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Wednesday Devotional: Redeemed

Have you ever met a woman who inspires, challenges and encourages you all at the same time? Do you know someone with so much courage, faith and obedience it doesn’t even seem possible? Is there someone that comes to mind when you think of the word “redeemed’?

This person for me is Ruth.

Redeemed
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The Scripture:

Ruth 2:16-17 says, “But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.'”

Redeemed
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What It Tells Us About Being Redeemed:

Ruth inspires me on some many levels. One way is to let the past be the past and not carry it into the future. You see, Ruth lost her husband, she was left with no children and she was now living with her mother-in-law. (A scary thought for some of you, I’m sure!) However, even though she had just lost her husband, she didn’t allow that to keep her stuck. Instead, she kept moving forward.

We all have a purpose, and Ruth realized this fact. She went on with her life and lived in obedience to God, even though her heart must have been shattered into a million pieces at the loss of her husband and her barrenness. However, she remained faithful, and she dared to press on in life and see what else God had in store for her. Maybe all she could do was hope for God’s best in her heartache? Nonetheless, she pushed forward in certainty that God would provide for her.

Even though we may not be able to see what God is doing in our lives, He has a purpose. Ruth had no idea the plans God had for her life, but she walked in faith that God would follow through with His plan for her life.

Her faithfulness to her mother-in-law encourages me as well. She stuck with her and provided for her. She cared for her and loved her. She followed her and trusted her. She followed God, and God redeemed her.

Ruth followed God without expecting anything in return. She knew God would provide for her, which is exactly what He did. He took an unlikely girl on a heartbreaking journey with her mother-in-law, picking food from a farm and He redeemed her.

 

If you follow God, He will redeem you too! No matter who or where you are, God can lead you on a journey of redemption as well. You can be redeemed!

The most amazing part of this story is not that God gave her a new husband or that God provided food for her. No, through Ruth’s family lineage, Jesus would be born. This part of her story is the most amazing part. I know I say it over and over again, but God uses the ordinary people and makes them extraordinary. He uses the unlikely people, and He makes them remarkable pieces of His Majestic Plan.

So my challenge for you is to leave a heritage of faith your family will want to follow. Ruth sure did. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her, but she picked herself up and began to move forward on the most amazing journey God would ever send her on. She followed him through the difficult times and the good times and ended up being a woman many adore thousand of years later. What a heritage she left! God was at work in Ruth’s life, and He is working in your life, my friend. It may be hard, but God will carry you through. God will fill you up if you are heartbroken. No matter where you are in your life, you can be redeemed. God loves you and is pursuing you. You only have to choose to follow Him.

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for leading me through the times I think are impossible. Thank You for leading me closer to You. Allow me to never forget You always lead my life with Your Plan in mind, and Your plan is always better than mine. Help me to walk in faith with my eyes always looking to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

What holds you back from allowing God to redeem your life?

I would love for you to leave me a comment below to answer the question, ask questions or share anything you want me to know! Thanks for reading, and I hope you stop by again next Wednesday!

Mom Crush Monday: How Television Looks to This Mom {Guest Post}

Hi! I am so glad you decided to join me today for this Mom Crush Monday post! I love Tavia’s post today about children and television. She explains why she’s not a television mom! She has similar posts on her blog, as well as other great posts too, so make sure you check out her links at the bottom! I hope you love today’s post as much as I did! Join me right back here next week for another amazing guest post, and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram!

Why I'm Not a Television Mom
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Why I’m Not a Television Mom

Our culture seems to be obsessed with television. I get it, really I do. It’s a box that plays segments of highly entertaining stuff. There are so many options. There is literally something for everyone these days, including kids. Many shows geared towards young children even brag about “making your baby smart” or “helping brain development.”  However, those shows will never replace real, hands-on experiences in the world. For this reason, my husband and I made the choice to approach television a little differently than most families in America today.

Let me put this out there first. I love to watch TV and movies! I am excited for the day when my daughter is old enough to have a little bowl of popcorn and snuggle with us under a blanket and watch a movie. Will I get to a point in life where I need to turn on a show to distract my child so I can get something done? Of course! However, I see important reasons to limit the amount of TV a young child watches.

You see, television is passive. A child sits in front of the TV and just zones out. We’ve all seen it-that blank stare kids get when focusing in on a show. They are not truly engaging in an activity, but instead are being stimulated in a sort of “false” way. I know that kids can learn something from a show, but it doesn’t compare to what they can learn from being truly active in their environment. It’s simply proven to not be the best activity for kids.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have turned on a TV show or video for my daughter (okay, I just counted. It’s literally five times). I’m just not a fan of all the technology that kids have access to these days, and I have a special concern when technology is overused on the littlest ones. Young children are in some of the most important years of their lives. It is important to give them as much experience and active learning as possible!

