The gift that changed my kid’s life.

Quality time The gift that changed my kid's life

We live in a world that makes people think that the person with the most toys wins. Even our kid’s are taught to think that. Have you seen all the commercials at Christmas time, targeted at kids? There’s definitely nothing wrong with having things and appreciating what God blesses us with, but sometimes we tend to think, “If I get my kid _____, they will be happy.”

Before I started running my business from home, I taught as a private music tutor for 5 1/2 years. I saw a LOT of families and kids come through the studio doors. I can’t tell you how many times the kids would tell me that their parents didn’t have time to help them with their music homework. I’m talking about little kids who really needed parental help to go over the music assignments that were give to them. Yet week after week, both the parent and student would tell me that “mommy or daddy didn’t have time this week.”

I saw this week after week, and while it made me really sad to see, I realized that I was just as guilty of doing the same thing. Sean was still pretty little at the time, but I would come home from work exhausted, do everything I could to do as little as possible, and put him to bed as early as I could. I no longer have to work quite as much, and it’s definitely helped, but it took more than a schedule change for me. It took a change in my attitude.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.

Psalm 127:3

We live in a busy world, and many of us have to work. But while we make time to buy our kids ‘things’ and to involve them in every extracurricular activity that we can think of, we forget that we have the power to give them a gift that could change their lives… reading a book together, building a blanket fort… 100% focused, quality time. It doesn’t cost money, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant. They just want you.

So we’ve started reading together, going through a devotional that’s on his level, and going to get a little treat after school without rushing off to the next things to do, because it’s the little moments of quality time that communicate that we’re there for him. I’m not a perfect mom. I’m no where near what I want to be. I don’t clean my bathrooms enough, and I’ve been guilty of not making my bed more times than I care to admit. But I’m telling you about this because it’s part of our story, and while every part of my life is a work in progress, I want you to know that you have a precious gift that can change your child’s life… YOU!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!
Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

Making Yourself a Priority to Serve

Making_yourself_a_priority_to_serve

Making Yourself a Priority to Serve

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you guys know that my sister, Joy, came to hang out with us, not too long ago. We did everything from play with makeup to having a much needed girl’s night. But outside of laughing till we cried and acting crazy like we normally do when we’re together, I learned somethings really important about myself. We were talking about church, work, etc. when all of a sudden she looked at me and asked, “Julie, what do YOU want to do?” The last several years have been full of learning experiences that have stretched us. It’s matured me, made me more practical, and taught me some really important lessons, but in the process I lost something…

I had spent the last several years pouring my heart and soul into my family and business, but I had quit making it a priority to invest in myself, outside of the basic necessities, like my devotions and physical health. It was a scary moment for me, because right then, something clicked. I thought I was being practical, unselfish, and hardworking… but in reality, I was tired, burnt out, and disappointed by the lack of little dreams that brought sparkle to my life. Was it possible that I could spend my entire life not making myself a priority at all, in the name of ‘serving others’? Was it possible that I would look back and regret what I didn’t do, because I thought I was doing a good thing?

I think it’s VERY important to pour out to others, unselfishly serve, and do our very best to bring honor to the Lord. But if I denied my family things like opportunities to cultivate their dreams, moments of relaxation, and fun times with friends, they would probably think I was heartless, yet here I was doing that to myself. It was a huge reality check for me, and here is what I’m doing to fix it:

1. Be honest with yourself.

The biggest lie we ever tell is often to ourselves. ‘You don’t deserve happiness’, ‘you’re being overindulgent’, ‘other people will think you are lazy if your take time for yourself’, are all lies that can fill my mind if I let them. Just stop! Talk to yourself like you would talk to a loved one. Being honest and direct, with a heart of compassion is far more productive than the ugly lies will ever be.

2. Realize that you have to fill up first.

It’s very tempting as a mom to dive into my day, head first, before investing in myself. My kid is hungry, we woke up late, I have to be somewhere early… All of those things are legitimate reasons to go into overdrive, but without filling up our soul with the proper care, we won’t have much to offer. I start my day out with my quiet time with the Lord, and I exercise most days, but I am trying to add one more thing just for the pure fun of it. That may be reading a chapter in my favorite book, or it could be watching a funny video clip that makes me laugh. Whatever it may be, I want it to be something that helps me to start my day off on a fun note.

When you fly on a commercial airline, the flight attendant will instruct you to place the oxygen mask on your own face BEFORE you help anyone else. There’s a reason for that. If you are oxygen deprived, then you won’t be able to help anyone else efficiently. It’s the same way in life. We can’t expect to be able to help others, if we are constantly running on empty.

3. Schedule yourself in.

Go on, do it! You’re not being selfish when you make time for yourself. This is going to sound silly, but I used to try to avoid taking a nap as much as possible. I would think, “What a waist of time!” until my body was so desperate for rest that I would fall asleep sitting up. I started blocking out time on the weekends to take an afternoon nap and it’s made a huge difference. I put lavender oil in my oil diffuser, put on some relaxing music, and allow myself to get some quality rest. My family is much happier when I take the time to rest! By the way, I use the Essential Oil Diffuser for Aromatherapy – 100 ml Premium Aroma Cool Mist Humidifier with changing Colored LED Lights, Waterless Auto Shut-off and Adjustable Mist mode to help me relax and I absolutely LOVE it!

4. Remove negativity.

Sometimes we are in situations that can’t be changed right away. Maybe you are facing tough financial times, and while you are working towards paying it down, you’re still dealing with the stress. We can’t always remove all negativity from our life, but we can all remove something. Start with what you can do!  Maybe it can be something as simple as seeing your current situation with new eyes and choosing to be more grateful for it, or something as difficult as letting go of unhealthy relationships.

5. Find accountability.

If you have struggled in the past to make yourself a priority, be sure to set people around you that will keep you on track. Wether your tell a friend or close family member, make sure it’s someone with your best interest in mind and genuinely loves you. Chances are, if it’s someone who is near and dear to you, they’ll already be aware of your struggle and will want to be there for you. When I talked to my husband, he was already well aware of what was going on. It was so nice to be able to tell him everything and then ask for suggestions on how I could make these new changes a reality. He had some very helpful ideas that I know he will bring it up if I start to drift off track.

stand_up_and_sparkle_free_printable

You can also get my free “Stand Up and Sparkle’ check sheet, to keep you on track, when you sign up for our email club!

 

 

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.