The Call of Community

I used to be very intimidated by other moms. I would feel great shame when I would show up at a play date and see that other moms had packed coolers filled with healthy snacks and cold bottles of water. Meanwhile, I would have a ziploc bag filled with random whatevers from the pantry and a desperate hope for a fairly sanitary water fountain.

These days, I don’t worry about it as much – partly, because I pack somewhat better snacks but, mainly, because I have friends who know me well enough to pack extra snacks and drinks for my kids. That is what moms need to do. We need to fill in the gaps for each other. booth

We all have strengths. For instance, if you get in a bind and need someone to watch your kid, I’m your girl. Seriously, when you have five kids, another bowl of macaroni at lunchtime ain’t no thang. Some of you are fabulous at planning birthday parties. I see the things y’all pull off and am so grateful that my kids are not on Facebook to see it.

Motherhood is a community. It is our duty to rise up and help one another. This is a difficult age to raise babies. We need to worry about things that our mothers never did. For instance, were you aware that there is an app designed to hide photos and videos? The sole purpose of it is to deceive! I had no clue until another mother mentioned it to me. We need to have each other’s backs, y’all. The infighting and insecurities need to stop. There is too much at stake.

In Acts 6, the church was growing quickly and some things began to slip through the cracks. Due to a large number of people and a language barrier, the Greek-speaking Jews were upset that their widows were being neglected. They wanted the apostles to fix the problem.

The solution the apostles came up with was for people within that community to rise up and take on that responsibility. That is the beauty of community. We know the needs of our people and we know how to help.

churchbuildingYou and I are a community. We know the signs of a mama who is on the edge because we have been there. We recognize the desperation in her eyes because we have seen it in the mirror.

Listen, sweet friends. Motherhood is glorious. I would not trade this time with my babies for anything. This is not a woe-is-us message – not by a long shot. We are a blessed bunch of women. My point is that, sometimes, we stink at community.

Oh, we are great at moms nights out and small talk in the halls at school and church. We sip our coffee and smile as we sit on the bleachers at our children’s sporting events. Yet, when it comes to true community, we are missing the boat big time.

It is wrong that so many women would slip emails into my box saying, “I am all alone.” A complete stranger sent me a message asking if we could be prayer buddies because she did not have anyone. That should break our hearts because I believe it breaks God’s heart.

We are called to live in community. Let’s rise up and meet the needs of our sisters.

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Also, if you are not able to physically join a group of ladies to study God’s Word. You are more than welcome to virtually join me. 😉 I am currently reading through the book of Acts with a couple friends. You are welcome to join us. Just join our Facebook group and jump right in. We just read a chapter each day and share our thoughts. I would love to have anyone join who needs a little daily affirmation or accountability. There is no need to play catch up. Seriously, just jump right in with us. <3

How to Raise Servants in a Serve-Me World

I can’t think of service without an episode of The Cosby Show popping into my head. Cliff and Claire Huxtable are in the living room and the little neighbor boy shows up. Claire stands up and offers to get her husband, Cliff, a cup of coffee and the little boy gets a shocked look on his face.

“I didn’t think you did that sort of thing, Mrs. Huxtable.”

“What sort of thing?” she asks.

“You know. Serve your man.”

Instantly, Claire is offended and proceeds to tell the boy, in no uncertain terms, that she is not serving her man. The mere thought of serving another person, even her husband, was offensive to her.

The Serving Saviorwashingdishes

Being considered a servant was never offensive to Christ. One of His final lessons to his disciples was one of service. As He knelt before each man and washed his feet, Christ instructed them to do the same for each other.

For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. – John 13:15

The problem is that this is contrary to what the world teaches. We live in a what’s-in-it-for-me kind of world. How can we teach our children that there is beauty in servanthood? How can we raise servants in a serve-me world?

  • Teach them to ask, “What can I do to help?” When it is time for my girls to clean their room, my three-year-old sometimes is found wandering aimlessly around the room. She wants to do something, but she doesn’t know what to do. I have taught her to walk up to one of her sisters and ask what she can do to help. The fact is that, left to our own devices, we will be selfish. Servanthood needs to be taught.
  • Let them see you serving. If you have ever tried to sneak the last piece of a pie when no one was looking, then you have discovered that someone is always looking. If you want your children to serve others, then that is what they need to see you doing.
  • Get uncomfortable. I have mentioned my introversion. I have admitted being socially awkward. To serve others, however, we must step out of our comfort zones. It means meeting people where they are and our children need to see us doing just that. Always being comfortable should make us uncomfortable.
  • Serve with a smile. Mother Theresa once said that the miracle was not the work she did, but that she was happy to do it. If we want our children to be true servants, we must instill in them a love of serving. It should be a desire and not an obligation.

We want our children to be healthy and happy. We want them to be well-rounded and productive members of society. We want them to be safe and successful. We want them to take care of us when we are old. {Oh, is that just me?}

Ultimately, however, we should want them to follow Jesus wherever He leads them. If they do that, God will take care of whatever else they need.

But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Whether it was the hungry or the helpless, Jesus served them.

Whether it was a brother or a betrayer, Jesus served them.

If we want to raise servants, we need to be servants.

