Category Archives: Life lessons

Me first!

First born child.

Incredibly stubborn.

Strong willed.

Wants his way.

Demands to be first.

Pouting

Pouting (Photo credit: dadblunders)

Do you have a child like this? Do you know a child like this? Were you this child?

I am a pretty calm person. I don’t get irritated easily. I have no problem letting others go first. While I am incredibly determined, I do not have the “me first” nature. I’m sure I did at some point, but I can’t remember it.

When I became a Mom for the first time, it took me a while to realize that these were qualities that my first-born has.  Looking back, I see this from very early on. He was not a good sleeper. He did not like sleeping anywhere but his swing. It took trying different things, and talking to other Moms until I realized that it didn’t matter where he slept, as long as he slept!

I have struggled over the years to find a balance with this. It can be difficult. I want him to be determined. I want him to believe strongly in himself and not let others push him around. I want him to realize that he is uniquely made. I want him to know that he can do anything he sets his mind on. I want him to be a leader. But, with all of these things, I want him to understand that he needs to learn to put others first and not be selfish. I find this to be a constant learning battle as a parent.

We’ve been working with him for a long time on this. He’s gotten much better. But, lately, the me first attitude has been out in full force. We take family bike rides together, and he always wants to be first. He has a very hard time letting his younger brother lead. Don’t most big brothers?

A few weeks ago, he had an incident of needing to be first, and ended up tumbling with his brother on their bikes. He was scraped up. And I was irritated! Of course, I checked to make sure he was okay. But this flew out of my mouth. “This is exactly why we tell you that you don’t have to be first! People can get hurt. What were you thinking??”

It wasn’t one of my finest Mommy moments, as I didn’t show much grace. I was so frustrated that he could not understand what we’ve been trying to teach him. It just wasn’t sinking in.

Then it hit me. Aren’t we all like that sometimes?

Until we actually experience the mistake and the hurt associated with hit, we usually can’t learn the lesson. And as parents, I think it can be one of the hardest things we will have to do. Sometimes, we have to let our children fall and suffer the consequences in order to understand these important life lessons.

How do you handle the hard lessons with your children?

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Filed under Emotions, Life lessons, Motherhood, Raising boys

Nobody told me

Nobody told me how having kids would change my marriage.

Nobody told me that I would fall in love with these kids so much, that I would unknowingly isolate my husband, and make him feel like he wasn’t needed anymore.

Nobody told me just how HARD it is to raise kids.

Nobody told me that every waking minute would be consumed by taking care of their needs, and putting my own on the backburner.

Nobody told me that I would face serious hardships in my marriage. That my husband would be unhappy. That I would feel completely numb.

Nobody told me that I would ignore my husband for a very long time. And that he would get to a point where he didn’t really care.

Nobody told me that life can be really hard. And that sometimes I would just struggle to make it through the day.

Nobody told me these things before I had kids. Or even after I had kids. Or during those really, really hard early years with multiple children.

So I am telling you.

New Moms, young Moms, Moms with young kids – the road may be difficult.

You may feel exhausted. You may feel extremely lonely in your marriage. Your marriage may be struggling. You may feel like you can’t do it. You may feel like you will never love your husband the way you did before you had kids. You may be annoyed. You may be irritated. You may not have the energy to work on making things better.

Let me tell you something else. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

There are other couples struggling through the same things. Many of them may not be talking about it, but believe me, there are plenty of people in similar situations.

Photo by Mother Letters

But don’t give up! It does get easier. The kids will get more independent. They won’t need your constant attention. It will get better.

I am in a place now where I am past feeling like this. I chose to make changes in my marriage, and I was forced to make others. But the one thing I know is that being a Mom is tough. There are days when it is hard to go on. But, you can do it.

Your kids need you to be alive, and be present, and help them understand that they matter. And, they need to see that you have your own life as well. That they are not your entire world. They need to see you being the you that God created you to be.

Have you ever felt any of these feelings? What advice would you give Moms currently feeling like this?

