What You Can Expect

Hey Loves!

Ok, so maybe my last post was a little too much. Like, full-frontal too much. So, let’s take a step back and discuss what you can expect from me here at hitswiththemrs.

Things that will stay the same:

You guys, yes, a lot of me is changing but so much is the same. I’m still a wife. I’m still a mom. I still homeschool. I still have crafty moments. I still plan. Those things will not change. You will still get tips, tricks, thoughts and ideas that have helped me or possibly improved my life in the slightest.

Things that will change:

For starters, we are going deeper. No more BS. Marriage is hard. Parenting special needs kids is hard, very hard. Exercising and not always putting me last is a new concept that proves difficult at times. My desire to get back to happy may not be an easy walk in the park. Thus, you will probably hear about all of those things. Why? Because facades don’t help anyone. They don’t help me. They certainly don’t help you. Also, I don’t have time for that anymore. You may read more about what I am loving or things that I am trying. Basically, you will get me authentically. That means, my new experiences, should I choose to share, will be new. Also, and this a hard one, I’m putting my guard up more. It is not that I don’t want to share with you it is just that things are so new to me, I am worth it to figure it out and decide how I feel about it and decide if I want to share. Also, you are worth more than some words in your email because I wanted to put up a blog post.

So, I hope you will stick along for this ride and maybe even invite a friend or two to share all my hits and misses.

Love you. Mean it.

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Welcome Back

That was more for me than you. Stating the obvious, it has been quite some time since I put pen to paper and released my thoughts to you. It was intentional. Most certainly not because I didn’t want to or that I’d moved on to bigger and better things, it was simply because I couldn’t.

I had a baby…I had 2 boys under 2. I was engulfed with postpartum depression and anxiety and in a grungy survival mode. Everything I did was simply to make it to the next hour. Hours, days and months passed and I was still just surviving. Barely, at that.

Then, my youngest wouldn’t talk and although I’d noticed and documented my sensory concerns and he started OT at 10 months, him literally not saying one word freaked me out. So, suddenly I had 2 special needs kids. You should know I had no idea the toll that would take on me. Somehow, I made up that since I had one, I was a pro and knew the ropes. You know, the “I got this” mentality. You should also know what I made up was very incorrect. I also didn’t involve my heart in these matters. I didn’t have time to feel and, if I didn’t feel anything, then there wasn’t anything to work through and definitely no need to cope. Again, I made up that I didn’t have time for it anyway so, why bother. Head down and get to work.

Somehow, that worked, until it didn’t. Without feeling or really thinking I was managing 4 different therapy appointments, continuing exercises from therapies at home, homeschooling, not sleeping, not exercising, barely eating, forcing myself to get out of bed every day, and hating so so much of this so-called life. It sounds so cliché but I honestly had no idea was who this empty person was staring back at me in the mirror. I lived on coffee, Malbec, and Xanax. Now, I’m sure you’re reading this and expecting a big ‘Aha Moment’ to come next. Spoiler Alert: It does not.

I kept going. Full speed ahead with no gas. Or oil. At this point, I was out of windshield wiper fluid, but I kept going. Then, the breakdown happened. You have to know that for the entirety of my mothering, so 3 years and 1.5 months at this point, my anxiety was a like a purse. Sometimes I left it at home or in the car. Forgot I had it. Other times it was a small crossbody-there but not in the way. At this point, it was a huge tote bag filled to the brim, spilling out everywhere and so so heavy. Again, I kept going. *insert face-palm emoji*

Back to the breakdown, I’m not sure how it happened…what sparked it… how I got to that point of allowing myself to feel but I remember laying on our sofa talking to my husband and then all of a sudden thinking the roof was leaking. (You should know that it is late March and in 6 months we had a leak, our heat broke, I put a hole in the garage wall, our fridge went out and our microwave broke so, a roof leak was par for the course.) I looked up, no leak that I could see. “Why is my face wet?” I asked myself. Then, the scene from “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” happened in my living room and I said to myself, “I’m leaking!” Not crying because I don’t have time for that. I truly believed I was leaking. Sad, I know. Anyway, my heart came out of hibernation and reminded that I was, in fact, crying. Now everything from that moment to my husband carrying me upstairs shaking is a blur. I have no idea what took place but I know I emptied everything I’d been carrying in that anxiety bag. I also unloaded the depression suitcase that was way past any airline weight limit.

I remember feeling physically lighter the next day but started my day like I did any day before that. Very soon I knew that didn’t work. No one just drops 300 pounds and puts on their old clothes. So, when my oldest was in speech therapy, I threw my youngest in the stroller and did something I didn’t have time for before. I listened to “For The Love” podcast with Jen Hatmaker and her guest Glennon Doyle. You guys-those 2 changed the course of me finding me in a short 1ish hour. Glennon said, “When your done being perfect you can be good. And when you’re done being good, you can be free.”

