Crafty Thursday- What Makes Rain?

I do not know how it was in other parts of m the world today, but here in our little ol’ town it was rainy and gloomy. I had planned on making a craft with the girls and thought, why not learn something in the process! Enter our dearly loved flap book What Makes Rain?

I am a part time Usborne Books and More Consultant. My children eat these books up. Who am I kidding, I do too! Their favorite right now are the flap books. Each flap book has little bits of information under a flap. This specific one was about the rain. What makes it? What are rainbows? What is the sun? It answered many different questions. Along with this book I put together a little craft.

As you can see it was cute but simple enough my two year old could do most of it on her own! To make your own umbrella picture you need these materials. 1 long strip of colored paper. 1 white piece of paper. Yellow construction paper cut into a triangle to look like a jacket. (or whatever color you want!) Construction paper cut into boots. A marker and some paint. And googly eyes. Viola! Set those kiddos free and see what they come up with!

Here are our girls busy working on their creations. Look at S’s serious concentration face. Too cute!

And now here are the three beautiful creations made by the girls. I bet you can’t tell whose is whose! ha! I love how the progression in drawing skill goes up through the three girls. Our youngest S was so proud of her self for the little circle she made and the sliver of yellow hair on her girls head!

Have fun! and if you decide to do this craft, drop a photo below, we would love to see yours!

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

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12 Ways to Be A More Peaceful Mom

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I started The Peaceful Nest because I have a desire to create a peaceful atmosphere for my family and for myself. Do you know the saying “If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy?” It is meant to be a funny quip at mothers but oh how true it can be! I believe the mother sets the tone for her household. What a huge responsibility we have then as wives and mothers. It may not seem fair but God created women to be nurturers. Therefore, the responsibility of peace in our homes and families often land square on our shoulders. We cannot create a peaceful home life for our husbands and children if we are not peaceful ourselves. How do we do it then? In today’s society, when so many pressures are coming at moms to be better, do better, do it all. It is enough to make a woman lose her mind. How do we become a more peaceful mom? I have compiled a list of twelve ways to do just that! These are in no way the ONLY ways to bring peace into your home as a mom, but I have found in my own life, these tips have helped me come to a place where I am not only peaceful but helping those around me become more peaceful as well!

  1. Allow your children to try to work disagreements out together first.

This. I am so guilty of jumping right in at the first sign of animosity. “Mommy, S took that from me!” “Mommy, B is not playing fairly.” The minute I step in, it seems the bickering gets worse OR they play nicely for all of 30 seconds and then break out into another feud. Playing ref can wear on a mom. Then one day I was thinking to myself, I don’t remember my mom stepping in every time my brothers’ and I argued. Sure sometimes, if the argument began to get out of hand she would step in, but other than that, we worked it out on our own, or we didn’t and ended up playing by ourselves for a while. One thing remained the same though, we ALWAYS made up in the end. So what changed? Why do we as moms feel the need to step in and avert every single spat? I have a theory. It has to do with the fact that we want everyone to get along combined with helicopter parenting. You see, when I was arguing with my brothers’, I do not remember my mom being around. I’m sure she was in the next room, but she did not run in the minute she heard us arguing. She was not playing with us. She was probably making dinner or unwinding from a long day at wok. So, she let us try to work it out. That is the difference. We need to give our children tools to be able to work out discord with other people, without someone else always stepping in. Where better to practice this than at home with their siblings? The very ones who will most likely always have their backs and love them regardless of an argument? If we are always stepping in at the first sign of a disagreement with their siblings, then how are our children going to be able to cope when a friend disagrees with them or if they have conflict with a peer? How about when they grow up and become adults, how will they cope when a co-worker or boss or friend disagrees with them? I believe we have gotten a glimpse of what adulthood looks like when parents step in to often. Let us do ourselves a favor as moms, and allow our children to try to work disagreements out together first. If they are unable to work it out, then evaluate to see if you need to step in. The truth is not everyone is going to get along all the time and not everyone is going to agree with us. The sooner our children learn this, the sooner they will be able to develop tools to deal with more complicated situations than “my sister won’t let me play with my favorite toy that SHE had first.”

