Hope Unfolding: A Book Review

Title: Hope Unfolding

Author: Becky Thompson

Publisher: WaterBrook

Copyright Date: 2016

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I was introduced to this book while visiting a Mother’s cLife group at my church. As I sat around and listened to the way the women reacted to the book I decided that night I had to get my own copy. I listened as Mom’s fessed up about their own shortcomings, and I was brought to tears by the way they united together in support for the struggles that mothers often face.

Somewhere down the line our culture decided it wasn’t okay to talk about how difficult and demanding being a mother actually is. Many new moms find themselves aching to talk about the hard times, but instead they paint on a smile and act like motherhood is the easiest role they’ve ever played.

Becky Thompson calls out all those bluffs.

With chapter titles like A Fight for Joy, Is It Just Me?, Real Life Looks Lived In, and Don’t Run Her Race, Thompson brings a voice to some of the fears that society silences within moms.

As I read through this book I experienced breakthroughs in my own life. I never realized that certain things I do as a mother are indicative of living in fear. And as I began to throw off those weights I found myself joining Thompson in prayer. I want to see what parenting looks like when we join together as mothers and throw off all the fears. Fears of weakness. Fears of insignificance. Fears of comparison. Fears of not measuring up to impossible standards.

One thing that set this book apart from others is the refreshing format that Thompson uses. Each chapter seems more like a conversation than a lesson. Within the pages the author explains how she learned from her own life experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and then she provides you an opportunity to explore your own life and interact with the text.

Whether new to motherhood or years into the gig this book contains truth you need to hear!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Dear Daughter (Part 3)

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Dear Daughter,

It’s been a hard week. Long days have led to tantrums and meltdowns. Emotions are high and tears have been shed by both of us. Growing up is hard for Mommy too. Giving you the freedom to be who you want to be and make your own choices is tough. Knowing when to step in and offer my help is even harder. I’m learning to let you make mistakes–how else can you learn? But at the heart of it all, I love you.

You are a strong girl and I am so proud of you. You stand up for what is right and you spread kindness like an infectious disease. Your laugh is contagious. Your heart is huge. And there’s never been a challenge too big that you didn’t at least try to take on.

I needed to confess to you today that I don’t always get it right. Some days I wrestle with wanting to hold on too tight, and other days I let go too soon. I’m learning just like you are. Being your Mommy has been my most important job and I try very hard to do it right. Once I start to get comfortable and get the hang of it, you’re off to something new. Every day is a chance for both of us to learn.

You are my princess. I love you.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Middle

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Middle. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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In the middle of each phase we don’t appreciate it.

We don’t pause and recognize that this is a place we will never be again. When our babies leave us exhausted and sleepless we slip into survival mode and just try to get by. Anything that keeps one foot in front of the other will do. We let life pass us by without committing each moment to memory.

One day we take a look at our lives and things have calmed down. Sure, there are still storms, but while we are nursing broken hearts and injured limbs we remember those days of living feeding to feeding. Those times seem so simple now. Whatever happened to those days?

We long to go back to the time when our babies were so little- before they didn’t wander far from our reach. We dream of moments when they were content to rest in our laps and we try hard to picture their tiny hands wrapped around our fingers.

In the middle of those phases it seems like they will be tiny creatures forever.

We cry. We break down. We trade our designer clothes for bath robes and messy buns.

Then one day when we reunite with our sanity, sit down (finally able to re-introduce white to our wardrobes) and we start to miss those spit up stains and the days without showers.

The Ameri Brit Mom

LulaRoe Review

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A few months ago I had never heard of the direct sales company, LulaRoe, but it seems like almost overnight the company has taken off. LulaRoe has become a household name. Chances are if you run into a fashion conscious woman and ask her about LulaRoe she will be familiar with their products. I had been browsing their inventory online for a few weeks, and after a discussion with a friend I decided to purchase a pair of their One-Size Leggings.

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Because of Facebook I was able to find a consultant. My distant cousin, Ashley, is a consultant and posts her inventory online which made it easy for me to find what I like and purchase straight from the comfort of my own home. Within a couple of days the package arrived at my door and I was so excited to slip into the buttery-soft leggings.

