To The Mom Whose Child is Off to College or Work…”

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Dear Mom of a young adult,

You are not crazy. You are not alone. And whatever you feel is so normal.

Spending hours looking at pictures of your child/children as babies and toddlers? Me too. Thinking about the time they spilled the milk…again, and you were harsh with them? Been there too.

Every parenting mistake you ever made will be fresh in your mind. You will wish a million times for do-overs. To go back and relive that one perfect day or one normal day. To hold them, breathe in their fragrance, laugh and stay up late and let the chores go. To live stress-free, playing and laughing in the park with them. To recapture for a second those sweet days of yesterday.

You’ll probably go by their room and cry…or sigh. Perhaps sit in there. Maybe close the door because seeing the empty room hurts too much.

You will wonder if it ever gets easier. And the answer, of course., is yes..and no. You will still hurt, but you get better at living with the ache. Living with the tension between being so incredibly happy for your “baby” who is starting to live her life and so terribly sad for you as a mom. And for Christian moms like me, your prayer life will improve.

So let yourself grieve. You are letting go of a huge part of your life. Talk to someone who gets it. Find a new hobby, find a new time in your life for you to try new things. Sit in the bathtub full of bubbles with a glass of wine and let the tears run down your face. Just know you are so normal. And that someone out there gets it and is praying for you. Because I am.

And as always, reach out to me if you need someone to chat. And let me know how you deal with your children growing up!

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Are you a River or a Pond? Why I Decided to Blog

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I will never forget the day I heard the parable, as I call it, of the river and the pond. It changed my approach to life. Have you heard it?

A pond is stagnant. No inlet or outlet. It sits, still and pretty. And can become a pit of pond scum and bacteria, rendering it unsafe to consume or be in.

A river flows. It has a beginning and an end…a destination. It moves constantly over rocks and branches and its bed, weaving its way to an endpoint to join a larger body of water. That keeps it churning, fresh, and healthier than a pond.

I thought about my life as the parable asked me to do. What was I doing with all I was learning as a stay-at-homeschooling-mama? I taught Bible studies or Sunday School occasionally. I even preached once a year or so (because my husband has an engaging smile and demeanor and I can’t say no to him, haha). But I love learning so I  read a lot and wrote, and studied and kept most of that to myself. I spent years seeking out information on living a full, abundant life as a woman of God in the 2000s.

So along came this blog. I’ve graduated two children and they’re off in college and the work world. I think they’re great and they still want to be around me and ask my advice from time to time. πŸ˜‰ And I have one at home for two more years who is light years ahead of me in most of his work. But hey, he’s great at tech support and making me laugh and teaching me about higher math and making me think. So I decided I had time to share my life with the “blog world.”

I have no idea if anything I share helps. You’ll find lots of different types of information along the way in my eclectic blogging. But it’s all geared to share and learn and not become stagnant. And the focus is to be women who, at the end of our lives, look back and say, “That was a life well-lived.”

So that’s why I have a hobby blog. No affiliate links as I’m not making any money off of things I share. If that ever changes, you’ll be the first to know. I do add links to other blogs and websites I think you might enjoy and who I give credit to for things but that’s about it. The rest of the information is my “thinking out loud” and hoping you can learn from my life. And as you comment and share with me,  I can learn from yours.

And you take anything you learn from me, as I will, and share it. Let’s give one another rivers of encouragement throughout the ebb and flow of our lives. And channel hope to others.

Thanks for reading, fellow river woman. Go live life well.

No, Mary, I Didn’t Know! The Need to Slow Down and Think

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Hang with me today if you’re not a Jesus person. I am, and a total Bible Study nerd, so that colors my perspective and my worldview. But tucked away in the Bible, in a book called Luke, there are a couple of verses that have the power to help women live life well. I promise not to get preachy, so let’s dig in!

The story is about the birth of Jesus. Mary has been really pregnant, riding on a donkey for days (for which she deserves heaps of credit. Trust me, as a woman who has  given birth three times, when I say that I could not have done that!) She had the baby in a cave and no one was there to help except her husband. But, a group of shepherds showed up and told her angels appeared announcing Jesus’ birth. They were so excited that they ran to see this baby and his mother.

Right after that is the little sentence I want to think about: “Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.”

Treasured all these things. Always thought about them. Some Bibles say “Pondered” them. It’s sort of like a cow, ruminating with it’s food. Digesting, re-digesting. Pulling all the nutrition it can out of that food. This is what Mary did.

Today is so fast paced and busy. Life is complex and we’re told to multitask, think fast, eat fast, go, go, go. We often have no time to breathe, let alone think or take care of ourselves. But, what if that’s not the way to live? What if we as women are hardwired with a need to think, treasure, reflect? What if we really can live the type of life we want by DOING less and PONDERING more?

