Learning to Love Every Age and Stage

Learning to Love Every Age and Stage | RaisingArrows.netWe have a wide range of ages in our household – all the way from little bitty to nearly grown.  It’s a lot to keep up with, but I enjoy it so much!  However, I remember a time when this wasn’t the case.  I remember when I didn’t relish every moment because I didn’t know I was missing anything.  And even if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have known how to change it.

Then I reconnected with a childhood friend who was very vocal about loving her children.  She loved them “out loud.”  She told me she would memorize their little faces as they nursed because she didn’t want to miss a moment.  And I was in awe.

It had never occurred to me to enjoy my children right where they were.  I was always too busy trying to get them to the next stage.

Learning to Love Every Age & Every Stage | RaisingArrows.net

So many mamas are rushing through their children’s childhoods. Some are excited for the future. Some are weary of the present.  Some know they should slow down.  Some never give it a thought and just keep plodding away.  Most are a mixture of all of these, and far too many of us are “missing the moments.”

Enjoy Every Age and Stage | RaisingArrows.net

Baby Creed is 14 months old.  Every day I wake up and stare at him and realize he is growing up before my eyes, and if I don’t enjoy the very age he is right now, I will never have that chance again.

I am thankful the Lord brought someone {back} into my life who truly loved her children and showed me by example how to make memories with my children before I found myself with only memories to hold on to.

You may never know the pain and emptiness of losing a child, but if you do not grab hold of the age and stage your children are right this very minute, there will come a day when they will be gone in the figurative sense, and you will wonder why you didn’t savor their growing up years.

Learning to Love Every Age & Stage | RaisingArrows.net

There isn’t some magical formula to loving your children right where they are.  It is more a careful and purposeful slowing down to gain perspective.  It is a hug, a kiss, a smile, a listening ear.  It is taking photos and videos – even if they are on a cell phone.  It is keeping a journal with them or sharing a Special Night.  It is being a student of your child, learning more about them every day.  It is thinking before you speak, and loving more than you lecture.  It is speaking out loud just how blessed you are.  It is looking for the good in every age and stage, rather than dwelling on the bad.

It is realizing they do grow up, faster than you would ever imagine.

Large Family Homeschooling eBook | by Amy Roberts of RaisingArrows.net

A Mother’s Love {Welcome Home Wednesday}

A Mother's Love {Welcome Home Wednesday Homemaking Link Up on Raising Arrows}This week my mom is here visiting and helping our family pack up for our move. At night, we all sit around the table and play games. We have laughed so much this week that my throat is hoarse and my sides hurt, but I go to bed every night with a smile on my face.

My mom is here because she loves us. She’s willing to do anything within her power to make this move easy.  I am grateful she is here, and especially grateful for the evenings spent laughing.

This week I want to honor a mother’s love with links from last week that really spoke to my heart as a mother who dearly wants to love her children with the love my mother has for me.

First up, a couple of posts with photos that made me smile.

Lisha from The ‘Blish shared her day in photos.  There was a lot of love there and it was a fun post to look through.

Jilllian from Olive Plants & Cornerstones shared 13 Lessons motherhood has taught her, but it was the photo that caught my eye.  Perhaps because my own son will soon be 16, and I could see myself and my little guy all those years ago. *sniff*

The-changing-seasons1-300x235

Jennifer from A Heart for the Home talked about Embracing Your Season.  Considering I’m in quite a season right now, this stood out to me as something I needed to read.  Stress abounds, but the ability to embrace it and even laugh through it is beautiful!

Whitney from Beauty in the Mess had a wonderful post on grace and forgiveness toward your children when they do something that really bends you out of shape.

I also enjoyed seeing how Katheryn from The Fit & Healthy Homeschool Mom is building relationships with her children.

And finally, a must-read from Lisa at Frontline Moms & Dads entitled 10 Reasons My Older Kids Still Go to Church.

The common thread you are going to see in these posts is RELATIONSHIP – the kind of relationship that packs up a household by day and sits around a dining room table at night playing games and laughing far too long and far too loud.

Thank you, mom.

Before we head on into this week’s link up, the most clicked post of last week was from Meghan at First Comes Love and her post on buying clearance now with next fall and winter in mind.