2. Limit screen time for your children and yourself!

I do not know about your children, but when my children have to much screen time, they become fussy, cranky and disagreeable. So do I! Screens divide our attention from one another. If you limit the screens in your house, you may find more peace showing up!

3. Allow your children free time.

Free time or free play. Do children even know what that is these days? As a mom we are often pressured to entertain our children. Sit for hours on end and make sure they are receiving entertainment along with stimulation, education, etc. It can be downright exhausting for a mother to keep up. But what would happen if we take a step back. Let the children enjoy a couple hours of completely uninterrupted playtime. Playtime where they used their imagination and learned how to play alone or with other children. I’ll be completely honest; I hate playing with my children. I will play games and I love making crafts. But playing? I would much prefer for them to learn how to beat boredom themselves without having to be entertained by me or electronics 24/7. How do children get to that point though? We have to offer them plenty of free play time. Set aside an hour or two a day where you say “okay kids, you go play by yourself or with one another, mommy is going to go do [insert your activity of choice here!].” If your children are not used to entertaining themselves, this may take a while, but don’t worry, kids catch on quickly! Before you know it they will be using those imaginations and you will be feeling more peaceful!

4. Do not over schedule your family.

“Ah, don’t you hate the “what activity is your child in right now” question? I know I do. We have decided to take the summer off of extracurricular activities, since we are in the midst of an adoption. However, even then I limit activities to one at a time. Otherwise we just become to burnt out and our children feel to over-scheduled. This is not good for you as a mom or your children! Yes, it is good for children to be involved, but there is such a thing as too involved. Pay attention to your child’s signs. Are they feeling overwhelmed? Are they putting too much pressure on themselves? These can be signs that your child needs to cool it down with the extras and just have breathing room.

5. Lower your expectations

Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and our children to act a certain way. Do not be loud in the restaurant. Sit completely still. Act like an adult. If you find yourself feeling frustrated that your child is not behaving the way you expect constantly, there may be a chance you need to reevaluate your expectations. Please do not get me wrong. There are certain behaviors that should be expected by different age groups, in different situations. There are activities I know my five-year-old can handle that my two-year-old cannot. Do not put your child in a situation you know would be too overwhelming for them, and then become frustrated when they behave differently than you want. Some situations are unavoidable. If you know there is a function coming up that requires a certain expectation from your child, such as a funeral or a wedding, take the time to prepare them first, then hope for the best. If all else fails, duck out early or hire a babysitter. Always remember though, you have several years on your child. They are not going to act like an adult, they will act like a child. But they will gain experiences that prepare them for situations. So do not be too hard on them and lower your expectations.

6. Allow your children to get dirty/paint/play with glitter etc.

I think this is one so many of us moms struggle with. We hate cleaning up the messy materials. If your child is anything like mine, then their creativity thrives on the messiest projects. So do it anyway, maybe not all the time, but sometimes. Create a designated spot for your child’s art activities. Then get the rags and mop out and clean up. What harm could it really do anyway? They will be happier, learn to play on their own/entertain themselves, and trust me you will feel more peaceful! (even if you do not think you will 😉 )

7. Do not sweat the small stuff

This one goes hand in hand with number five. There are some things that are simply not important. Spilled milk anyone? If we choose to be calm about the insignificant going ons in our life, the ones that do not matter, we will find ourselves becoming calmer when bigger circumstances happen around us.

8. Do not allow other people’s opinions to define you as a mother.

You are you. You are the perfect mother to your children. You know them best. Chances are you understand your children better than anyone else. So own it. Own who you are as a mom. Own your parenting decisions. You owe no one else an explanation. You can choose to listen to opinions if you would like, but always take them with a grain of salt. Because that is all they really are anyway, other people’s opinions. And really, who cares what other people think?

9. Have quiet time.

I LOVE quiet time in my house! There is a specific chunk of time my children lay down for naps/ quiet time. My oldest no longer takes naps but she will play quietly in her room. They get that alone time to unwind and I get a small chunk of time to recharge as well. I am able to stay more peaceful because of this break too.

10. Try to keep a routine

Routines are important. Children thrive on routines. If a child is unsure what is going to happen next in their day to day, they are more likely to act out and be moody. However, if a child has a consistent routine, where they know what to expect for the most part, they tend to be calmer. Which in tune helps mommy be calmer and more peaceful. Children need to know when to expect the basics. When are my meals? When do I nap? When do I go to bed? What comes before what? What comes after this activity? Having a specific routine set, so your child knows their meals and rest time is coming soon, will help your day go more smoothly.

