My Word for 2015

5
Jan
2015

Marin-2015-word

I began focusing on having a word of the year in 2013, in the blogging community it became the popular thing to do.  I chose Perseverance.   Then in 2014 I quietly chose Grace.  So, as I read through The Best Yes and shared with you all through our study,  I realized many of my decisions and issues revolved around time management and being involved in too many things, I have chosen the word Margin for 2015.

I am overworked, overcommitted, overextended and tired of being a victim instead of in victory over my time.

I need margin.

What is margin you may ask?

In his book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D. describes margin like this:

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

Margin is the opposite of overload. If we are overloaded we have no margin. Most people are not quite sure when they pass from margin to overload. Threshold points are not easily measurable and are also different for different people in different circumstances. We don’t want to be under-achievers (heaven forbid!), so we fill our schedules uncritically. Options are as attractive as they are numerous, and we overbook. 

I am overloaded and often can feel like I am suffocating.  That truly resonated with me.  I am not exactly sure when I transitioned to that space where margin was gone…. but I do not like the life I have been living.

Reading The Best Yes gave me some tools to help me navigate learning how to say no and know what were the activities, commitments and relationships I was to give my time to…. now I just need to follow through intentionally.

So for 2015 I will:

1.  Set boundaries around my time spent on social media

This is a hard one, as I really do love sharing online, I am a blogger for goodness sake.  But what often happens is I tend to get stuck on there and then my family receives my left overs as I have placed too much value on the other relationships.  This is wrong and I am trying to find a balance where I can enjoy that, but also set away and not feel guilty.

2.   Setting realistic goals with my writing for the blog

I can often feel that I have to write 3-4 times a week and if I don’t I am letting my audience down.  After some reflection I do know that you all do not have hours upon hours to read blogs!  If I can post two times a week some encouragement and something valuable then we are all better off.  As I look into 2015 I will have to balance that with my desire to run the online book studies as well.  I truly feel called to create community in this manner, but it takes time and help.  I was so thankful for the moms who volunteered and helped me facilitate that last study.  It was fuller and had a larger impact due to many being involved – I loved it!

3.  Putting myself first

This may come out wrong but if you are a mom who is overextended, I think you can identify with what I am saying.  I will put all other tasks above my own needs and it only negatively effects everyone.   I need to prioritize my need for physical exercise, time with God, time to read, meet a friend for coffee and just be.  There is rarely a time that I am not doing something and I think that needs to stop.

4.  Being intentional with my family

I have been guilty of this more than I care to admit – putting everything else above my family.  I have felt incredibly anxious and guilty about my to-do list – whether it is in regards to my home or my two businesses I run – I have done a poor job of being engaged.  I know this has to change.  I have gotten myself into this rut of feeling like I don’t deserve to have fun because my work is not done.  Is that not silly?  But it is amazing what your mind can begin to tell you.

I want to have that “extra” time that having margin will bring.  This will not just happen and I am not kidding around here by saying this will be easy, but I do know that something needs to change now.   My health is important and I am the one who can take control and be intentional.  Otherwise I can just end up blaming others, which is truly a sin.

I am excited to move ahead and find new ways to do things that I felt overwhelmed with and honestly, hopeless.  I can feel empowered and transformed.  His grace is sufficient and I know that He desires me to change.

Thank you for joining me in this journey and allowing me to be vulnerable and honest with my faults.  We are all in the together!

Do you have a word for 2015?  I would love to hear it!

Chapter TWO – The Antidote

4
Feb
2014

Take-Off-Judgement-Grace

In Chapter two we are talking about pride as well as confidence.  I thought this chapter was extremely critical to self-examine ourselves, but even more so, since this website and my business is “The Confident Mom.”  

“Pride, fear, insecurity, and judging perpetuate the Perfection Infection that taints our hearts and plagues our society”

Let me just clarify something first, I do consider myself a Confident Mom – but this online space is NOT where I sit and toot my own horn – as you’ve already seen I have many areas I struggle with.  If you haven’t read about it yet, just look a bit further.  

I’ve written about my struggles, my weaknesses and more – being as authentic as I can without completely embarrassing myself or others in my life {although I have embarrassed myself on several occasions!}

This venue is more a place where I can hopefully encourage you – to be a confident mom.  One who thinks clearly, knows why she chooses the choices that she does and stand firm in convictions.

