Grit and Grace Review

Reading has been something that has been very difficult for me lately, however when this book review came to me, I knew I needed the challenge.

I received this devotional for my honest review.

Grit and Grace

This book is a 90-day devotional geared towards mothers. I knew I was going to like this devotional after the first page. One of the authors went into a story about being late to church and the frazzled feeling when you take your kids anywhere. She is my people.

There are a couple things to note from this book that I really like:

  • The two authors are at different stages of motherhood. One has young kids (like myself) and one has older children and is able to provide perspective from the other side of being in the weeds of toddlerhood.
  • With that being said, it does seem that this book is geared more towards mothers who are in the younger kid stages. I don’t mind it, and I think there is still much to glean from it. However, many of the stories are from this time.
  • The book is separated into daily devotionals, and let me tell you they are easily digestible. First they are fairly short, so each day could be read in 5 minutes. For someone who falls asleep within a matter of a few pages of any book,  this is a must. I also loved that they included the full text of the scripture in each chapter as well as a short prayer. This easy access is great for me to connect with God and have a little guidance that gets me started with the word and prayer. I am all about some given structure in my chaos of days.

All that is great, however, what I loved most about it was how relatable it was. It is so easy to feel like you are alone and feel like you aren’t doing things right. Just this morning I mumbled under my breath that I do not have the patience to be a mom as both kids were crying at me for reasons that are still unknown. The stories that were shared were experiences that I have had. They shared thoughts that have gone through my head. They spoke insecurities that are deep in my soul. They are me. It is devotionals like these who talk about the mess and the realities of the imperfection that help me to connection with God. In these stories we can embrace grace through the love that is given, and I so appreciated the words that were spoken through this book.

I do not think this will be a book that I just read once. It might be one of those that I read yearly just to remind myself how wonderfully and fearfully we were made for motherhood. God made all this possible, even if sometimes it is a little messy.

He also provided us with a little Grit and Grace.

You can find the book here.

 

2019 Intentions

When January rolls around, talks about resolutions, goals, and a fresh start are so very common. And the idea of a “word for the year” is nothing new. The idea of setting a theme for the year with one word has been floating around for awhile.

I will be honest, right along with resolutions, I always thought the one word intention was hokey and kitchey. I mean how could you base your entire year’s worth of goals around one word? It just seems so lofty, and how do I mark a check next to a word theme?

I like my lists of goals with very specific tasks that I can accomplish over the next year. (A true Achiever at heart wants checkboxes.) As I always do when January 1st rolls around, I set out to create my goal list. My list is long for 2019, and here are just a few items I want to accomplish this year:

  • Complete 5 races
  • Have an outing with just me and George once a month
  • Read 5 books
  • Do at least one bible study a month

I will tell you with January almost over, I am already behind on more than half of my goals that I set forth.

"When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace." MEDITATION

I am not really sure why I had such a negative reaction to “intentions” before. I am always talking about being intentional in what I do, so it seems really silly that I stuck my nose up to this practice each year. I mean, I probably say, “Let’s be intentional,” at least twice a day at work…

So when I listened to my friend’s podcast about intentions (which I highly recommend anyone to find Friends in Pursuit), I was intrigued to sit on this idea of “one word” a little more.

I started thinking about the past year. While it brought me some great things, it did come without some incredible challenges. My anxiety has reared it’s ugly head more than I am comfortable with, and dealing with a four year old is quite possibly going to give me a full head of gray hair.

In their podcast and workbook on intentions, Kari and Andrea asked a question that kind of threw me for a loop.

What word describes a mindset that would have helped face the lessons learned?

Breathe is the word that came to my mind like a smack in the face.

My anxiety comes in the physical form of nausea and shortness of breath. It makes me flush, and I have a hard time calming my heart rate down. It can be a struggle to focus on breathing because it feels like I am stuck in an elevator that is about to plummet 100 floors.

So breathing focus is something I know from counseling that I need to do a better job of doing.

I thought of a lot of words for my year:  grace, humility, drive, comfort to just name a few.

But I kept coming back to breathe and how so much of my challenges are brought on by my own anxiety and the inability to sometimes control my body.

May you never overlook how powerful it can be to slow down for a moment and take a little time to breathe

I need to breathe in the moments with my children instead of hoping for the next stage to come. Wishing this time away does no good for anyone. I need to pause more instead of rushing through it.