11.Do not be so hard on yourself.

You’re only human and you are doing the best you can! Do not be so hard on yourself! Give yourself grace. The more grace you give yourself, the more peace you will bring into your life.

12. Practice patience!

Patience is a virtue, like I always tell my kids! Practice, practice, practice! Every day is a new day to start again.

I hope you found something useful and are able to use some of these tools to bring more peace into your life and home today!
Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

The Simple Way I Potty Trained My Two Year Old

img_8922Potty training.

Honestly, it is one of the worst things about being a parent. God should have created baby’s knowing how to use the potty. It would have made moms’ lives so much easier, less messy and a heck of a lot more sanitary.

With our oldest daughter B I thought I had the potty training thing down. Pssssh, teaching a child to use the potty? Easy peasy. She learned a little before 2 years old. She was proud, she wanted the m&m’s, she loved her new panties and pretty pink potty. B was also not nearly as stubborn as S. For the most part she wanted to be a big girl, she loves to tackle the hard tasks.

S? Not so much.

Still, potty training was easy with B. If I stuck with the same methods I was sure potty training would be simple.

Easy.

Our youngest daughter S is two and a half years old. She just recently learned how to go on the potty. We waited about six months longer than we did with B, mainly because she showed absolutely no interest in the potty. Once she started to learn how to go she caught on quickly. Now it is nearly a month later and she will go on the potty on her own. Of course we still help her with the wiping and hand washing. Now that we are on the other end of potty training both girls, I would say it was quicker to get S to this point in her potty training journey than it was B. The hardest part was getting her to actually want to go. Now that gave mommy headaches and a gripping fear that S would be the very first child to attend college still in a diaper. I had nightmares about it.

Realistic? No. But none of the tricks we used with B would work on S. We actually tried potty training early on, around two years old. However, she was not having it. I decided it was best to wait until the spring/summer she turned two and a half years old. That time rolled around a lot faster than I anticipated.

There we were. About a month ago, I woke up to the sound of our oldest daughter B encouraging S to go on the potty like “a big girl.” I could hear them over the monitor. I have no idea why B decided to encourage her sister that day, but I had my doubts. “Nah, S is not going to do it” I thought to myself. She turns her nose up to any talk of the potty. She is going to be the 5 year old still in diapers sucking on a pacifier. I am going to be the mom other mom’s look at and think “I can’t believe this woman let her FIVE year old have a paci. She’s ridiculous, what a terrible mother.” yes, I have nightmares about that as well, but I digress.

A few minutes later B ran down the stairs yelling “mommy S did it! She went pee on the potty!” I could not believe my ears. My little girl did it! We all had a little dance party and I naively thought “yup this is going to be a piece of cake.” We had the new panties that S reluctantly picked out. We had the cute new potty and the bag of m&m’s. Yup, we were doing it, this potty training thing. This Momma was going to be diaper free by the end of the week. I was sure of it. I am sure God was laughing at me.

Two cups of juice later I encouraged S to sit on the potty. The scene that took place in our bathroom that morning was straight out of Overboard. S screamed “I don’t want toooooooooo!!!!” Like a banshee over and over. Okay, I replied as patiently as I could. “Well, let’s put your new panties on, and you tell mommy when you need to go potty.” We tried again twenty minutes later. “I don’t want to!!!!Was her response again with several “nooooo’s” and “it’s not working!” thrown in there for good measure. “Okay, we will try again in a few minutes.” I replied, losing some of my innocent optimism from earlier in the day.  Five minutes later she had an accident in her panties. She did not cry, she did not tell me. I thought for sure an accident and being wet would encourage her to go.

It didn’t.

We tried going on the potty again.

She probably had 5 accidents in her panties that morning. Not once did she pee on the potty. I looked like a crazy woman carrying around cleaner, Lysol, and rags.