For me, this translates into doing something I don’t like: Going to bed earlier. A total night owl, I still go to bed earlier (this took training) so I can get up and begin my day in quiet. I roll out my Pilates mat and move, I make a smoothie or smoothie bowl,  I drink my water, and I slow down and study my Bible. I journal. I think.

What could pondering look like for you? Would it be a “first thing?” Or, would your pondering be better when the baby sleeps, or at night, when everyone is in bed?

So today, I’m thankful for the story of Mary. Of the reminder to BREATHE deeply, think deeply, and treasure my life in my heart. And I want to encourage you to carve out some time to do the same for yourself.

Moving On: Re-setting Your Course

Recently my husband came home in a panic: his iPhone would not turn on. It had 68 percent battery life and even plugging it into a charger didn’t work. Since the phone is only about two years old, he did not want to buy a new one. My daughter took his phone and did a “hard reset” by holding the on/off button and home button together for ten seconds. The phone came on and has been working fine since. 

After a move, you will need a re-set. You can expect to be out of sorts,  lost, and frazzled. Longing for the familiar while excited about the new. I have found there are three things that I have to do each time I experience a transition.

  1. EXPERIENCE  You will have feelings of sadness, regret, nostalgia, or anger-and probably all of the above-about your old home or town. This will be true even if this move is for the happiest of reasons. You need to let yourself be present and feel all the emotions. One thing that helps me is walking through my empty house, room by room, and saying goodbye. I remember events, laughter, good and bad times, and shed a few tears. I let myself cry and laugh as needed after the move, too.  Feelings are powerful so work through them.
  2. EXPLORE  By all means, explore the new town, but my real meaning here is all the possibilities for a new beginning for yourself. Are there new rituals you would like to establish?  A new exercise you want to try(hmm, maybe Pilates)? πŸ˜‰ New type work, a different hobby(hey, why not blog!), foods, etc? The possibilities are endless. Make a list and get started. Moving creates a perfect opportunity for newness.
  3. ENGAGE  Reach out and meet new people. Try new restaurants or foods, and new experiences. My favorite places to meet people are church, homeschool groups, and fitness centers, but there are many places you can do this. And don’t forget to engage with your friends from former home. With email, cell phones, and social media, keeping in touch is easier than ever. 

I hope my moving series has given you some ideas. Even if you are “moving on” from a job, relationship, etc. these tips can help. One resource I highly recommend is After the Boxes Are Unpacked  by Susan Miller. Though written from a Christian perspective, this is the single best resource I have found on women and moving. It’s still helpful if you don’t subscribe to the Christian religion. 

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. And I would love your feedback on my blog or suggestions for things you  would like to see me write about or feature. 

Moving On Part 2: Recharging Your Batteries

I love the word rejuvenation. It’s a fancy way of saying, “make sure you refresh and recharge yourself.” I think of this like a rechargeable battery. When the batteries get low in something, especially if that something is a TV remote, crankiness ensues. πŸ˜‰ So you take the batteries out, place them in the charger, and let them get fill back up to optimum level.  The same is true for people, especially when the stress of life and moving is added in.
I discussed rest first because it is the foundation for recharging in many ways. That’s because keeping up your energy for moving tasks means you must care for your body mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

I want to highlight two parts of recharging yourself physically: Food and Fitness.

Hear me out. Being super busy often means putting your personal care in last place. We often end up running out for fast food, grabbing snacks from vending machines, going out for goodbye meals or parties, and drinking lots of sugary drinks for energy and caffeine. But doing that leads to big crashes.  Then you end up being someone who is more of a HARM than a HELP to your family and friends who are trying to help. Trust me on this one.

Which do you want to be: HARM-ful (Hungry, Angry, Resentful, Melancholy) or HELPful(Hopeful, Energetic, Long-lasting, Prepared)? Yeah, me too!

So here are a few quick tips regarding food and fitness I’ve learned the hard way that are now non-negotiable during a move. I hope they help you in dealing with stress, moves, or just living a busy life.

FOOD

  1. Water  Go ahead and get a bottle out and make sure you are drinking regularly. During the day prior to the move and the few days after, I splurge on store-bought water bottles so there are no excuses and no one gets dehydrated and cranky.
  2. Snacks  Make sure you have plenty of healthy things to grab on hand. Moving can cause you to put off eating and then get ravenous. Fruit, nuts, nut butters, veggies, and yogurt are easy to pack and save you from grabbing a candy bar or wasting time running out to the Golden Arches.  On moving day have a cooler of food handy at all times.
  3. Rule of Three  I make sure every meal or snack I put in my mouth contains a mix of carbohydrates, healthy fat, and protein. An apple with almond butter will sustain you far longer than an apple alone.  It’s a good rule to practice in daily life and makes food and food preparation simple and tasty.
  4. Limit Caffeine  This is a toughie but in the long run, one coffee per day is far better than sucking down tons of soda and coffee. Plus, the extra sugar will make you feel really tired. I have been there and done that.

