Motherhood in 2019: A Titus 2 Perspective

Motherhood in 2019: A Titus 2 Perspective

As a Christian mom, I rely fully on the Word of God to direct my steps as a mother. It is literally the toughest and most fulfilling job I have ever had. There are no breaks, no vacations, no time-outs, it is 24/7. And I love every second of it (even if I need a little “me time” just so that I can better serve my family).

My four littles have taught me how to be selfless, patient, kind, and to find strength in my weakness. I know that everything is ultimately out of my control. #Godisincontrol

To do it right, I personally love to go to God’s word where he gives explicit instructions on how to grow and mature in my role.

However, with the advancement in technology and the instant availability of information, my generation (yes I am a millennial) have been gifted an opportunity to access vast arrays of knowledge that was not available to our parents.

The internet.

It is a marvelous thing and I adore most of Google’s products. But gone are the days of checking out library books and scouring encyclopedias for facts.

If you are reading this can you recall reading an encyclopedia? I do!!!

It is a glorious memory. My grandmother ordered an entire set A-Z. She didn’t have a full bookshelf to house them all so she lined them up along the wall and across cabinets.

I would wander down to her house through a little pathway in the woods to research a new topic. Most of the time, it was about animals.

“Nanny, what kind of snake is this?”

“What kind of tree is this?”

“Why do the catfish eat everything in our pond?”

“How do you distinguish a poisonous snake from a non-venomous one?”

Have you started to sense that we lived in the woods? LOL

She would pull out the magnifying glass for her ailing eyes to scan over the tops of each page searching for the right topic word in alphabetical order. Together we would read about the marvels in our backyard and sometimes travel farther across the world learning about exotic birds and famous people. It was always an enjoyable time learning from my grandmother’s encyclopedias and HER.

She was my elder. An older woman that could share her life that consisted of a  depression era upbringing, two marriages, four children, and long hours in a shirt factory.

She encouraged my faith by living an example of trust, kindness and unending mercy with humility and respect for others.

Titus 2:3-5 says

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Teach the older women

As an older woman of God, she had learned a proper way to handle herself and pursue the Word of God. She embraced the duty to learn so that she could pass down that knowledge. My grandmother and mother did their best to transfer what they knew was the best instruction for us.

Teach what is good

During our childhood, my mother and grandmother pressed into Pro 22:6, therefore, creating a “Mary” mentality more than a “Martha”. Personally, as a young mother, I struggle with homemaking – staying on top of laundry, dishes, and the chaos of keeping an orderly home. Yet, my heart always chases after the PEACE in God through understanding because, though homemaking skills are important, they can be taught, but a heart reliant on God is groomed through Bible reading, fellowship and seeing faith in action. My grandmother ALWAYS had her Bible handy beside the big fluffy recliner and a church hymnal to sing praises to God. Hallelujah!

Urge the younger women

Not only did my grandmother encourage fervent Bible reading so did my GREAT-grandmother! What a sweet thing it is to pass down through multiple generations a passion for Bible reading. The word “urge” is means to try earnestly or persistently to persuade someone to do something. My grandmothers were creating a strong desire in my heart to pursue the Bible. It wasn’t a forceful judgemental instruction but one of loving tenderness that was felt through their kind words and gentle urging. I never felt shame for not reading or when I slipped up. Forgiveness and mercy was also a character trait passed down through their actions. I am grateful for their influence.

Instructions

The verse clearly outlines:

  1. love your husbands and children
  2. be self-controlled and pure
  3. be busy at home
  4. be kind
  5. be subject to your husbands

Now for my SO WHAT WHO CARES?

As a mom scouring the internet for information about biblical marriage and motherhood advice I would find entire articles for each of the five instructions above. For today, I am not going to elaborate on each of them. However, I will offer what I have found to be true in my marriage and motherhood journey thus far.

  1. Loving my family comes first even when things get rough.
  2. I attempt to pray before I speak out in anger, therefore, practicing self-control (through a whole lot of help from the Holy Spirit).
  3. As a married couple, we set up boundaries and restrictions to enforce purity.
  4. We made the decision that I would stay home to pour into the children during their foundational years. (I didn’t even start blogging until my oldest was seven years old.) The work wasn’t satisfying in the beginning though my heart and mind simply needed to mature. NOW, I can see the fruit of my labor in our children.  (Wanna know more about the first years leave a comment below).
  5. And finally, YES, I am subject to my husband because he is the head of our household. He doesn’t govern or dictate me nor use me as a doormat, etc. My husband is a loving man of Christ who cherishes ME like Christ loves the church. He is self-sacrificing, caring, kind, and understanding. He provides for us spiritually and physically. He leads us through the valleys and rejoices with us on mountaintops. Is he perfect? No. Neither am I. We love Christ first then each other than our children. We understand the unity we have in Him and the covenant we made with one another. So, Yes, I am subject to him because HE is subject to us through Christ Jesus.

