Motivational Monday – Disappointment

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Disappointment is something that is unfortunately unavoidable in life. It happens to the best of us. It can cause depression and pain. However, we dont have to allow it to cripple us. Too often something doesn’t go as planned and sends a negative ripple through our day and plans. We often end up disappointed and in a funk because of it. Being human means that we can’t control everything and therefore, bad days and let downs will happen. On any given day our spouses, our kids, our friends, and family will disappoint us. We won’t get promotions or the new job we’ve been stalking for months. Our car will break down on the way to an important meeting and the guy we’ve been crushing on will turn out to be nothing like the person he presented himself as. Disappointment happens, but it doesn’t have to overtake our day or lives. We have the ability to overcome it. We have to learn to smile and move beyond the disappointment in our lives.

We can’t guarantee that we will ever live a life free of disappointment, but we can promise ourselves that we won’t allow disappoint to get the best of us. Whenever we are facing disappointment we must find something to look forward to and smile any way. I encourage everyone this week to stop allowing disappointments to bind them in depression, unhappiness, or stress. Remember that with each disappointment comes an oppurtunity to discover something amazing and new.

 “Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”
 
                                             ― Unknown

The Benefits of Saying No

People pleasing is one of the fastest ways to become unhappy!


As a woman it’s important to learn how to be assertive, if not, people will walk all over you. This is especially important when you become a mother because it’s not about you anymore, it’s about your child. I consider myself an advocate for my son because he can’t speak for himself. One of the hardest things that women often struggle with is saying no, but there are times when saying no is to your benefit.

Benefits of saying No….

1. It feels good!
Most of us have to do lists for days and our schedules are already crammed. Instead of stressing yourself out and over extending yourself just, simply say no, I can’t, or another word that has the same meaning LOL. It can be a little uncomfortable initially until you get the hang of it, especially if you are a people pleaser, but once you get the hang of it you’ll find that it’s easy and it feels good to not over commit yourself!

2. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it!
Believe it or not you don’t have to explain yourself. If someone wants you go somewhere or do something that you just don’t feel like doing, then it’s your right to say no. You don’t have to come up with some extravagant excuse. Think about it…what’s worse? trying to make everyone happy even at your own expense…or being honest and saying no or I don’t feel like it? If the persons gets angry, don’t worry they will get over it. If they don’t get over it, then oh well!

3. Your priorities change!
Since having my son he has become my number 1 priority. My goal is to make sure that he is grows into a well-rounded, happy, emotionally stable, secure and productive individual. Everything else is secondary. At the end of the day he didn’t ask to be here therefore; I am legally bound to him LOL.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Sometimes you realize that you just can’t do it all.
I would love to be super woman and have super energy and be able to do everything for everyone, but the reality is sometimes I can’t even see straight! Sometimes I don’t even know what day it is (LOL). Sometimes you just have to take it “one day at a time”.

5. Why bend over backwards for people who don’t go out of their way to help or be there for you?
It just doesn’t make sense! We all have those select friends who you would do anything for no matter the time of day or night. Those friendships are often reciprocated, but if you find that you are always the one who is going out of the way and others are not doing the same then it’s time to re-evaluate and say no.

6. Time is very precious you can never get it back.
It’s ok to take time for yourself, even if you have to say no to other things.

Monumental Mondays – Patience

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Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
                                             Proverbs 14:29

Without patience we welcome a life of stress, unhappiness, and even loneliness. There are times in life where we must slow down, sit down, and wait. We have to often wait on others and even wait for God. Having patience is a strength and a sign of maturity. God, will have us wait to teach us something and to prevent us from rushing into things that aren’t meant for us at the moment. We have to respect the process of waiting because it could save our lives. Think about it….. if we didn’t wait at red lights or crossways and just rushed into the street we would get hit and potentially injured. There is a perfect position out there for each of us, but we must have the ability to wait for it. We need to have patience and prepare for our blessings.

As I watch my toddler, I realize that he doesn’t have patience yet. I watch him fall over and over again, because he can’t slow down and wait for a moment. At two years old he hasn’t grasped the concept of patience, but as adults we have no excuses. I challenge each of us to figure out our areas of impatience. Are you inpatient with your husband, kids, coworkers, or yourself? Work towards improving these areas of impatience so that you are able to improve your quality of life and to be able to receive all that God has for you.

“Experience has taught me this, that we undo ourselves by impatience. Misfortunes have their life and their limits, their sickness and their health.”
                      ,,        ~ Michel de Montaign

Explore. Play. Learn.

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Nothing is greater than the moments I get to watch my son come alive when discovering some place new. When he learns how to crawl through a new obstacle or discovers a new animal, I’m just as excited as he. Children’s minds are always open and ready for new experiences. They need new environments and activities to engage in so that their imaginations can continue to grow. Exploring, learning new things, and play time are all crucial parts of everyday life for all of us. The earlier we expose our kids to new things, the more open they will be to new experiences later in life.