 

FITNESS

Here is my 10-10-10 exercise plan that is non-negotiable for stressful, busy times. I promise you that if you expend some energy exercising, you will actually gain more energy.  It doesn’t make sense but just try it and see.

  1. Ten Minute Walk   Get out of the house! Go outside and walk. Vent, cry, express gratitude, or just be silent. This change of pace, scenery, and energy will make you feel so much better and your focus to tasks at hand will be sharper.
  2. Ten Minutes of Pilates  There is a reason I practice Pilates: it moves the body as it’s supposed to move and keeps me from excessive injury and strain. If it’s not your thing fine…but commit to ten minutes of your favorite movement.
  3. Ten Minutes of Stretching  While unwinding before bed, in front of the TV, or some other time, stretch your muscles. They will feel better and the stretching will bring you energy as you take the time to focus and breathe.
  4. Bonus: Ten Minute Break  Every hour, refocus for ten minutes or so. Stretch, walk, read, chat, etc. You need to change what you’re doing so you can come back to if feeling re-energized.

 

What are your tips and tricks to deal with a move, busyness, and stress? Let me know as I’d love to learn from you. If you try any of my tips be sure to tell me how they work for you.

 

 

Moving OnΒ 

Have you ever lost something you really loved? Were comfortable with? Enjoyed? You search in a frenzy over a period of time but never find your special item. What do you feel? Frustration, anger, grief?

After my oldest son, Wes, was born, I lost my engagement ring. I needed to have it resized and had put it off. It had been my husband’s grandmother’s ring. One day I noticed it was gone. I retraced my steps, used a metal detector I borrowed, took the pipe off my sink…but it had vanished. I was embarrassed, emotional, angry, and sad. I still think about that 21 years later with regret.

Moving is many things, but one big part that goes unrecognized is loss. You are in unfamiliar territory, grieving things that make no sense to you(like knowing how to get to the store, knowing where my stuff is, missing how my old kitchen was laid out, etc), and feeling a bit silly for how emotional you are. But all of that is normal. Above all, moving is an emotional experience. 

I have been a pastor’s wife for 22 years and after moving 10 times, I am facing yet another move as my husband changes careers. Guess what? I still hate moving. But I know that most of us experience it-either our own move or the move of a family member or friend. So I will be sharing four things you can do to help yourself move forward during a move.

Rest

Rest is defined as “cessation of work or movement in order to refresh oneself or recover strength”. In the middle of a move, and right after, I have discovered I need more rest than usual. There are many ways you can rest. A few of my favorites are:

  1. Sleep   Go to bed early or at least on time. Create rituals that feel good and encourage rest, like reading, a dark room, etc. Or take a nap if you can. You are equipped to handle everything better with rest.
  2. Warm Bath/Shower  Use nice products that make you feel good. I highly recommend Epsom salts as they relieve soreness and tension.
  3. Tea Time/Coffee Time I love iced, flavored teas and coffees. I brew over ice, sip, and read my Bible for a few minutes to reset my mind.
  4. Laugh  Watch something funny, take a walk down memory lane, watch a favorite show, spend time with friends or family. 
  5. Hobby Work   I love to read so I make sure I do that for at least a few minutes each day. 

How have you coped with a move? How do you relax? Leave a comment and let me know. Next time we’ll discuss your energy and how to keep it up during your move.

Welcome to Almond Butter Babe

Welcome to my blog! I am an almond butter addicted pilates enthusiast who is passionate about living life well.

You will find lots of recipes and ideas about moving your body in a way that feels good. Come join me as we seek to live a good life in a balanced way-with plenty of laughter, dark chocolate, coffee, and almond butter on the side.

Why Almond Butter Babe?

After 25 years of exercising, making strides then having setbacks, and trying everything out there,  I realized how little I knew my body because of how much I listened to the “experts”. I heard other women talk about how they wanted to be healthy…but had no idea how or what that meant. And, quite frankly, having graduated two children from homeschool and having one who will be a junior next fall, I finally had time to blog. Thus Almond Butter Babe was born.

I love to exercise. After lots of trial and error, causing many injuries, weight gain, and frustration along the way, I am learning to listen to my body.  Nourish myself.  Live life and enjoy indulging. But it’s been a long journey.

I now know that it’s okay to love iced coffee and dark chocolate. To be obsessed with almond butter. That the best thing you can wear is your smile. I’ve discovered Self-confidence is what makes a woman shine, and that real food can taste fabulous.  And life is about far more than having that elusive six-pack.

So come back often. Share your thoughts. And let’s learn from one another.

Now excuse me while I get some iced coffee…and a bit of almond butter.