Just: Five Minute Friday

Dear Daughter,

It feels like just yesterday I was cradling you in my arms for the first time. All those years of waiting were finally over. You were perfect in every way. The moment I heard your voice and saw your wrinkled nose I knew that you had filled a hole that we didn’t know existed. I felt peace and knew that God had just given us the missing piece. Our family was whole.

It’s been a year of being blessed by your presence.

Your smile is contagious. Your words are brilliant. Your personality is the perfect mix of Daddy and I.

It was a year of firsts for you. How exciting it was to watch you knock over those milestones like you owned this world. You’re growing so quickly and while I celebrate every first for you I also remember that this is the last time I will see my own child complete these tasks.

God has been so good to us.

He has faithfully delivered our family from illness and death. This year he has restored and fulfilled promises. And you, my big one-year-old, were our gift. God knew when he made you that we would need that infectious smile to get us through some of the scariest times we faced. He knew that your strong hugs would chase away fears and quiet anxiety.

You are truly a blessing and I can’t imagine our family without you.

Happy First Birthday!

The Ameri Brit Mom

**This post was written in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt of the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other encouraging writers and their posts about the prompt.

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Build: Five Minute Friday

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I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on  me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Where: Five Minute Friday

I’m snowed in for another day in Ohio. I would be going stir crazy if it wasn’t for the week I’ve had. Today I am thankful for more time at home.

On Tuesday I awoke to my 11 month old having a seizure.

SCARIEST FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

The moments that followed her seizure were even scarier than the event itself. She laid unresponsive on the floor and police officers, paramedics, and firemen paraded into my home. Nothing can prepare you for moments like this.

God was with us that day. She spent most of the day resting in the hospital and slowly coming back around. She was diagnosed with febrile seizures which were caused by the onset of a fever. We didn’t even know she was sick! The thing with these seizures is that oftentimes the episode is the first indication that something is wrong.

So, yes, I am counting my blessings on snow day #6. I’m happy to be home with my babies and to have my baby girl back to herself.

For my Five Minute Friday post I am writing a poem of thankfulness for God’s peace through all that I experienced this week. To join the FMF community or to check out their posts be sure to check out the site. This week the prompt is Where.

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In the middle of the battle you were there

Wrapping me in your arms of care.

Time stood still and I was scared,

But You were everywhere.

You brought peace and healing

In Moments when my heart was reeling.

 Hopelessness was all I was feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for intervening.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

 

Influence: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining the weekly link-up at Five Minute Friday today. Each week we respond to a common prompt and encourage one another as writers who share our words with the world. This week our prompt is Influence.

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This year I’ve been working to refocus my writing goals. I’ve been influenced by bloggers I follow, authors I love, and programs like the DIY MFA. All of these things mixed with my passion for the written word have culminated in my plans for writing in 2019. I want to write boldly and with a confidence that is unshakable. After all, writing for me has never been about receiving anything, but rather it is about giving what is inside me life on the page (or screen.)

I have started working through the starter kit from DIY MFA which is a FREE program designed to provide subscribers with opportunities which mimic an MFA program. One quote that they sent me which has inspired me to focus my writing is…

“If there is a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

I am praying that this year I will grow as a writer and be able to influence others in a positive way. I am praying that the book lurking in some corner of my mind will gain wings and soar. I am praying for a community of readers who will encourage me in this quest. Lastly, I am praying for God’s influence to be evident in every word, post, and book that is crafted by my hands. To Him be the glory!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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

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