Finally we ran out of clean panties. Every time I threw a soaked pair of panties in the washer, my confidence in my potty training abilities drained just a little. I know you’re probably thinking, why didn’t I just put her in a pull-up? I didn’t want to because I am a firm believer that for many children pull-ups just prolong the process. There was no way we were going back to diapers. I made the decision to power through and came to terms with the fact that we will be mopping the floors several times a day. I briefly thought about buying pinesol in bulk.

There we stood, out of panties, S begging me for a diaper, and me hanging on to any hope that she will not be THAT kid going to college in a diaper. I told her “kiddo you will just need to be naked for a while while I do laundry. Let me know when you need to go pee.” She sighed and went to go play with her sister.

Five minutes later I heard screaming and crying coming from the living room. I ran in to the room to make sure no one was hurt. There S was, standing in a pile of pee, crying her little heart out, because nothing was there to catch her pee. It surprised her. She hated it. I quickly cleaned her off and asked her to go potty on the big girl potty. She sat down right away and went pee! She was so proud of herself. We make a big deal over going potty in our house! So we all did the potty dance. I rewarded her with an m&m. Okay I thought to myself, could it really be this simple? Surely that was a fluke. Is it really possible she just needed to not wear anything, so she could see how pee belongs in the potty, not the floor or panties?

Sure enough, she did not have another accident that day. She also slept for a three hour nap without an accident. The next day she woke up, put on her big girl panties and did her very best to use the potty. She had one accident.

We didn’t use pull-ups. We didn’t use fancy watches or reward charts with her. She did receive m&m’s for a while, but now she has decided she doesn’t want them, I don’t know why.

We let her go naked and feel the wetness of pee. That was the simple way we potty trained our two year old.

Now I know this will not work for every child. I also know many people hate cleaning up bodily liquids. However, if you are struggling to potty train and are at your wits end, maybe you could have success with this method! Diapers will absorb the wetness, pull-ups do the same. I know they are easy and convenient. If it is what works for your family, by all means use them. However, if you do not mind cleaning up a mess a couple of times, letting your child feel how gross being wet is, may just be the motivation they need to start using the potty.

Now we are a diaper free household and S will run to the potty when she needs to go! If you have nightmares of your child wearing diapers to college, don’t be discouraged. Potty training is tough but it will happen, I promise! No parent has it all figured out, it is all about figuring out what works for you and your child.

Good luck!

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

I Allow My Child Dress Herself. Here Is Why.

I remember the first time an adult commented on my child’s fashion sense.

It was when she was two years old. Our oldest daughter, B, and I were headed to the mall with my mom. She was determined to dress herself that day. It was not the first time she wanted to and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. B chose a pink shirt, crazy looking pants, that looked like paint was splattered on them, and leopard print dress shoes.

I took a good look at her and weighed my options. I could tell her to go change, quenching her own artistic and creative style. Force her into “matching” clothing, you know, just in case we get side eyed by a judgy person.

or

I could let her be proud of herself.

I chose the latter.

About two hours later, I was carting my highly mismatched child through Kohl’s, listening to her happy chatter when a grown woman and her daughter, who looked to be late teens early 20’s, passed by us. They both gave me the “side-eye” don’t you know how to dress your child woman, look. Then I heard the younger woman say “ugh, when I have my own children I will make sure they ALWAYS match.” B didn’t seem to notice.

I wasn’t offended. I chuckled at the naivety of this woman, who had said herself, she didn’t even have her own children yet. But she apparently knew what type of parent she was going to be and what type of child she was going to get. Congratulations to her. Those of us on the other side of this parenting gig know that’s not how it works. I kind of wished her mother would have replied the way I know my mother would have replied. “You should never say what you would do in a parenting situation when you haven’t been there Jenna, you really have no idea what you would do in any given situation until it actually happens. Don’t judge.” 

Not that I am judgy now. But when I was younger, I was like most non parents, I knew exactly what I would do AS a parent. Until I had children. All that knowledge went right out of the window.

Like making sure your child is always matching. My children match probably 85% of the time. My oldest daughter is now 5 and a half and enjoys dressing herself. I enjoy seeing how excited she gets when she comes downstairs in yet another excentric outfit, eager to show it off. She knows what she likes. Gone are the days where mommy gets to pick out cute outfits for her and she didn’t have a choice but to wear them. I cannot tell you how many times she now wrinkles up her nose at an outfit and said “uh no mommy I am not wearing that.” I can still get away with picking out my youngest daughter’s outfits, but she is quickly following in her sister’s footsteps.  B also struggles with tactile sensitivities. This is another reason I allow her to dress herself. She knows what feels the most comfortable on her own skin. Now don’t get me wrong. Many of the outfits she chooses do match and are quite cute. Then there are the ones that make you wonder how or why she came up with it.

