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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.

Follow Baby Sleep Central on Facebook or Instagram for sleep advice and parenting fun!

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!

Wednesday Devotional: Cleanliness

Cleanliness
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Happy Wednesday! So glad to have you joining me today! After studying Exodus last week, we are going to move on to Leviticus today! We will look at how Leviticus points to cleanliness in this week’s devotional!

Leviticus? I’m kidding, right? No, I am not kidding you! It is important to study Leviticus because it can help turn our perspective of Jesus upside down.

Yes, Leviticus is bloody, but all the blood points to Jesus, just as every other story in the Bible does also.

The Scripture:

Leviticus 19:1-2 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'”

AND THE LORD SPOKE TO MOSES, SAYING, "SPEAK TO ALL THE CONGREGATION OF THE POEPLE OF ISRAEL AND SAY TO THEM, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I THE LORD YOUR GOD AM HOLY.'"
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What It Tells Us About Cleanliness:

If we read Leviticus, we can begin to love Jesus more deeply. When we see the sacrifices and the blood which was shed for the sins of the Israelites in the Old Testament, we begin to see what Jesus’ sacrifice for us really means.

Leviticus talks in terms of things being “clean” and “unclean”. As we move forward to the New Testament, we still see these terms “clean” and “unclean”. However, in New Testament the use of these terms change. Instead of talking about bodily fluids as being unclean, the term begins to refer to the state of a person’s heart. In the New Testament, Jesus begins to make things “unclean” “clean” because He said they are and because of His own holiness.

Jesus cleaned us when He died on the cross. Jesus shed his blood in one final sacrifice, so you and I can be His child. All of the blood and sacrifice in Leviticus points to our Savior who poured out His own blood as our sacrifice to forgive us of our sins and bridge the gap between us and God.

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for sending Jesus to cleanse us of our sins. Help me to remember this sacrifice clearly when I think about Jesus’ death on the cross. Help me to think about this sacrifice when I think about my sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

Did this devotional change your view of Jesus’ sacrifice? If so, how? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks so much for following along. I look forward to seeing you next week!

Cleanliness
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Mom Crush Monday: Remembering They are a Gift {Guest Post}

It’s Monday once again! I love Mondays because I get to share with you an awesome mama blogger on this Mom Crush Monday series! In today’s post, Curry shares what I believe is so close to so many mamas hearts, so I hope you love it! She is sharing about how are children are a gift. Catch me over on Instagram and follow along with #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers ! See you again next Monday!

Remembering They are a Gift
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Remembering They are a Gift

The Bible calls children “a gift from the Lord”, a “reward” (Psalms 127:3 NLT). I felt guilty hearing this. Seeing friends and family, who on social media appear to feel this way all the time. I didn’t have this loving, gushing feeling as a new mom. I felt overwhelmed by the new responsibilities, exhausted from the lack of sleep and bored by my new role as a stay-at-home-mom.

The idea of them being a gift was confusing to me, but I believed God’s word was true. He is a God of intention. What did it mean for them to be a gift? God gives gifts that are good because He is good. My definition of good is skewed because I believe good means something I like, something that feels comforting or is enjoyable, something fun and periodically effortless. However, His definition of good is drawing me closer in relationship with Him, seeing more of His love and my need for Christ.

So, what if the blessing is that our children are for our good and that good is to become more like Jesus instead of good for enjoyment and fun and cute new things?

I remember the first time I got mad at my now six-and-a-half-year-old. He was a few weeks old and had a tight grip on my Tiffany necklace. It was a light weight, delicate chain, and he was less than three months old but he pulled. It snapped, and I was furious. My expectations of rocking him gently to sleep weren’t being met. I was sleep deprived, emotionally empty and surprised by the time and energy this newborn required. Clearly it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t do it on purpose. He didn’t even know what he did. All the logic muted my anger, but it didn’t hide the quickness with which anger crept up in me. Love doesn’t come naturally to our sinful hearts. Patience isn’t born in us when we hold our sweet tiny baby. Kindness doesn’t grow from sharing our body and everything we own with toddlers who always beg for more.