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Filed under Authenticity, Family, Life lessons, Marriage, Motherhood

And the Winner Is……

Thank you to all of you who submitted suggestions via Facebook or in the comments. I appreciate your ideas, and some of them were very creative! But, they weren’t exactly expressing what I want the series to be about. I know what you’re thinking – how could you possibly peek inside my head to be able to figure that one out??

My husband and I talked about it all weekend long, and he actually ended up coming up with the name. I feel it best describes the series I will be starting soon. His response was, “So, do I win the Amazon gift card?” Yes, honey, yes you do! 🙂

So what was the winning name? Drumroll, please………………..

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I am so excited about sharing the stories that I have already been working on. I am hoping that you will be as inspired by them as I am. I will be posting the series once a week.

I would also love to hear from you. If you would like to nominate someone, please let me know.

I have had this series on my mind and heart for a while now, and starting putting ideas together about a month ago. Little did I know that it would go along nicely with our new series at The Orchard! I love it when that happens.

Thank you again for all of your great suggestions. I appreciate it very much!

 

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Filed under Encouragement, Life lessons, Motivation, Uncategorized

You can’t make me!

Remember that line from grade school?

You can’t make me!!

I have been thinking about this in the context of motivation and encouragement. We can be positive and encouraging and do our best to lift someone up. We can even speak into their life and help them realize things they may not believe about themselves. But what I can NEVER do is MAKE them do anything.

They have to choose for themselves. The decision to change has to be more attractive than the decision to stay the same. They have to choose to change. This is true in so many areas of our life.

I can’t make someone stop drinking – but I can show them unconditional love.

I can’t make someone eat healthier – but I can offer suggestions that have helped me.

I can’t make someone want to have a relationship with God – but I can live the most authentic, loving life that I can.

I can’t make someone follow their dream – but I can ask them about it. And I can help them remember what it was like to dream.

The list could go on forever. But the one thing I have learned is that it has to be YOUR decision to change. It can’t be your husband’s, or your boss’, or your friend or family member.

Change has to come from you. It has to mean something to you. It has to cost you something.

But the great part is always the reward. It is always better than you imagined.

What significant changes have you made in your life?

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Filed under Dreams, Encouragement, Life lessons

Gone from Sight

I can’t stop thinking about Jamie this week. I think about her so often. Every time I wear my Team Jamie tshirt, or my pink breast cancer hat, or when I see pictures of her beautiful daughter, Kayden.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since she’s been gone. I have written about lessons I learned from Jamie, and I have continued to be inspired by her friends and family.

Jamie’s Wish is coming true this week, thanks to the amazing efforts of those who loved her, and people who never knew her. How awesome is that? Not only was she extremely inspirational during her time on earth, but she also wanted those who were coming after her to have it better than she did. She was truly selfless.

Jamie was a big part of the reason that I made the decision to get healthier and stop making excuses. She would have done anything to be healthy. And here I was, slowly killing myself, by choosing to be completely unhealthy. Something changed in me when I made that connection. I could choose to continue living in denial, or I could choose to change. I chose to change, and I have not felt this healthy or strong in a very long time.

Unfortunately, I also learned today that one of my Senior Vice Presidents from work also passed away from cancer. He had kept his illness very private, so it was a shock to many of us. Our President of Sales sent out this poem that someone had given him when his father passed away. I couldn’t help but think that it described Jamie perfectly.

Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

I continue to be inspired by Jamie and the legacy she left. Every day is a chance to make your mark on the world. To leave your own legacy. So, let’s get moving!

As Jamie would say,

Much Love,

Tammy

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Filed under Comfort, Death, Friendship, Getting Healthy, Life lessons

Your gifts

Do you ever feel like you want to do something different?

Like you are not making a difference where you are?

Do you think – if God had me somewhere else, doing something else, living my dream – THEN I’d really be able to help people?

Sometimes I think that can be true. If you’ve gotten yourself in a position where you are completely stifled. You’re numb. You’re unhappy. And you don’t think you can change.You’re most likely not helping anyone when you’re in the state of mind. But that can change.

