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

Eight Lessons I Have Learned in Eight Years of Marriage

Wednesday is mine and my husband’s eight year anniversary. Honestly, I find it so hard to believe we have been married for eight years. It seems like just yesterday I saw him walk into Chapel at Central Bible College and felt my heart stolen from me. On June 12th 2010, I set out on an adventure with Benjamin. I have learned quite a bit during our marriage. We have faced more trials than we expected. We have grown both separately and as a couple. We have built a life that we love together. While I was looking back on our 8 years, I decided to compile a list of the most important lessons I have learned during our marriage.

Sure, there have been more lessons than just these eight. Like the fact that my husband only fills the dishwasher half way before starting it, it drives me batty, but I have learned it is better to just do it myself than bring it up to him. Maybe you have been married longer than 8 years. Maybe 8 years seems like a drop compared to the grand scheme of things. Maybe you aren’t married yet. Wherever you are at in your life, I hope you find even just one of these lessons as valuable as I have!

Lesson Number One

You Are A Team

There are always going to be those days in your marriage where you do not feel like a team. In our marriage we have faced disagreements that seemed mountainous to us. No matter how hard we tried, we just could not see the other person’s point of view. Those moments, those arguments, they are going to happen. Maybe you disagree about how best to discipline your children, or maybe you disagree on finances, in laws, jobs, whatever it may be, those big subjects will come up.

When they do remember you + your spouse = a team

You are on the same side. That never changes.  The sooner you realize this and embrace it, the sooner you can overcome the obstacles that have been placed in your marriage. On the big issues, talk them out as a team, try to understand the other person’s side. Come together on common ground. It is possible.

However, on the small issues sometimes you will just have to agree to disagree. That is okay.

Lesson Number Two

You chose your spouse

Several years down the road or maybe not even several years, after your wedding, you may be faced with hardship inside your marriage. Maybe you will be tempted to look somewhere else for comfort and pleasure. Maybe you will draw away from your spouse, claiming he/she has changed. The love has gone away. If that happens, I encourage you to take a step back. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you can remember that drew you to your spouse. Maybe they have changed. It is also possible they have not changed all that much and you are just looking for an excuse to escape when life gets difficult. You chose your spouse for a reason. You may just have to remind yourself of that reason every once and a while.

Lesson Number Three

Change is not always negative

I think sometimes we look at change as a bad thing. Not all change is negative. We have to be willing to grow and change right alongside of our spouse. If we are stubborn and refuse to grow WITH our spouse, then we may be creating unnecessary conflict inside of our marriage. I am not the same person Ben stood across from 8 years ago and vowed himself to. He is not the same person either. We have both matured and changed within the walls of our marriage and home, into something much more stable and beautiful, in my opinion. Do not try to stay who you were at 18, 20, 25 or 30. Choose to grow and mature, when you do that your marriage will naturally grow and mature as well.

Lesson Number Four

You need to fight in your marriage

Okay let me say that again you need to fight in your marriage. I do not mean fight with each other. You need to fight FOR your marriage. How? By safe guarding it. By being purposeful and intentional in your marriage with what you say, what you do and with what/who you let in. I’ll say that again. Safe guard your marriage by being watchful with who or what you let in. If a person or a thing is going to tempt you to be unfaithful to your spouse, or put your marriage in the line of fire, then they don’t belong in your life. I wrote an article last year about safe guarding your marriage. I give sound advice on ways I protect my marriage. Protecting your marriage should always be at the top of your priority list.

Lesson Number Five

Your spouse comes before your children

Please let me clarify something. When I say your spouse comes before your children, I do not mean your children’s needs. The needs of your children, their safety and physical/emotional needs should always be a top priority and come first. When I say your spouse comes first I mean do not forget you have a spouse just because you have children. Your spouse is deserving of your time and affection just as much as your children are.

Over the weekend we went to a baseball game. My husband is a huge baseball fan, his favorite team was playing. I could take it or leave it. Our daughters enjoy the thought of going to a game but when they get there the restlessness runs rampant. It rained on us in the second inning. We shuffled our children under the awning to wait it out. There was some crying, a lot of pulling on mommy, and fighting over daddy’s hat. At one point in time our youngest threw herself on the ground and cried. What for? We have no idea other than she was bored and hopped up on to much sugar. My husband consulted with a few people to figure out when the storm would pass. I can count on two hands how many times he asked me if I just wanted to leave. “They’re bored” he said. I looked at him each time and said “no we are not leaving and they can be bored.” The rain moved and we stayed until the eighth inning, when the rain moved back in, we decided that it was time to go then.