So, instead of flipping on the tube at home, we want our kids to be able to interact with others, enjoy playing outside, use their imaginations and do those things well. We know that sometimes, too much TV can hinder those objectives.

For us, we want to encourage our gal to play with different toys-to build, create, and explore things around the house. We want her to play outside and get her hands dirty in the mud. We want to let her pick flowers (weeds). We want our daughter to look at books and be read to over and over. These activities are mentally and physically active and stimulate her brain, rather than passively entertaining the way watching TV does.

It is important for each family to decided how they want to approach TV with their kids. A baby comes into the world literally unable to do most things and knowing nothing! There are so many wonderful, amazing things for a little one to learn and experience in those early formative years. We wanted an importance to be placed on play, interaction, exploration and outdoors time rather than television. As such, my husband and I don’t even turn the TV on around our daughter. Simply because we want her to focus on playing, and so she doesn’t see us distracted from her. Again, hear me say, our children will watch TV and movies sometimes. I’m sure I will occasionally use Saturday morning cartoons as a way to let me sleep in a little bit longer and a family movie night will be one of our regulars, but in our household, you will not see the TV on for our kids routinely.

I challenge you to rethink how your family does TV and to consider if maybe it’s time for a change.

Why This Mom Limits Television
Tavia

About Tavia:

Tania is a woman saved by grace, a wife, new mom, and lover of coffee and donuts! During the week, she’s a hustle and bustle fourth grade teacher (soon to be a SAHM!), and in her (limited) spare time, you can find her working on her blog Everyday Smith. She is a homebody by nature. If she could, she would spend all her time at home with her husband, little girl and their two dogs!

Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for more of her life and parenting adventure!

Wednesday Devotional: An Extraordinary Woman

Ordinary or Extraordinary
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Continuing on in our look through the Old Testament, today we will look at an extraordinary story in Judges. So far, we have talked about Sarah, Rebekah and Leah from Genesis, the Midwifes in Exodus, how Leviticus reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, Numbers reminded us of God’s plan for our lives and, finally, we learn Rahab’s story in Joshua. Now we will learn about a pretty radical woman. If you don’t know this story, it might catch you off guard, but don’t miss the point! Feel free to share any feedback in the comments and see you back here next week!

Let me introduce you to a woman in the Bible. Her name is Jael, and her family was likely making weapons for a battle going on nearby to where she was living. Jael lived in a tent which she packed up, moved and set up again each time her family would set out to look for work making weapons and farm utensils.

Ordinary or Extraordinary
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The Scripture:

Judges 5:24, “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.”

MOST BLESSED OF WOMEN BE JAEL,   THE WIFE OF HEBER THE KENITE,  OF TENT-DWELLING WOMEN MOST BLESSED.
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What It Tells Us About Being Extraordinary vs. Ordinary:

In the heat of the battle, the war general, Sisera, runs away from the battle and fled to Jael’s camp because he was seeking refuge. When Jael spotted Sisera, she extended an offer for him to come into her tent. He came into her tent, and she hid him with a rug. He was so exhausted from battle and the fleet to safety, he ended up falling fast asleep under the rug. Then, Jael…wait for it…drove a tent peg through his skull. Oh my! If I wouldn’t have known this story already, I would not have seen that coming!

Jael was such a courageous woman. She extended an offer for a war general to come into her tent not knowing the outcome. Due to her faithfulness, she out strengthened and out witted one of the most powerful men of that time period using a tent steak and a hammer nonetheless!  Sisera and his army were not defeated by some big brave army! No, he was single handedly defeated by an extraordinary woman, who was fearlessly used to defeat God’s enemy. You see, Jael came from Israelite heritage and was protecting her lineage-God’s people.

God confirms over and over again He can do what we think is impossible.

God promises to never forget his people. Even when the situation seems to be hopeless, God is at work. Wow! Is this something I need to hear right now? You bet it is!

When things are going good, don’t we sometimes forget about God. I’ve certainly been there! Oh, but when things are tough, God where are you? Sound familiar? Aren’t we so much the same as the Israelites time and time again?

Oh, but God is an amazing God! As a result, He is always right there beside us, just waiting on us to call on His name. He rescues us every single time, and He always forgives no matter how big or how small we mess up. He is too good to us!