In the first part of the reading you can easily begin to feel that being confident can be in fact a sin as it can easily be intertwined with pride.  The key word to keep in mind is   HUMILITY.  This is one OUCH word for me, to be quite honest. I have been known a time or two of thinking, “I can do it myself.”  Yep, also known as being a stubborn and tenacious German!

I loved this quote from Jill, it really spoke to my heart:

“Pride demands a voice.  Self-confidence is quiet, undemanding, and unassuming.  Pride believes you are better.  Self-confidence believes you are capable.  Pride is about taking.  Self-confidence is about offering.”

Jill goes onto to explain the difference between pride and self-confidence – I could relate to the examples she shared, could you?

Humility – this is a word I will pray about this week for myself.

Take off insecurity and put on confidence.

This is the exact phrase for my heart for this online venue known as “The Confident Mom.”  It is true, and certainly what I have found when I have worked with so many moms from all over the world – we all struggle with feeling competent for the job – we feel we don’t have what it takes or not enough information.  We mess up and cannot give ourselves grace.  It is those “inside our head” voices that end up being broadcast over our own loudspeaker.

Can you change that?

I am reading and studying, “Unglued” by Lisa TerKeurst right now in my bible study group.  One thing she states, which I am going to steal for this study too (and for life really!!) is: 

“Our goal isn’t to be perfect; that’s not realistic.  Our goal is to make progress – imperfect progress.”  

Doesn’t that sound good?  It is about making small changes and moving forward, little itty bitty baby steps at a time…but never the less, moving forward!

I leave you with my favorite quote of this chapter ladies, may it resonate in your heart and may you begin to feel freedom in who God created you to be – just YOU!

Tweet:     “Insecurity is bondage to who we’re not. Confidence is freedom in who we are! 

Did you download the discussion questions for this weeks chapter?  You can do that HERE.  Grab a notebook to place them in or jot them down in a journal.

Feel free to answer this question here on the blog:

Is it harder for you to be honest with yourself or honest with others?  Why?

I will be praying for each of these comments posted.

Chapter ONE – The Perfection Infection

28
Jan
2014

Embracing-Imperfection-bookstudy

Welcome again, to all the lovely moms who’ve gathered here to go through this study, No More Perfect Moms.  I know the video yesterday really hit home for so many – I loved reading what you shared on the Facebook page.  Here are a few in case you missed them:

Loved the video for today! It made me smile seeing those moms hold up signs of their children when they were younger compared to now. My 3 year old has been a handful lately.But I know he’ll grow up to be a great man because he will have God on his side. One day I’ll be able to make my own sign and encourage other moms the way this video encouraged me.

 

The idea that we compare our insides to the outsides others are able to present really resonated with me. I think I need to be as careful with my own feelings and self-confidence as I am with my children’s. I was realizing that I would definitely step in and want to figure out why someone was so hard on themselves if they said the things I tell myself internally all the time. I guess I need more patience with me.

Can you relate to either of these moms statements?

I think we all have great intentions to be Super Moms – the ones who have it all together all the time, but then reality hits and all those expectations we’ve placed on ourselves fall short.  It is almost like the feeling to be “better than” the others is automatically built into our nature when it comes to motherhood.  Do you feel that?

I can feel it and I’ve been a mom for over 21 years – with kids in all different seasons.  From the time I ventured into motherhood all wonder-eyed and full of excitement, I see how pressure has been beating down from all sides for me to be better, superior to the other mom who gave her kids chicken nuggets from the freezer every night and oh my – how about the mom you know who lets their child watch 4 hours of TV a day!!  GADS!!  

Well, let’s break the bubble right now ladies…..I’ve been at this mom gig for a few years and you know what?  Last night even through my effort to eat Paleo and feed my family really good food, we all ate Dinosaur chicken nuggets and Tater Tots for dinner last night.  Yep, no fruit or vegetable included – just processed food to fill our tummies.  

I also have been known to park my little guy in front of the TV for several hours to meet a deadline, take a much needed bath or even perhaps have a good cry when I am on day four of my husband traveling out of town.  Yep, the truth comes out.

Me…the one who encourages you to be your best mom.  Well you know, sometimes our best doesn’t look so pretty and perfect.  Some days are rough and when we allow ourselves the grace to just let our guard down and honestly…..get by, things turn out okay on the other side.

