Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag... Of Tricks

The struggle is real, Y'all.
 
Three kids.  Three different schools. Moving in three different directions.

All day.  Every day.

It doesn't take long for things to get chaotic. Especially when Mama has been lax about a schedule and daily routine this year.  I mean, you think, "They're getting older, they don't need me micromanaging."

NOT!!!

They may not need "micromanagement", but they need STRUCTURE... now, more than EVER!

I decided I needed to rework some things... to create myself a "new bag of tricks", if you will.

That's what lead me to posting THIS on Facebook the other day...




Wow! I never expected to get so much feedback.  Some of you commented... MANY of you private messaged me, asking me to share my sweet little nuggets.

I am so honored and humbled, and of course, I'd be glad to.

With one caveat...

Don't you dare judge, PEOPLE!!!

Each family has its own particular issues and it's own daily goals.  If yours differ from ours, feel free to tweak the "settings" as you see fit.  Just please don't, as you're reading these, try to speculate or pontificate as to what the reasoning may be behind each item on the list.  Frankly, and I'm saying this with all the LOVE I can muster in my wee little heart, it's none of your business. As O'Reilly would say, the spin stops here!! ;-)

Now, can we still be friends?  Well, okay then!

Here you go!!

Reeder House Rules

Reeder Kids' Chore Charts


Also, here are some resources that I made/found to help Mama (yes, that would be me!) stay more organized and on top of things, too.

Mom's Weekly Chore Chart

Daily Schedule/To-Do List

Meal Planner

(Each Sunday night I sit down with a scratch pad, one of these meal planning sheets, and the grocery store circular to plan out my meals for the week.  I usually begin with what meats are on sale and go from there! I only cook 5 days each week. Friday nights are usually take-out, and we eat out after church most Sundays, so I record that on the planner, as well.)


Just in case these aren't exactly what you are looking for, I thought I would share some other pages/resources that I have found helpful in the past, as well:

Age Appropriate Chore Charts

Chore Jar (Behavior Consequence)  (Notice the degrees of difficulty!)

Chore Charts for Kids (Write In)

How to Clean Your Room Check-List


Because everyone's House Rules are obviously specific to their home (apparently no one is crazy enough, except me, to share them online!!) I couldn't find any specific lists, but I did find a couple of neat looking resources to help you along, if needed.

Establishing House Rules for Teenagers

Creating Effective Household Rules

And hey, when in doubt, you can always do what I do... GOOGLE it!! ;-)


I really hope these can help y'all as you try to maneuver your way through this thing we call parenthood.  Especially if, like us, you find yourselves in the deep and uncharted waters of raising teenagers.  I'm telling you My Loves, it ain't for the faint of heart!!


So, until next time...


God grant me the PROZAC to accept the things I cannot change,
The COFFEE to change the things I can,
And the WISDOM not to smack any of my Sweet Kiddos
 in the face in the process!!
AMEN!!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More "F" Words...

Remember that post I wrote over two weeks ago?  You know, the one where I said I was going to be FIERCE in 2015 and pursue life with reckless abandon?!?!  Yeah, well... As many of you out there are well aware, sometimes your life just gets hijacked! Random stuff and circumstance just gets all up in the way of our plans.

The struggle is REAL, Peeps.

But no worries... I'm back. Finally. To finish what started as a Two-Part-New-Year-New-Dreams blog post.

Why? Because in spite of "stuff" and "circumstance" and all the other things that make up this HOT MESS I call "Life"...

I'm staying FIERCE.

Now... let's get on to the business of just how I plan to maintain and even achieve new levels of FIERCENESS in the coming months.

Since Fierce begins with an F and so does Fifteen, I thought I'd share my thoughts in other "F" words... (See... and y'all thought I was gonna be bad.  Are you CRAZY? My Mama reads my blog!!) ;-)

Here are some of the areas I plan to be FIERCE in this year...