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for using ordinary people and making them extraordinary in order to accomplish Your plans. Help me to remember You have incredible plans for my life. Use me to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

How would you like to be more like Jael? What impossible things has God accomplished in your life?

Ordinary or Extraordinary?
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Mom Crush Monday: 3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos {Guest Post}

Welcome to another fabulous #momcrushmonday ! Another mama blogger, Laneic, has some great words on how to de-stress amongst mommy chaos, and we can all use some of this advice! Check her out on social media (listed below) and follow me on Instagram! I hope today’s guest post helps you as much as it did me on this wonderful Monday! See you back here next week!

3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos
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3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos

You’re a mom so you know there are times when things can get a bit…well, crazy! From shouting kids, to a huge mess that appears to be growing, crying, cooking, errands, and everything else, it makes sense that sometimes the chaos of motherhood can downright stress us out.

Before you wave your white flag in surrender (aka the towel from the pile of laundry you promised to get to eventually), here are 3 ways you can de-stress, right in the middle of the mommy chaos.

Check Your Body Language

The human body is an amazing self-preservation machine, so when things start getting overwhelming, your body starts firing up warning signals and gearing up to protect itself, mentally and physically. A great way to ease stress is to convince your body to chill out and stop sending those panic signals to your brain. You can do this by simply stopping to take a few deep breaths. You want to focus on your breathing, not the reason why you needed to stop and do it (this means while you’re breathing, instead of thinking “these kids are driving me nuts”, try thinking “inhale, exhale” instead). You can also do a quick body relaxation exercise. Start at your toes and slowly relax all those muscles that have probably built up tension, working your way to the top.  

Do a Mental Check

Sometimes things have piled up mentally, and it tends to exaggerate everything else. If you’re feeling particularly stressed, stop and list out why you’re stressed. Then determine if it’s really even such a big deal. You might find the kids are being loud, but they’re actually not doing anything destructive. Sure, the dishes could be done, but it’s only been a hour since you’ve all had breakfast. The source of your stress might very well be unreasonably high expectations of yourself and your kids. It can relieve some pressure to be mindful of that fact and lower those expectations.

Change of Scenery

Yup, get out the house. Just leaving the area can help. It can be a quick walk by yourself, rounding up your kids for a walk around the neighborhood, or a 5 minute drive to the gas station, but changing up your environment can help dispel stress. If you can’t actually get away, just a step outside of your front door. A few minutes of breathing can do wonders.

Try these out next time you feel stress bubbling up. When all else fails, never hesitate to join in on the chaos. If your kids are being rambunctious and there are a million things to worry about, sometimes the best thing you can do is let it go for the time being and play. If you can’t beat em’, join em’!

3 Ways to De-Stress Amongst Mommy Chaos
Laneic

Laneic is a self-care and wellness coach for busy mommas and blogger at Make It 218. She spent her first year trying to be and do everything under the sun, and she was forced to take a step back and start making self-care a priority. Her mission now is to help other mothers who are burned out, or well on their way to being stressed, to making self-care a regular part of their lives, reconnecting with who they are separately of their children, and pursuing their happiness without guilt.

Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest for more great tips like the ones above!

 

Wednesday Devotional: An Unlikely Story

An Unlikely Story
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After being in Numbers last week, I am excited to move on into Joshua this week. I love the story of Joshua (not just because of my husband’s name! Ha!). So let’s jump right in and see what it tells us about this unlikely story of a woman named Rahab. As always, thanks for following along with the Wednesday Devotional series!

The city of Jericho is probably most known for it’s city walls. If you have ever heard of the ancient city of Jericho, then you are familiar with it’s enormous structure. The structure which came down because of the faith of the Israelite people.

In ancient times, a city with towering walls was a sign of protection and strength. The walls would have also provided views to what was coming toward the city outside of the barrier. One would not only be able to look out over the city of Jericho, but there would have been a view to see who was coming into the city as well.

However, with Jericho, no matter how strong the barricade and how diligent the watchmen were, the walls would still come crumbling down because the Israelites had faith in God’s great promises.