*insert ‘Aha Moment’*

What a word that was??? Anyway, that was 3 months ago and I’ve been slowly finding my way to freedom since then. For me, freedom is:

  1. Not letting anxiety and depression win
  2. Finding my way back to happy, whatever that means
  3. Releasing the anger
  4. Accepting all the grace
  5. Giving myself and others grace
  6. Being the mom I want to be
  7. Getting to know the person looking back at me the mirror

I don’t have my list of what makes me happy complete. I know I like to exercise and I like to write. I love to read. So, I started reading again and I loved being filled with good things. I started exercising again and I love giving to me. I just started writing again and it felt good. I missed this and I missed you.

Re-Blog Kinda Day

Hey Loves!

I saw this article and had to share. It’s makes so much sense and explains a lot of my daily to-do’s and/or stressors. How Do you handle “Kin-Keeping”?

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Moms Drained

“You put her in the wrong outfit,” I said matter-of-factly as my husband came down the stairs holding our baby girl.
He stared at me with a look of confusion and bewilderment, as if to say, But I didn’t know there was a right one.
 “Your mom’s coming over today, remember?” I explain. “So I thought it’d be nice to have her wear something your mom bought her.” 
“And my mom didn’t buy her this outfit?” 
“Nope. My mom bought her that one.” 
“Ok, well I have no idea who bought her which clothes. How do you even remember that sort of thing?” 
The short answer? Because I’m a mom.
Today many families that include a mom and a dad are challenging the traditional gendered division of labor—mine included. My household couldn’t function if my husband didn’t handle the dishes and I didn’t keep tabs on the checking account. We’re in this together. 
Even so, I—along with most moms everywhere—am still almost entirely responsible for the following tasks:
Remembering family birthdays and sending birthday cards.

Planning and organizing family celebrations.

Sending holiday cards.

Selecting holiday presents. 

Sending thank you cards.

Planning family vacations.

Keeping in touch with out-of-town relatives.

Remembering to dress the baby in the “right” outfit when her grandma visits.

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Mom Drained
In the field of women’s studies, these tasks are called “kin keeping,” and they are serious business.

Why? Because even though these obligations seem relatively small and insignificant, they actually play a very important role in keeping families connected and emotionally supported. 
Just think about how different your own childhood would have looked without birthday cakes and family beach trips and homemade gifts for Grandma, and you’ll see how valuable these kinds of tasks really are. 
Here’s the problem, though: These incredibly important kin-keeping responsibilities are leaving moms emotionally exhausted.

Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, they almost always fall completely onto the mom’s shoulders. Even in households where there’s a fairly even division of labor, these tasks are overwhelmingly handled by women.
What’s more, kin-keeping responsibilities are mostly invisible. They’ve become such an expected part of family life that they almost always go unnoticed and unacknowledged. (Unless, of course, you don’t do them, in which case you’re likely to draw some negative attention and head shaking.)
Indeed, moms themselves often don’t realize how much time and effort they put into kin keeping. As feminist scholars Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee (2015) explain, “These tasks are time consuming and involve emotional work that is not easily quantified.” 
Translation: It’s not easy to measure exactly how much time and effort you’re putting into remembering Aunt Cathy’s birthday or calling your husband’s grandma to thank her for the baby gift or making a last minute trip to buy more paper plates for the family BBQ.
But these invisible tasks are sucking the life out of us.

They’re (one of) the reasons our to-do lists never end, why we can’t turn our brains off at night, why it feels like we’re always forgetting something. These obligations seem to take root in the back of our minds and just sit there, forever, invading our ability to truly relax or take a breath. 
Did I remember to buy cousin Emily a wedding present? Who’s bringing the hot dogs for our camping trip? Shoot, it’s been way too long since we called your Aunt Susie!
Geez, I’m feeling exhausted just writing about this stuff!
So what do we do? How do we reclaim our time and our energy in the face of these seemingly endless kin-keeping tasks? 

The first step is simple awareness. Start paying attention to how much kin-keeping work you do. I bet you’ll be surprised!
Then go ahead and ask for help completing these tasks—from your partner and from your kids, depending on their ages. 
If you get any pushback, remind everyone that while these little things sometimes seem silly and not worth the effort, they’re actually really important to maintaining family solidarity and continuity—and that having them fall entirely to one person is just too draining. 
In the end, a more equitable division of labor—kin keeping included—is better for everyone. And the best news? You might finally be able to turn your brain off at night. 

Encouragement Through It All

Hey Loves,

So, I’ll just jump right into it. October was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month. I was in a car accident at the end of September and that spiraled my life into a sea of insurance phone calls, rental car pick-ups and drop offs, doctor appointments, physical therapy, finding a new therapist, car hunts and car purchasing. Not to mention sleepless nights due to bad dreams from the accident and fatigue like nobody’s business.