1.  Faith - I'm not going to lie.  My Spiritual life has been a struggle.  I've literally gone from the "Pit of Despair" to the Pinnacle of Pleasure. (But that's for a whole 'notha post, y'all...) I've either been hiding from God, or running from him.  But that's gonna stop. (It already has. Again... Another post.)
I'm going to pursue Christ with reckless abandon.  I am determined.  Community Bible Study. Cornerstone Bible Study. Journey Group, and of course, FAITHFUL worship attendance on Sundays. I'm just gonna flat IMMERSE myself in His Word. Not just taste it... MARINATE in it. Trust me... this is MUCH. MUCH. needed and it's WAYYYYY past time!

And just in case you "wanted to wonder" (as my Sweet Emmie-G once said) there's a reason why I have placed Faith as my first F Word.  Without it, I will never achieve what follows.  Priorities, people!

The Apostle Paul said it best in these verses:
 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively  become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing  and understanding the wonders of His Person.  ~ Philippians 3:10 (AMP)
 2.  Family ~ My husband and my kids are my life. Literally.  I chose to give up my career as a teacher 15 years ago, to be a full time home maker.  When the kids were small, it was easy to see the need for this.  Now, I struggle.  While I firmly believe that as teenagers (and one 5th grader) my kids need me more now than ever, I wrestle with what that looks like.  I want to redefine my roll a bit.  It's not (just) about providing for needs, anymore.  It's about developing a culture in which I challenge them to take on new things, while keeping them grounded in their values.  It's not just about giving them roots anymore... it's about developing strength in their wings and teaching them to FLY!

I would really like to get back to doing some kind of Family Night (or maybe rename it  "Quality Family Time") at least once a month.  We used to do them all the time when  the kids were little, and made tons of precious memories through the process. (I chronicled many of them over at my old blog if you're curious.) The hard truth I am  facing now, is that I have very little time left with all my kids under one roof, and I want us to continue to have special moments together. I've got to figure out a  way to  "teenage-up", though.  Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section!! ;-)

3.  Fitness ~ I will continue my pursuit of "Fit and Fabulous" by getting back into my gym routine and  adopting a "cleaner" and healthier way of eating.  Some of y'all are already following me on this quest.  Some have joined along.  Some are sick to death of hearing about it... ;-)

So, that being said... If your're interested in how I'm doing this and what tools/methods I've chosen to use. Hit me up on one of these sites, and I'll be glad to give you the skinny. (Ha! See what I did, there?)


4.  Friendships -  It's no secret that I am a social butterfly.  I love people.  I get energy and inspiration from being with people.  Most especially those people who lift me up and love me for who I am. My girlfriends.  Only yesterday, a very wise man who loves me very much spoke some truth into my life. He said,
"Babe.  You need people.  You are a natural-born leader and when you're not leading your lost.  Also, you need some mentors, people to look up to and help guide you along the journey.  You also need people to come along side you and walk with you.  You need women.  Even though I would give you the moon if I could, you need more than I can give. You need your girls. "
That being said, I am going to be more intentional about making time with each of them.  Lunch dates, GNO's and maybe even some weekend get-aways!  Each one of you (and you KNOW who you are) is so very precious to me.  Can't wait to take on 2015 with My Girls!

5.  Finances ~ Yes.  I said it.  Finances.  (Hold on a sec.  Somebody call Reeder to check and see if he needs  CPR.  He may have just passed out after reading this one!)  I'm serious, though.  I need to learn to be more financially responsible.  I need to learn how to SAVE some money and STICK to     the budget.  And since, like I said earlier, my kids are a little older and more independent now, I would really love to find a part-time job of some sort to help contribute.  

(I don't know if y'all know this or not, but teenagers are EXPENSIVE!!!)

Okay. 'Nuff said.

 6.  Frivolity ~ It is also no secret that this girl LOVES to have fun.  But what I am more specifically talking about here is ME TIME.  I don't do enough of this.  Time to relax and unwind.  Just for me.     By myself.  You know...  Stuff like... Taking bubble baths.  Curling up with a good book.               Going to get a mani/pedi.  Taking a walk with just me and my earbuds - blaring some good country music. :-)

BUT... in order to do things like this,  I've got to get better organized and be a better manager of my time.  (See how my brain works?  I have to take all those boring and difficult things and turn them it into something FUN and REWARDING.  It's a special skill for us ESFP's...  Don't hate!) So I will work on keeping to my schedule and following through with daily chore lists, updating my calendar regularly, and managing my time more wisely.  This way I can, hopefully, carve out some time that is FREE for ME!
     