The Scripture:

Joshua 2:11, “And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”

BEFORE THE MEN LAY DOWN, SHE CAME UP TO THEM ON THE ROOF AND SAID TO THE MEN, "I KNOW THAT THE LORD HAS GIVEN YOU THE LAND, AND THAT THE FEAR OF YOU HAS FALLEN UPON US, AND THAT ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND MELT AWAY BEFORE YOU. FOR WE HAVE HEARD HOW THE LORD DRIED UP THE WATER OF THE RED SEA BEFORE YOU WHEN YOU CAME OUT OF EGYPT, AND WHAT YOU DID TO THE TWO KINGS OF THE AMORITES WHO WERE BEYOND THE JORDAN, TO SIHON AND OG, WHOM YOU DEVOTED TO DESTRUCTION. AND AS SOON AS WE HEARD IT, OUR HEARTS METLED, AND THERE WAS NO SPIRIT LEFT IN ANY MAN BECAUSE OF YOU, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD, HE IS GOD IN HEAVENS ABOVE AND ON THE EARTH BENEATH.
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What This Unlikely Story Tells Us:

Enter Rahab. She was a women with an incredible view from these city walls. She had a house built in the side of the city wall, where she could look out over the city and look outside to see the visitors coming into the city. Perhaps it helped her with her business. You see, Rahab was a prostitute, so having a view like that one helped her see who was coming and going. This kind of view could help with a business of that type.

You must be thinking…did I just say prostitute? Well, yes, actually I did! So what does a prostitute have to to with the Bible?

Well, this particular prostitute, Rahab, happened to see 2 foreign men come into the city one day. These 2 men were sent by Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites, to spy on Jericho. Rahab had heard the stories of the Israelites and how God had protected and provided for them. She feared God and believed in His promises, so she decided to hide the spies from the kings men in order to spare their lives. In return, Rahab asks the spies to allow her and her family to live when the Israelites come back to take over the land. When they realized she believed in God, they agreed to grant her life.

Did you catch that? She believed and her life was saved. It wasn’t the spies themselves who decided to save her life, but God was the one who saved her. God did not allow Rahab to die because she had faith in Him. God chooses the most unlikely people to fulfill His purpose. It doesn’t matter if we are free of sin (thank goodness!) or not, God is glorified through all of our lives. God not only chose to redeem her on that day, but He would use her to accomplish His extraordinary plan by allowing Jesus to be born from her lineage! Our God is a great God!

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for using me, even when I feel inadequate. Help me to remember You have a purpose for my life, even when I cannot see it. Be glorified through me, even when I feel like I am an unlikely story for you to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

How do you need to change the view of your story to fall more in line with the way God views you?

An Unlikely Story
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Mom Crush Monday: Why Learning With Senses is So Important {Guest Post}

 

It’s another Monday and another day for me to share with you another fabulous mom blogger! I am excited to share Amy’s post today about why learning with one’s senses is so important for children! She also gives some great examples of how it works too! Follow all of her social media handles below to get more great ideas too and follow along on Instagram with the #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers hashtags as well! Enjoy today’s post, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

 

Learning Why Sensory Play is So Important
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Why Learning with Senses is So Important

So what’s sensory play? Playing with your senses, of course! It gives kids the freedom to explore and learn using their senses. Research shows that sensory play develops nerve connection to brain pathway. This leads to a child’s ability in complex learning, and it starts with birth. When babies enter the world, they immediately start learning using their senses. As they grow, children’s senses are their most familiar and most basic way to explore and process new information. Sensory play enhances learning through hands-on activities that stimulate the child’s senses. This is a great way for children to explore the world they live in! There are many more reasons why this type of play is so essential.

Why Learning With Senses is So Important
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Sensory Play is Where Kids Learn Senses Attributes

  • sight: seeing different colors, shapes, textures, etc
  • touch: feeling temperatures (like warm water or cold ice) and textures (like grainy sand or slimy playdoh)
  • taste: sometimes that’s not a good thing when you don’t want them to eat something like paint (yuck!) haha
  • hearing: like hearing the water splashing or rice clicking as they pour out from the container.
  • smell: smelling the soapy shaving cream or lavender if you add the essential oil to the water sensory play

Sensory Play Helps with Kids’ Development

These skills are what your kids will develop as they do sensory play:

  • fine motor skills
  • gross motor skills
  • coordination
  • concentration
  • collaborating
  • exploring their environment
  • developing imagination
  • enabling creative thinking
  • problem solving
  • experimenting with solutions
  • language development
  • enhancing memory
  • calming technique for anxious or frustrated kids

Sensory Play is Messy

Sensory play can get messy. Real messy. Many of mothers (and me, ahem) hate messes because we have to clean up. Right? I hate to tell you this, but… MESSY IS GOOD! Messy play gives kids endless learning and encourages them to create and explore using their senses. So, let your kids be free with their mess. 🙂

Kids learn new things through sensory play

Sensory play is essential for kids’ learning and development because kids are introduced to new things such as: colors, sand, food, words, numbers, and much more! My 20-months-old daughter learned how to count St. Patrick’s coins because of sensory play!