Add starting a new job and prepping for a baby to that…right, it’s too much to even think about, let alone deal with. Needless to say, things went undone and my husband learned my laundry system…yup it got that bad…

So, we needed some encouragement. Like real, hard-core, life-affirming encouragement. Not just those friendly pats on the back with the occasional “It’ll all workout.” And where, pray-tell, do you get that kind of encouragement? The BIBLE!

Not to go all Southern-Baptist on you, but there is nothing like soul-shaking affirmation from God right to your mind and heart. We needed lots of that, continually.

Wasting time on IG, I got the idea from Jill Dillard (Duggar) to create a scripture board for encouragement during pregnancy, labor, delivery and those newborn days. (Who knew the scriptures would apply to everything else on my life)

So, we researched…verses about perseverance, verses about fear, verses about children, and came up with quite a few that we fell in love with.

To make it festive, we wrote the verses on neon note cards (like, almost glow-in-the-dark neon) and thumb-tacked then to a fabric-covered cork board.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at and been restored since we made it. Just a hint, I’m thinking of making a portable version to those moments of emotional and spiritual depletion and I’m not at home.

I highly recommend this, for everyone.

Until next time!

Super-Mom to the Rescue

Hey Loves!

So, it dawned on me the other day that I literally have four jobs…four.

Yes, two require my presence once a week and one is from home. The last, which is actually my first, takes the most time, causes the most headache, pays the least and, ironically, gives the greatest reward. You guessed it. That last one would be my home (such a short word for everything that goes into it).

So, household exec+ 3 other jobs+ leadership positions in two organizations+membership in 2 (other) organizations+church (don’t pay attention to the order these items are listed in)+ doctor’s appointments and physical therapy…yea, you’re probably tired just reading it and this is my life… Every. Single. Day.

How I’m gonna throw loving parent in that list in a few months is literally beyond me. Yes, I know the logical thing to do is cut-back and step away from things but so many other wives and moms do so much more with so much less. They just wake up, adorn their capes and take-on the world. They. Are. Super. Their powers vary and most of them have more than one super power.

Well, I’m super too. So super that I know when to ask for help. And by ask, I may mean sulkily confront my husband about not being able to do it all by myself and needing help while washing and possibly throwing dishes. The details aren’t important, right?

The point is all these super-wives and moms have super-strength…asking for help. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s even demeaning but, like everything else, it needs to be done and we need to do it.

Until next time…keep using that super strength.

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Stupid Feelings…

You ever just do something very plainly and clearly stupid but you didn’t realize how plainly and clearly stupid it was until after you did it? (Well, for me, it was after the second time I did it-Sad, I know.)

Then, after you realize this was quite possibly the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, the Four Horsemen of the Self-Depravity Apocalypse come charging in.

Horseman 1: The act committed being stupid to YOU being stupid, like a senseless-buffoon.

Horseman 2: Doubting every other decision you’ve made or act you’ve committed, no matter how smart you thought they were at the time… Not to mention how all the other dumb decisions you’ve made just start making back-to-back cameo appearances in your mind.

Horseman 3: The guilt of it all just piles and piles and piles on top of you until…

Horseman 4: We’ll call him ‘Dawn of The Drama’. The pity parties, the water-works that start slow and steady and end with colicky moans and body spasms commence and never seem to end.

So besides curling up in a ball and letting the Horsemen above pummel you into a slow agonizing restless death-I mean sleep- although (thanks to Horseman 4) you thinking you’re dying isn’t that far off- what can we really do?

Rectify the situation? Honestly, that’s not possible many times BUT if it is take full advantage of the opportunity of possible reprieve!

Can’t rectify it? Well, I guess we have to let it go…another problem. For however many hours, the horsemen are stalking your every move and all you can think and feel is that stupidity so ‘letting it go’ seems way above your power limits at the moment. Well, if that’s how you feel, I’ve been there, and I’m there now but are we gonna give our power to 4 proverbial horsemen in our head? I mean, we invited them in so surely we can kick them out! It’s already been decided we’ve done some dumb things so how about changing that pattern?

Let’s give the Horsemen, the real senseless buffoons, the boot and get on with our lives. We already recognized our wrongs, let’s focus on what we do that’s right.

Until next time… Keep those horsemen out of your head.

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Be still…

You know that bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God”? It took me a very long time to to understand its meaning. In fact, I still have to be reminded. I am a planner. I am a strategic thinker. I am a mover and a shaker. I don’t do still…like, literally.

So, for so long, I couldn’t understand why sitting still drew you closer to Him and His plan for you. And then I had no choice but to sit still.