I continue to see my weakness through motherhood. I see how easily they get in my way. I naturally desire efficiency and order and prioritize those things too quickly. I expect them to not have emotions when I tell them “no”. My desire for control rages against their desires. This thing called motherhood is not what I pictured or believed. It is much harder, much more important and requires me to be much more aware of my weakness. My mother encourages me with the tears she shed, and slowly she peels back my blinders that tell me I am alone in the fight…I am not.

As I change the focus off myself and my task list, I see His beauty and His great gift of these children who teach me joy, how to love deeply and sacrificially. They make my sin obvious, and I am ever so thankful as they hold up the mirror to my sin I see how great the gift of Jesus is. God truly is good, and these three gifts I fight to love, work to teach and strive to protect are images of His goodness, but I have to set down the laundry, ignore the checklist and crouch down on the floor with them to see it clearly!

Remembering They are a Gift
Curry

About Curry:

Curry is a wife and mother to three wild and lovable kids. She is a home school mama and the dance party initiator of the family. She blogs about God’s truth, bringing hope into the daily routines of life of others at Truth for the Trenches. Following her over on Instagram as well!

Wednesday Devotional: Be a Woman of Influence

Be a Woman of Influence
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Welcome to Wednesday, and I am glad to have you joining today’s Wednesday Devotional because we are talking about Being a Woman of Influence!

Who is a woman who has had an influence in your life? Likewise, who changes your view on life? What woman affects your life?

Influence is about affecting others and changing their views on different topics. Influence can be both negative and positive, depending on how it is used.

Moses had many influential women in his life, and today we are going to look at 2 of them. As a result of reading this story today, I hope you are encouraged from this story as I was when I read through it.

The story today is about 2 women, who are midwives. These 2 ladies were the first to see Moses when he entered the world.

The Scripture:

Look at Exodus 1:15-16 as it introduces them. “Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of who was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.'”

BUT THE MIDWIVES FEARED GOD AND DID NOT DO AS THE KING OF EGYPT COMMANDED THEM, BUT LET THE MALE CHILDREN LIVE.
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What It Says About A Woman of Influence:

Wow! These verses are packed with information. As the midwives are introduced into the sphere of influential women, we see the king of Egypt issuing a death sentence to all Hebrew males born during this time. Moses is a male, his parents are Hebrews and he is living in Egypt. Immediate death sentence. Umm…you might be thinking, “I thought you said these women were going to be influential?” Yes! They are! Wait for it…

These midwives were given a tremendous burden to kill all the Hebrew males born during this time period! Can you imagine? Most likely a midwife chooses this profession because she is passionate about seeing life come into the world, and now she has been asked to immediately take it away for the simple fact the child was born a Hebrew male.

The Bible tells us later the midwives feared God, and instead of killing the boys, they let them live. Shiphrah and Puah let Moses live because they respected God more than the authority of Pharaoh.

These women knew they were not obeying Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the land, but yet they had enough faith in God to chose the right thing by following God instead of Pharaoh.

As we can see from the lives of these 2 women, if we choose to follow God, especially in the hard times, we will be made women of influence. People will notice us. They will wonder why we are different, and we can influence their point of view. We can affect other’s lives when we choose to do the right thing, instead of taking the easy road.

Stand up for God, and others will see you. 

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for allowing your people to be people of influence. Thank You for the example of Shiphrah and Puah, who chose to do the right thing. Help me to always make the right choice, even when it is difficult. Help me to always choose You. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question: 

Is there an area in your life right now where you need to choose to do the right thing?

Be a Woman of Influence
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Mom Crush Monday: Dear Moms, I See You {Guest Post}

It’s once again Mom Crush Monday! Today, Amy shares such a sweet post today, and I think all moms should read this post! This post was one I was really needing to hear following a long stretch of misbehavior from my 2 littles! Anyway, if you love her post about mom life, like I do, make sure to leave a comment for her to read to encourage her! Follow along with us on Instagram too and see you next week with another amazing mom blogger for you to check out also!