Too Much Work? Too hard? Don’t have the supplies?

Some parents may feel overwhelmed with sensory play because they don’t have the time or the supplies. Most sensory activities need objects you already have around your house. Bins, kitchen utensils, water, cooking ingredients, pom poms, rice, pasta, craft supplies, and the list goes on. After you gather the things you need, it should only take less than five minutes to set everything up. Your kids will be entertained long enough for you to sit down and relax. Below you will find five easy sensory activities.

Top Five Sensory Activities

  1. Shaving Cream Sensory Bin
  2. Finger Painting
  3. Rice Sensory Bin
  4. Cotton Balls Sensory Play
  5. Make DIY SNOW!

Have fun and get MESSY! 😉

Why Learning to Play With Your Senses is So Important
Amy

 

About Amy:

Amy blogs about these activities and more on her website KidsivityTo find more fun activities for kids AND mommies (DIY crafts, home decor, traveling, and fashion) follow her on her blog and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter

Wednesday Devotional: Don’t Settle for Less Than God’s Plan

Don't Settle for Less Than God's Plan
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Sorry to missed last Wednesday’s post, but I was in Malaysia with our intern here at the church, who had to go on a Visa run. If you ever have the chance, you should go! We went to Penang, and it was beautiful! Their street art is amazing, Penang Hill’s view of the city was breathtaking, and, well, they have a beach! Who doesn’t love the beach? I am hoping to get a post up soon about our trip there! It was a blast! Anyhow, I am so glad you are here for this week’s Wednesday Devotional! Our devotional last time was about the book of Leviticus, so today we will be moving on to Numbers! Numbers may seem like such a boring book of the Bible, but it is actually pretty cool when you take a step back and look at the big picture! So let’s jump in and see what Number’s tells us about God’s plan for our lives.

In Numbers, God asks Moses to take a census several times in order to prepare the people for what will come next. However, each census is not just a number to God. Each number is a person. A person God created. A person He created to fulfill a specific plan He designed just for them. Furthermore, God knows each and every one of those numbers, those people He created, by name!

God created each of us with a specific purpose and a specific role in the body of Christ.

The Scripture:

Numbers is so can be so encouraging! Numbers 6: 24-26 says, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU; THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE SHINE UPON YOU AND BE GRACIOUS TO YOU; THE LORD LIFE UP HIS COUNTENANCE UPON YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE.
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What It Tells Us About God’s Plan for Our Lives:

Media pushes and tugs us into one direction, to fit into one specific mold-skinny, beautiful, flawless, successful, put together, etc. While chasing these things, we run further and further away from God. All the while, we are missing God’s plan for our life.

We see this same sad story in Numbers Chapter 32. Go ahead and read it. The Israelites were willing to fight for a piece of land just outside of the land God had promised them. They had not even made it to the perfect land God was giving them, and they were going to fight for something different-something outside of His plan and His promise. It sounds all too familiar doesn’t it? I know it does for my life time and time again.

How often do we settle for less than what God has given us? 

The moral of this story: seek God’s Word and not what the world has to offer us. The world will only disappoint us with it’s ever changing definition of what “in”. However, God’s Word and His promises always remain the same. They are never changing and always true.

God is so gracious to keep us and continually forgive us when we let Him down and fall short of bringing Him glory. He is always graciously accepts us back into His loving arms, even when we run away from Him. He gives us peace, even when we don’t believe we can have it or deserve. Our God is so good to us, even though we are so undeserving.

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for creating me with a specific purpose in mind. Help me to understand what this purpose is and to fulfill it with Your help. Help me to focus on You instead of being distracted by the things of this world. Guide me to seek only what You have planned for my life and not to settle for less than Your plan. I love You, God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

So, I ask you, what are you settling for instead of seeking God’s plan in your life?

Don't Settle for Less Than God's Plan
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Mom Crush Monday: The Small Things {Guest Post}

It is Mom Crush Monday here on Follow the Dyers! Meghan is talking about savoring the small things in mama life today on the blog. Enjoy her post. Also, make sure to follow her on all her accounts listed below, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Keep up with all the fun with the hashtags #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers on Instagram! See you next Monday with another amazing guest mama blogger!