Now, it’s your turn!
Leave up to 3 links that will encourage homemakers this week!
{If you are reading this via email, please click HERE to find all the links and leave your own.}

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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Guilt-Free Quiet Times {plus Giveaway!}

When Emily Ryan of Priority Ministries wrote to me about her new book Guilt-Free Quiet Times, I was skeptical.  Sure, I had written about how God wants more than a Quiet Time to-do list, but was this book a complete cop-out?  Was she going to coddle and even encourage excuses?  Was this just going to be another Christian-mom book promoting selfishness tucked neatly behind a veil of misquoted grace?

What I found instead was a book I have come to recommend nearly every week to other moms wanting meaningful Quiet Time with the Lord, but wondering when and how.

Guilt-Free Quiet Times {review/giveaway}

This book doesn’t make excuses.  It is a book that smashes arbitrary rules without throwing out Quiet Time altogether.  Emily takes the myths of Quiet Time and exposes the Truth every mother needs to hear.  Her witty style and humorous examples force you to face your own misconceptions and fears about what constitutes REAL Quiet Time.

I realized I had some pretty ridiculous notions about Quiet Time – notions I didn’t realize I even had!

Quiet Time Myths from Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily Ryan {review/giveaway on Raising Arrows}

I had to ponder this one deeply.  Sure, I use technology all the time to look up random Bible verses, but ever since I installed a Bible app on Ty’s phone and we started using it during church, I felt, um…

{guilty}

The truth, as Emily goes on to clarify, is that:

You CAN use technology in your Quiet Times with the Lord! {Truth from Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily Ryan}

Honestly, just about every chapter in this book made me stop and think.  Did I hold any notions about Quiet Time that were holding me back from meaningful time spent with the Lord?  Was I holding on to an ideal rather than being ready and willing wherever I was?  {Apparently, you CAN write a Quiet Time post and still not fully get it.}

Emily has generously made her book FREE in ebook form to anyone who subscribes to the Glo Girl Blog. {CLICK HERE}  But trust me, you are going to want this in paperback as well.  You’ll want to hand it out to other mothers, lead a group study in your home, or even just keep it on your end table as an encouragement to be a woman firmly planted in God’s will, ready to hear Him ALWAYS!

Also note:
Priority Ministries offers discounts for BULK orders!
{CLICK HERE TO ORDER}

I am also very pleased to be able to give away 5 copies of Guilt-Free Quiet Times!
Enter the giveaway below!

Guilt-Free Quiet Times Review/Giveaway on Raising Arrows

{if reading via email, click here to enter}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Motherhood for 2014 {Welcome Home Wednesday}

Welcome Home Link Up | RaisingArrows.netThe new year often brings restructuring in all we do – especially as homemakers. One area that we often work toward restructuring is motherhood – or rather our attitude about motherhood.

It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose our way in the forest of things to do and take care of as mothers. Today, I want to share with you links from last week that focus on motherhood and will hopefully help you re-align your heart toward your children.

First up, a prayer for 2014 from First Comes Love:

new year prayer-001

Next, from Beauty Through Imperfection, What I Learned When I Learned When I Stopped Trying to Enjoy Every Moment of Motherhood (I think you will enjoy her perspective).

Daisies’ Bliss had a post entitled When Anger Gets in the Way of Homemaking, but I think it most definitely applies to mothering as well.

Chaotic Simplicity has a post on God’s Economy – something I wish more parents would realize when it comes to raising children.  God truly will provide!

And Joyful Australian Help Meet left a lovely link about The Unending Story of motherhood.

The top clicked post from last week comes from A Noble Calling.  She shares her testimony as a “stay-at-home” daughter to encourage other young women to prepare for homemaking and motherhood by working right where you are with the opportunities the Lord has given you in your own family.

Now, it’s your turn!
Leave up to 3 links that will encourage homemakers this week!
{If you are reading this via email, please click HERE to find all the links and leave your own.}

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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Just Walk It {why I’m not writing a New Year’s post}

Just Walk It {why I'm not writing a New Year's post} | RaisingArrows.netThis time of year bloggers write New Year’s posts.  They talk about what they are planning for the upcoming year.  They talk about their word of the year.  They “clean house” and move forward.

But this year, you won’t find a New Year’s post on my blog.

Now, don’t think for a moment I don’t like planning and decluttering and organizing and ringing in a new year.  I do!  But, this year God has me in limbo.  I can’t make any plans.

All I can do is walk.

I have been given just a little light on my path.  I walk one step and wait.  I walk another and wait.  I know eventually there will be more light on the path, but even then, it won’t be much.

But it will be enough.

This year, I’d encourage you to just walk it.  Make your plans, but don’t idolize them.  Be purposeful, make changes, clean and declutter, prepare and learn, but don’t get sidetracked by the little stuff along the way or the big picture you can’t see.