I need to breathe before I respond to George’s tantrums instead of snapping back to gain control. Breathing will keep me humble and remind me that I am his role model and how I respond means more than just that one moment.

I need to breathe when I feel my heart start to race. Mindfulness is something that has never come easy to me, and I know breathing is so much of that exercise. I need to use the focused breathing exercise on my Fitbit to start training my mind and body to self-regulate.

I need to take a breath to instill patience over things and actions I cannot control.

I need to take a breath to sometimes watch my mouth and be more careful with the words that I say.

I need to sometimes just take a breath and give myself a break instead of jumping to worst case scenario and stop the planning machine that occurs in my head.

I need to breathe in the opportunities of new friendships and new initiatives instead of worrying about being out of my comfort zone.

I literally need to breathe fresh air more. One of my goals is to get outside a ton, so it is only natural to think about breathing in the outdoors.

I need to count my breaths as opportunities to be me and not someone else.

For me, breath encompassed all the other words that I was thinking of initially. Breathing is an action. Breath is a moment in time that will help me focus. There is so much work that can be done in a breath.

And sometimes I need to sit in that breath. In these breaths, I can trust that whatever this is will pass. In between breaths, I can let go and let God. I often try to rush through this lesson, so focusing on something so small like a breath will remind me that none of this is permanent. A breath can help me connect: with myself, others, and God.

D. Antoinette Foy

 

A breath can give me power. A breath can give me calm. A breath can give me grace. A breath can give me “me” back in those moments of stress.

Breathe.

Just one simple word that holds so much meaning.

What’s your intention for the year?

 

And seriously, if you like podcasts, I highly recommend listening to Andrea and Kari!

Daphne-20 Months

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Weight:  26 lbs. She is also just a few inches short of 3 ft tall!

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Health: These past two months have been hard health wise. She got the Christmas crud with the rest of us. Her nose is basically running non-stop. She just has all the respiratory things.

Diet: She is a temperamental eater now. Who knows what she is going to like from day to day. She will eat oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, and blackberries without question. Meats are different every day. She will usually eat rice and potatoes. She has lost a liking to most vegetables, but usually we can get her to eat it in rice. She loves the yogurt melts and veggie/fruit packets. However when she is hungry you better get food in front of her fast. She has no patience for our slowness.

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Clothes:  She is comfortable in size 18 clothes. She is in size 5 shoes and size 6 diapers.

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Sleeping:  We have been putting her to bed around 7:30/8 still, and she generally stays asleep through the night until I wake her up before work at 7. On the weekends, she will stay asleep almost until 9am. Generally she does not have a nap anymore in the morning. She is still a great sleeper.

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Likes:  She loves her bunnies. Both kids had matching little stuffed bunnies in their Easter basket last year, and they have become her most prized possessions. She loves Elmo and Sesame Street. She loves to read, her favorites this month being any Elmo book, God Knows You, and Ladybug Girl books. She adores George, and she is always following him around and getting in his business. She loves Legos of any kind, even the small ones. We haven’t had any issues with her trying to put them in her mouth. She loves to collect all the people and give them different heads and hats. She loves to draw, and this is our go-to activity to keep her entertained. She still loves shoes and picking out her bows every day. She loves blankets, and you will often see her dragging one around. When Tom gets home, she skips to follow him and help him get out of his uniform. She just gets so giddy to be with her daddy after work. It is one of the most adorable things. She loved the snow storm we had last week! She love music and dances whenever she hears it. She loves to feed the dog, and she gets mad at you when you tell her that the bowl is full and her job is done.

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Dislikes:  George taking things from her. Not being involved with whatever George is doing. Having to stop coloring. Not being able to go outside. When you take the cheese away from her.

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Milestones: She knows all of her body parts. We put her in pig-tails for the first time, so that hair is growing finally! She has started using stairs without crawling. She and George have actually started playing together-like real play. She signs more and please-even though her more is more like she is doing chicken wings.

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Nicknames:  Daphie, Sisterbear, Sisterbean, Sis, and Daphie Girl. The two most common are still Daph and Sister.