“There are no perfect moms – just imperfect women who will fall off the pedestal of their own expectations more often than they care to admit”  Jill Savage

I have very high expectations of myself and they hinder my ability to enjoy the everyday.  It is a process to learn to let go and God is working in my heart, but I know I am not the only one.  

Do you feel your expectations are too high?  

How did we get here, feeling like we have so many things to check off to be complete?

I am prepared in this journey to grow and this will unfortunately show you my “not so perfect” side I am sure through the journey.  So be prepared – I love to encourage you, I know we are all great moms, but there are always little changes that we can make so things run a little smoother, or we grow in an area that the Lord is tugging at us to.  

I need to make changes too and will be open and honest with the areas I struggle with and reveal some things that may surprise you.  But it is time for REAL here – this is the place and I pray for grace and your virtual hugs as I share from my heart and take you on a journey.

“Masks do not serve us well.  They keep us at an arm’s length from our friends, our family, and our God.”  Jill Savage

The mask will be taken off ladies, as it so often is here – you see the good, the bad and the ugly!  Please try to embrace where you are and where you would like to be.  This idea of high expectations giving us a ‘Perfection Infection’ is very real.

 As Jill says – we are constantly bombarded with these images of perfect families, neat and tidy rooms and way too much Pinterest!!  I love Pinterest, but it is something to be taken in small doses or you can really overload yourself with these perfect images.

So I challenge you today, as well as myself – to take a reality check.  I know that I miss so many of the moments of motherhood because I allow my emotions to carry me or I put too much on my ‘to-do’ list.  

How can you be present in a way that perhaps you were yesterday?

Remember, you are not alone – there are many of us here together – all sharing in this journey of imperfection.  We need to celebrate together and fight off perfection.

Did you download the discussion questions for this weeks chapter?  You can do that HERE.  Grab a notebook to place them in or jot them down in a journal.

Feel free to answer this question here on the blog:

What one-word emotion listed in Chapter One can you relate to?  Or do you have another to add to the list?   If you would like to share a bit more as to why that particular word resonated, please do.  I will be praying for each of these comments posted.

My Struggle with Sin

14
Oct
2013

I have felt it over the few months…..

A growing discontentment with a lot of things…..my home, my marriage, my kids, my routines, my ministry here at The Confident Mom, my retreating into isolation due to a long list of ‘things’ to do and not having time to reach out.

I am bitter, restless, feel beat down and angry.  I am angry at myself for allowing me to get to this point, and even more angry that I have to admit this to others outside my close knit group.  But this is one of the steps to rid sin of it’s place….

Whether you know it or not, this community is one outlet that I depend on.  You are a bit of my family here…..I like to share the positive and encourage you all the best I can, I do truly believe it is a gift that The Lord has given me, but the other part of the equation is being completely and vulnerably honest and truthful when things aren’t so perfect.

This is reality and I know in my heart I have to be honest and authentic  in my walk, my struggles as well as with my successes.

This gig of motherhood is hard, and it’s even harder when you are trying to be the wife and mother that God intends you to be – I feel the expectations sometimes just overwhelm me, but I know it is my given role.  I also realize when my senses are truly engaged and I am tuning in, that satan loves to have my feeling inadequate and insufficient.

Last week I poured my heart out to The Lord during my morning devotional time, asking Him to help me determine what was the problem, or problems causing this anger, frustration and plain exhaustion in my role as Keeper of my Home.  Being a mom lacked any enthusiasm on my part; a wife – serving my husband, even less enthusiasm, even down right disgust.  Now, please do not get me wrong, I love my husband and I know we are a gift to each other – but I was not feeling like serving – in fact I was really wanting someone to serve me.  

What about me?  That ugly selfish thinking…..

I was losing patience with my toddler, feeling lonely and upset that often times I am alone with my little guy 3-4 days per week doing life on my own because my husband travels.  Everyone has their story and every has their struggle, but for me right now, I am struggling.  And it runs deep.

It was revealed to me clearly after I read a post that was written actually several years ago by Mandy over at Biblical Homemaking, it was about an experiment she had done called, “The Complaining Experiment.”  The post was up on my Facebook feed on Friday and I am so thankful that I happen to be on Facebook at that time to run across it.

She spoke of many things that resonated clearly with me and struck a cord, these are direct quotes taken from her article:

“I was being deceived by the father of lies.  In so many ways.”