Dear Moms, I See You
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Dear Moms, I See You

I look at the mirror longer than needed, more frequently than necessary.  Not out of vanity, but confusion.  I haven’t caught up to who is staring back at me.  This woman, wider and somehow both softer and harder than the girl I used to see.  I am forever caught off guard that the face looking back at me is in fact my own reflection.  Reflecting my lack of sleep, the worry I have swallowed and stored and allowed to make weary the kink in my back and twitch of my eye. She looks back at me, searching me as I implore her.  Where did I go?  I gave myself over to mother, surrendered myself to a love that means all of me for all of him.

I gave myself away.

It was easier than it should have been.  When you fail to take root in the soils of a firm foundation, blowing through the storms of life takes no effort at all.  Identity can be a fickle thing. When the all-encompassing role of mom and sanctifying role of wife find their way to your path all of you can become all of them and what remains is an empty cup looking anywhere to be filled.

An empty cup can be dangerous. In search for something more, we can (without realizing it) give more of ourselves to more spaces and time than we can be spread.

Dear Moms, I see you.

Mom with averted gaze and tear rimmed eyes?  I see you.

Mom with weary heart and downcast shoulders?  I see you.

Mom with raised voice and sharp tongue, pleading with small children for quiet? I see you.

Mom with babe held close, swaying back and forth for hours on end? I see you.

Mom standing on the other side of a door in the middle of the night, desperate and weeping for rest you are sure will never come?  I see you.

I see my reflection in all of you.  My heart breaks in your pain and discouragement.  The strain of navigating the weeds of these early years with your children and growing through your relationships with your husbands can feel like too much to bear.  Juggling roles of wife, companion, friend, housekeeper, cook…we can be left feeling as though we’ve given all of ourselves away.

You, mom, weary and defeated? He sees you.

You, mom, sick from exhaustion? He sees you.

You, mom. without patience and lacking grace? He sees you.

You, mom, afraid that life’s many distractions and requirements will create a wedge you and your husband won’t survive?  He sees you.

You, mom, looking through critical and confused eyes at the reflection staring back at you? He sees you.

He sees all of you and He loves you still.

Today, lean in to this beautiful truth that you are never alone.

You, mom, are wholly and dearly loved, created with purpose, unique in beauty and equipped with all you need.

You, mom, are ENOUGH.

Come as you are, with all that you are and lay your burdens at His feet.

‘…And this is the boldness we have in God’s presence; that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what he wants, he hears us.  If we know he hears us every time we ask him, we know we have what we ask from him1 John 5:14-15

Today, moms, be encouraged!

Dear Moms, I See You
Amy

About Amy:

Amy is a stay at home mom married to the love of her life, doing the best she knows how to be a light to her three little people. She lives in rural Southern Ontario where she enjoys (extremely) early mornings with her wee ones leading to full coffee mugs and beautiful sunrises. The intention behind her blog, The Optimistic Mama, is to be voice of encouragement in a perpetually exhausting season of life. Her hope to all who read her words is a simple one; be encouraged!

Make sure you are following her on Facebook and Instagram to be encouraged there also!

 

Wednesday Devotional: Desires of Your Heart

I am so glad you stopped by for today’s Wednesday Devotional! Thank you to all of you who follow along! It means so much to me! Today, will be somewhat similar to last week, as we will look at Leah’s story and how God provided her with the desires of her heart! I would like to ask you to share the image on Pinterest too if you like these devotionals, so we can get the word out to others who might enjoy them too! Thanks!

The Scripture:

Today, we will be reading Genesis 29:16-35. Make sure to read the Scriptures, so you will understand the all we will be talking about today. We will focus specifically on Genesis 29:35. “And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.”

What It Says About the Desires of Your Heart:

We learned, last week, Rebekah’s son, Jacob, ran away from his family because he was afraid his brother, Esau, might kill him for stealing his blessing from their father. Jacob ended up at his uncle Laban’s house and fell in love with his daughter, Rachel. Leah is Rachel’s older sister, and, therefore, should have married before her younger sister, according to custom. However, Jacob loved Rachel and wanted to marry her. He and Laban worked out a deal, so Jacob could marry Rachel. However, on the day of the wedding, Laban tricked Jacob and gave him Leah to marry instead of Rachel. Jacob the deceiver (as we learned last week) has now been deceived. Jacob eventually marries Rachel also after working out another arrangement with Laban. Now, Jacob has sister wives, and their lives are constantly filled with jealously and competition.