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Quirks:  She likes to stuff her stuffed animals into her Halo Sleepsack while she is in it. She walks on her tippy-toes. When it is time for TV, she plops herself up on the couch and grabs a blanket to cover herself up. She isn’t really talking much. Our PAT and pediatrician are starting to get concerned, but looking back at George’s update she has about the same amount of words. She does make all kinds of animal noises (tiger being her favorite) and she sings all the time. The only reason they have not recommended her to be screened yet is because she is so aware in other areas. Both PAT and our PED agree that her verbal comprehension and spatial awareness is far above most kids her age, so we are just monitoring the verbal for now. (I think the fact that George pretty much talks non-stop has something to do with it too.)

We parents are: not too bad. We got over the hump of the busy holidays. We got snowed in last week, and possibly will again this week. It has been nice to just rest and stay in our house.

George is: a wild child, but he is doing better than our last update. We started doing a reward system where he can earn/lose points towards his TV time. There is a lot of patience learning that is going on in our house, and every one is still super stubborn. He is warming up to Daphne more. They are playing more and he tries to engage with her more positively now than he has in the past few months. He has started trying to sing her songs every night with this ukulele he got at Christmas. It is really sweet. He has also started saying the qualifier “I love you, but…” and then tries to ask for something or tries to tell us what to do. While he can be frustrating, he does make me laugh until my belly hurts every day. We also recently started a new thing at bed where George reads me a book. He does a great job retelling the stories off memory or by the pictures. It has come to be my favorite part of the day when he insists on reading to me.

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The dogs are: little poops. I can only assume it is Grace, but one of them keeps pooping in the house over night no matter how late we stay up and let them out. It is really obnoxious. Other than that they are doing alright. They loved the snow, which is always fun to see them react to. They are pretty good with Daph, and she loves them right back.

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Daphie, you continue to be a dream. Something about 20 months makes me feel like I am losing my baby though. I will hold on to you as long as you let me.

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Here is George at 20 months.

2018 Gains

At the turn of the year, a lot of the focus is about shedding the pain of the previous year or looking to lose something in the year to come.

While I would love to lose some of my squish or get rid of some of the clutter that plagues my house, I want to look at all that I have gained in this last year.

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The gains came in many different forms over the past year.

I gained a new role at work. I never thought when I started working at CC four years ago, that my path would have led me to being the Director of my office. I work with some amazing people, and I am in a position to do some great things for our students. While this new position has brought challenges, it has helped me grow in so many ways. I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I do. (Also being interim director was the pits, so when that became official last January, I gained some of my sanity back!)

I gained the experience of doing a flash mob with other directors, and I have to say it has been one of my highlights of my CC experience. Bucket list item done!

I gained a little boy who knows how to spell and write his name, all his letters, and can count to 20. George soaks up things like a sponge, and every moment listening to him gives me so much perspective. He gives me joy and keeps me humble all at the same time.

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I gained new friends this year. As an adult and as a parent, finding time to invest in friendships can be difficult. I feel blessed with every moment that I had to create new relationships.

I also gained new memories with old friends. My best friend got married this year, and I was so honored to be standing beside her as she started a new chapter of her life.

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We gained a new tradition of hosting 4th of July at our house. This is something that Tom has wanted since he was a kid, so to see this come to fruition this year was pretty spectacular. And so were the fireworks he put together!

I gained my husband back. 2017 brought us one of the biggest challenges, and we continued to see fallout into 2018. He was putting everything into his career, and he was just spinning in a toxic department that provided him no support. This year, he made the big move to a new department that allowed us more freedom as a family. We gained weekly lunch dates because of it, and we also did two kid-free weekends out of town. Not only that, but he is home every night, weekends and holidays. These are all moments we gained back this year to invest in our marriage and our family.

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We gained a new Serta posturepedic mattress for $50. Tom happened to be in the right conversation at the right time, and a brand new mattress came to our house a few days later. We desperately needed this, and a 2018 miracle.

We gained another walker as Daphne took her first steps around her first birthday. Watching this calm little spirit become her own person who moves and grooves on her own has been such a joy. It’s a bittersweet gain for sure.

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We gained a brood of hens. This is a fun new adventure that has changed up our routines, and the chickens brought a sense of wonder to our kids. We love knowing what is going into our eggs. It will be fun to see what happens as the kids get older with their responsibilities of helping with the coup.

I gained ownership of my body again. After being pregnant and breastfeeding for the better part of 2 years, it was nice to just sustain myself with my body. But with this, I gained a new appreciation for what my body and my mind are capable of since breastfeeding with my job was no easy feat.