7.  Looking Forward to the Future - Being an ESFP personality (see #6) I tend to focus more on the NOW.  I am an "in the moment" kind of person and therefore not very patient when it comes to planning and pursuing.  Yes, my kids are growing up, and I am in my 40s, but there is still A LOT OF LIFE TO LIVE.  I need to take stock of myself.  Am I where God wants me?  Doing what He wants me to do?  Am I using my gifts for his glory?  If not, how can I accomplish these things going forward?  I need to learn how to look ahead and set goals for myself... 5, 10, 15 years from now.   Where do I want to be?  Who do I want to be?  What do I want to have accomplished?  These things are important.  Mind if I ask you pray with me about this?  I would so appreciate it!

So, now that I've dropped some  massive "F" bombs on y'all, let me ask you this...

What are your goals for 2015?  How do you plan to achieve them?  Take a minute.  Jot them down. Put them in a place you won't forget them, and commit to reviewing them consistently.  I plan to assess myself at the end of each month.  Maybe even give myself a grade in each of the seven categories as to how well I'm doing.

But I will shoot for PROGRESS not perfection.

Baby steps, however small, are better than staying in place. I can only do my best...

I just hope I don't get an "F"! ;-)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

15 Things

Yesterday was my sweet Emmie-G's FIFTEENTH Birthday.

Fifteen.

15!!

Wow.

I simply can't believe my Sweet Girl has been on this Earth long enough to have a "QuinceaƱera"!!

(No, we are not of any kind of Latin descent that I know of... I just like that word.)

QuinceaƱera.

There. I said it again.  (Such a pretty word!)

It's also pretty safe to say that "My Baby" is no longer a "baby".

She is a young woman.

So in this blog post I would like to share 15 pieces of advice to my Darling Girl...

Fifteen things that I wish someone had told me when I was fifteen.

  1. Be a Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios.
  2. Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart.
  3. Take the high road.
  4. Don't let someone dim your light just because it's shining in their eyes.
  5. How you treat others is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.
  6. Don't chase people. Attract them.
  7. Can't never could.
  8. It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.
  9. Making mistakes is better than faking perfections.
  10. Look in the mirror. That's your competition.
  11. Every day is a second chance.
  12. Don't worry about those who talk behind your back. They're behind you for a reason.
  13. Never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart.
  14. Don't ask God to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet.
  15. See that face in the mirror? SHE'S PRECIOUS to the King of Kings, so don't you dare underestimate the plans that He has for her... because they are GREAT!

In honor of your beauty, your Grace, and your 15 years on this Earth, I hope you will take these words to heart, Sweet Girl.  

Particularly the latter.  

You are PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT!!

I'll love you forever, 
I'll like you for always.. 
As long as I'm living
My Baby you'll be!!! 

~ Mama

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Has Anybody Seen My Mojo?

I'm not sure when it happened.

Somewhere between the tryptophan coma and decking the halls, it made a clean get-away.

I thought I saw it a couple of weeks before Christmas... Actually peeked it's little head up and smiled at me for a second.  But then, just like Jenny, it was gone again!!

For over three weeks now, it's been missing.

Gone.

Like the wind.

Like my children when it's time to clear the table after dinner.

Like the Statue of Liberty after David Copperfield got a'hold of it!

JUST GONE!

Y'all, I can't seem to find that dang thing anywhere!!

I mean, doesn't it know that I need to get back into my groove?  I've got things to do!  

I've got places to go!  People to see!! Mountains to climb, and goals to achieve!!

(Is it just me, or did Dr. Seuss jump inside my body for a second there? Oh, never mind... See what I mean!?!? I'm wandering lost all over creation without it! I can't even write a blog post!!)

So, if any of y'all see my Mojo sneaking around out there anywhere, would you please send it on back home?

I'd be sincerely, greatly, and very much obliged. ;-)
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's Paslay... Not Paisley, Y'all!!

Anyone who knows any little thing about me knows:

I.  Love.  Music.

I love singing...
I love dancing...
I love listening...