So, now that I’ve shared where I look for new adventures and discussed my views on learning something new, I’ll shed a little light on how I select activities. When deciding on where exactly we will go, I usually want the activity to meet 3 criteria….. It needs to have some level of exploring, space to play, and an opportunity for him to learn something new. Each is equally important!

Explore…….

Being little is exciting. There are so many things they haven’t experienced. As adults, we have a tendency to rush through things and assume that we know what’s boring or fun. Honestly, we dont. If you want to know fun, let a kid show you. When selecting an activity, I question if it gives a chance for him to explore something. We take daily walks (depending on the weather) and it’s great!!! I give him the time to pick up leaves, grass, flowers, and whatever else we see. I let him touch trees and I talk to him about the texture of everything we experience. He immediately asks numerous questions throughout our walks, and is interested in touching almost everything. Children are inquisitive and love opportunities to explore something new. According to the University of Illinois, “exploring is normal and important for children to do. It is one of the first steps in learning about objects and in learning how to solve problems. Children are fascinated about how things work, what they look like from the inside, and how they are made.” So, allow them to walk in the rain to catch rain drops. Go on scavenger hunts and climb hills just to see what’s on top! Find places to take them where they have the opportunity to explore.

Some of my favorite places to explore are:

1. Any neighborhoods/trails with trees and lots of grass.

2. Port Discovery – Baltimore, Md

3. Farms – Enchanted Forest – Ellicott City, MD

Play……

Play is very important to development! It’s also easy to get children to do, because it’s what they want to do all of the time. I try to allow Kristopher, to find a moment to play no matter where we are. I create games and find fun activities everywhere we go. One time in the doctors office, Kristopher and I practiced swimming like a fish. We made kissy fish faces, swallowed water, and quietly moved our bodies like we were gliding through water. Kristopher had a ball and behaved himself because he was playing. When your kids are getting a little antsy, redirect their attention with a little playtime. It doesn’t matter how small it is, they will love it. Playing together also builds a bond between you and your child. They get to see you as more than just a person that feeds and clothes them. They learn all about your silly side, and fall in love with you as a parent all over again. I try to ensure that all outings offer play areas, time, and opportunity.

Some awesome places to play:

1. Annie’s Playground – Fallston, MD

2. Centennial Park Playground – Ellicott City, MD

3. Kiddie Crusoe – Timonium, MD

Learn……

I’ve heard two views on this. Some say you don’t need to teach your toddler, just allow them to play and develop naturally. Others focus on teaching their little ones something new each day. I’m not here to change or direct anyone’s choice. All I can do is to speak for my own parenting style. I enjoy play time, but I do believe in learning time as well. Every night, aside from reading with my son, we work on numbers, letters, animals, shapes, colors, and more. When I seek out activities, I try to find things that will teach him something and reinforce what we are working on. For us learning is important. The earlier they start, the better they can be later in life. You don’t have to limit learning to flash cards and books. There are so many places you can go and learn something new. You will be so surprised how much you learn from watching them!

Some great places to learn while having fun:

1. Aquariums – local

2. Please Touch Museum -Delaware

3. Zoos – local

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”                         -Joseph Chilton Pearce

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Monumental Mondays- Fear

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

                                                   Joshua 1:9

Fear is an emotion that sometimes creeps up on us and other times just shows up and doesn’t leave. We all want to live fearlessly, but it’s not always the easiest task for some of us. In some instances we need fear to stop us from doing something that may harm ourselves. That’s not a bad fear. It’s the fear that holds us captive that hurts us. The fear that keeps you from leaving a job, person, or just bad situation. Or fear that won’t allow you to pursue a new opportunity. God, did not create us to live in fear! He protects and covers us daily so that we have nothing to fear. There are people out here who want to explore the waters of Hawaii, but wont, because they are afraid to fly. There’s others who have a passion in building and designing, but are too afraid to return to school. I could go on and on, but the simple fact is that fear will only hold you back from reaching your full potential!

This week, I challenge each of us to face our fears with prayer. Determine what causes you anxiety, stress, or fear and work on eliminating it. Do allow fear to keep you from the amazing things that your were created to do.

Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real

                                                   Unknown

 

 

The Uncomfortable Conversation: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety


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Postpartum depression and anxiety is very common and yet it still holds a stigmatism. The lack of sleep combined with the emotional and physical demands of motherhood is overwhelming! While its normal to undergo several emotional changes after having a baby, it’s also important to recognize the symptoms of postpartum anxiety and depression, which are serious but treatable mental health conditions. Postpartum depression is defined as depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.

I was not clinically diagnosed with either one, however, I definitely think that I had some form of both. Thankfully I didn’t need any medication but I had to rely more on my support system for help. Sometimes, just little breaks and uninterrupted sleep will help, but, if the symptoms don’t subside or seem to get worse, it’s best to seek medical treatment and remember that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It takes 10 months to grow a human, therefore once the baby is born you don’t just snap back to your usual self right away! If you or any moms that you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Here is a list of symptoms that in hindsight I can say I suffered from at one point or another.