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I have gained more memories with my family. We have had so many laughs and good moments this year that are worth celebrating even if they are very mundane. From watching my kids play on our new playground to making forts in our living room to parades downtown to Royals games to family vacation to Branson, these moments are what made the year.

I gain so much every day with these two.

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All in all, I have gained a lot this year. These gains are helping me walk into 2019 stronger, with more confidence, and more motivated. I can’t wait to see what gains I take on these next year.

Daphne-18 Months

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Weight:  I forgot to weigh her today…Whoops. She has her check up tomorrow, and I am really excited to see how much she has grown. I would be surprised if she isn’t above the average in height and weight now.

Health: She has been great these past couple months. Her last two teeth are working their way in, but other than those couple moody moments with those, she has been great.

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Diet: She is still a really great eater. She is not eating as much veggies on their own. However, she will eat them frozen or if they are mixed in small bites with rice. There really isn’t much else that she won’t eat. She loves the fruit and veggie packets, and she gets angry if George has one and she does not. You also know that she is ready to eat because she pushes her booster seat up to the table, and she attempts to climb in.

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Clothes:  She had a HUGE growth spurt since her last update. She shot up to 18 month clothes, and just skimmed over the 12-18 month size. She also completely skipped over size 4 shoes. She is in size 5 now, but I am not sure how much longer we will be in these. Seriously she grew so much so fast! She is in size 6 diapers.

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Sleeping:  We have been putting her to bed around 7:30/8 still, and she generally stays asleep through the night until 7/8 in the morning. I think our days of two naps is coming to an end. Some days she does just fine without her morning nap, and other days it is still very apparent she needs it. She is no longer in her Zipadee Zip suit though. I am still scared to leave her with a blanket over night, but she has been doing pretty good having her hands free for the first time in her life. She has been swaddled since birth!

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Likes:  She loves my phone. She will throw a fit if you try to take it away from her. She loves Elmo. She loves to read, her favorites being an Elmo search and find, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Jesus Loves Me. She adores George, and she is always following him around and getting in his business. She loves Duplo Legos, and she is so good at putting them together. She has gotten into coloring and drawing this month. She love shoes, and she puts on anyone’s that she can get her hands on. Much to my chagrin, she loves her stuffed animals. I feel like every night there are new ones in her crib.

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Dislikes:  Not getting food fast, George having things she doesn’t, being told she can’t sit on the table, basically being told no.

Milestones: She has started asking to sit on the potty! She has peed in it once, but there have been numerous times that she just went in her diaper than dragged us to the bathroom for the potty. I am not really wanting to do full potty training just yet because she doesn’t really talk yet. We’ll ask her pediatrician tomorrow for more guidance. She just seems so little! She does a lot of animal noises. She is actually a really great listener. She knows all the rooms in the house by name. She also has started helping put dishes away as we are cleaning up for dinner. She was Jane Goodall for Halloween, and she actually went up to doors to get candy. She can open doors now…

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Nicknames:  Daphie, Sisterbear, Sis, and Daphie Girl. The two most common are still Daph and Sister.

Quirks:  Her waves are all like she is shooing you away. She has started walking on her tip toes everywhere. We are constantly telling her to put her heels down.

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We parents are: doing pretty good. October was crazy for us, we watched some of our closest friends get married which was a blast. We are heading into a busy and stressful time, so we have been trying to be chill these past few weeks.

George is: something. He has been hard this past month. He really does not like Daphne getting into his stuff. He has figured out he can pick her up, so he will do that and basically will drag her around and drop her out of his range. He is not above kicking and shoving her, so he has spent a good portion of his days in time out recently. We are working on using appropriate words when he is feeling frustrated and how to ask for help instead of hurting his sister. We have been using the “breathing” method and doing a lot of praying. He also basically never eats, so that makes dinner times really enjoyable trying to teach him what is rude behavior.

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The dogs are: the best. We really lucked out adopting these two. We have had Grace now for 7 years as of Halloween, and Crosby for 5 years this fall. Daphne LOVES Crosby. She is always trying to pet him, and she makes sure to tell him goodnight every night. They are the most patient dogs, and I love them for it.

Daphie, I cannot believe you have been here for 18 months. Every time you run down the hallway, I see my heart beating outside of my chest. I am so in love with you and the little person you are becoming.

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Here is George at 18 months.