Let me back up and define ‘no choice’ as it pertains to me- I planned, I strategized to get where I wanted to be and I moved and shaked until I could no longer move and shake. I was left with nothing. I felt empty. I felt like a failure. I. Me.

The funny thing about those last two words (I. Me.), as powerful as they are, they don’t contain God. All the planning, all the strategies, and all the moving I did didn’t start or end with God. So, when all was gone, that’s when I understood ‘still’ the way the bible intends.

Still isn’t solely the physical nature but that of your spirit, stilling your heart and mind availing them to God and submitting to His will. I am not ruling out the physical definition of still at all, I’m just saying the stillness must start in your heart and encompass your body.

Back to what got me to stillness…I won’t bore you with all the gory details (depression, anxiety and fear…OH MY!) but let’s just say that, because I was driving myself, I drove straight into a brick wall. At the impact I said ‘Ok God. I will do this Your way now.” And just like that, my heart and my mind submitted to God and my body moved under his direction.

That’s the reason for all the words you’ve read here on hitswiththemrs.com. I’ve always wanted to write and help people with my writing. I just had to do it on His time, not mines.

What you have read and what you will read helps my life as a Christian woman, wife, daughter, sister and friend and I pray it helps you.

To The Man Sitting Next To Me In The Pew

Hey Loves!

I’m back with another post for the She Shares Truth Challenge by She Reads Truth. Today we are reviewing 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Last Sunday, I was inspired by the man sitting next to me at church and wanted to share the following with you all. Then, God answered with the She Shares Truth verse for this week. Let me know what you think!

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, you don’t know me or I you but you taught me something that I will carry in my heart.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, I noticed you give all you could in the collection plate. The pennies, nickels and dimes that barley totaled $1 moved me in ways you will never know.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, I know you put on your best to come to church today. While I got up and changed my outfit three times, you put on dated hand-me-down jeans and a shirt that was too big.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, I saw you take your old bible and be steadfast and attentive through the sermon while I used three electronic devices to follow along and enjoyed my protein shake.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, thank you for reminding me what Jesus needs from us. Thank you for not being ashamed of what you brought to The Lord, what you wore to worship Him, and, most importantly, not letting any of that stop you from coming to church.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, thank you for inspiring me to draw closer to God and not to things or appearances this world tells me I need. Thank you for reminding that what I give to God should only be validated by God and not what the person next to me gives.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, what you taught me today was just that, a lesson, not condemnation. You don’t have an address and I don’t know where your next meal will come from but the joy in your heart is remarkable and God rewards the dutiful like you.

To the man sitting next to me in the pew, thank you.

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The Jonah In Me (and you) part 2

Hey loves!

I’m back with week 4 of the She Shares Truth Challenge by She Reads Truth. This week we are studying Jonah 3 and 4.

Have you ever been upset because something bad didn’t happen to someone? (I know that sounds terrible but let’s take a little time to look at ourselves.) Upset because a person didn’t get what you felt they deserved? Upset because you had to forgive someone for what they did to you? If not, my hat is off to you.

If you have, come join the club with Jonah and I. You see, once Jonah was spared by God’s grace and was obedient to His command, the people of Ninevah fasted and wore burlap to show sadness. They didn’t want God to destroy them so they sacrificed with hopes that He wouldn’t. They confessed their sins and made efforts and promises to change. So, God spared them and that’s what upset Jonah. It would’ve upset me too.

Get ready for some conviction…

The thing you, me and Jonah need to realize is that same grace that was shown to so many people who we believed didn’t deserve it was shown to us many, many, many times. We can’t determine where or how our great God shows His grace and mercy, but we can choose to be grateful for the grace and mercy He has shown to us.

Psalm 38: The Joy in Guilt

Hey Loves!

So I am back with another post for the She Shares Truth Challenge from She Reads Truth. This week’s post comes from Psalm 38.

Let’s talk about guilt. Personally (and sadly) it is often a motivator for me. Sometimes, I go to the gym and refrain from things I want (but shouldn’t have) because I will feel guilty if I indulge. I attend certain events because I will feel guilty if I don’t. For too many women, guilt is a common emotion and a natural response to things.

Thankfully, our Father knew that and left us great teachings. The author of Psalm 38 is my favorite king, King David. You see, like us, David knew about guilt. In fact, he knew it pretty well. He made some bad decisions, the kind where that guilt would just overtake my being. However, David’s story isn’t about his guilt, it is about redemption and praise and that can be our story too.

Psalm 38 begins with the fears and guilt we, as humans, face often. Like David, we pursue good and evil comes. We too can call on our Savior in our times of need and guilt and He will come quickly to help us. David praised God for a Savior that was to come generations after him. We have a risen King that has already come and will come again. Our Lord knows what we long for and desire, when we feel alone and deserted, when we feel guilty and He saves. He stands by you, heals the hurt, absorbs the guilt and saves.