Why didn’t I just leave in the second inning? It was obvious our daughters were not feeling baseball that night. The reason is simple: that night was not about them. We went to the baseball game because their daddy likes baseball. We were not going to leave just because they didn’t like it. That is not how life works, and that is not how our family operates.

It is important for our children to understand that mommy and daddy also have likes and dislikes, wants and needs, those need to be attended to as well. It is not always going to be about our children, that is okay. The sooner our children learn that lesson the better. The more considerate they will become. Children watch your marriage, they will learn through you how they need to treat their futures spouses. Make sure they are learning the right way.

Lesson Number Six

Have sex with your spouse

I believe God created sex to be fun and enjoyable. I believe sex is for both women and men to enjoy, in the context of marriage. So this lesson is pretty self explanatory. Have sex with your spouse. Do not be afraid to have fun. You may be surprised at how close it brings you to your spouse both physically and emotionally.

Lesson Number Seven

Whatever you face you can face it together

My husband and I learned this lesson very early on in our marriage. A year and a half after we were married we buried our newborn son David. We learned we could face tragedy together during this time. A circumstance that seemed was going to inevitably tear us apart, wove our marriage intricately together in ways we couldn’t have imagined. It was then that we realized whatever storm came our way, we were better and stronger together.

Lesson Number Eight

Be your spouse’s biggest supporter.

Every one is a critic. The world does not need more of them. Your marriage and spouse definitely do not need more critics. Be an encouragement to your spouse. Be their greatest supporter. Are they wanting to do the impossible? Support them. Are the wanting to change jobs? Support them. Are they having difficulties at work, with friends, etc? Support them. Do not criticize. Do not put down. Do not discourage. Hold your spouse up and encourage. That is what they need from you. After all it what you need from them too.

In my eight years of marriage I have learned many more lessons, but these are the eight that I implement the most in my marriage. What are the most important lessons you have learned?

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?

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.

A Letter to my Strong-Willed Child

My Dearest Strong-willed Child,

When you were in my womb I told people you were going to be my calm child. Your sister, is also strong-willed, so I prayed against all odds that you would be calm. Never pushing your boundaries. Gentle, meek and kind. I prayed and God laughed at me. Instead He gave me another little girl who was 10x more stubborn and bull-headed than her big sister. I’m sure He still laughs at me.

When you were born I knew right away that you were going to be strong-willed. Maybe it was something in your eyes. That sparkle. That mischievous smile, the same one you still have today. It could have been that first night in the hospital with you. You didn’t sleep a wink.

However, I didn’t realize how determined you truly were until you were a year old. Your sister took a toy from you. Like she always did. This time you didn’t cry and run to me. This time you marched right up to her, grabbed your toy out of her hand, like she always did to you, and then you pushed her. We constantly told her, and your cousins, that you were going to grow bigger one day and stand your ground. We told them to watch out, to quit taking things from you just because you were smaller. I didn’t know one day would come so soon. She was so shell-shocked, she forgot to cry. one years old. You were already holding your own. Don’t tell your sister, but I was proud of you for sticking up for yourself, of course I scolded you for pushing. Still, I realized that day, you will not tolerate someone walking all over you, that even at one years old, you would hold your own. I was proud.

A few days later you started climbing on everything you saw. Stools, stairs, chairs. You tried to climb out of your pack n’ play. At two years old you fell out of your crib while trying to climb out. That day we switched to a big girl bed. A year sooner than mommy wanted to. After transitioning to the toddler bed, you strolled to the side of the bed (which was your crib with the side off) and climbed over the side. rolling into your bed, you looked at me, grinned and yelled “I did it!” I realized that day, your determination was something that guided you, nothing gets in your way. You will not allow one fall to keep you down. I was proud.

My dearest strong-willed child I want you to know that even though you test me and push my boundaries, I love your personality exactly the way it is. You may ask me for something after I say no, over and over again, thirty times. You may know I won’t give in, but you still ask. Your will to have what you desire may wear on me a little but I know from life experience, it is this very attribute that will take you far. Your determination will take you were you desire to go, as long as you continue to work for what you want.

You see my strong-willed girl, not everyone has your best interest at heart. Not everyone sees the bright light inside of you. Many people fall to the wayside in life, allowing others to take from them, never asking for anything in return. Their fire burns out. I know that you will not allow that to happen to you. How do I know? I know because I say no to you at least 100 times a day, you still continue to ask me for that something you want 101 times.