Unusual Anxiety
The feeling of being anxious for no apparent reason; the baby is safe and so are you yet you just can’t relax.

Hyper Sensitivity
An example of this is almost everything that your spouse says makes you really angry or emotional.

Uncontrollable Crying
Crying is normal especially when your hormones are out of whack, however if you find yourself crying often speak to someone and if it doesn’t get better over a couple of week talk to your physician.

Insomnia or Excessive Sleeping
I don’t think any mom suffers from excessive sleeping (LOL) but it can be a sign of depression. Insomnia is horrible! Sometimes your brain just won’t turn off and your thoughts keep racing keeping you from getting the much needed sleep that you desperately need!

Triggers For Postpartum
1. Lack of support
It really takes a village! Raising a child is not a one-man show! Support from friends, family members, a spouse etc is essential! If you have people who are willing to help…let them!
2. Extreme Fatigue
This is normal after having a baby but once the baby is sleeping you should be able to get some sleep unless your baby doesn’t sleep well. In that case switch off with your partner or someone in order to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.
3. Extremely Overwhelmed
Thing should settle down after a while and you should develop your own routine; however if you are always overwhelmed talk to someone!
4. A History of Depression
Women who have a history of depression are more susceptible to postpartum depression.

Helpful Resources:

Postpartum Support International 1(800) 944-4773

National Suicide Prevention 1(800)273-8255

WellMama 1(800)896-0410

Baby Blues 1(866)616-3752

~Kristle….A monumental mom!

Monumental Mondays – Hardwork

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. 
Colossians 3:23

Our careers, hobbies, and families all deserve our best. They are each blessings that God, has given each of us to cultivate and develop. If we are only half doing it what are we saying to God? What are we showing others about ourselves? There are moments where we all fall short and don’t give everything that we should, but it’s our purpose in life to do so. If you dedicate yourself to a hobby, project, or task be sure to commit completely to it. Commit to being a great friend, wife or husband, significant other, mother, sister, daughter, and employee. Your hardwork will not just help another, but it will also make you proud.

This week stop and conduct a self-evaluation of the work that you do on your job, at home, and in any other activity that you are involved in. Are you giving 100%? Are you truly working with all of your heart at it? If you arent, use this week to create a plan of action for change. Find a way to be great in at least two areas of your life and build on that every week.

Successful people are not gifted; they just work really hard, then succeed on purpose.

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Explore. Play. Learn – Part 1

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Although, it doesn’t feel like it yet, summer’s quickly approaching. Spring shows up some days, and I find it to be the perfect time to get my son out to ‘Explore, Play, and Learn!’ I’ve learned that little people don’t do well in the house for too long. If you have little ones, please take them outside, especially when there’s good weather! Before I was a mother, I was always out and about. Now that I’m a mother, I’m still frequently out and about… just with a 2 year old!

I frequently get calls, inboxes, and texts about my outings with Kristopher. I’ve had moms tell me that they can never find anything for their kids to do. So, today I decided this would be a good topic on which I’d provide a little insight. I’m no professional at outings, but I do have a method to my own madness. When brainstorming things for Kristopher to do, I use a number of resources:
1. Magazines: One of the first places that I look for interesting children activities is the Baltimore Child. They offer information about many new and upcoming attractions, along with some places that already exist, but aren’t published in many other places.

2. Internet: I’m a search-a-holic! I search everything!! So when I’m looking for new ideas, I’ll punch in a word and search. You will be amazed at what comes up. Groupon is also another great Internet source! It provides a list of places that are reasonably priced.

3. Mommy Friends: I’ve built a great network of “mommy friends.” The best way to go to the coolest places is to associate with a group of mommy friends from all areas. You can’t just use your closest friends!!!! Why? Well, 9 times out of 10, you all have like ideas, because you are always together. I talk to coworkers, friends of friends, strangers in Target, Facebook friends, and any mothers who have insight. Firsthand accounts are great for finding new gems!

4. Social Media: People always say how they hate social media, but I love it! You get to see what everyone’s doing, because people can’t resist posting. If I see something interesting, I’ll contact the person with a little message, and ask if they and their child enjoyed it. People are typically responsive, helpful, and really nice. A great by-product of contacting them this way is making a new mommy friend. Many entertainment venues also advertise on social media.

5. Going to New Places: To discover new places, you have to go to new places! So many people seem to think that they will find everything from the comfort of their own homes, but there will be times that you don’t. You need to get up and out to visit new places! Crazy, right?! LOL! You will find that you end up talking to other moms and family members, often while out with your little ones. During the course of conversation, you will normally learn of some new ideas of where to go. Moms love to share, and have no problem with being open about their last great find. However, if you don’t get out, you will never know.

“Life must not be spent always hoping, always waiting. Life is for the living.”

Michael Morpurgo

Kristopher’s Mommy – Kristina