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Even though I let her dress herself, and I am sure most people out in public understand, it doesn’t stop us from getting the “look” from none other than grown adults. Adults who have nothing better to do except judge what children are wearing. I sometimes have the desire to go tell my child to dress in something not so bold or mismatched, but then I flash back to my own pre-teen self. I remember the phase when I wore cheetah print pants to school with a tan Indian vest that had tassels. My Mamaw had gotten it for me for my birthday and I loved it. I’m sure many of my peers that I was nuts but I didn’t care. The cute boy I was crushing on told me “cool pants” that was the only thing I remembered.

I remember when I wore two strands of my hair in my face for the better part of a year, along with my brother’s baggy t-shirts and flannel shirts. It drove my mother batty. She told me later on when I I became an adult that she fought the urge constantly to pull my hair back out of my face but she didn’t. She let me go through that phase and prayed that I quickly passed by it. Because of her ability to hold her tongue while I figured out my own style, I became a woman who dresses only for herself and never has cared what other people think. I have three main reasons I allow my children to dress themselves and pick out their own clothes.

The first one is because I do not want to put out their creative fire.

I believe it is the creative people who really pave a way for themselves. They are the ones who make waves, create new brands, discover new technology. The creatives are not afraid to color outside of the box. I consider myself pretty creative. However, I know B is 1,000x more creative than I have ever been or hope to be. She is constantly making something. The other day while I was trying to clean the house, she dug out puff balls, flubber and a paint brush. She made me a “cleaner” with those materials. I may have been slightly irritated that she decided to make something while I was cleaning, but she enthusiastically declared “the thought just came to her, she HAD to make it, and she promised she would clean up after herself.” Which she did. I want to cultivate that creativity. I want it to burn until B has discovered every creative bone in her body. She may want to do something in life with the creativity God has given her one day. If I make her conform to a certain style she may lose that fire. She may start believing her creative sense is not worth exploring, that it is different, or wrong. I will not allow that to happen to my children.

The second reason is because I do not want society to tell my children who they are.

We have enough young people and children that have fallen for the lies of society. They believe they have to be a certain way or a certain person, go with the flow of society or you’re weird, wrong, or different. I do not want my children to fit into society. This was one reason we chose to homeschool, along with many other reasons. I do not want anyone telling my children that they have to be a certain way. Especially if those people telling my children this are still trying to figure out who they are and are pressed to conform themselves I do not want them to be carbon copies of whoever this society is trying to make young people into. They were created uniquely by God and they should stay their unique and different selves.

The third reason is because children need room to grow into who they are meant to be.

I could tell my children what to wear or how to dress. If I did though then they would just be a mini copy of myself. One of me is enough! One of you is enough too. Our children need to be able to express themselves and one way they do that is through the way they dress. This is how they discover what they like, what they don’t like, and what feels comfortable to them. Letting them dicover this safely in the home while they are young is so important.

I am a strong believer that some things are just not worth trying to control as a parent. The little things, like what they wear or how they want to do their hair, ask yourself, is it worth it? Are you putting to much effort into fighting your child with their style choices? Maybe you could be using that energy on something more important. You should be using that energy on something more important.

The next time you see a little child in the store and they look like they dressed themselves, don’t give side-eye. Instead complement that child on being brave enough to be their own self in a world of carbon copies.

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

We Don’t Shelter Our Children. Here is Why.

Today we have an epidemic. Most people see it. Those who do not see it are in denial and quite possibly part of the problem.

When you have grown ups believing it is ever okay to throw a drink at someone’s face because you disagree with their political views then there is a huge problem. Drink throwing only works in the movies folks. Yes, I would love to throw a drink in an exes face, or in the face of someone who has hurt me, maybe I have even fantasized about it a time or two. It’s not for real life though people. There in lies the difference between many adults and those who are masquerading as adults. The actual adults know the difference between reality and fantasy.