That will inside of you will set a fire if you allow it. It will take you to the edges of the earth, igniting your passions and paving a way that is uniquely your own. If you remember anything that I tell you, please remember this.

I may have prayed for a calm child, but I am glad that God has given you, and everything that you are, to me. Your strong-will is not a bad thing. No matter how many people huff and tell you that you are just to darn stubborn, don’t listen to them. Be kind but be true to who you are. Hold on to your convictions, believe in yourself, and love yourself. And always hold on to that strong-will. Because one day, my determined child, you will change the world.

I am proud of you.

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How can I stay peaceful as a mom?


The past couple of weeks I have taken a short break from writing. I had decided to not spend as much time on social media actually and not writing was consequential of that. The reason I decided to take my social media accounts off my phone was because I had been complaining about how I couldn’t find any time to get everything that NEEDED done, done. Then I realized “Jenna you are being so foolish. There are 24 hours in a day and you work from home. You waste away your time when you could be more productive.” So that is when I decided to take a break. My social media accounts are still off my phone but I will be checking more often and of course writing more now too! Since becoming a wife and mom I have been on a discovery on how to create and maintain a peaceful home. I have talked about having a peaceful marriage and having peaceful children. You can also find more posts in my Peaceful Home. Peaceful Family. Peaceful Life. category. I have touched briefly on how we cannot achieve peace in our homes and with our families until we have peace with ourselves. It’s easy to say but is it really that easy to achieve? I believe that if you want peace in your life you have to put it in the forefront of your mind. Are you doing all you can to reach peace? If you have it are you doing all you can to protect it and maintain it? Peace in today’s society can be difficult to come by. There are so many different things pulling at us. Mom’s have several thoughts bouncing around in their heads. Jobs, education, our kids education, marriage, finances, devotional lives, extra curricular activities for our kids, to name just a few. There are so many others out there. I don’t believe that peace within yourself, your home, your family, or your life is something that just falls into your lap. You must really want it and you must work at it. But it is possible to grasp and very much worth it. So how do you reach this peace that I keep talking about? Does it really exist? Is it really important? Yes it does exist. Yes it is important. I have found several ways that I maintain peace within my home and family that I will share with you.

SPEND TIME BY YOURSELF

This one is tough. As a mom when do you ever get time by yourself? If you are anything like me your children and dog follow you straight into the bathroom and stare at you while you are trying to use the restroom. Or if you shut the door they bang on it. Motherhood doesn’t offer much time alone. That is why you have to make time. Get up earlier than your children. Spend time with the Lord. Get your exercise done for the day. Meditate. Eat a healthy breakfast. Or just sit in the silence of your home before it becomes chaotic. This is one that I typically struggle with. I like my sleep. I am not a morning person. But I make a concrete effort to get up before my children. Most days I can. When I do, I feel more prepared for the day. If getting up is a struggle for you but you can catch some time to yourself at nap time or after bed time, do it. Instead of worrying about what needs to get done at nap time, spend that time alone by yourself. Doing this will do more for your inner peace than you may realize.

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES.

In today’s society, especially as women, there is a lot of pressure to do it all. But we cannot do it all. And when we become so focused on all we have to do it is then when you can feel your inner peace slipping. A few weeks ago I took a look around at my messy house, my schedule, the unprepared dinner on the counter, and I had a breakdown. I beat myself up about how I couldn’t do it all. It was just too much. There were piles of laundry. A dinner I didn’t have time to cook, bills that needed paid, and so much more. Then I realized I was getting my priorities mixed up and putting too much pressure on myself to do it all. My priorities will always be God, my husband, and my children in that order. Now, your priorities may look different than mine and that is okay. My husband and children come before any job I have or anything else, that is why I made the decision to stop working recently and also why I decided to home school my children. Money is great, it buys many things, but the time I have with my children I can never get back. We decided we could live on less if it meant my entire household was at peace. It is important to know your priorities. So ask yourself. What is important to you? Are you trying to do too much? When you decide what is important and what isn’t it gets easier to shrug the things that aren’t important off.

GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.

