Better: Five Minute Friday

I’m kicking off my 2019 FMF streak with a late post.

In Ohio, I spent my Friday preparing for the imminent arrival of this weekend’s snowpocalypse. After school yesterday I joined the rest of the state at the grocery store stocking up on necessities. If you want to join in on the weekly fun over at Five Minute Friday or check out others’ posts be sure to click on the link. Here is my five minute uninterrupted response to the prompt: Better.

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Fuzzy socks, wool blankets, hot coffee, and good books…does life get much more relaxed?

Sure, there is a mound of laundry beckoning me to wash and a room full of toys that need to be boxed up, but today I chose to hibernate. The steady rhythm of the snow outside is the perfect backdrop to my reading adventure. The laughter of the children forming snow men and throwing snowballs can not be outweighed.

I was scheduled to attend a writing conference today, but the weather forced me inside. I was excited to focus on my writing today (I haven’t done anything like that since I had the baby last year.) But if I’m honest having this perfect day at home turned out better.

There will be other conferences.

Today I am choosing to embrace the tundra and enjoy the benefits of this house arrest. I’m taking time to read, write, and make memories with my family.

If you were snowed in how would you spend your day?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Still:Five Minute Friday

That last week before Christmas break makes all of us teachers go a bit crazy.

Case in point, it’s Saturday and I’m reviewing my week and somehow I managed to get just about NOTHING off my to-do list done. I survived Monday-Friday and that’s all. No, there were great moments for sure (like the one in my post below), but by Friday afternoon I felt like Miss Frizzle-crazy hair and all.

This week I’m joining in late to the Five Minute Friday prompt. This is our last regular prompt of the year and so I can’t let it slip by without contributing. The prompt this week is Still.

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I awoke to cooing…the happy sounds of a baby who has yet to decide that 6am is too early to babble. My body drudged through the house with the weight of sleep still on my eyelids. At the sink I fixed a bottle and prepared to let her soothe herself back to sleep.

When I made it to her room and her voice jumped an octave in excitement my heart changed it’s song.

Instead of leaving her I picked her up. Held her close. And I rocked her like I used to before she was too busy to let me cuddle her.

I fed her a bottle and looked into her eyes as she slipped back to sleep.

It’s been several months since she’s let me do this.

And in the way we adults do–I’ve forgotten to be still with her like this.

I’ve forgotten to be still in so many ways.

The routine of being a working mom has kept me from moments like these. I get caught up in what I need to do and I don’t always appreciate those mornings when my babies just want my stillness. So many days I focus too much on preparing for the day and not enough on those moments.

We all need to be still. To take in those unscripted smiles. To look into the eyes of someone we love. To drop the lists and expectations.

This holiday season is the perfect time to drink in the stillness.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Balance: Five Minute Friday

It’s a chilly Friday night in Ohio and I’m bundled up in my fluffy robe, fuzzy socks, and fleece blanket. This was one of those weeks that lingered beyond its welcome. Tuesday felt like Friday and each day thereafter was salt in the wound. I’m so glad to jump in on this Five Minute Friday because I’m in need of my community of writers tonight. I love plugging in and spending time in this group of encouragers. This week our prompt is Balance (how ironic!).

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Balance is one of those myths that we tell ourselves so that we believe that we will conquer chaos. Maybe I’m wrong and true balance does exist, but I feel like every time I take a step toward finding that perfect equation I get knocked off course. Part of me wants to believe that at some point I will realize that balance was there all along waiting for me to grasp. Another part of me is skeptical to its existence.

The problem is that I’m trying to balance way too many things.

Faith.

Family.

Friends.

Work.

Exercise.

Writing.

Etc…

The truth is that I cannot balance it all on my own. I go through seasons where I spend more energy in one area of my life than another. That’s the reality of balance. It’s an ever-changing concept. It’s a sliding scale. And the zen version of balance I’ve created in my mind is a pipe dream.

Balance is living each moment according to God’s plan. It’s listening to his direction and following his instruction.

Balance is saying “no” to myself and letting God take the lead. I’ll never achieve balance apart from Christ. Only He is both the Alpha and Omega.

He alone can make it work.

So for now I will rest in the knowledge that my life is in His hands. It isn’t up to me to find that balance. The only way I can overcome the chaos is through surrendering to God.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Value: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

I hope those of you who live in the USA had an amazing Thanksgiving gathered with loved ones and lots of yummy food. Thanksgiving was a little different in my family this year as my youngest sister is living in Canada. Her empty seat at the table was a constant reminder of the miles between us. Thankfully, Mom and Dad are headed to Niagara today in a car packed with leftovers and cards from all of us.