Let God be God.  Rest in Him.  Let Him light your path and then walk it.

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

May your 2014 be filled with faith!

Just Walk It {why I'm not writing a New Year's post} | RaisingArrows.net

A Classy Christmas Wardrobe for Mom?

A Classy Christmas Wardrobe for Mom? | RaisingArrows.netThe Christmas season is upon us, and this year I feel like dressing up and dressing classy! But, what does classy look like when you are a mom?

It seems a lot of styles today are either completely impractical for a mom or totally inappropriate for anyone, let alone a mom.

I want to look stylish.  I want to feel comfortable.  I want to be modest.  I want to be me.

Is that too much to ask?

Clothes & Makeup for Mom | RaisingArrows.net

So, here’s what I came up with…I would love to have your input!
{affiliate links included}

Starting at the top with my hair.  It’s going gray.  I don’t feel like doing anything about it.  I once met a woman in her early 30′s who had gone completely gray.  It was beautiful.  She had it styled nicely and it looked stunning.  I actually stopped her and told her so.  She informed me that her husband was of Indian descent and in his culture gray hair was beautiful and desired.  She had been a hairdresser and said it was difficult for her to let it go, but she had learned to love it.  She was owning it – it didn’t own her.  She didn’t look dumpy and old because she was a classy gray.

I’m determined to own mine too in the same classy way by keeping it styled nicely.  I have a Hair & Makeup Pinterest board where I pin things I want to try, including YouTube videos of haircutting and styling tips.  I do not believe gray hair has to act its age.  I can still wear my hair “young” and look like a classy mama at the same time!

Next, my makeup.  I use a lot of L’Bri products (see my review of their skincare line here), but I absolutely adore the tinted lip balms from HardLotion!  I use these nearly every day to add just a bit of color to my lips while still keeping them moisturized in the dry winter weather.  Love, love, love these!

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Some of my favorites are the Bee Silk bar (keep these by your sink and in your purse!), the rash cream (safe for cloth diapers!), and of course, the tinted lip balm.

TintedLB-2T

Now for my jewelry.  This is where I really like my unique personality to come out.  I like my earrings big.  I try not be obnoxious with them, but I do like them dangly.

earringsI also like scarves!  They can totally take a plain ole t-shirt and make it fancy.  That is definitely an A+ in my book!  (added bonus:  they hide some of those “mom moments” – see my Murphy’s Law for Moms!)

scarf

Now, for the actual “classy mom” outfits!  I like to find that one great piece and work with it.  Sometimes it is a skirt, like this deep red skirt from Deborah & Co.

deep red

Even though I am only 5’4″, I like how classic and beautiful maxi-skirts are, and I don’t think they make me look any shorter than I already am.  This one is a nice color for the holidays.  My secret sister sent me the scarf (yippee!) and I had the black long-sleeved t-shirt in my closet.  The jewelry was also something I had on hand.  And don’t forget the fleece leggings (it’s below freezing here!) and the boots!

Another Coupon Code!!!
Get 10% off your entire order at
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Snag that really great ensemble piece or a pair of fleece leggings or nursing tank (with or without lace on the bottom) or another great layering piece like the half tee tank (I use these with shirts I love that are just a bit on the “low” side ;) )

Sometimes a classy Christmas outfit begins with a great sweater or pair of jeans.  Sometimes it is even a piece of jewelry that makes you smile or a pair of shoes that fit just right.

That reminds me — SHOES!  Christmas is the perfect time of year for boots!

outfit5

I found these at WalMart and I love them!  They are a dark brown and go with just about everything, and they are so comfortable!  I really want a pair of black boots, but I have had a hard time finding anything.  I don’t want a heel and I don’t want them obnoxious.  Anyone have any suggestions?

The photo above where I’m wearing jeans, I’m wearing some Israeli-made leather shoes that I found at a thrift store!  They are unbelievably comfortable!  Shoes can totally be the base of a classy mom outfit!

So, there you have it.  My guide to a classy Christmas wardrobe!  Keep it comfortable.  Keep it modest.  Keep it beautiful.  Keep it you!

Want to see more holiday outfit ideas from other bloggers?

Visit These Ladies:

Smithspirations

Growing Home Blog

A Mama’s Story

Raising Mighty Arrows

Artful Homemaking

The Modest Mom

Little Natural Cottage

A Delightful Glow

Thankful Homemaker

In The Nursery Of The Nation