“And it hit me- the father of lies will do anything to make me give up on being a mother

Satan wants me to stop caring. To disengage. He wants me to want to mentally quit, and not even know he was there. And he kept whispering in my heart, “you are not good at this. This is not who you are.”

And it took me a few years, but I fell for it.

And that’s why I think I believed the second thing God showed me was a lie in my life:

I shouldn’t have to do this.”

This was at the very core of my complaining spirit.”

It was like I had words to put to my anger and frustration.  I was exhausted and felt like I ‘shouldn’t have to do any of this. That was the bitterness, spread out like dirty laundry…..my feeling of entitlement.

I realized from her article and what she shared, that not only did I have a selfish heart (which had been revealed to me earlier in the week by The Lord) but I had a complaining heart.  I was full of sin and it was poisoning everything I did.  

Everything.

I feel like I need an overhaul from a selfish spirit.  I want time for me – period.  And you know what, this is not my time to have time for me necessarily.  I have been called to mother children and be a submissive wife to my husband.  I agreed to this and even when it becomes hard, I need to grasp for Jesus’ hand and keep pushing forward.  Period.  Stop the complaining, seek His word and carry on.

When I lose my temper for the 10th time in a day, I need to sit down and hold my 3 year old and cry asking for forgiveness.  

When I don’t feel like serving my husband because I have been ‘served out’, I need to ask for strength to serve him even more.

I need to pray this verse – hourly….

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

After I shared Mandy’s article on my Facebook page, I received a message from another mom who had also been struck by Mandy’s post.  I knew it was my time to share my feelings…..I knew I wasn’t the only one and that other’s needed to know they were not also.

I find it interesting that I felt led to share my struggle with you right now, just days before I lead you all in a book and Bible study to regain control in our homes and find peace.  I realize too, that when we step out in obedience that we are prime targets for Satan’s attacks.  I know that I am being attacked, because of the self-talk that I can continually say to myself all day that discourages me from believing God’s word, believing His truths and knowing that He loves me more than anyone can.

But I also know that in the midst of this all, I am still a sinner and will struggle with constantly keeping it all in check.

So, as we venture on this journey together, would you join me in praying, not only for myself and my struggle, but the other ladies who will join this study.  Satan would love nothing more than to have us realize and believe his lies that we are not good enough and we will never be able to provide a calm and peaceful home that is organized for our families.

Ladies, we are going in for battle and we are going to WIN!

I also love that when we admit and ask forgiveness that The Lord blesses us – He meets us and fills our needs.  As I went was writing this post, even in my struggle to share my imperfection and feelings of being unworthy and not good enough, an email came in from a mom who just finished my 5 part FREE mini series.  

Dear Susan,

I just finished your 5 video series! Thank you so much for all of your work and for your heart in offering them for free! I am a homeschooling mom and have four kids ages 10 – 19, and love it it all!  However, we had a very challenging summer with mental illness issues and I’m quite frankly – exhausted! My husband sent me out on a 2 night over-nighter yesterday, to rest, relax and refresh myself. This morning I was able to finish your videos that were waiting for me in my inbox.  Yay! They were JUST what I needed. THANK YOU!
 
I also just sent out an email with your link, recommending your website and video series to the yahoo group of homeschoolers at our church. I’m praying some of these tired mommies will click on your link and prepare themselves to be refreshed.
 
This renewed my spirit ladies and gave me the courage to tackle new challenges here.  I am so thankful when I hear stories like this and can be reassured that I am helping others.  
 
I pray my post today touches someone who needs just that – a kind touch from another mom who knows her struggle and wants her to be a conqueror too.
 

Won’t you join us?  Details to come this week!

I-Used-To-Be-So-Organized-Study-Main 

 

I Used to Be So Organized Online Book Study

11
Oct
2013

A few months ago I went to the Proverbs 31 conference, SheSpeaks back in Charlotte, NC.  I had an amazing experience and also met a lot of other talented writers, bloggers and speakers.  God uses all of our stories for His glory!

I was deeply motivated when I attended a workshop on creating online book/bible studies.  I felt that this was one of the next steps for me to take in my journey as a writer, coach and blogger.  So, I am stepping out in obedience and offering my first online book study.

