Morning Coffee With The Peaceful Nest. What Does God Say About Peace?

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Good Morning! I hope you all are doing well. Welcome to a new segment I am doing called Morning Coffee With The Peaceful Nest, where I bring to you short thoughts, musings, and devotions. I wanted to start off with peace, since my blog is about finding peace in the chaos of everyday life, why not start with there?

Today I want to talk about what God says about peace. Webster’s Dictionary states peace as a state of tranquility or quiet and freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

I don’t know about you but having a state of tranquility with freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions sound pretty good to me! It actually sounds too good to be true though, doesn’t it? Mothers can’t have peace. There is too much to do, to many activities on our plate. We need to make sure our kids are fed, bathed, rested, in every activity and getting along. We need to make sure our homes are spotless, our husbands are happy, and dinner is on the table. Many of us also hold outside jobs. There is just too much stress and no room for peace. No siree, peace is a distant dream, preserved only for those who are living on a tropical island, far from civilization. It can’t possibly be for me, I’m a mom. Oh but it is! Those are lies straight from the enemy, meant to trip us up and suck the joy out of our lives. The truth is, peace is to important not to try to maintain in ourselves, our homes and our family.

Today I wanted to take a look at what God says about peace.

2 Corinthians 13:11 says “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

This verse says so much in one sentence! First it tells us to live in peace with one another. It doesn’t say that everyone has the same opinions, morals and values, but it does say to live in peace with one another. It also tells us that when we do live in peace GOD will be with us. He is the God of peace. This right here tells me that peace is important, God is a God OF PEACE.

John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 16:33 states “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Wow.

From these passages I have gathered four things God says about peace.

1. God is a God of peace.

2. God gives us his peace.

3. God wants us to live together in peace and harmony.

4. Even in tribulation we can have God’s peace.

It is right there. If God tells us in his scripture that he is a God of peace and he will give us his peace, then shouldn’t it stand to reason, peace is just that vital to our every day lives? Even when it is difficult. Even when you are facing tribulation, try to grab hold and hang on tight to God’s peace today. Trust me, it will be worth the effort!

I hope you have enjoyed my very first Coffee with The Peaceful Nest. Do not forget to join me tomorrow morning when I talk about how to have peace within ourselves.

Have a wonderful day!

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

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

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

Do Routines Really Work?

I have a confession to make. My family has to think I’m a tad bit nutty. No, they would never admit it. I’ve asked them point blank before if they were concerned about my mental state. They have always denied the accusation. Why would they think I was loco, you ask?

Because I put my children to bed at 7 pm. Okay, I see it now. You are internally rolling your eyes. This lady is cray cray you are thinking. Apparently that is now a word. My 14-year-old sister informed me of this fact several weeks ago, then looked at me like I had three heads, because I had no idea.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Why yes, I put my children to bed at 7 pm. Actually the last few weeks we have been sliding our oldest daughter’s bedtime down to 8 pm, since she is almost done with kindergarten. Regardless of the times, I make sure my children go to bed early 98% of the time. Why?

Because children thrive on routine. They also need a certain amount of sleep every night to function. Just like adults, but their tiny bodies need more. That is a different topic for a different day. Since B was a baby I have had her on a routine. Not a schedule. Those are two entirely different things, breeding from the same concept. I have always made sure her meals and her sleeping routine were the same. Sure, there are times that we do not adhere to the routines. Mainly on holidays and vacations, occasionally on family movie night. Those are fun days. They are fun for my kids, they are fun for the other family members involved. Do you know who it is not fun for the very next day? Mommy and Daddy. The following days are days I can only describe as days made up of nightmares. Misery. Agony. Torment. Okay you get my dramatics I’m sure. However, we can manage those days because 98% of the time our girls have a routine.

A few months ago I notices B was struggling a bit on her day-to-day. She has sensory processing issues. We are also adopting another child. With all the changes I could tell her SPD was flaring up and the changes were making her anxious. She fought me on everything. Getting dressed. Doing school. Going anywhere.

I first became frustrated. Then I realized that change is hard on everyone. Why shouldn’t it be just as hard if not harder on a little kid. One whose world can make her anxious anyway? It was my job as her mom to help her cope and make it a little bit easier. Kids are not in control of anything, if you truly think about it. Yes, some parents give their children choices, like the snacks they eat, what activity they take part in, etc. Like we do. However, in the bigger picture, children are at the liberty of the adults in their lives. If you have a child who already feels like they have no control over anything, plus they have no sense of routine in their lives, you will have yourself a recipe for disaster. This disaster typically manifests itself in the form of a tantrum or defiance.

So I decided to add two more sets of routines into B and S’s life. A morning routine and an evening routine. These routines take less than 10 minutes to accomplish but the turnaround I saw in B just that first day made a world of difference. Why? Because she knew what to expect and she realized that these activities, such as getting dressed and doing school were nonnegotiable.

Here are the routines we use.

Morning Routine

  1. Go Potty
  2. Wash Hands
  3. Make Bed
  4. Get dressed
  5. Eat breakfast
  6. Brush teeth
  7. Get ready for school

Evening Routine

  1. Clean up toys
  2. Go potty
  3. Wash Hands
  4. Take a bath
  5. Brush Teeth
  6. Get dressed into pj’s
  7. Read a book
  8. Say prayers
  9. Go to bed

You may be thinking, well these are things they need to do anyway. You’re right. But if they are not done consistently, children may begin to fight doing them at all. So I printed off these lists. Added clothespins with the girls names, that they could move, and the most important part, we go through the list consistently, in the same order, every single day. Even on days we don’t feel like it. Days we are out with family. Even on Holidays.

It has made a world of difference. I have always been a believer in routines. These new daily routines have made me more of a believer. B no longer fights me on the must-dos. Sure she still grumbles every blue moon. But she doesn’t pitch a fit and dig her heels in. Which has made her calmer, and me calmer. Because she knows what to expect. She can wake up and know exactly what is going to happen. I can tell her it’s time to get ready for bed and she knows step by step what will happen next. Children need that sense of knowing and calm. It makes their world make sense and less chaotic.

So if you were to ask me, or most people who are with children on a daily basis, do routines really work? YES. 100 times over YES.

Start one today. You may be surprised at the results.