This goes along with knowing your priorities. Give yourself grace sweet mom. You do not have to do everything. Remind yourself of this when you start to feel overwhelmed. I tell myself often “we live in our home” when I start feeling stressed about the messiness around me. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself a break. Allow yourself to forget about cooking dinner and just pop in a pizza instead. Allow yourself to have fun and give yourself grace when you don’t feel up to par. Is anyone perfect? No they aren’t. That is okay. What is perfect anyway if you don’t have peace to go with it? Your inner peace and your family’s peace is more important than a neat and tidy house every single day.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

What is it that you love? Do you love being a stay at home mom? Is it possible for you to do it? Then do it. Do you love working? Then work. Do you love to write? Then don’t waste another day and start writing. Do what you love to do. Being stuck in a career, or place, or area that you feel miserable at does not help you feel peaceful. I have heard that your “feelings don’t pay the bills” and that is true. However, staying at a job that you hate will add no value to your life. All it will do is make you more miserable. I understand that it’s not possible for everyone to do something they absolutely love but a concrete effort should be made. If you have to work try to work somewhere you like. If you can’t then try to at least find a hobby that you enjoy. Something that you love to do that will bring you happiness and joy.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As mothers we put everyone above ourselves most of the time. But taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is so important to your children and to the state of your household. Taking care of your physical health and making it a priority should be important for a few reasons. You are showing your children that health is important and they should be healthy too. Also, although accidents happen and you never know how long you will be on earth, when you are taking care of yourself you are doing your part in striving for a long and healthy life. Emotional health is also important. That is why I have been talking so much about peace lately. Taking care of yourself can help you achieve peace within yourself.

GIVE GRACE TO OTHERS.

Give those you love grace. Give grace to your children. Did your child spill her milk? Before you chastise her for being clumsy remember that accidents do happen to everyone and the likelihood of her doing it on purpose was probably slim to none. Give grace to your husband. Did he load the dishwasher in a way that you hate? Instead of nagging him try doing it yourself. Give grace to your family members. Do you not see eye to eye with your siblings or parents? Let them have their opinions and you have yours. You are different people after all. Give grace to your friends. Did your friend say something offensive? Instead of jumping to conclusions think about what your friend actually meant. Along with giving grace to those we love, we should give grace to everyone else. That person that cut in front of you while you were driving, give them grace. You never know, they may have just had the worst day of their lives. Maybe they lost someone they loved, or a job, or maybe they are rushing to the hospital. Give grace to the person who hurt you whether intentionally or unintentionally. Don’t hold grudges against them. Instead forgive. Every one of us are just humans. Everyone of us think differently, act differently, and have different opinions and thoughts. Give grace, give forgiveness, let the grudges fall away and you will start to see that you feel more peaceful and less irritated.

DON’T INDULGE IN GOSSIP.

Gossip is a nasty time waster in my opinion. It is a way people kill time and make themselves feel better. Do yourself a favor and stay away from gossip. Don’t indulge in it. Don’t hang around people who gossip. I always tell my youngest sister, if they are gossiping to you, chances are they are gossiping about you. What gossip does is takes someone’s reputation and tarnishes it, creates lies and exaggerations and steals your inner peace. Whether the gossip is true or not ask yourself this “is it any of my business?” When you indulge in gossip about other people your mind is taken off of your priorities and is put on a story about someone else that may or may not be true. Frankly, what a person that is not living under my roof does or doesn’t do is none of my business. When you steer away from this quicksand your life becomes much more drama free and more peaceful.  It is well worth it.

SPEND TIME WITH GOD.

I wake up every morning and spend time with God. I enjoy this quiet time in his presence. I am reminded of his love for me and the sacrifice that he made when he gave his only son on the cross. I pray for many things but especially for the day ahead of me. This time with him resets me. It gets my mind ready for the day. It is a vital part of my day.

REMEMBER IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO.

Sometimes I think that we start to feel stressed out and lose our inner peace when we say yes to too many things. It is easy to feel pressured to say yes to everything that is asked of us but sometimes we just have to say no. That is okay. Your peace and the peace of your family is just that important. I am a homebody. There’s nothing I love more than staying home with my family and doing nothing except spending time alone with them. I try not to make mine and my family’s schedule too full because this time together is precious as well as important. My kids enjoy the down time and the time alone with me and my husband. My husband enjoys it. This is why I limit activities for my daughters. My 4 year old is currently doing two activities. She wanted to add gymnastics back in with the other two activities as well. Although I was tempted to let her, I said no she had to wait until she was done with one other activity. This is because I want her to understand the importance of down time and also because it is my job to make sure my daughter’s life is peaceful. What are some ways you can protect that peace for your family? Are you saying yes to much? Are your kids running ragged in too many activities? Remember it is always okay to say no.

Peace is so important. You cannot reach peace in your marriage or with your children until you have inner peace. I hope that you have found something helpful in today’s post that you can take away with you to help achieve a peaceful life and protect it.

Until next time!

Jenna Jury