If you are a new mom or a hurting mom I would encourage you to turn to the best instruction manual, encyclopedia, and Google search available – the Word of God. It is a wonderful book full of stories that will encourage the weariest heart. And if you need prayer please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Additional reading:

https://articles.titus2.com/titus-two-encouragement-for-young-mother-part-1/

A book list: http://titus2mentoringwomen.com/books/

Start a mentoring program: http://titus2mentoringwomen.com/

How tangled hair teaches patience

How tangled hair teaches patience

Today was a true test of being a mother of multiples. It was how tangled hair teaches patience. A tangled knotty nightmare all wrapped up into a patience testing situation.

Do you know what burdocks are? Oh, you are in for a treat! The nightmare of knots is enough to drive anyone mad!

However, we face every trial with patience and a strong reliance on a higher power.

SOOOOOO, this story began at a pee wee football practice.

 

Patience and Burdocks

Three year old with Upstate NY burdocks entangled in hair.

First practice of the season with FOUR children in tow.

Snacks: CHECK

Water: CHECK

Toys: CHECK

Patience: CHECK

You see, my little girls have reached an age that is so exhilarating and wonderful. They find joy in the smallest things and everyone is a friend.

I came to practice all prepared and ready to visit as did my girls. They found their friends and flowers!  Watching from distance they were enjoying their freedom and each other. The youngest was on the edge of the public area where the weeds and shrubbery were tall and overbearing. She was picking flowers. It was so cute.

Then she silently walked over to me and touched my hand. As I turned to see what she needed I GASPED!

Burdocks (Spurs):

The entire TOP of her head was locked into the biggest burdock dreadlock ever.

If you aren’t familiar with burdocks they are this prickly ball of hooky things! That can be a living nightmare for your clothes, your animals and especially your hair! Just to give you an idea, the inventor of VELCRO used the burdocks bur design for the hook and loop fastening mechanism. So yeah, these things mean business when they hook into something hopping a ride to spread their seeds.

She was just picking flowers and didn’t realize the danger sitting right above her head. And sometimes we also live like that.

Living life while danger is lingering all around us. BUT why live with all the worrying about potential danger, risks and ‘what ifs’? Why allow the anxiety to control our lives?

Patience:

 A recent song by Blanca turns our controlling, worrying and sometimes pessimistic mindset around with the simple question of “what if”.

What if we trusted the lord completely and gave it all to him? Really, what if?

People ask me all the time “how do I do it?” “How do you handle having four kids and stay sane?” Or they say things like you are a super mom. Literally, in the middle of the burdocks apocalypse, a mom said “look at this champ”.  She had yet to see the knot on the top of my little girl’s head.

Ok, so keeping it real. I am not a super mom nor have I got it all figured out.

Seriously, this household runs on Jesus and A WHOLE LOT OF COFFEE!

So what keeps me sane, calm, cool and collected through it all including this burdocks fiasco?

Jesus. I give it all to Him. (BTW, if you are looking for more mom inspiration that is God centered check out: Risen motherhood)

Things have changed over time including the number of people in our family to the depth of my faith.  My faith has deepened and transformed my motherhood. The anxiety, worry and unknown that once paralyzed me is slowly losing its grip and being replaced with peace.

Patience and burdocks. Just another reminder in this thing called life to calm down and just go with it.

Knotty Head:

 Now, if you want details of the burdocks episode. Wait no longer.

  1. Her hair was initially in a ponytail. Therefore, the top hair along with the ponytail got completely knotted and matted with about 15 burdocks completely rolled up into one giant knot
  2. We slowly pulled away the hair in small pieces exposing some of the burdock and breaking them into smaller pieces since they had dried out, thank goodness.
  3. I slowly pulled the hair away from each “bur” piece by piece and breaking open the pods releasing seeds.
  4. Eventually, I was able to take out the ponytail holder and expose the hair that was matted.
  5. However, the breaking down of the burdocks was releasing the tiny prickly things that make you itch.
  6. She started complaining of the itch and since we weren’t home I had to stop to gather all our things (meanwhile I am still wearing the baby).
  7. Friends noticed and offered help. One just so happened to be a hairstylist and couldn’t resist getting all the burdocks out so that I wasn’t tempted to cut her hair super short. She patiently removed the rest of the burs.
  8. Meanwhile my other little girl decides to investigate the area AND gets two burs in her hair. She literally look down then raised her head right up into the burdocks and they immediately latched.
  9. Eventually all the burdocks were gone from both heads.
  10. We rush home for a quick wash and more hair rescuing which included coconut oil, wide tooth brush to separate the knots followed with a very fine tooth brush to get the tiny knots.
  11. And finally, hair washed and conditioned with detangler.