Leah was now married, but she entered a loveless marriage. Even when she had Jacob all to herself, he was longing to be married to her sister. However, Leah loved her husband and craved his affection.

Leah’s story is heartbreaking, but her story does not end here. Our God is too great for her story to end here. No, God knew of her desires for her husband, and even when Jacob would not provide her with the love she needed, God would. God provided the desires of her heart through children. Even though Leah provided Jacob with her firstborn, he still doesn’t look at her with the loving countenance he does with Rachel.

When Leah felt unloved by her husband not once, twice or even three times, but with the fourth child, she states, “This time I will praise the Lord.” She still knows she is not the desire of her husband’s heart. However, she decides she will praise the Lord, the One who gave her the desires of her heart.

Together Leah and Rachel (and their maidservants-have we not learned our lesson yet, ladies?) build a lasting legacy through their 12 children, who became the 12 tribes of Israel. It is through these ladies the covenant between God and Abraham is continued. Even though Leah felt unwanted and insignificant, God provided in her time of need, and she became a mother to the nation of Israel.

Leah remained faithful, even during the tough times. So no matter what situation you are in right now, remain faithful to God, and He will provide for you, even in times of great sorrow. Even in heartache, we can praise the Lord.

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for loving me even when I feel unlovable. Thank You for providing for the desires of my heart. Help me to look to You alone because I know others will fail me, but You will always remain faithful. God, I love You. In Jesus’s Name. Amen. 

A Question:

In what area of your life do you need to trust God to provide the desires of your heart instead of looking to something else to do so?

The Desires of Your Heart
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Mom Crush Monday: Mom Moments {Guest Post}

It’s Monday! Welcome to another edition of #momcrushmonday ! On the blog today, Hannah is sharing some ways to savor the mom moments. I am really excited for you to read this post! Leave her some love in the comments and follow her on social media, which are listed below in the “About Hannah” section! I always want to remind you to follow along on Instagram, so you can make sure to join the fun there too! Enjoy today’s Mom Crush Monday, and I’ll see you again next Monday!

Savor the Mom Moments
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Savor the Mom Moments

My daughters are four and three.  When our first baby was seven months old, we found out we were pregnant with our second. Our second little girl was born when our oldest was only sixteen months old.

Those first two years feel like a blur.

Up at night, changing diapers, trying to calm down two crying children at once, doing oodles of laundry, nursing one while reading board books to the other, packing enough extra clothes to last a week. It was a challenge to take them anywhere (it still is sometimes). I had to find a babysitter if I wanted to go to a public place without making a scene. There were times, we would try to go out to eat, and my husband and I would spend the meal trading on and off on restless baby duty.

At that time, when I had two under three, it was the slowest and hardest time of my life. Though it was a precious time with baby snuggles, I really struggled to savor it because I was just trying to survive.

Now fast forward to two years later, I have risen above the sea of diapers and burp cloths with my daughters both fully potty trained and the fog is clearing from my mind after so many sleepless nights and exhausting days.  We are looking at preschool in the fall for the oldest and the youngest is eating all the food she used to refuse.

They are growing into little women. For the first time, I am starting to seriously notice the mom moments. It seemed that they would be babies forever. Now here they are with training wheels on their bikes and bunk beds in their room. Those mom moments really started to hit me when we can take them to IHop for breakfast, and they sit through the entire meal or when we take them to see a movie in the theater, and they actually follow the story.

There was a line I heard in a parenting show where a mother was telling her teenage daughter through her tears how she had to let her daughter grow up and fly.  After watching that emotional scene late at night, I snuck into my daughters’ room and just sat there, stroking their curls and watching them sleep,  wishing I could stop them from growing up too fast.