The Small Things
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The Small Things

I am not Pinterest mom. I have about 1,000 pins of DIY memory making picture saving projects. I admit to having no intention of ever creating them, and while creating is out the question I have learned the importance of documenting.
As a working (outside of the home) parent, who is also a single parent, it can be hard to manage time and savor the little moments when your to do list is a mile long. However, I’ve found that making sure each day I document one small moment to remember through a photo helps center myself.

It forces me each day to remind myself of the blessings God is pouring onto our family even in seasons of suffering or uncertainty. Living overseas apart from family creates a physical gap that on hard days can seem unmanageable. It helps me center myself back to God’s calling when I can reflect on a small blessing from the day. Documenting those moments, usually with photos, but also with a bullet journal, has benefited my relationship with God. Not only do I get to share some of those moments with friends and family, but I also get to put together more accurate time lines and watch my kiddos grow with their memories. Accepting scrapbooking and creative DIY’s are not my talents has given me the freedom to not try so hard to be a Mom I am not, but to focus on being the Mom God has created me to be.

Being a Mom can be overwhelming sometimes. As a Christ follower at the end of my day, sometimes my prayers struggle to be coherent. I blubber, interrupt myself, exhaustion over takes me, but I find being able to reflect on a specific moment allows the spirit to move. It opens the floodgates of communication with a starting point of worship for God’s presence in the small moments.

The Small Things
Meghan

About Meghan:

Meghan is a millennial, single parent and Christ follower, who serves God with her family in Ghana, West Africa. She runs an organization that supports families of children with special needs to get the proper therapies and medical care they need.

Follow her blog, Lemons, Limes & Laughter and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Mom Crush Monday: Why I’m Now a Sleep Consultant {Guest Post}

Hey Monday! I see you! I’m thankful you, friend, are here. Today, I am sharing Amy’s story of sleeping success with her firstborn and her journey to become a sleep consultant! Follow her links listed at the bottom of this post to get more information too! As always, follow along with me on Instagram too! You can see a little glimpse of the Dyer Life. Enjoy today’s post and meet me right back here next Monday!

How Long Until I Sleep?
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Why I’m Now a Sleep Consultant

I’m far from what you’d call a seasoned parent. My oldest is approaching 4 years. My youngest is the leader of the “terrible-two” crowd. Just when I think I have something mastered in their little world, along comes a pesky curveball at full force. That’s parenting right?

Oh, but there’s so much good. The way my big guy plays with my messy hair bun and sighs, “Wow, would you look at that?” or the way my little man randomly looks in my eyes to tell me he yuvs me. So many wonderful, heartfelt, crazy moments that I log feverishly in their baby books. No one has seen baby books quite like these – they have taken on too much. They are bursting at the seems with borderline journal entries (sorry, boys).

We certainly don’t have everything figured out in our household, with everyday a new learning experience, but one thing most parents are surprised and skeptical to hear, is that my children are take amazing naps and are happy to sleep through the night. Every night. Consistently, without fail. I spend as much time as I can with them during the day. At night, it’s about me. My connection to my husband, my family, my friends, my career, and various goals. I can do these things, you know, because they allow me this time as they sleep soundly.

It wasn’t always so simple. I promise you that. Thinking back 3.5 years ago, I thought I’d never sleep again. The perils of sleep deprivation are deep and wide and pushed me to the brink of depression. It’s safe to say I was a zombie, though I never quite got that diagnosis. My sweet angel didn’t just wake through the night: he barely slept at all. He could sleep about 20 – 30 minutes, then would be up about 3 hours. Then, the pattern would repeat. During that time, I was fighting with breastfeeding, my colicky baby, and suffering at my job. My weight was getting out of hand, and my health was failing. I could not see through the fog of sleep deprivation. I mean, I literally could not see. Try getting about 10 hours of sleep each week and your body actually starts to shut down. My husband supported me the best he could, as did my childless friends. We were all in there together and no one was going to let me fail. However, I kept thinking about my baby. I was only focused on one thing: not just getting one night of sleep, but getting a lifetime of sleep for my son and myself. I wasn’t the mom I thought I would be at my baby shower. I was suffering.

My son’s pediatrician wasn’t too concerned he didn’t sleep. That’s a pattern I see with most of the parents I meet today. It’s sometimes a shrug of the shoulders from your baby’s doctor if your tot is meeting milestones and at a healthy weight range. Oh, and the dreaded advice to “just have your baby cry it out” doesn’t often resonate with parents. It pains me this is the official go-to, when there could be so many other factors at play. If it works for you and your family it’s great, because there truly are babies that are over and done with the crying in 15 minutes. I would say that is a good fit for those babies. However, you might have the baby that cries 6 hours and vomits a few times. What then, doc? I knew there had to be a better way, and I was on a mission to find it.