Blogging for YOU

Blogging for YOU

Blogging is still new in our lives.The journey started as a “blogging for me” project in September 2018, after my fourth child was born, yet it never seemed to flourish throughout the first year. I had it all wrong. The project wasn’t meant for me but for YOU! Blogging for YOU is the goal and intention behind this digital wall. Let’s break this down.

 

Let’s narrow it down to a few pitfalls.

 

BUT WAIT!

 

Let me share real quick that my constant excuse making is a mentality that I’m trying to shed throughout this blogging experience and SHARE how I did it with others. Ok, rant over.

 

So pitfalls. Essentially, blogging for ME fell into the same category of everything else in my life – procrastination, perfectionism, and quite frankly, it felt selfish.

 

Blogging, or my web log, was meant to be a place to:

  1. Share God’s truth
  2. Provide a place of rest through a creative outlet during the years at home with four littles
  3. Serve others with my spiritual gifts of faith, knowledge, truth, and teaching thus glorifying the Lord
  4. And finally, technology tutorials! I aim to bridge the gap of digital literacy for those who feel “left behind” when it comes to screens and the new-everywhere -you-look-today software! 

 

[Disclaimer: IF Knitting Our Story eventually brings in some type of income I will be forever grateful but it was never and will never be the number one goal of this blog.]

 

Let’s breakdown the MYTHS [cough obstacles] that stood in the way followed by the TRUTHS that have reshaped my heart and the work that goes into BLOGGING for YOU.

 

MYTH #1:

IT HAD TO BE PERFECT.

The words had to be perfect. The website immaculate. The video tutorials had to be spot on because “hey, I am teaching people how to make videos so mine need to be top-notch”. However, this paralyzed my progress. It stopped me in my tracks. Constantly sitting down for hours with nothing to share because I couldn’t get off the train of perfectionism. I was going nowhere fast. 

 

No effort = no growth

 

I had a vision and mission in mind but was struggling to fully surrender it by placing it into God’s hands. 

 

Do you ever feel that conflict? 

“Here God you can have this decision, task, project or [insert whatever you are holding onto tightly].”

“Oh Wait GOD! Let me take it back from you and try to go it alone.” 

 

TRUTH:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

 

NOBODY is perfect outside of Jesus. NOTHING will ever be perfect! I had to stop putting on a show (for myself) that I had this “blogging” thing all figured out and STOP obsessing over the details. How would that serve YOU? How would my “faking it” help YOU? It won’t.

 

Proverbs even provided a road map on HOW to do this: 1. Trust God > 2. Lean not on my OWN understanding > 3. Submit to God > 4. He will make my paths straight

 

I do not have to fear anything because the LORD has my back! I can’t let the fear of “not measuring up” hold me back from doing His will. I will stumble upon this path of life and life will knock us down. Our recent life development has proven to us that we certainly are not in control of ANYTHING!

 

MYTH #2:

IT HAD TO BE SECULAR.

Hey, it is the internet so this blog needs to be applicable to everyone. It shouldn’t ruffle any feathers nor should it speak so boldly about my faith. The internal dialogue was saying…. Don’t share your struggles or areas of weakness. Do not stand on your convictions because someone will try to knock you down. 

 

The FEAR was debilitating. 

 

TRUTH:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1

 

Again, another situation to place firmly into the hands of God.  I [extreme emphasis on “I”] was placing unwarranted pressure on myself to make this blog a business and ‘professional’ which undermines my WHY for starting this in the first place. 

 

If someone is offended then let me go ahead and say “I am sorry” here and now. Blogging is a sharing platform thus I am only sharing MY personal beliefs. You are welcome to yours and can visit other platforms that are more aligned to your personal beliefs. 

 

MYTH #3:

IT HAD TO BE CONSISTENT.

Ok, this one is trickier because I certainly do want a high performing blog therefore it needs to be consistent. However, in quantitative terms my ability to push out content is relative to what MY schedule will allow NOT SOMEBODY ELSE’S. 

 

The first two myths were fueling a desire to get up earlier than needed or stay up late [even all night sometimes] to create this ‘professional’ blog that brings in no revenue of any kind [as of 8/1/2019].

