living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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My Favorite Job

As a child, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew-up, I would usually say “I want to be a mommy.”  Or a “cash register”–meaning I wanted to be a cashier.   🙂

For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to have my own family and my own babies and to take care of them. That desire was always there….but it got repressed.

When I was in high school, I got a piece of mail that advertised adoption.  The letter informed me that “age wasn’t a problem”.  (Of course, they meant that you could adopt even if you were older).   I took it to mean that I could adopt while I was in high school.   Ask my mom–I had it all worked out.  I was going to adopt a baby (while I was in high school).

I was soooooo upset at her that she wouldn’t even consider it.

Yes, I was that child.  I loved kids, especially babies.

I was so happy when my first nephew arrived.  I couldn’t wait until I had my own.

However, I also realized that children came with a husband and, after a few rocky relationships, I decided I would just be family-less.  Thus, that desire got pushed down farther and farther.

Those growing-up years were really full.  I volunteered at the library, was a Candy Stripper at the local hospital and worked as a shampoo girl at a hair salon.  I played violin in a county orchestra.  I had TONS OF FRIENDS, lots of parties.   I went to college, working as a telemarketer (don’t hold that against me) and as a secretary for that college.  I went to Europe three times and spent one summer in Africa.  I coordinated a ministry team that traveled around the States.  I counseled teenagers at a Christian camp four different summers and then, after graduation, became a school teacher.  Really, I had a FULL life.

During that whole time, my parents prayed for me.  They prayed that I would find a friend whom I could love as my future husband.  They prayed for that family I had shut out of my mind and heart.

To cut the story short, my husband and I met, were friends for three years before we knew we were mIMG_3257eant for each other, got married, had baby #1 two years later and then, another two years later, had baby #2.

That was a lot of introduction to say this:  In all my years, in all my jobs, in all the craziness of my life, I have NEVER had such an amazing job.  I LOVE being a mommy.  THIS is my favorite job.

I love that God gave me my two favorite kids to be MY KIDS.

I love the funny conversations my son and I have.

I love the giggles and kisses I get from my daughter.

I love coloring with my son.

I love to tickle his belly.IMG_1440 - Copy

I love stomping in puddles with my boy when it rains.

I love making my daughter giggle.

I love the way my daughter chatters.

I love dressing my daughter up in bows and frills.

I love our walks.

I love the way our family hangs out together.

I love mommy-hood!IMG_3267

I’m sure it helps that I have an absolutely amazing husband who is also called “Daddy”

I don’t know where you are in life, but I want to encourage you to think about something.  God created most of us to be help-meets, to be wives and mothers.  There is no 2nd place or shame in that.  Don’t let the world tell you that.  We are our sons’ first love.  We are our daughters’ first best-friend. We have the best job out there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Is it easy?  No.

Is it the hardest job I’ve ever had?  Yes, probably.

Is it sooo worth it? YES!

Let my husband handle the workplace, the drama and stress.  Give me the little fingers and toes.  Give me the giggles and hugs. We are creating the next generation. What a privilege!

Give me mommy-hood because the best bonuses come in X’s and O’s.

Rejoicing,

Joy T.

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Coffee With A New Mom

Hey there New Mom!

How’s it going? You just had a new baby, how do we all think you’re doing, right? 🙂 You’re tired aren’t you. Probably feeling a little overwhelmed? Maybe you’re little one is a newborn or maybe he or she is a few months old and the daily grind has set in. I’m currently going through my sixth newborn season. How about we commiserate together for a few minutes? Grab some caffeine (you know you need it), ignore the laundry, and let’s chat.

So maybe your spouse isn’t as helpful as you’d like, especially with those middle of the night feedings. I mean, seriously, doesn’t he understand that 2 A.M. is your prime sleep time? *sigh* Men.

Having trouble getting anywhere on time? Yeah, I understand. That little treasure loves to give out treasures just when it’s time to leave or better yet, they are absolutely STARVING and simply must nurse RIGHT NOW or that car ride is gonna be very loud.

You probably don’t feel like you look your best. Kinda hard to get to the salon isn’t it? And frankly, you still haven’t quite squeezed into your pre-pregnancy clothes yet. I totally understand. My closet mocks me every time I open it. I’m not even sure why I leave those clothes in there that fit me four babies ago. I know it’s just wishful thinking. A girl can dream though, right?

Do you feel pressured by your social media friends and family to post a photo of Junior every hour? Do you worry people might think you’re a questionable mom if in that next photo the baby has on the same onesie they had on in the previous day’s photo?

How about feedings? Worried that little bottomless pit isnt getting enough? What about that random rash or fever? What about finding a pediatician? Maybe you’re just feeling utterly inadequate to raise another human being to adulthood. Maybe, maybe, maybe, if, if, if.

Now, take a deep breath.

Take a loooooong sip of that coffee / tea / carbonated beverage.

If you and I could look each other in the eye right now, I would say to you, it’s all going to be okay. Maybe your husband doesn’t do 2 A.M. feedings or maybe he does. If not, just remember, your little one will sleep through the night eventually. I promise. Trust me, you’d rather have a happy, well-rested hubby than a tired and cranky one. And then you know what? Just when you get used to it, and start enjoying those infomercials they show during the times of night when you’re most vulnerable to buy that collapsable pasta strainer for the unbelievable price of only $9.99 plus S&H and by buying in the next ten minutes you get a second strainer plus a pot and a random flashlight, all free just pay separate S&H, (Maybe I know from experience or maybe I don’t. I’m not telling.) (deep breath) Junior starts sleeping five or six hours straight. Then you will wake up and run to his crib just to make sure he’s still breathing. Then you will start sleeping all night again. Wow! That sounds really good right now doesn’t it? 🙂

As for getting out of your house and not being late, eventually you will have your little darling worked into the family schedule. I also promise you won’t look haggard forever. People know you’re a new mom. They know those dark circles under your eyes are because you lack sleep because you’re a great mom who feeds her child. And only you know it’s also because you just couldn’t lay that little snuggler back down in their crib after that midnight feeding. (They’re so fun to snuggle aren’t they?)
Maybe you’ll never fit into that pre-pregnancy size again. After all, pregnancy changes the “lay of the land” for good. What better excuse to hit your favorite shops once your body shape figures itself out? Don’t feel bad about it. The new you is a badge of honor. Even if it doesn’t seem like it. You never liked that weird dress your mom got you anyway. (I’m trying to help here! 😉 )

And as for all those other things, don’t sweat it! Remember I said I’m going through my sixth newborn season? That means I’ve been on the other side of it five times now. I’ve been where you are. I’ve cried many times over the helplessness and inadequacy that I felt. Look here, don’t you be afraid to ask someone for help. You don’t get a cookie from anyone for “staying strong” and running yourself on fumes. Know your limits. You can do this! But everyone needs help somtimes. 🙂 And you know something else? The Bible says in Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” If God saw fit to bless you with a child, He will sustain you in raising that child! He knows your greatest worries and fears. You can leave them all with Him and just love on that little whipper snapper.

As I leave my empty cup on the table let me say I’ve known a lot of new moms and I’ve been a new mom. We all put up a front, don’t we. But you know something? We all know that we are each going through the same thing. We all feel forgotten, inadequate, fat, frumpy, and hormonal sometimes. And that’s okay. Because at the end of the day, that precious little one is going to snuggle up next to your neck and you will be the greatest thing in their life. They won’t care if hormones are making your hair thinner (temporarily!) or if you are still hanging onto ten pounds of baby weight or if you haven’t had a shower in three days. They will look at you like a super hero. And they will be your greatest accomplishment. Giving birth. Creating and sustaining a human life. You go, girl! Always remember, God loves you. Your spouse loves you. Your family loves you. Your church loves you. And me? I may not know you personally, but you’re a new mom, and I love new moms.

Thanks for letting me spend some time with you. You’re going to be great at this whole mom thing! I’m cheering for you! (Minus the acrobatics. I don’t want to hurt myself! Haha!) Now while the little princess is snoozing like a little angel, go take a nap! 🙂

P.S. Some of you new mamas out there may have had the joy of adopting a baby and while some of the physical changes may not apply in your case, I’m sure a lot of the things I mentioned will. I want you to know that I think you are just as special as any mom out there and I am proud of you! That little tater tot you chose to love and raise may never know how blessed they are to have you in their life. You are amazing and I applaud you for making a difference in a child’s life!


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True Love

My mom, Tami Neal, wrote this beautiful little poem many years ago.  I thought it would be a blessing and encouragement to you.  Happy Mother’s Day!

True Love

See the little one playing outside,

Toys clutched tight in his hand?

Playing so sweetly with cheeks of red,

Shoveling in the sand….

That little toddler you hold so dear

Needs an eternal goal.

That little baby God gave to you,

Has an eternal soul.

Love him enough to bring him to church,

Love him enough to do right,

Love him enough to live by God’s Word,

Teach him by day and by night.

Many’s the loss that you can regain,

Many can be made whole,

But if you lose those tender years,

Who can regain their soul?

-Image courtesy of http://www.olddesignshop.com