5 Ways to Filter Negative Noise in Your Life

I am currently the only one awake in my house. That is nothing short of a miracle. I want to write, but I also want to sit and enjoy the silence. Life just seems so loud these days. I know what you’re thinking. How can life not be loud with five kids? Here’s the thing, though. The kids are not the noise. 20120920-011548.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. They can be very loud. At the end of the day, however, they are not the noise that stresses out my soul. It is the anger on the Internet. It is the drama constantly unfolding on the television. It is the discord in church pews. It is neighbors who just can’t get along.

Noise. Noise. Noise.

Do you feel that way too? Do you wish there was a tad less noise in your life? Here are five changes you can make to filter out some of the negative noise.

Filtering Negative Noise

  • Begin your day with quiet. For years, my alarm clock has been whichever kid woke up first. With the addition of each infant, I was certain that, the longer she slept, the more refreshed I would feel upon awakening. That is not what happens. It doesn’t matter if she wakes up at 5:45 or 8:00, if I stay in bed until she awakens, I am thrown headlong into the noise of the day. I need a moment of quiet. It may only be five minutes, but it will be my five minutes.
  • Choose better background noise. Whether you are a retiree or a stay at home parent, those at home sometimes prefer background noise. The default tool is often the television. The television, however, can be full of negative emotions and scenarios. Instead, choose to listen to a podcast, music or audio book. Listening to other things will not only set a better tone but it enables you to move around the house while listening.
  • Choose the better portion. Sometimes, the loudest noise is inside our own heads. We, like Martha, are anxious and troubled about so many things. Jesus did not say that Mary did not have things which could have caused her to feel anxious and troubled. The difference was that Mary chose the better thing to focus on. Choose worship over worry.
  • Leave the noise behind. There is a great big, beautiful world full of adventure and excitement. It is right outside your door. Go and explore. Step away from the computer. Walk away from the chores. Take your family and leave your phone. Eat ice cream. Sit on a park bench. Enjoy life.
  • End your day with quiet. Whether your day is full of staff meetings and business lunches or play dates and doctor’s appointments, it is important to end where you began. Take a deep breath. Read a little. Laugh with someone. Thank God for the people He has placed in your life. Drink a little something hot. Dream about tomorrow.

If we are not intentionally seeking some quiet, the negative noises will take over.

What do you do to add a little peace and quiet to your day?

To the Mama With No One to Hold Her Coffee

coffeeThe other day, my three oldest children went to their grandmother’s house. That left me with only two little ones. A piece of cake, right? Wrong, y’all. Really, really wrong. So, for any of you who have ever looked at a mama with a thousand or five kids and thought, “I could never do that,” this is for you.

Join me over on Moms Magazine and I will tell you about the day I tried to take my two littles on an outing without any big kids to help me. It was every bit as exhausting as it sounds. See you there!

<3 Stacy

How to Get Your Family Noticed in Ten Easy Steps

my5babesMy oldest daughter recently asked me, “Why do people always stop and talk to us?”

“Always?”

“Yes, always.”

Now, I could sit here and tell you that she is exaggerating. But, she isn’t. It doesn’t seem to matter where we go, someone stops us. That is just what happens when you have five children. People are shocked horrified angry confused interested. The question is always the same.

Are these all your children?

Yes, they are all mine.

I have to say that we have met the most interesting people because of our large family. I have had people ask if all of my children have the same dad, if we are on public assistance and if we have figured out what causes it. Strangers, y’all, asking these things! {The answers, by the way, are all the same – that would be none of your concern.} Just the other day, a sweet lady walked up and commented on the fact that my infant was not wearing shoes. She disapproved. But, she gave me credit for “at least her skin is clean.” Well, thank you for noticing, ma’am.

Anyway, I got to thinking. Perhaps, you would like to be noticed more often when you are out and about with your children. Lost River Cave 1Maybe, you would like a little of the stranger love. It just isn’t very nice for our family to hog it all. Share and share alike. That’s what my mama always says.

So, today only, I am going to share some of my best kept secrets with you. If you want to attract unwanted attention, unsolicited advice and unnecessary commentary, just follow these simple rules.

  1. Always have at least one child {bonus points for two} forget to wear shoes.
  2. Have random papers, toys or happy meal bags fall out of the car when you open the door.
  3. Teach your child to wait until you are in the middle of checking out to begin yelling, “I have to tee tee. I have to tee tee.”
  4. Allow your child to wear her stocking cap to the store in the middle of June.
  5. Allow your child to wear her flip flops to the store in the middle of January.
  6. Have your child put random groceries items in the wrong person’s buggy and then try to retrieve them without being noticed.
  7. Be sure to always have at least one child with a runny nose and make sure that you do not have any tissues on hand.
  8. Make sure to allow your child to push around one of those little shopping carts so that she can run into the back of strangers and pick up multiple items that you have no intention of buying.
  9. Make a trip to the library and watch as your children occupy every computer. {Doesn’t everyone go to the library to play on the computer?}
  10. Always plan your outings during a time when your baby is hungry, tired or both.

So, there you have it. Never again will you have to endure an outing without interruptions. No more cruising through the aisles unnoticed. No more making it through your shopping without someone questioning whether you are buying any vegetables to go with the doughnuts and potato chips in your buggy. {True story.}

Go on out there and get noticed, my friends! It’s a crazy good time.

{disclaimer: it’s all in good fun, y’all. we love people. we love their stories. we love meeting people that we wouldn’t meet otherwise. it’s all good.}