Enter in a qualified sleep consultant. This sleep consultant was a former social worker who had a passion for sleep and the positive results it had on children. Well, I saw her prices, didn’t bat an eye and enlisted help. It was that or do what? Nothing? I’d read the books and taken a class and was simply all tried out. Well, fast forward 4 nights later and my baby boy went to sleep in his crib without crying. He woke 12 hours later with a smile. I was shocked, and I was rested. Was it a fluke? Nope. He’s 3.5 years strong, loves his bedroom (including his “mass-sausages” before bedtime), and the transition to a big boy bed 2 years later went as perfect as could be. Do you think it is a coincidence that about 6 weeks of him sleeping better, I found out I was expecting little brother?

This newfound rest was essential for my second pregnancy (ugh – my first was only 8 months), and now I was performing better at work. However, something much more magical happened that I didn’t even know was missing: I was connecting more with my baby. I could see him. He could see me, and neither of us were fussy! I felt that I was parenting more effectively and not just showing up. I was present, and I was loving every minute (well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He didn’t lose the ability to throw a tantrum).

Lack of sleep – it was a gift and a curse, and it led me to my dream job-becoming a sleep consultant. After getting our sleep consultant’s blessing and advisement, I threw myself into a year long course and started working with a mentor. I was previously a Newborn Care Specialist, so it wasn’t a wacky idea, but rather fitting! We moved back to our home state with the news of Baby #2, and have planted roots in Columbus, Ohio. The past few years has been a whirlwind. I am now happy to say that I have helped hundreds of families near and far take back their sleep. Lack of sleep has become the new normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As a sleep consultant, specializing in babies 4 months to 6 years, my philosophy remains the same: I’m a parent too, and sometimes we all need a little help figuring out this muck. To me, the launch of Baby Sleep Central is a reminder of where I’ve been, where I am now, and what I desperately want for each of my clients: more connection with their baby, stronger relationships with those that matter, and renewed direction towards parenting: and it all strengthens with sleep.

Why I'm Now a Sleep Consultant
Amy

About Amy:

Amy Douglas is the founder of Baby Sleep Central. As a Certified Sleep Consultant, she’s been in your shoes. After the birth of her first anti-sleeper, she was inspired to find the answers. She helps other exhausted families from around the world to take back their sleep. Her philosophy ensures you feel completely supported during this collaborative process. Sleep is very complicated, but you don’t have to peel back all the layers on your own.

Amy’s educational background has always centered around maternal and child wellness; holding licensure and/or certifications as a Massage Therapist (Prenatal & Pediatric), Newborn Care Specialist, and most recently as a Maternal & Child Sleep Consultant (2014). She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. Douglas expanded her ongoing education to include Sensory Based Protocol and Early Behavioral Intervention to further understand the delicate and complex needs of those with ASD, SPD, and most currently, ADHD.

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Potty Training: The Method That Works

First, I must say that my son is a rock star. We started potty training, and by day 2: 0 accidents! What the what? Okay, he did have an accident on the 3rd day, but after that, he’s done amazing! He had a few “can’t hold it” poops in his underwear (TMI? Sorry!), but other than those few mishaps, he’s a potty using super star!

With all the bragging, I must say that we used the same method with my daughter, and it was not quite as peachy as it was with my son (aren’t boys supposed to be harder?), but she still got the hang of it by day 3!

Potty Train in 3 Days! I am going to share with you my secrets and some fun items go along with them! Are you ready?

To begin, here are all the things you will need to gather in preparation for potty training.

Potty Training: The Method That Works
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Underwear

I took my son to buy his new underwear. (Since we live out of country, we actually did this months ahead of time, but nonetheless, he still picked them out. I would recommend picking them out right before you are ready to start potty training.) Anyway, we got his underwear out several days before it was time to use the potty and let him look at them. He got to see what kind of animals were on them and laugh at them because it was so funny he was now going to be wearing underwear with animals on them. He thought it was so cool because he would get to wear the same underwear as daddy now! I would recommend buying extra underwear, unless you are planning on many, many loads of laundry.

Thomas the Train Underwear because what little boy doesn’t love Thomas the Train?

Urinal

We bought him a urinal that suctions to the wall, so he can reach it, instead of using the big potty. This contraption is the most AMAZING thing, ever! If you have a son, you have to get one of these potties! The one we bought has a spinner, so he can aim for it. After he realized how he was supposed to use this potty, he loved it!