Today I’m gathering with others that I am also thankful for as we meet up every Friday to share encouragement and life with one another. This week the Five Minute Friday community is writing on the prompt: Value.

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With the conclusion of Thanksgiving festivities our hearts turn in anticipation toward the Christmas season. I woke up this morning to a Facebook feed endlessly announcing Holiday sales. Like many, I spent time yesterday with the people that mean the most to me and being thankful for all the Lord has blessed me with. But, like many of you, I am so tempted to turn around–not 24 hours later, and cultivate a spirit of want.

Can we just have a day to simmer in the juices of thanksgiving? I mean, goodness, our turkeys marinate longer than us!

How can we so quickly switch from “Lord, thank you” to “Lord, I want”?

This holiday season I am praying to stay cognizant of my attitude.

I want to enter into this Christmas season with the same sense of thankfulness that I felt gathered around the table yesterday.

The promise of a Savior–that is why I am thankful and why I anticipate Christmas.

Please join me in remembering the true gift of family and placing value on the things that matter most this season.

The Ameri Brit Mom

One: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are passing. I feel like I just crafted last week’s post and here I am waking up to the excitement of joining my fellow writers for another edition of Five Minute Friday. This week our prompt is One.

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Over the past eight and a half months our family has undergone some change.

Our oldest daughter went from being an only child to welcoming a baby sister into the world. I’ve been blessed in countless ways watching her adapt to this change. She has become a second mom to the baby. It’s amazing the bond they have formed in such a short time.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

I am thankful that in a world that will wound and sting that my girls will have each other. If one falls down, then the other can help her up. They can keep each other warm when they are surrounded by cold. When one is in need of backup they can provide defense for one another.

As an older sister myself I see the importance of the sibling bond. It is one not easily broken or overpowered. And I know that if everyone else turns their back on me that my sisters will still be there.

I can’t wait to watch the Lord continue to grow the bond between my daughters. I am blessed and I am thankful for the gift of true sisterhood.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Burden: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

Every Friday I love to join other Christian writers over at Five Minute Friday where we gather to share inspiration on a similar prompt. This week the prompt is Burden.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

If you are anything like me…

It’s been a long week and each day seemed to bring a new burden of its own. You’re scared of moving forward because with each step a new devastation is thrust your way. So instead of moving–you stand paralyzed with feet fitted to the ground and a load as wide as an elephant on your back.

In many ways 2018 has found me this way. Like a deer in the headlights I’ve been caught off guard a time or two and been unable to move. The fear, loss, and hurting that I’ve faced have lightened by the passing of time, but every new burden gets cast onto the ever growing pile accumulating on my shoulders.

At times I’ve been so focused on the things weighing me down that I’ve forgotten that my body was not created to take that on. No wonder I’ve been struggling with anxiety…I’m dragging the world’s largest trash bag of junk, but God is the only one who can lift it.

We can find help in physical rest, but until we give our burdens fully to God we will never feel lighter.

I don’t have to wait until 2019 for healing. I can let go today. In fact, my knees are bending now and my hands are opening and as I approach the throne of God I know He is waiting for me to give it all up.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Repeat: Five Minute Friday

I want to start this post with a few disclaimers:

  1. I spent a little longer than five minutes writing this post. If you read it you will understand why it warranted some rule-bending.
  2. This post contains some sensitive information. If you have difficulty reading about suicide or death you may not want to go any further.
  3. I normally don’t post things of this nature, but I need an outlet for the things I’ve been dealing with this week.
  4. I’m fine. But my heart is broken…

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I first met J my senior year of college. He was a first grader at the school where I was working part-time. Some days I dreaded going in to work after a full day of student teaching, but J always changed that. The moment I would arrive at his school he would greet me with a hug, goofy smile, and “Miss Lauren!”

J became my buddy.

When we had field trips he always asked to sit with me. We would play around with filters on my phone and pass the time making silly faces.

Two years later my husband got a job at that same school as third grade teacher. When he brought home his roster and I saw J was in his class I told him all about him. Throughout that year I loved hearing stories about J and I would ask about him often.

Over the past few years I would see J or his parents in the community and say “hello.” Every time I saw him I remembered those bus rides and his innocent laughter and hugs.

But this fall, something was different about J.

I was so excited when I found out he enrolled in my school. I even made a joke to a co-worker that I would trade J for any other student because sadly, he was not in my class. I told this teacher about my memories with J.