My love for LulaRoe began that day.

The One-Size leggings were a perfect fit (despite my skeptical curiosity before trying them on–how could one size leggings fit so many different sizes?–I still don’t know the answer, but it is true) The leggings were so comfortable and soft. They were almost like a second layer of skin. If I could, I would wear a pair every day of the week. I also loved how they could be worn both casually or as work attire depending how it was paired with a top or dress.

So as if I needed any encouragement to continue making purchases from LulaRoe my consultant gave me an instant opportunity to try multiple pieces on. Although she lives in Pennsylvania she was headed back to Ohio for her son’s birthday the following week. She asked if I would be willing to open my house for a Pop-Up Boutique Party. It was short notice, but I decided to go for it. Last Wednesday I got to experience my first LulaRoe Party in my own living room.

Ashley showed up with a full car an hour before the party. Then I just sat back and enjoyed the magic of watching her unload tote after tote of beautiful garments. From a hostess’ perspective it was one of the easiest direct sales parties. I prepared to offer a couple of finger foods, but the nature of a Pop Up Boutique Party doesn’t really require much other than a location from the hostess and space for people to try things on.

These types of parties are simply just an open house. There was no presentation. No games. No passing products around. No seating to prepare. And no awkward lag waiting for everyone to arrive. My house was open for two hours for friends to come and go as they pleased. Once they arrived they were free to shop without the pressure of shop employees.

For a party thrown together in less than a week I had a fantastic turnout. Several women from my church and family came and everyone left with at least one purchase.

LulaRoe is unique in that there are no catalogs for the company. Each consultant has their own inventory and they can only sell what they have on hand. Also, the company only makes a limited number of the same pattern/print so when you purchase a piece from their collection you know that you have just scored a unique item that very few people in the world will also own.

If you haven’t ever tried on their clothes I highly recommend attending a live party. You can do online parties, but I learned at the party that each style is sized a little differently. I wear a small in some shirts and a XS in others. I really enjoyed getting to try things on and playing around with different styles. Everything they make is so comfortable and appropriate. I learned from my consultant that the woman who began the company comes from a Mormon background. That explains why you won’t find any immodest slits or cuts on their products. Watch this video for more information about how this company started.

I’ll wrap things up today with a look at what I snagged at my LulaRoe Pop Up Boutique party:

For hosting a live party I received one free pair of leggings so here is my second pair of One Size Leggings.

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Also, for hosting I got one free item since my consultant sold more than ten items throughout the party. I got the new Lindsay Kimono free.

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Then, I paid for the following items:

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Classic T $35

 

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Perfect T $36

 

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Randy $35

Do you have any questions about LulaRoe? Do you have a favorite piece or pattern? I’d love to hear what you think about this up and coming company!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Dear Daughter (Part 2)

Dear Daughter,

Not many three year olds can say that they’ve enjoyed seeing the world the way that you have. From a young age you’ve been a traveler. Along with Mommy and Daddy you take in the sights and enjoy the scenery with a big, beautiful smile. You understand several cultures, and get that just because people look and act differently to you that they are still people and should be treated as such. Instead of a cold shoulder you give the world your smile. Never ever forget the power of your smile.

Your smile makes the world happier, clearer, and calmer. In the face of adversity your smile makes things light. The cackle of your laughter fills the room with sunshine.

In a world captivated by fear you remind me everyday of the beauty in being brave. When we visited Paulton’s Park and you saw a roller coaster blazing away on the tracks instead of cowering in fear you grabbed my hand and said, “When can I ride that?” A few minutes later you were hanging onto my arm assuring me that you weren’t afraid as we descended the first hill. I aspire to have that kind of bravery. To see the mountains in front of me and cling onto God without fear.

Everyday you make me a better mother because you are a wonderful daughter. Each day I learn something new as I attempt to see the world through your eyes. Because in your eyes everything is beautiful, new, and exciting.

The Ameri Brit Mom

#PostRealLife

We all follow a person on social media who seems to have it all together. Six kids, a book deal, the immaculate house. Their constant posts invoke instant envy for those of us REAL people out there. We find ourselves scrolling through our news feed rolling our eyes and muttering under our breath.

“I could never keep my house that clean.”