This Urinal is the one we have, and it is amazing. What boy wouldn’t love a frog shaped urinal?

Portable Potty Seat

We had this seat when my daughter was potty training and kept it. It is an amazing travel potty seat! We solely used it with her while she was potty training, so it would provide consistency for her, but my son uses it when we go out of the house and to poop! It helps make a regular toilet seat small enough for them to sit on, and it folds us to easily carry in your bag! If you have a little girl (or boy), I highly recommend this as well.

This Portable Potty Seat  is the one we bought, which is great because it does fold so easily to carry around with you anywhere you go.

Juice

The fun part is next. We pumped him full of juice (my kiddos typically only drink water) for 3 days straight. For 3 days, all he did was drink juice.

Any kind of Juice will do, but we chose apple juice because it is my kiddos favorite!

Treats

We gave our children treats for going to the potty. It can be as simple as M&Ms or as elaborate as you want it to be.

Any kind of Candy or Treat will work. We decided on M&Ms because they are small, and we didn’t want our son all jacked up on candy for 3 days!

Cleaning Supplies

You will probably want to have several cleaning supplies on hand. If you have carpet, you are going to need carpet cleaner. If you have hardwoods or tile, you will need to have a cleaner for it as well. You will also need to have several towels handy to clean up the messes throughout the day.

Carpet Cleaner or Hardwood Floor Cleaner, whichever fits your need is something you will need to have handy!

Pull-ups

We do pull-ups for nap and bedtime, so you will need to have these for when they sleep if you choose to go this route.

Pull-ups aren’t required, but they can be helpful if you choose to use them during the transition time.

So Now What?

Before we start potty training, we go on an undie buying extravaganza! I take little man shopping, and he gets to choose what kind of underwear he wants to buy. He gets to have ownership in the underwear he chooses. We talk about potty training, and we talk about keeping {insert animal, action figure, favorite movie character etc.underwear here} dry and not peeing on them.

For about a week while changing his diaper, I would talk about going potty in the big boy potty, just to get him used to the idea and terms I would be using when it came time to actually start the potty training process. Little man has an older sister, we have always talked about going to the potty because she already uses the potty. One week before he started using the potty, we started talking more often about going the potty. We told him, “Next week, you will start using the potty!” We counted down the days until the day came. When he woke up on P-Day (Potty Day), we said, “It’s time to use the potty!” and cheered for him and jumped up and down like a lunatic mom of a boy getting ready to use the potty! He loved it! Haha!

The day before we started potty training, we put his urinal up in the bathroom to get him used to seeing it in there, and he would know he would be using it soon. He thought it was pretty awesome too!

When the big day came, after all the cheering, he went potty! Wahoo! We celebrated and danced and gave him his M&Ms, and he was so excited. Then, we immediately began to fill him up with juice, juice and more juice. Juice all day long! We looked at the clock and every 10 minutes we would take him to the potty. Every 10 minutes, he would pee, flush the potty, wash his hands, and, then he would get his reward!

Sometimes there were accidents, and we would rush him to the potty for him to finish peeing on the potty to show him it’s appropriate to pee on the potty and not in his underwear. After he finished peeing in the potty, we would give him a treat (because he did pee in the potty-if he didn’t, no treat), put on new underwear and ask him to clean up the pee in the floor. (*Note: he is 2 years old. He is not going to clean up all the pee in the floor perfectly. Having him clean it up is a way to show him he caused an accident that needs to be cleaned up, and it is not acceptable to pee in the floor. Peeing is to be done in the potty.) Then, we would begin the countdown all over, and 10 minutes later, we would go to the potty again. It is tedious, but it works! 

Now to pooping…We bought a portable potty seat to use when he needs to sit on the potty-for pooping and for when we go out because he cannot reach an adult potty to pee standing up. Anyhow, we were constantly asking him if he needed to poop. As a mom, sometimes you can just tell! So when he would poop, we would repeatedly ask him if he was done (again with the mom radar), and reward him with two M&Ms this time (It seems minuscule to us, but 2 M&Ms made this boy extremely happy! Haha!). This reward system works with my children because we don’t eat so much candy. You will have to find a reward system that works for your children!

Like I said, my son did awesome at potty training, but I really do think these tips are the ticket to successful potty training! I learned this method while studying Counseling for my Master’s Degree and used them with my children, and they really do work! Try them out and let me know what you think!