Now…to this week.

I found out early in the week that J had committed suicide.

My heart is absolutely shattered. I may not have known him as well these past few years, but whenever I thought about J it brought me joy. He made coming to work fun and he filled those long hours with jokes and giggles.

I will never understand why this happened. The why doesn’t even matter to me.

J is gone and he has left a path of destruction. He was loved. He was good. And he will be missed.

As a teacher, hearing this type of news is devastating. You spend so much of your time trying to connect with kids and build the element of trust. You want to see every one of your students succeed at life. A difficult part of this whole situation is that J wasn’t just someone who sat in my classroom for one year. No, my path has intersected several times with J since he was six years old. For almost nine years I’ve watched him grow.

My husband and I have been struggling with this news for days.

It has made us hug our own children a little tighter, pray a little longer, and repeat words of affirmation more often. I know from this situation that it could happen to anyone. J had parents who loved him and supported him in so many ways. So, I’ve been on my knees for my own girls this week.

Let the people in your life know that you care. Every child, student, adult that means something to you–let them know. Be there to listen when loved ones need it. Spread love when you sense hate. Don’t let an interaction go by without telling people that you care.

Life is short.

We have no idea what people are going through.

May J be a catalyst to help the world to choose LIFE.

J, you are gone too soon!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Moment: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and I’m doing a dance for having finished another great week at school. I feel like I’m getting into a rhythm at school and I’m enjoying the process of getting to know my kids a little better. Today I am joining my fellow positive writers over at Five Minute Friday, where we gather weekly to respond to a common prompt. This Friday the prompt is Moment.

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In this moment I am…

Thankful for my faith. It keeps me grounded when the waves of this world swirl around me. I will not sink because my God is bigger than the waves.

Rejoicing over the fact that I am clear of the nasty virus that compromised my body this week.

Singing a bit of Ed Sheeran as the Pandora station became my soundtrack while grading papers today.

Smelling the hand-sanitizer a student put on just before the final bell. It smells like a fresh batch of snicker doodle cookies.

Thinking about all the things I want to get done this weekend

Walking out the door of my classroom! It’s the WEEKEND!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Praise: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining “my people” from Five Minute Friday today and responding to our prompt: Praise.

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One of the most difficult months in my life was September.

I felt the arrows of the enemy piercing me around every turn. Bad news surrounded me and my anxiety levels returned to a scary-high level. I was worn out, scared, and overwhelmed.

But as I turned the page to October I decided to focus on the positive things in my life. Instead of expecting the worse-case-scenarios I began expecting good. Instead of cowering in fear I embraced change. Instead of making excuses not to spend time with Lord I decided to praise Him.

After all, He has given me so much to praise Him for.

Whenever I feel the wave of anxiety course through my body I’ve tried to list 5 things for which I am thankful and that has really changed my perspective. This simple exercise has helped me to combat fear in a logical way.

Today I am praising God for:

1. My beautiful family

2. Some exciting news in my family that I’m sure I’ll be sharing soon (no, I’m not pregnant!)

3. My job where I am able to make a difference EVERY DAY

4. My church family who love and support my whole family

5. My friends who let me vent when I can’t carry my burdens on my own and who love me despite my flaws

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Potential: Five Minute Friday

Every week I like to jump in on the prompted fun over at Five Minute Friday. It is here that I am able to link-up and meet other Christian writers from the blog-o-sphere. Every week our host, Kate Motaung, gives a prompted challenge and each of us that choose to participate must write for five minutes on that topic. The final post is to be unedited and a raw account of your writing. This week the prompt is Potential. Here is my post:


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I have the potential to do a lot of damage with my words.

The things I choose to pass from the dormant floor of my mind to the living world through the passage of my lips can destroy others quicker than it took those words to form on my tongue.

I possess a tool that when used just right can pierce the heart of another.

And it is because of the great danger that lurks within me that I must keep my focus on the good.

That same mind that births the dagger of words can also produce life-giving fruit.

The place where those words are shaped mirrors the condition of my heart.

When I’m seeking the right things like beauty, encouragement, and goodness then the objects of my pursuit come out in my words.

But when I choose  to sulk in the darkness and give my mind permission to linger in the negative the things that spill from my mouth are not good.

Whenever I cross paths with another they will be affected by the shape of my heart.

Lord, may I never forget that the impact I make with my words is a direct reflection of what is going on inside of me.

May I always be aware of the influence my heart possesses.

For there is life in the words of the faithful.

The Ameri Brit Mom