Fantasy is believing everyone needs to agree with you or else they are evil. Fantasy is believing words and actions have no consequences. Fantasy is not knowing the sometimes stark realization of reality and not being able to cope when it hits you. Fantasy is believing your first world problems are ACTUAL problems.

Reality is the opposite. Reality is knowing not everyone is going to agree with you and still showing them respect. Reality is knowing life will not always go your way and knowing how to cope. Reality is knowing going without a dishwasher or dryer is not truly a problem or having to wait in a thirty minute line to eat that fancy dinner is not a real problem, it is an inconvenience sure. Problem? No. Not having clean water to drink or food to eat, now that is a real problem.

Where is the breakdown? Why do so many now adults struggle with knowing the difference between fantasy and reality? I cannot speak for everyone but I do know in many cases it has do to with being sheltered as a child.

Please hear me out. I am not talking about being protective. I believe there is a huge difference between being protective of your child and sheltering your child. We need to protect our children. It is our job as parents to guard their childhood and their hearts. They only get one childhood. We should want our children to look back on their lives and childhood with fondness and good memories. They shouldn’t have to look back and feel heartbreak and pain.

My husband and I do our best to protect our children. We have boundaries with other people, boundaries that we don’t feel bad about. We have safety measures in place to protect our home, children and ourselves. Our children know it’s important to be kind to other people but if someone is making them feel uncomfortable it is 100% okay NOT to be kind by protecting themselves. They know what to do if they are ever to get lost. They know what safe touch and bad touch is. Their safety and protection is always on the forefront of my mind.

With that said, what do I mean then when I say I don’t shelter my children? I mean I don’t shelter them from the realities of this world. You can tell the difference between a person who understand the realities of the world and a person who doesn’t have a strong grasp of reality. Look at the Presidential Election from 2016 and you can see the obvious break down. When you have college students needing safe spaces because they can’t deal with the realities of a Presidential Election, then you have to ask yourself, what is really going on? This is when you start having adults, people over the age of 18, who cannot handle reality because they were never prepared for it.

That is why we don’t shelter our children.

No, I don’t allow them to watch everything under the sun and listen to inappropriate music. That is not what I am talking about either. We protect our children from inappropriate situations, including movies that have hidden messages or adult programs.

We don’t shelter them from the realities of this world. My oldest daughter has been to 4 funerals in her short life so far. We have explained to her in terms that a child can understand, what it going on. What is death? What happens after death? Why do people die? What is a funeral?

Our children ask hard questions and we don’t shy away from answering them in terms that a child can understand. We go and visit their brother’s grave site often, with them. They know about sickness and heartache. They know that sometimes life just isn’t fair.

They also know you can still enjoy your life, love it and love people. Because we show them by our actions and also with how we talk to them.

Our children know that not everyone is going to agree with you. They have seen healthy disagreements take place amongst family and friends. Never do the disagreements get physical nor do they result in name calling and purposefully hurting one another. That is why I call it a healthy disagreement. Because after the disagreement we agree to disagree and leave it at that. We don’t allow the disagreement to come between what is more important. Relationships.

Our children know that not everyone is a safe person.

They know that not everyone is as blessed as we are, that there are children who don’t have warm beds and food in their belly.

But they are only children. Don’t they have time to learn the harsh realities of life? No. If today’s society shows us anything, it is what not to do with your children. Don’t shelter them. Don’t try to keep them from feeling hurt and disappointment when someone doesn’t agree with them or when they lose a game, feel left out etc. Yes, it’s normal to want to protect our children from this sort of pain, but don’t. Don’t keep realities from them, do not miss a chance to instill compassion and gratefulness in them.

When you do shelter your children from realities, you have “adults” throwing drinks in the faces of other people they don’t agree with and needing safe spaces because they don’t know how to cope with an election result. Don’t you want resilient children? I know I do. You do not know what life is going to throw at you. If we shelter our children from realities of the world, then we have failed to raise decent and contributing members of society, children who grow up into adults who know how to have relationships with those they don’t agree with. Adults who know how to treat other people with respect, despite their views.

Isn’t that what we all want?

Their Lives Are Just As Important As Yours.