And - while you wouldn't guess it by many of my Facebook posts and Twitter tweets - I love all kinds of music.  Everything from Motown Oldies to Classic Rock, to Hip-hop, Pop, Dance, R&B, and yes...

COUNTRY!!

All that being said, I have discovered a new artist that you very much need to check out. If you're a country fan.  And even if your not! ;-)

ERIC PASLAY: (No. It's not Paisley... it's Paslay.  But don't ask me to pronounce it!!) ;-)


No stranger to Country Radio,  many of you have probably heard his hit "Friday Night" (previously recorded by Lady Antebellum), but what you may not know is that he co-wrote this song.  He has also written many other hits recorded by other artists, such as... "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" (Jake Owen), "Angel Eyes" (Love and Theft), and "Rewind" (Rascal Flatts).

A native of Texas, Paslay began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15.  He eventually moved to Nashville and majored in Music Business at Middle Tennessee University.  While he has most definitely gotten a great start writing songs recorded by other artists, his dream has always been to be a performer.   
Though Paslay enjoyed recording the album and has an affinity for the studio, his true love is the stage. “I turn it on when I get on stage. I love to entertain,” says Paslay, who has opened for Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Little Big Town, among others. (CMT Bio)
His latest single "She Don't Love You" is the one that really made me sit up and take notice of Paslay's artistry.  A beautiful, haunting melody has you wrapped up and sucked in before you know it.  Other favorites of mine on the album are "Less Than Whole", a song about redemption and forgiveness, "Country Side of Heaven", which actually gets me daydreaming of what it might be like to see an angel play the mandolin,  and "Like A Song", a fun and playful tune about the way a love can move you.

Honestly, I could listen to the album over and over again.  Uber honestly, I have... just pressed play "on the loop" and let it go!  The creativity and passion of this artist ooze out of every single track.
Honesty is a powerful magnet that always draws an eager audience and it has proven to be a potent tool in Eric Paslay’s creative arsenal. Sometimes playful, often poignant and always thoroughly entertaining, the 6’ 4” singer/songwriter with the fiery red hair and easy smile has quickly earned a reputation as an artist that knows how to capture the attention of an audience and hold them in the palm of his hands.  (Eric Paslay Official Site)
Seriously, y'all.  Go right now.  iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or whatever music service you use... Get there as fast as your little phones, tablets or computers can carry you, and DOWNLOAD THIS ALBUM!! I promise you won't be sorry.

I, for one, am hooked - line and sinker!!
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Legacy (Another Hero's Tale)

For Mammy... 
(This is a repost of a blog from May 15, 2010)




I  want to leave a legacy

How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you
Enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering...
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy...
 ~ Nichole Nordeman

It seems I've sung this song a bazillion times... But each time it's like a prayer. And as I sing/pray, I typically begin to think about the women (and men) in my life who have left such a legacy for me.  One such woman is my Mammy.

Years ago, we affectionately dubbed her "The Matriarch" of our family, and as my sister so aptly defined on her Facebook page, Mammy suits the definition to a "T":

Matriarch : a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants - Tomorrow my family will be celebrating 85 years of life with the Matriarch of our family, my Mammy! A woman of great faith, wisdom, love, full of humor, and never lacks for words, and to be able to share this day with her is truly a blessing for us all! I love you Mammy!!!

Ever since I can remember Mammy has been a woman who is full of love, life, and laughter. (And cook??? The woman simply has to TOUCH a particular dish or recipe in progress to ensure that it will be mouth-watering!)

Up until a few years ago, she would accompany my family on our yearly vacations, and in her own words, we would "frolic" all week. :-) She kept a journal each year, of the daily ins and outs of our family whereabouts, who was in attendance, specific adventures of said attendants, and NO LACK of her personal commentary on each of the aforementioned! Some of my fondest memories of these include the times that (a) my brother Phillip commandeered the thermostat and froze our bums each night (she has YET to let him live that down), (b) she beat my Daddy in spades and caused such a raucous that a particular "suit" was brought before the "family court", and (c) the time that my youngest sister Karen and one of her friends got lost, and Mammy wrote an "Ode to the Missing".  See what I mean about laughter??  She kept (and still keeps) us in stitches!