During this conference I was also able to attend several workshops offered by Glynnis Whitwer and felt an connection with her as a person, writer and then even more so when I picked up her latest book, I Used to Be So Organized and began reading it.  I felt that it was a book I could use as a refresher, but I also felt that this book was a perfect fit for my wonderful community of moms.  

Life is always throwing curveballs at us, our seasons of motherhood change and we can often feel overwhelmed and frustrated with our lack on being able to control things.  Well, Glynnis covers the frustrations that many of us feel when we just can’t get a handle on our lives.  We carry guilt, over this fact that we ‘used’ to have it together, but for some reason, life now seems a bit overwhelming, we are met with one challenge after another and often distracted from managing our homes in a chaos free fashion. 

Combining spiritual encouragement and practical application I Used to Be So Organized presents a balanced approach to finding order and peace for today’s overwhelmed woman.

So this is the first book that I will be offering as a study.  It contains 23 chapters (don’t freak out!!) but each chapter is short and easy enough to read while waiting in the car pool line or while at swim lessons.  It is a great easy to read guide.

IUsedtobeSoOrganized_large

So my crazy idea involves:

  • Reading the book together – breaking it down into 7 weeks bite size pieces
  • Each Monday I will be posting the week’s reading and suggested assignments
  • I will be posting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – my own thoughts, implementation ideas and how it worked in hopes that my suggestions may help another mom – all useful content relevant to the study. There will be homework and study ideas, memory verse suggestions, discussion questions, video messages (yep I hope to do a short video in there!!)
  • We will create discussion in the comments section of the blog, and I will be actively engaged in responding
  • We will be sharing and creating conversation on Facebook – both on my Facebook page, but I plan to open a closed group page for more in depth conversation and idea sharing/support.  Participating in the Facebook option is just that, an option not a requirement – I will refer to them in my posts, but  they are supplements and free options for more interaction.
  • You can give yourself a reminder to check my blog daily or sign up to receive my blog via email.  I suggest email. That way the study will always come to you, and you don’t have to remember to come to it. It is up to you to check for the weekly assignments. If you have ANY problems understanding how to do this, just ask.  (There is no certain time of day that you have to check my blog–check it at your convenience. That’s the beauty of an online study!)
  • The study is FREE for you to participate, but you must have your own copy of I Used to Be So Organized in order to participate in this Online Study.  I will be using the book, referencing it and you will be lost otherwise.  You can pick the book up locally or order it online at amazon – here is the link to the paperback copy – here is the kindle version.  If you purchase using this link I get a small *bonus* from amazon as my thank you for referring you.  I appreciate it when you use this link, it helps me keep doing what I am doing for FREE.
  • Other items that will be helpful for this study:  a Bible, a notebook, pen or pencil, and highlighter.

A side note, you will get out of this study exactly what you put in to it. I am your encourager, leader, coach – but I cannot do any of this work for you.  I encourage you to start thinking now when you will set aside the time to fully participate in this study, make it a priority.  

If you are in need of a change, make this your time to succeed!  Bad habits are hard to break, so let’s go in together to create some good habits and get peace back into your home, life and family!  I know you won’t regret it!

BONUS Options for You

Options are just that–options! Good–but not required.

1.  “Getting Real – Conversations that Spark Change”  – Conference Calls~ I will be posting more information on this option later next week, with the line-up of guests and topics that we will cover.  Look for 3-4 calls over the 7 weeks, lasting 45 minutes and encouraging you with real information and solutions – this will be a paid add-on.  (pssst….one of the calls will be with Glynnis too!  I will share more next week!)

2.  Private Facebook page IDEA  – I would like to open a private facebook page for those who want to keep conversations private and in the comfort of those only participating in the study.  This will be where I post the majority of the content as I do not want to bog down the regular Facebook page feed with information for those not doing the study.  Please leave a comment below if this is an option you would like.  If I do not get feedback I will use the existing Confident Mom Facebook page rather than beginning another page.    I heard from you all – here is the link to the private facebook page – please ask to be added and join in on the fun!   

3. Pinterest – Love Pinterest!  I have a page created where I will be posting the weekly verses, resource images and other relevant content.  You will want to follow my I Used to Be So Organized Online Study Board if you are on Pinterest!  

I will be posting the reading schedule next week with additional information – but for now, if you are thinking of joining us – go grab your book!

What do you think?  Are you in, leave me a comment!