This past weekend we had our first adoption fundraiser garage sale. What a good success it was! So many people donated. My sweet girl ran her very first lemonade stand and sold cookies with it. She was exhausted. She promptly told me she was never doing a lemonade stand again. She had raised around $50 and I told her since she had worked so hard all day she could keep the money. She instead brought the money over to her mamaw and said “here I want my baby brother to come home.” Talk about hearts melting!

I really enjoyed myself this weekend, so many people were kind about our adoption. They asked wonderful questions and for the most part made positive comments. There was something that I noticed though, well actually it’s something I have always known, but it was brought back to the forefront of my mind this past weekend. Many people do not ask questions to listen and learn the actual intent or heart behind something. Most people ask questions as an opening for themselves to insert their own, usually unwanted, opinion.

Here’s the thing, I absolutely LOVE answering questions about our adoption and our precious boy. There’s not much more that brings me joy than talking about our children. However there are a few questions that I think are absolutely absurd and shouldn’t be asked. It just reinforces my opinion that many people lack empathy.

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.

So many today lack empathy. It is evident by the many “internet trolls” that exist. When people lack empathy they believe they are warranted to ask stupid questions and make dumb statements about things that do not concern them. On the internet and in person. It’s pretty ridiculous to be honest.

So back to the questions I have been asked about our adoption. There are a few that I think are silly. There is one specific one so far that grinds me to my core though. It’s been asked to me a few times and I am sure it will be asked  in the future. It comes in many forms. The most common is the way I was asked this past weekend.

A nice enough older gentleman came to our garage sale. I actually recognized him by is very particular questions he asks. He has attended my last few garage sales. He bought something from me then he noticed it was an adoption fundraiser garage sale. “oh” was his reply. “well, can I ask you a personal question?” he jumped right in. Sure! I responded. I love questions about our adoption. “Couldn’t you find a baby to adopt from the US?” I am not sure why it left me flustered. This wasn’t the first time we have been asked this. Sometimes they say “Did you try US adoption first?”Why international, when there are so many children in the US that need homes?” But the way this man asked it, is the most common. It always leaves me flabbergasted. I really need to come up with an automatic response like “They wont’ let me adopt in the US because I’m a hardened criminal.” or “how many children have you adopted from the US?” yes, that one ( which my friend came up with) may be a little bit less extreme :). Anyway, after I pulled my jaw off the floor I said “our hearts are for the little boy in Vietnam.” To which he replied, “oh” and launched into a ten minute, one-sided, conversation about how his son and daughter in law wanted to adopt but it was so expensive etc. He barely stopped when he asked questions like “why is it so expensive?” etc. so I could respond. Which brings me back to my thought, a lot of people don’t ask questions to hear the answers and learn. They ask questions to insert their opinions. I had my answers ready,

there are legal fees involved, travel, paperwork, etc.

US adoptions, unless through foster care, are just as much.

how much does your car cost?

but he didn’t stop to listen to them. I just politely shook my head and said yea I know, so expensive. Then he was on his way.

The reason this question and encounter really grated my nerves was because right now our little boy is sitting in an orphanage. He is being taken care of but his needs can be met better here in America. Yes, there are children that need homes in America. but does that negate the beautiful and special souls who need homes that weren’t born in the US? People do not decide where they were born. Just because a child was born in the US does not make them more important or more relevant than those that need homes from overseas.

So to answer the man’s question; no, we did not find a child we wanted to adopt from the US. We found a child we want to adopt from the small country of Vietnam and we cannot wait until he is a part of our family. Because his life, is just as important as the lives of the children in America. His live is just as important as yours and as mine and as my daughters. We are privileged in America. That doesn’t mean our lives are more important. So instead of asking silly questions, maybe you can help the children in the US that need homes while we work on bringing our son home.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

 

 

Four Things Social Media Is Stealing From You.

My husband and I have some exciting events coming up within the next few months. We decided to take some time to fast and pray about what the Lord is doing in our lives and what he desires of us. When I started on my fasting journey, I felt as though I should also fast from social media. It wasn’t some big revelation. My child didn’t tell me I spent too much time on my phone, nothing major made me come to this conclusion. I just felt a small nudge in my spirit that this was necessary. So I did. I still am fasting a few times a week from social media (gotta love automation 🙂 ) However, during this fast, I came to realize something I already knew, social media steals so much from us. While good for a lot; business, staying connected, getting the word out quickly, there is so much that social media is not good for. In my own personal journey, after giving it up for a while, I found a few things that social media steals from me on a daily basis. These may ring true for the average person as well.