I cannot stop time. It is inevitable my children will grow up, and as I’m starting to realize that I am making an extra effort to intentionally savor the mom moments. A few ways I’ve been doing this are:

Pray Over Them at Night

Every night, I check on them after they are asleep, and I pray for them. I stand by the foot of their beds and pray for them to grow in virtue and grace. I pray for their future spouse and their families wherever they may be. I pray for their protection and thank God for the blessings that they are.

Take Less Pictures and Videos

I know this seems counterintuitive since I’m trying to capture the mom moments, but I’ve found excessive photo snapping is not a helpful tool. There have been times where I’m watching them reach a milestone or learn a new task through the lens of my camera, and I miss the moment because I’m not experiencing it fully with them. I’m too busy trying to get a perfect picture or video. Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of digital memories stored on my hard drive. I’m just trying to be more intentional about what moments I choose to capture on camera and what moments I choose to capture in my mother’s heart.

Be Ready for Spontaneous Moments

Children do the most unexpected things. I’m never quite prepared for the moments which are the most important.  If I don’t pay attention, I will miss them because my daughters don’t stay in the same place for very long.  So, every time they come running up to tell me a make believe story, when they are excited to show me the dress up clothes they put on themselves or when they are sitting next to me in a movie theater with the most excited look on their face, I give them my full attention and savor those mom moments.

Take Notes

As much as I would like to remember everything my children do, I can’t keep it all fresh in my mind forever so I’ve developed a habit of taking notes.  I write down important moments in their scrapbooks, I use my blog to record certain memories and I use the note section on my phone to record the humorous phrases they say.  Of course, video is a great way to record their voices, expressions and their play.

Just remember to capture at least some of those fleeting mom moments in your momma’s heart, so you don’t have to re-watch them on video to fully savor each precious detail.

Savor the Mom Moments
Hannah

About Hannah:

Hannah is a Catholic wife and mom, sipping cups of coffee between grocery shopping, folding laundry, and organizing her home. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Nebraska, where you can find her working from her home office with Disney princess music playing and children climbing across her computer keyboard.

Follow along with Hannah at her blog, Lovely Little Lives, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too! She also has an online community for moms called Midnight Moms if you want to join her there.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely[…]think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Wednesday Devotional: Dealing With Doubt

I am going to do things a bit differently today. I want to focus on a woman of the Bible. I want to focus on Rebekah to learn more about her story and how doubt played a role in her life.

We looked at Sarah’s story last week, which was similar to Rebekah’s story, so make sure to check it out too to have a little bit of context for today’s Wednesday Devotional.

Rebekah was a hard-working, faithful lady, who left everything she knew to marry a man she had never met. Can you imagine? She must have had so much faith to be able leave her family to go live with a man she didn’t even know. However, she ends up getting in trouble after favoring one of her twin sons over the other. She failed to trust God and would eventually never see her favorite son again. The beautiful thing about her story is that God used her to be a part of His wonderful plan to mother a child whose decedents would one day birth our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Despite her unfaithfulness and lack of trust in God, He would use her in ways she never could have imagined.

The Scripture:

I suggest you stop now and go read all of Genesis 24, so you will be able to understand Rebekah’s entire story. Here I am just going to write Genesis 24:61: “Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. Thus the servant took Rebekah and went his way.”

Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way[e] to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son.
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What It Says About Dealing With Doubt:

Women in Rebekah’s day went to get water every day at the well to bring back for their families. Rebekah went out one evening to bring water back to her home, when a stranger approached the well wanting water for himself. She obliged, giving him water and offered to draw water from the well for his 10 camels too. The water she would have had to withdrawal from the well for a man and his 10 camels would have been quite large, but she nonetheless offered. This proposition, however, changed her life forever. (Seriously, go read Genesis 24!) This offer was the exact thing Abraham’s servant prayed would happen for him. He asked God to have the woman offer water for his camels, so he would know for sure this woman was the one God had intended Abraham’s son to marry! Amazing! In an instant with this simple offer, her life changed forever.

Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah? God said He would make a great nation out of him, giving him generations which would outnumber the stars in the sky. Yet, Rebekah cannot have children either. She did not have children for 20 years after she met and married Isaac. Isaac prayed for God to give them children, and God listened. Rebekah, then, became pregnant with twins.

Then, came a divide. Jacob loved his firstborn son, Esau, more than his other son. Rebekah loved the second born child, Jacob, more than her firstborn son. It was not just a divide of affection, but a divide of nations, the Bible later tells us.

Rebekah helped her favorite son, Jacob, trick his father into giving him his father’s blessing, which was a huge deal in those days. Afterward, Jacob feared for his life because of his brother’s revenge and fled from his family.

God called Rebekah to be a mother of nations, but she let doubt creep inside her heart instead of trusting God enough to provide His perfect Will for her family. Her wish was granted for her son to become the heir of his father, but not by her will. God had a plan all along for things to turn out this way, but when her doubt crept in and took over, it caused pain and hurt and a divide of nations. Even though Rebekah, much like each of us, tried to take things into her own hands, God would still accomplish His plans, and He still used Rebekah to accomplish it, as was His plan all along. Rebekah doubted God’s plans to use Jacob, when that was actually his plan all along.  Because she didn’t trust God, it actually divided her family.

So remember Abraham’s faithful servant explained above. Remember how he prayed so diligently for God to reveal His perfect plan for the wife for Abraham’s son. He was faithful and trusted God to answer his prayer. God had a plan all along for Rebekah’s life. She didn’t second guess it in the beginning. She just went to marry Isaac trusting in the plan God had for her. We must remember how trusting she was in the beginning and learn from her doubt in dealing with her son.

God is faithful, always, even when we aren’t. 

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for working in all situations, even when we don’t trust you. Thank You for using me, even when I try to take matters into my own hands. Help me to keep my eyes on You and trust You in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

What do you need to do this week to place your trust in God?

Dealing With Doubt
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Mom Crush Monday: Mom Confidence {Guest Post}

It’s another Manic Monday! I really hope it isn’t though, and even if it is, I am glad to have you here to get some Momspiration! As always, I think you are really going to like today’s post by Ruth-Ellen! She is talking about mom confidence today, so I really hope it helps you build some mom confidence in your own life today! Please don’t forget to share the love in the form of comments, shares and follow along with her blog too! As I always mention, don’t forget to follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers ! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy!

Mom Confidence
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Mom Confidence

My confidence to parent unapologetically derives from my ability to be able to look after myself and see the successes in it. It doesn’t come from a medal of honour or an award, but from knowing I am doing my best with what I have. To me, that is true confidence.

When you are asked to write something about parenting, it is easy for me to have initial thoughts surrounded by imposter syndrome. Not because I don’t have kids. I have a 16 year old son with additional needs and a 14 year old daughter, who both challenge my thinking daily. And therein lies my issue: I make mistakes, a whole lot of mistakes….but so what?

It is in our mistakes that we learn lessons that teaches us how to really live, love and laugh.

Let’s face it, the task of leading another human being and making them upstanding citizens that give back to this world is a mammoth one.

I had my children when I was 20 and felt like a child myself. And the greatest lesson in all of these years about parenting is this: Be you, because everyone else is taken.

So what does that really mean and how do you grow in confidence as a parent so you can lead these future great leaders? Let me share a few of my insights and perhaps they will help you:

1. Live Life With Passion

I live my life, and let them see what I do, not what I say. When push comes to shove, it is our actions that teach them to know how to act, feel and love.

2. Reframe Acceptance

Acceptance is the act of sitting with my emotions, giving self compassion because knowing if I don’t I will be blocking negative energy inside me.

Crying is ok. Sadness is ok.
Your circumstances are not who you are. They are your circumstances now, but do not dictate the future.

3. Define Who You Are

Your values and your why are super important.

Here’s to staying confident consistently. ✊

Ruth-Ellen Henry

Mom Confidence
Ruth-Ellen

About Ruth-Ellen

Ruth-Ellen teaches other about staying confident by taking imperfect action. Visit her blog, Confident School, and learn more ways to be confident. Also, make sure you are following her on Instagram too!