I’ve recently gone through experiencing some of this. I felt like there was something completely different that I should be doing. I felt like God would only use me if I chased a big dream and did something radical. The problem was I didn’t have a big dream in the same sense that many people do. I never wanted to be an actor, or a missionary, or write songs.

“Steward the talents you’ve been given and enjoy the surprises along the way.”  ~Jon Acuff

As I look back now, my deep down desire has always been to help people. To encourage them to do something more with their life. And in some small way, change the world. But how do you make a living doing that?

I’ve realized something through the help of prayer, Jon Acuff and Quitter, and talking with some of my support group. Sometimes, God has you right where he wants you. He just wants you to start truly seeing the people around you. To stop having surface relationships. To start showing people how much you care about them. To remember the gifts he gave you in the first place. And to use them.

This has been a revelation to me. One of my main gifts is encouragement. I have been doing an okay job of it. But there is always so much more I can do if I am truly looking to see the needs around me and obey when prompted.

This has already led to fun projects that I have been able to plan, as well as individual engagement with people I never could have imagined.

So, what are your gifts?

What is one thing that you can start doing today to impact people right around you? It’s usually much simpler than you think.

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Filed under Dreams, Encouragement, Life lessons

Be Quiet and Back Off

“Be quiet and back off. You are getting in my way.”

Not exactly something I expected to hear from God. Now, I know what you’re thinking. That is crazy. Did you really hear it from God?

Yes, I did. I am learning to listen more closely when He speaks to me. This is not something I have always experienced, believe me! And it is something that is somewhat scary at first. Sometimes it is a gentle simple voice. And sometimes it is very clear. Like this time.

What was he talking to me about? My frustrations and impatience when it came to my husband’s faith walk. I had just gone through an incredible transformation and truly learning to find my own solid faith for the first time in a very long time. I was excited! I wanted everything to be perfect. (Why do we always think that way?) I wanted him to feel what I was feeling and to experience it together.

Is that a bad thing to want? I don’t think so. However, when I heard those words I realized something extremely important. His faith walk is different than mine. Everyone’s is. What speaks to me isn’t going to speak to him. What excites me isn’t going to excite him. Constantly nagging him or expecting him to immediately be where I was, was unfair.

So what did I do? The only thing you can do when you clearly hear an instruction from God.

I shut up.

I backed off.

I got out of the way.

I stopped trying to control something I had no control over.

Did I stop praying for him? Absolutely not.

Did I tell him that God said this to me? No. (Not at that moment. More on this later!)

Did I stop trying to control everything and trust God? Yes.

Which makes me wonder. Who was the lesson for in the first place?

My husband or me?

So my advice to anyone who is frustrated with a spouse or partner or child and their faith walk is to BACK OFF. Be a quiet example of what it means to have a relationship with God. But don’t try to fix them or expect their experience to be like yours. In most cases, that is the worst possible thing you could do.

I’d love to hear something that you’ve clearly heard God say to you, and what you did about it.

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Filed under Authenticity, Belief, Encouragement, Faith, Life lessons, Marriage

Lessons I learned from Jamie

I can’t stop thinking about all of the lessons I learned from my friend, Jamie.

I hate that I had to learn these lessons from her, as I wish she had never had to go through what she did. But, she continues to be an example to so many and is still bringing people together for a greater good, even after her death.

Her birthday seems like a fitting time to share them, as well as some pictures that touch my heart.

Speak from your heart. Always.

Smile. It’s infectious.

Take time to listen to others.

Blog.

Never give up on people.

Pay it forward.

Treasure every moment, every hour, every day.

Be thankful for everything, even if it’s hard.

Ask for prayer when you need it.

Give yourself completely to others.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Surround yourself with amazing people.

Tell your friends and family what you want.

Start on your bucket list.

Celebrate life. No matter what you are going through.

Much love.

Thank you, Jamie. For being a friend, an inspiration, and an encouragement to me and so many people. Your spirit lives on through Aaron, Kayden, your family and friends. I am blessed to have known you.

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Filed under Beauty, Friendship, Life lessons, Thankful