“Their kids are always dressed so well.”

“They never seem to run out of ideas.”

Before we know it and without meaning to we invite bitterness and resentment into our lives. We begin to take for granted the things God has blessed us with because in our eyes they will never measure up to the witty taglines, filtered photographs, or crafty projects that invade our senses when we indulge in social media.

Over the past year this topic has been heavy on my heart. Not only have I found myself falling victim to these attitudes and situations, but I’ve also talked to so many other women who have struggled with feelings of inadequacies rooted in the fact that they’ve allowed social media to define the perfect housewife, mother, or friend.

The silly thing is that we try to mimic “perfect posters.” We struggle for every cute shot we post of our families and expect that those photos we scroll through with picturesque lighting comes naturally for everyone else. We bring ourselves down because, “Gosh darn it, we are going to get a shot where everyone has their eyes open!” Or we thank heaven for the cropping features so that we can cut out the fact that we forgot to dust the banister for the stairway shot. We struggle to make our lives measure up to those we see out there in the world of social media and forget that those people who post those perfect pictures have access to filters and cropping just like we do.

As of lately, I’ve begun to recognize the toxic habits that social media can create in my life and the lives of other women throughout the world. I would say that when it comes to women that I have a fairly healthy self value, but if I’ve spent too much time on Pinterest or Instagram I have tuned into my natural instinct to pick apart every detail of my life. I want a bigger, cleaner house or a picture-perfect family shot in front of some amazing DIY project I just completed. And when things don’t turn out that way feelings of bitterness can quickly seep through.

I’m being very candid with you today, Readers, because conversations I’ve been having lately lead me to believe I’m not alone in this struggle. This can be a real cause for anxiety and unhappiness among women (and men) and even those who are fairly secure in themselves are affected. Social media hits us from so many directions every day that it is hard to ignore. And after so long we begin to trade truth for a lie. We begin to believe that we are below others. We begin to see ourselves as less than who we are. We wrestle with contentment and idolatry. All on account of wanting what someone else probably doesn’t even really have.

Social Media allows us to capture the bits and pieces of our lives that we wish to share with the world while discarding all of the unpleasant moments. It allows us to boast in the good and hide the bad. All the while teaching each of us to portray ourselves only in a positive light. We have a one-sided view of the people we follow on social media, and oftentimes we forget that. It’s easy to make it seem like you have it all together when you control what is being seen.

In Matthew 6:31-33 Jesus tells us, “do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

As a Christian I’m called to seek God and His Kingdom in all I do. That means that I should be content with what He has blessed me with in my life. I should not run after what I think I lack because God takes care of His own. He has written a unique story for me and for each of you as well. It’s time to stop living in a world of comparison fueled by social media and time to focus on the person that God has created you to be.

Social Media when used correctly can be such a good thing. I’m not here to tell you to delete Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Rather my hope is that we are all able to understand the mind trap that can occur when we allow social media to paint our view of perfection.

In light of this issue that so many people struggle with I’ve started a hashtag: #PostRealLife. Dedicated to undoctored photographs, and uncensored life this hashtag is to celebrate our imperfections. We are real housewives, mothers, and friends. We don’t need filters or cropping. Our lives are beautiful and perfect just the way they are. So join my movement and courageously hashtag all of your no makeup selfies, messy rooms, and candid family moments without judgment!

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Happy Mother’s Day

I will be spending this Mother’s Day at home snuggling with my little girl. I will never complain about that although I hate that she’s been battling a fever since Saturday morning. Staying home means breaking traditions (if you know me you know that’s a big deal!) I’m sad to miss the epic family dinner where every year my grandfather stands in line at KFC for hours so Grandma doesn’t have to cook and then also picks up a delicious cake from Dairy Queen. It’s a celebration I look forward to every year. Today will be a day of Netflix and reading for us. Another great way to spend today.

I’m really excited about my new Alex and Ani “Mom” bracelet that my husband and daughter bought for me. They are a new addiction of mine. Check out my post Alex and Ani for more about the bracelets.

I am excited to give my mother her gift from my sister and I.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there, especially to my mother for all she has done for me and also to my awesome Mother-in-Law!

 

The Ameri Brit Mom