone! My name is Fi. I am a lucky wife, and a first-time mum to a beautiful 4 month-old baby boy, who we affectionately call Starfish (because he looks like a Starfish in his swaddle bag!). We live in the sunny Sutherland Shire in Sydney, and I am a trained Primary School teacher. My husband and I were married for 3 ½ years before our little Starfish came along.

What I have learnt is that becoming a mum is super crazy and super intense. No matter how much people try to prepare you for it, NOTHING prepares you for the sleep deprivation. I was fortunate that my husband had some time off because we would need to do shifts in the middle of the night having Starfish sleeping on us (he refused the bassinet at this stage) and watching Netflix while the other one slept. We also moved from our unit to a house after Starfish was about 3 weeks old (what were we thinking?!?!). It was those first 6 weeks that were truly a tough gig. At the time you don’t think you’ll make it to the other side. Then your little baby smiles at you, and everything melts away. It is 1000% worth it!

I adore spending time with our little boy now! I love it so much I decided to create a blog to document our time together (cause I have an atrocious memory and wanted to remember his childhood later down the track), including the highs, the lows and the downright crazy! To top life off, I also started a small business which I named after him (‘Starfish Creations’). I figured hey, I wasn’t busy enough (?!?).

While I’m absolutely loving life as a mum now, I still have my challenges (besides prioritising time with my other ventures). The biggest thing for me is anxiety. I struggle with anxiety (not diagnosed, but I know I have it to a certain extent), and this is a big challenge for me in taking Starfish out of the house. You see, my boy is absolutely adorable, but he has the BIGGEST set of lungs you will ever hear (got it from me… my bad). So early on in his life, when he would grizzle and fuss (as all newborns do), he would scream the roof down. I would be extremely flustered, embarrassed and upset. It would stop me from taking him out to places because I would worry about how he would be. Would he scream? What would happen if he lost it? What would I do? I struggled with this for a very long time, even now at times. What got me through was having a supportive husband and a supportive network of mums who encouraged me (he’s a baby, they cry, it doesn’t matter!) to realise that my Starfish is trying to communicate to me and no-one really minds when a baby cries. That’s what they do! It has helped me relax more when I go out, and I think that has helped my boy to relax too.

I’m taking each day one step at a time as I watch my cheeky monkey grow and develop. It is simply the best!

Mom Anxiety
Fi Morrison

About Fi

Fi is a 28 year old first-time mum to a beautiful baby boy affectionately known as ‘Starfish’. She has also recently started her own small business called ‘Starfish Creations’ whilst running her own blog to document her life with her little Starfish.

Please check out Fi’s blog, follow her on Facebook and be sure to check out her Instagram feed as well!