Mammy is also a woman of fierce devotion to her family.  Her home has always been a place of refuge and love for her children and grandchildren alike.  During our college years, Betsy, Phillip, and I each took a turn living with her for several months while attending Francis Marion University.  She never failed to assure us that we were loved and welcome and that a home-cooked meal was waiting for us whenever we wandered back in from our studies or social gatherings.  When things got tough, she told us that she believed in us, and encouraged us to keep trying because we could do anything we set our minds to.

After I was married, and began to start my own family, Mammy would keep my babies for me (Emilee and Jacob more than Sam, although he got plenty of cuddle time, too!) in the afternoons, long enough for me to tidy up the house and start some dinner. She was truly a God-send during those infant and toddler years. (Mammy has NEVER met a baby she couldn't charm!)

Other than my own mother, Mammy is the person I have turned to most in asking advice during this journey of motherhood.  From when to start them on solid foods, to potty training, to the best way to treat colds and fevers, she's always been an encyclopedia full of knowledge on any subject I would broach. She has been particularly helpful in the area of discipline. Raising five children of her own, she has plenty of examples to share, and has shown me how to discipline in LOVE, and have patience with my children as I teach them how to navigate this thing called life.

Mammy is also a woman of deep, abiding, faith.  She's seen her share of heart-break in life, and her faith in Jesus is what has sustained her through it all. When you walk into her house these days, you'll find her seated in her comfy blue recliner, and beside her on the table you will see her well-worn Bible.  She begins every day with devotions and prayer, and I can recall numerous occasions in which she has shared the lessons she's learned in those times with me.

In short, Mammy is my hero.

Today we will celebrate her 85th birthday with family and friends.  She is not at all happy about the fact that we are "making a fuss" over her, but you tell me... how can we not??  How can we not celebrate this beautiful woman who has truly left a legacy that will continue on beyond her years on this planet??

I, for one, - and I am sure I am not alone - desire to continue this legacy in my own life; to build a home full of love, life, and laughter for my children, their friends, and eventually some grandchildren of my own.  Mammy's legacy will live on in me, and my  sisters, and cousins... it will continue to touch lives for generations to come!





HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMMY!!!  

Thank you for all you've done to influence my life... for being a role model and friend.  For living out the statutes of the Bible and your faith.  For showing me in bodily form what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like, and more importantly acts like.  And though, I've tried to express it here, I know I have fallen short, because I love you more than words can say!!

------------------------------------------------------------

Our precious Matriarch left us yesterday... 
She will forever be with us in our hearts.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

Fierce in Fifteen

The kids say it all the time... "Stay fierce".

(If you really want to get your point across, when you say it, make a "V" with your fingers and place them just below your eye.)

I've decided to make "Fierce" my word for 2015.

According to Dictionary.com the definition of "fierce" is as follows...
fierce
  1. menacingly wild, savage, or hostile:
    fierce animals; a fierce look.
  2. violent in force, intensity, etc.:
    fierce winds.
  3. furiously eager or intense:
    fierce competition.
  4. Informal. extremely bad or severe:
    a fierce cold.

I highlighted number 3, because this is the essence of the word "fierce" that I want to capture in the next year of my life.  I want to pursue life with a furious intensity... eager to make every single moment count.

I'm tired of the status-quo.  (I'm bored to death of it, actually.)
I am ready to take on new challenges... Climb big mountains...
No more settling for this girl...
No more mundane monotony. I want a Grand Adventure!
I don't want to just survive.  I want to THRIVE!

Heard a song not too long ago that went a little like this:
I been to the doctor he says I'm all right
I know he's lying, I'm losing my sight
He should have examined the eyes of my mind
20/20 vision and walkin' 'round blind
Of course the song is talking about his girl cheating, but I can relate to what he's saying.  It's like you just go through the motions, day in and day out.  Get comfortable. Don't make any waves.  And before you know it, your God-given abilities are dulled and numbed to a point that you're no longer using them.

No more.

Not me.

Eyes wide open.  Heart exposed.  Mind engaged.  Foot on the gas pedal.



Bring it on 2015!!

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