1. Social media steals our time.

I know I am not the only one. I sometimes get lost in my Facebook or Instagram feed. Looking into the lives of those I don’t even know, when suddenly it is past dinner time and I have no idea what I am going to feed my kids. Or I get so involved in what I am reading online, that I miss my child sitting on my lap, growing impatient, as she waits for me to read her favorite book. It’s easy. Social media steals our time if we let it. It steals our time with our spouses, our children, our parents and siblings. It steals our time with our friends. But wait! you say, I am more connected than ever. It is how I communicate with my friends and family. Yes, that is probably true. There is not a faster way, then sending out a quick post on Facebook or Twitter, to let people know what is going on in your life. But what about those around you? Your children? Your family? Your spouse? Don’t they deserve your time? Don’t they need it more than your phone or laptop? Is Facebook going to miss you that much if you skip being on it a few days a week? Or resist the urge to open the app every 15 minutes? Is what you see on Facebook more important than playing a game with your child, or having a meaningful conversation with your spouse? The answer is no. No it is not more important.

2. Social media steals our productivity.

I am guilty. I will sit down to grade papers, write my grocery list, or plan my home school week. It starts innocently, I get one notification on Facebook. I quickly open it up, it’ll only take a second I tell myself, and then I forget what I am doing. After checking the notification, I start scrolling. I keep scrolling. Then something I see will intrigue my interest, an article perhaps, I will read it. Then before I know it, it is one hour later and I haven’t gotten anything done that I needed to do. Out with my productivity went my motivation. Then it gets harder to actually get work done.  That is why I have found it so much easier to keep social media apps off my phone and to put my phone somewhere out of my reach, while I am working on something that needs my attention. I know that is not the way society is anymore. Everywhere you look, most everyone has a phone in their hand. Convenient yes, not always necessary or productive.

3. Social media steals our peace.

We are connected more now than ever before. Which means we have a lot of information coming to us. Information about what is going on in the world, what our friends are up to, what Jane Doe is doing across the country. While not necessarily a bad thing for us to know, it can be quit overwhelming. Social media makes it easy for us to check out of our own life and peer into someone elses’ for far to long. We may become jealous, comparing our lives to their lives. Or envious, bitter, annoyed. Forgetting what is truly important and also forgetting that some people embellish a little on social media or that we don’t know everything about another person’s life. We do not know what it has taken for them to get to where they are. Social media does a great job at stealing our peace if we allow it.

4. Social media steals our family.

I mentioned this earlier. As we  delve deeper into social media, it becomes easy to forget those that matter the most. Our family. If we don’t put up boundaries, it can become easy for a chasm to come between us and our spouse or children. They see what is most important to us. If we are constantly on our phones while our child is speaking to us, they may stop speaking to us all together, because they perceive that whatever you are looking at on your phone is more important than them. We know it’s not true, but do they?

Am I saying that we should get rid of all of our accounts and live like generations before us? No. I am not saying that at all, though I sometimes think life would be less stressful for some people if social media didn’t exist. The reality is that many of us, myself included, need social media for our businesses and our livelihood. I do believe that it is important to become aware when social media is starting to steal the most important aspects of our lives, from us. Are you surfing for hours on end, ignoring your children and responsibilities? Are you looking at someone else’s life wishing you could have it? Even though yours is pretty awesome, are you missing it? Don’t fall victim to the thievery of the digital world. There is a whole different world out there, a real one, a wonderful one, are you missing it? Don’t miss it. Because you can’t get it back. One day you may look back and realize instead of spending 2 or 3 hours scrolling through Facebook, peering into someone else’s life or having it out with the online trolls who don’t know you and don’t matter anyway, you could have been playing a game with your now grown child. You could have gone for a walk and enjoyed the day with your family. You could have picked up a good book and stretched your mind a little. Enjoy social media, I know I do, but don’t let it steal from you. Because sometimes, you can’t get back what it steals.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury