Hey, Sweet Mamas, Let’s Stop Judging Each Other

Hey, Sweet Mamas, Let's Stop Judging Each OtherA few years ago I ran out to the grocery store by myself.

While standing in line, a woman walked by pushing a shopping cart with 2 kids in it.

A boy and a girl.

The boy sat quietly, but the girl was screaming at the top of her lungs.

My skin prickled as the little girl carried on and on at a volume that was probably summoning every dog in the neighborhood.  My flesh wondered what in the world was going on and why that mama wasn’t doing anything but smile sweetly at her child and stroke her hair?!  I wanted this lady to do something to stop the madness!!!

But then I looked a little closer and discovered something that broke my heart and turned me to quick repentance and humility before the Lord.

The little girl was living with a mental disability.

Tears sprang to my eyes as I continued to watch this mother (who I had been judging just moments before) as she tenderly smiled at her daughter and whispered gentle, quiet comforts in her ear.

When I left the store that night, I thought how awful it was for me to jump all over that woman’s mothering.

What’s worse is that I HAVE BEEN THE MOM WITH THE SCREAMING CHILD AT THE STORE.  In fact, I have also been the mom with the child throwing a tantrum in the toy aisle at Target.  I have been the mom with the kids getting into shenanigans at the play date.  I have been the mom with the kids pitching a fit while we waited in line to see Santa last year.  I have been the mom with the hysterical baby on the plane.

My point?  WE DON’T KNOW THE BIGGER PICTURE.

Just like I didn’t know that mother at the grocery store was actually doing her job (and doing it beautifully well), when you judge my child for freaking out about having to leave the DVD area in the quiet library (TRUE STORY) – you don’t know how many hours I have prayed over my kids, poured over His Word, and sought Him and godly mentors for wisdom on how to raise my kids well.

My kids aren’t perfect and neither am I – but I am trying my best (and I imagine that most other mamas out there are, too).

That woman at Costco who spoke harshly to her kids?  What if she is going through a horrible divorce and is at the end of the rope?  Of course we don’t condone the sin of an unkind word, but our hearts see the precious person behind it who is trying so hard to hold it all together.

That mama at church who has wiggly kids in the pew – PRAISE GOD SHE HAS KIDS IN THE PEW!

You know what else breaks my heart?  When a precious mom leaves a comment on THIS POST and says she is tired and overwhelmed by exclusive pumping and feels the best thing to do is stop, but she is afraid to do it for fear of being judged by other moms for feeding her child formula!

Are we seriously judging other moms about formula feeding?!  Do we not have enough faith that God is BIGGER THAN A CAN OF SIMILAC?  What those dear mamas need is not a heaping pile of condemnation to further burden their heavy hearts, but a good dose of love and encouragement to stop worrying about the other voices and pay attention to the One Voice that truly matters.

Y’all.  We have to be better about this.  I don’t want you judging me and I certainly don’t want to be judging you.

Because judging people boils down to a horrid little thing called pride.  Pride is thinking that you are better than someone else or assuming that you have it all together in a particular area.  And the problem with this is that it cancels out the good news of the Gospel.

If we all knew how to parent perfectly, then I guess we wouldn’t really need a Savior.

Extend the grace that you would want someone to extend to you.  Extend the grace that Jesus, Himself, offers you day after day.

I read somewhere recently that every mom is a hot mess, some are just better at hiding it than others.

*I will be the first to admit that I am a complete failure at hiding it.  As evidenced HERE, HERE, and HERE (and 300 other posts – ha!!).

So next time you see a hot mess situation playing out in front of you at the grocery store, REFUSE to think anything other than the best about her.

Then look that mama in the eye and say,

“You are loved and you are doing a good job.”

– Julie :-)

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa

**Thank you 13:13 Photography for this photo and, more importantly, for not judging me the day we did this photo shoot and my boys were acting like a couple of animals.** :-)

Things I Am Loving This Week

I may have been a little overambitious last week when I pumped out 4 (FOUR) blog posts for y’all and I was also starting school at the same time.

There is something about an extra tough week that makes the overachiever in me want to succeed and prove to the world that I CAN WORK FULL TIME AND BLOG, TOO.

I don’t know if you happened to notice that this week –

Crickets.

:-)

Feeling a bit humbled over here.

But there are a few other things besides my job and kids that have been distracting me this week…

THIS BOOK

book2Every once in awhile I like to take a break from reading informative parenting/mothering books and simply enjoy something that doesn’t require any heavy thinking/processing on my part.  Melanie Shankle’s writing is so fun and easy to read.  This latest book of hers about friendship is hilarious!

Buy it HERE.

THIS SHOW

carboneroHave you guys seen this show?!  It’s called The Carbonaro Effect and holy cow, the hubs and I are completely hooked.  Every episode we are like hitting each other and going, “HOW DID HE DO THAT?!”  It’s astonishing!  Plus, the reactions of the people he plays his tricks on are absolutely priceless.

THIS CD

fairy favorites 1I am not even kidding when I tell you that Bryan and Katie Torwalt are my new obsession.  Katie’s voice is out of this world amazing.  But the thing I like most about their music is that the lyrics are so full of LIFE.  I don’t know about you, but putting songs like these on my lips is a great way to STAY FOCUSED.

Buy it HERE.

THIS MIRACLE

IMG_1533Y’all!  IT IS FINISHED. The joy in my heart literally KNOWS NO BOUNDS. Thank you all for sharing your resources with me – even more than the precious and generous financial contributions, the support that you have shown me here has encouraged my heart to keep on pursuing ways to use my gifts to point others to Christ.

In just ONE MONTH and through only 150 people, God has given me the most incredible blessing.  I pray that you will know how thankful I am for you and that the Lord’s favor and kindness would just be poured out on your lives!  And I pray that as my new site (which we have already started work on and let me tell you – WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!) and my soon-to-be-released eBook (more on that to come!!) will somehow be used by Him to bless you in return.  Thank you for everything!!  To GOD be the glory!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week.  I do have some posts in the works that I will hopefully get out to you before Halloween.

Ha!

– Julie :-)

The First Week of School – WE SURVIVED

I just wanted to let y’all know that we made it through the first week of school.

Maybe I am looking for words of affirmation because, as you know, this is no small feat. :-)

happy baby first dayHappy Baby is happy – as usual.  He seems to be enjoying his new class, although he hasn’t been napping during nap time.  This unfortunately creates a certain amount of emotional CHAOS right around the time I am trying to cook dinner (which I somehow managed to do 3 times this week – knuckle bumps!).

happy buddy first dayHappy Buddy did awesome during his first week of Kindergarten.  I am very proud of him, y’all.  I’ve made it very clear to him that I see God working in his life. ;-)

the boys and the first day!As for me, the Lord gave me a tremendous amount of peace about going back to school to a new class – which I needed because at bedtime the night before the first day I was praying over Happy Buddy and he suddenly sat up and bonked his head into my lip.  I ended up with a giant fat lip and flaming red mark for all my new preschool parents to see and be suspicious about entrusting their child to someone who is clearly getting into street fights on the side.

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of my dear readers.  You are such a blessing to me and I am tremendously grateful that the Lord has allowed me to be a small part of your life!

How was YOUR first week back to school?

– Julie :-)

Recipe – WORLD’S BEST Grilled Chicken (Secret Ingredient)

WORLD'S BEST Grilled Chicken at Happy Home Fairy

Labor Day is fast approaching and I know that many of you like to get in a few last barbecue/grill-outs before the crispy, cool weather of fall moves in!

Let me tell you something about this recipe – IT’S AMAZING.

That’s pretty much all I can say about it!!!

Well, other than this – IT’S SO EASY.

Are you ready for the secret ingredient to the World’s Best Grilled Chicken?World's Best Grilled Chicken - SECRET INGREDIENT

My mom introduced us to this salad dressing and it is out of this world tasty.

You can find Garlic Expressions at Whole Foods, on Amazon, on the main manufacturer’s site, at specialty grocers, and my mom said that Shop Rite and Acme have it in locations up north.

Here is how we use it…

Simply purchase some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Place them in a large Ziploc bag and pour the dressing all over.  Let marinate for 2 hours or more.  Then they are ready to be grilled!

World's Best Grilled Chicken!You can marinate other meats and even veggies with this dressing and I promise everyone will be asking you for the recipe.

Enjoy!

– Julie :-)

5 Little Prayers For My Kindergartener

5 Prayers For My Kindergartener

My little boy is officially in Kindergarten.

Can anybody tell me what happened to the last 6 years?!

We had Meet Your Teacher on Monday and I am fairly certain that Happy Buddy was fine (mostly because he literally asked me to hurry up and leave), BUT I WAS A HOT MESS.  My stomach was all tied up in nervous knots.  I was seriously breaking out in a sweat and hugging people without raising my arms so that no one noticed!!!

Releasing my son into the classroom is a big act of faith.  I have found myself worrying about all kinds of things!  Like will he be a good friend?  Will he follow the rules?  Will he complain about having to do desk work?

Whenever I start wringing my hands in anxiety about my child, I know it’s time to get on my knees.

One of the most powerful things we can do for our children is pray for them.  I can take whatever concerns I have for my son’s future, get in his room at night, give those concerns to Jesus in prayer, and walk away with the peace that God heard my heart.

There have been SO many times where I was troubled about something I was seeing in Happy Buddy’s behavior, or I was burdened to see something new in his behavior and after I started praying about it, the Lord did not fail to answer in some way.

This is my hope as we enter the new school year!

With that said, here are 5 Scripture-based prayers that I am praying over Happy Buddy as he starts Kindergarten…

Hard Work

Lord, I pray that my child will remember that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength (Philippians 4:13)!  As his hands write out math problems and complete assignments, may he do so with a happy heart, knowing that he is working for your glory (Colossians 3:23).  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kindness

Lord, I pray that my child will be kind and compassionate toward his classmates and teachers (Ephesians 4:32).  May his speech always be gracious (Colossians 4:6).  May he never repay evil for evil but always seek to do good to others and to everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:15).  May he seek out the lonely child on the playground and defend the child who is hurting.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friendship

Lord, I pray for my child to have friends who will sharpen one another like iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).  May he have wisdom and discernment to choose friends who will be good company and spur him on toward love and good deeds (1 Corinthians 15:33, Hebrews 10:24-25).  May he be a leader among his friends by always being the first one to share, offer a kind word, and do what’s right.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Self-Control

Lord, I pray that my child will not stir up shenanigans during times of instruction! :-)  May he offer his body to you as a living sacrifice and may he be transformed by the renewal of his mind so that he may discern your will (Romans 12:1-2).  May he discipline his body like an athlete, training it to do as it should (1 Corinthians 9:27).  May he keep his tongue from evil (Psalm 34:13).  May my child show his love for you, Jesus, by obeying your commands (John 14:15).  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Heart of a Servant

Lord, I pray that you will give my child eyes to see opportunities to be a blessing.  May my boy have a heart of humility and serve others in love (Galatians 5:13).  May my son use his gifts well by helping others (1 Peter 4:10).  May he let others use the monkey bars first and may he choose the back of the line for the water fountain because the greatest among us shall be servants (Matthew 23:11).  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lay those burdens down, sister!  The Lord knows what your child needs and He is in control!

How are you praying for your child this new school year?

– Julie :-)

*Many of these prayers and the heart behind them were inspired by Brooke McGlothlin’s wonderful book, Praying for Boys.

Back to School Teacher Gift – FREE Printable!

FREE Printable super simple, super CUTE, super cheap first day of school teacher gift! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

I love getting the boys’ new teachers a little gift for the first day of school.

Maybe it’s because I love to give.  Maybe it’s because I love teaching my boys to be generous and thoughtful.  Or maybe it’s because I like to score some brownie points from day one – ha!

I shared this simple idea last year on my Instagram and got so much positive feedback I thought I’d make it a FREE Printable for y’all this year {{confetti!!}}.FREE Printable first day of school teacher gift!!

 Click HERE for your FREE Printable First Day of School Teacher Gift!

The boys and I have been praying for their new teachers for weeks now!  We are all very excited about the new beginnings that are upon us.

I am praying for you all to also have a smooth transition into the school year and that the Lord will just pour out His blessings on you!  May He give you strength to pack those lunches again every day and stay on top of homework assignments (ahem) and get the kiddos back on a better bedtime schedule – I don’t know about you, but I especially need the Lord’s help with that one!

Happy Back to School Teacher Gift-ing! :-)

Check out these other great First Day of School Teacher Gift Ideas!

20 EASY, Inexpensive and adorable teacher gift ideas for the first day of school! Lots of FREE Printables!!

20 Easy, Budget-Friendly Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

easy back to school teacher giftExceptioNAIL Year FREE Printable

super cute and super easy (CHEAP) back to school gift idea for teachers, classmates, administration, etc.So Many Riesens FREE Printable

IMG_2726It’s Going to be a TEA-rrific Year FREE Printable

I Faced the Cookie

face the cookieface the cookie win!

The teachers at my school went back to work this past week.

It was a week of emotions!

First I had to say goodbye to my boys, whom I have spent every moment of every day with for the last 2.5 months, and surrender them to the provided childcare – which, as it turns out, was way more fun than being home with their mama (I pretended to not let that bother me as I thought about all the sacrifice I made for them to have fun with that big box in our living room for 4 long weeks).

Meanwhile I was in my classroom working and working and cutting out 3,000 laminated things and missing my boys like crrrazy.

And I was also trying to stay awake because my body had forgotten what it was like to get up at 5 am again.

Before we got to work in our rooms, however, every morning we gathered as a faculty to have a time of devotions and worship.

Our headmaster shared a good word with us that gave me such a renewed passion for sharing Jesus with my 7 precious students.

He said, “You might be the only Bible your kids read this year.”

Can you even handle that?!  What a privilege and responsibility!

After our devotions on Wednesday morning, our headmaster invited us to the gym for some team-building exercises.  (Because nothing says BOND like a bunch of Minute-To-Win-It Games where you have to put panty hose over your head or see how fast you can eat an entire donut – in front of all of your colleagues.)

The stakes were high – the winning team would get a whole extra paid day off of work.

I had to ask some of my friends for accountability because sometimes, when I get my game face on, things get ugly and  I forget to be kind in the race to TAKE EVERYONE ELSE DOWWWWN.  {{Remember, I don’t like waking up at 5 am.}}

I volunteered from my team to Face the Cookie.

I ended up with cookie dust all over my hairline and a crumb in my contact for the rest of the day, but I got that cookie in my mouth.

The only bummer was that 5 other teams got their cookies in their mouths first.

School starts on Tuesday and I will face my 7 little cuties whom I have been praying for these last 2 weeks.

And instead of cookie dust in my hair, I will probably have a mixture of paint and boogers on my pants.

Pray for me! :-)

– Julie

*You can find lots of fun Minute-To-Win-It game ideas HERE!*