 

TRUTH:

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; 

yes, establish the work of our hands! ~ Psalm 90:17

 

Blogging is a process for me. It will take time to refine and master. Placing this task into the hands of the Lord means that HE will establish the work of my hands. 

 

HE will ESTABLISH the work of my hands. 

 

Choosing to blog was intentional. A platform to share and teach while also creating a task that will enforce more discipline and time management on my behalf. The Lord knows my heart and my nature he “knitted” me in the womb. He knows my weaknesses and strengths. He orders my steps.

 

So to create more consistency here there has to be more consistency in my daily life thus TIME MANAGEMENT > DISCIPLINE > PRODUCTIVITY are elements that will also have to adjust to this new project. It will benefit the entirety of my life! I love how the Lord orchestrates the simple things in our lives to create a grandeur end product than we could ever imagine.  

 

SO WHAT WHO CARES?:

What is the application of all of this?

We can create plans but the Lord will order those steps. He will also remove all fear and doubt when we LET Him establish the work of our hands. Trusting the Lord with my blogging journey from the beginning will allow it to always be in His will while also making it a joyful experience vs anxiety driven. 

 

So what are you holding onto today? What can  you give to God? What work of your hands has He established? Share with me how this helped or inspired you.

Why and How you should film a first time event

Why and How you should film a first time event

The day had come. 

We recently experienced a first in our household. Our firstborn daughter had the joy of attending her FIRST Daddy Daughter dance! I am sharing why and how YOU should also capture the “firsts” in your family with the technology at your fingertips.

Prep:

How wonderful it was to see the joy in my little girl’s eyes over a special evening with her father.

She instantly understood that a date with her father meant that she would be the center of attention. As an avid capture the moment momographer (mom who films or takes videos of her family so frequently she is given an imagined made-up title/role), one might think that I initially planned on filming this night.

NOPE!

I could have just went through the motions and the significance of the event would have slipped through our fingers which would potentially lead to a missed memory.

Now, it is all on screen! Her eyes lighting up as her special request for “make-up” was granted. It was so apparent that she too needed something to cement the evening.

It was a first and firsts always hold a special place in everyone’s heart.

Her first date with Daddy.

Her first time preparing herself for an adventure focused on deepening a relationship with someone else while loving on herself with dignity and integrity.

It was a proud Mama moment watching her pick out the clothes, shoes, and finishing touches to prepare for her father.

(Filming it allows us to treasure these memories long after it’s gone.)

For us personally, it is the beginning of many opportunities to show our children the love of Jesus through the love of their earthy father.

The bar will be set high for whomever her potential suitor will be because it is our job to build up her confidence – in the Lord – and accept nothing less in a husband.

As she grows up this video will become a memoir of her innocence and venture into becoming a lady.

Build up her confidence-in the Lord.

 Execution:

I recommend that you make the decision to make a “film” or a “highlight” video ahead of time. It will dictate what you will need to capture. When it comes to events like this you can put a little more effort into styling the scenes and setting up the environment.

Now, if you have chosen to make a film you will want to capture the details like the intricacies of the clothing, shoes, flowers and the invitation. I approached this film as though it was a wedding prep ceremonial film.

Get multiple angles. It is recommended to get three different types.

Full, Mid, Close-Up [check out this post to learn more about these terms]

Add voice. SOUND can make a film come to life! I added a small interview and placed it over some of the scenes using L- and J- cuts [here is another post to explain these terms]. 

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

Four Reasons to Capture Your Story

 

This video passion project has been a work in progress since I first picked up a camera as a high school yearbook photographer.  Then (and still now), I knew that capturing a story was something worthwhile. There was something about being behind the lens of a camera that opened my eyes to the beauty around me while making my heart flutter with excitement. On Friday evenings during football games, I would run around the stadium capturing the intensity of football players, the joyfulness of the band and the school rallying around our school. It was exhilarating and my movements flowed effortlessly  maneuvering into crazy positions always trying to capture the perfect shot!

Over ten years later I am still trying to capture “the shot”! Though the players and settings have changed the desire to capture the moments has not! The passion has transcended from photo to video since it also flows vs freezes the moment. I enjoy how it gives life and movement to an event and evokes emotion.

Reason No. 1: Legacy

For my wedding day, we purchased a budget friendly handheld camcorder.

WHY? Because there is this deep desire in us to preserve our story, our history so that we may pass it on to others. We used that camcorder to capture our ceremony, dances and special messages from our guests. It also captured the moment we found out we were expecting our first child!

One day, our children will be able to look back on our younger days to reconnect to our youth to better understand their own unique history.

So now that we have several children, the following passage is constantly tugging at my heartstrings because the old adage is true… “the days are long but the years are short”.

“For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together

in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13

God knitted together each of my babies in the womb and their story was already written before they arrived. I can’t help but capture each and every delicate moment of their first years with us.

Reason No. 2: Connection

As the years started to roll by and the miles between my family grew I knew that sending photos sporadically wasn’t enough to convey the full sense of our growing family. AND when my 80 year old grandmother said that she felt like she didn’t know her great-grandchildren it started a fire within me. I created a 15 minute slideshow for each of my three young children just for her and burned them onto DVDs to send through snail mail!

Nowadays, the ever innovating technology field is changing the game on how to share our memories with family. Are you familiar with FaceTime? Google Photos? Facebook? Snapfish? Bound photobooks printed and delivered to your door? Giant canvas prints at reasonable prices?

You see? There is a gap in digital literacy and our children and grandchildren only know screens! Not print. So we need to catch up to stay connected BUT I also feel that there is something to the tangible and want to teach people the new techniques on how to get photos back in your hands and on your walls.

Reason No. 3: Life is Short

I am not done yet. This is the most sobering reason and the hardest to discuss.

Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime. We are no exception. [Read about our very personal battle with cancer here.]

First it was my Uncle.

He had a stomach ache and begrudgingly went into the hospital. He came out with a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer. The next two years flew by as the cancer did what it is so infamous for…. It slowly took away another loved one from the embrace of a family – a wife and daughter.

During this same time period, my teenage cousin also went to the doctor complaining of a “pain” in his leg. Once again, a loved one walked out with the diagnosis of cancer – Osteosarcoma.

 “Nick Widner fought a courageous battle with osteosarcoma.

Cancer didn’t define him. He lived free & easy.

His spirit will live forever in our hearts.”

Things moved so rapidly after these initial diagnoses.

Within a year, I received a call (about my Uncle) that hospice was on the premises. I desperately placed an order for a digital voice recorder for him to record a few conversations for his precious daughter (i.e. words for right before she graduated, first dance, first boyfriend, first breakup, marriage, etc). My heart ached at the realization that he would no longer be here but I clung to the fact that technology could somewhat ease the pain.

If she couldn’t have him there physically then maybe having his voice would bring some solace during those pivotal moments in a young girl’s life. He fought a good fight and went peacefully to the Lord.

Within the year, my 17 year old cousin lost his battle with Osteosarcoma.

His family continues to fight the battle against childhood cancer through fundraisers for other families still in the fight. His legacy will live on through the heartwork and hard work that his mother does in his honor.

I have learned that cancer does not discriminate; young, old, married, single, rich, or poor it is not prejudiced with its victims nor does it relent. We must be the ones preserving our memories and proactively capturing them to share with others.

But to fully grasp the gravity of this “life is short” I have to share the next story. It also happened during this timeframe and rocked a small town and countless families with aftershocks still being felt today. Here it is from one of the victim’s mother:

“On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, exactly 4 years after Jody and Nick graduated from the police academy, they responded to a domestic disturbance call, and were murdered by a career criminal with a 32-page rap sheet.”

The Jody and Nick from the above statement were my brother’s dearest friends. The day this all happened, our wedding anniversary, is still burnt into my memory.

You can read more about both young men and how the community continues to love and support the thin blue line through the The Smarr and Smith Foundation.

[Yes, I bleed black and blue for ALL our law enforcement, first responders and military personnel who put their lives on the line every day to serve US. I recommend following Kyle Reyes and his new venture Whiskey Patriots.]

 Life is short.

I don’t want it to pass me by. SO, I pick up my phone, camera, or recorder to capture, document, and treasure each fleeting moment we have here, just in case…

How about you?

 Reason No. 4: To Glorify the Lord

To Glorify God and love others sacrificially.

The Lord has equipped us all with talents, gifts and passions.

Mine happens to be creating heartfelt films, photography, constantly exploring user-friendly technology and teaching. All of these talents allow me to find joy in the number one role of my life which is being a dutiful wife and mom. By no means am I perfect. The dishes and laundry constantly gets overlooked plus my organizational style isn’t the best – just being real [ask my hubby].

Now how does this serve the Lord and you?

By creating this blog and using my talents, I am pleasing my Lord and Savior with the talents He blessed me with by being fruitful while giving HIM the glory. At no point, now or even later, will I take up the boasting in my own strength. Dear Reader, Let me serve you. I want to share all the tips and tricks I have learned and much much more as I continue to learn myself.

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