Tuesday, February 23, 2016

MLK: Remembering the Day, Lessons for the Year

The January holiday has passed, and I wonder if you're still thinking about it. 
As a parent, I am.
Last month, my family went to worship at a church we've started attending. While our actions were usual, our experience was not. It was the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day weekend. Our largely white Presbyterian church in New Jersey had combined with two black churches in town. While the town itself is diverse, coming together for worship is rare. 
Searching for a seat amidst the crowded pews, I noticed our guests wore even dressier attire. They spoke with warmth, intellect, and pride. I had a sense they were going to share something special with us -- and it was for good reason. 
Central Presbyterian Church, Summit, NJ
Song soon filled the walls. Not a stale hymn in which you can hear a sniffle in the back of the sanctuary, but passionate voices who revealed their hearts, dreams, and stories. The church was transformed into an emotive dance of praise set to drums, bass, and soul.
The sermon was equally moving, though in a prophetic way. The guest preacher made the comparison between knowing truth and acting on it; between describing oneself as religious and actually living righteously; between familiarity with the Bible and really loving the Lord. Reconciliation isn't something to just appreciate on the pages of the Bible or in the life of Dr. King, he said; it's also something to live everyday.
And yet, the gap between knowing and doing is real. This year my older son learned about Dr. King in school. As a first-grader, he studied racial inequality through the stories of Jackie Robinson (he really loves baseball) and Rosa Parks too. As much as he can summarize history, however, he is not yet equally adept at applying its truth to his everyday. 
My son's school artwork
I question in the wake of the holiday, "How can I instruct my sons to further inclusion, kind words, fair chances, and the acknowledgment of latent prejudice?" The answer, I believe, has to do with connecting to that mission first myself. 
Despite past inroads, the cry for racial reconciliation still sounds. Brutality, distrust, and prejudice abound in the news and in the observed and unobserved reaches of our communities. Mired in pain and confusion, many feel overwhelmed -- where do we begin? Some tireless roll up their sleeves and try. Others point fingers or walk away.
The reality is that we can't walk away. The cry for reconciliation isn't just for one people; we all need it. The effect of our splintered modern society is far-reaching. It's easy to feel the need for deeper connectivity as our society grows in isolation and individualism. The encouragement to recognize our connectedness to usher in healing is something that's not only relevant on a socio-political level, but on a deeply personal one too.
We can live too busy to repair lost relationships, address estranged ones, or really grieve those not forgotten. Could it be that in order to be agents of change, we also need to heal ourselves? Society will collectively benefit from every act of reconciliation. 
Martin Luther King Day isn't just about what one man did at one point in history. Anyone can be a leader if they're willing to stand up. Anyone can work toward reconciliation in the sense that we are all hungry for it. Perhaps the first steps toward that larger goal are the simple actions that begin with each of us throughout the year.
As I think about how this impacts decisions in my own life, there are steps that we can take as parents to promote healing too. We can:
To finish reading this article and discover three practical steps to integrate into our parenting, please click here to head over to Huff Post Parents. Don't forget to "like" the article or comment while over there - thanks friends!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How to Move from Insecure to SECURE Right Now

How-to-Move-from-Insecure-to-Secure-Right-Now_558X284This week I'm delighted to be back at The Laundry Moms sharing some encouragement that I like to turn to whenever I need it. (Can I add that I love the hair in their picture above?!) I heard from a dear friend this week who is going through a hard time, and she said the worst thing is that she feels like she is losing hope. If you've ever felt that way or are feeling that way right now, read this post to remind you of the STRENGTH we have by faith. It's a renewable resource...

Have you ever felt:
  • Excluded
  • Flawed
  • Under-qualified
  • Unlovable
  • Or even, unworthy of your blessings?
These emotions are treacherous.  They're treacherous because we can all feel them. They're treacherous because they can persistently whisper down deep below the surface. On the outside, we may look fine.  But these insecurities can secretly chip away at our souls.

It's one thing to know God's promises, but it's another to really believe them.  How do we take what we read on the pages of scripture and make them a part of how we esteem ourselves?  How do we replace lies with God's truth?  I am not talking about composing a sound belief structure.  I am talking about rewriting the very personal voices in our head and heart...

Click here to read my story about how I learned to do this and to discover 5 scriptural promises that will make all the difference for you today!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Baby Makes Happy Mamas!

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These packages were among the many that unexpected showed up at my door for *free* from Happy Family recently. I quickly passed the good will on to two others...

The first is a friend, who showed up at preschool having walked there in the cold with her baby and preschooler after losing her car keys that morning. That's the kind of unexpected sacrifice any mom can appreciate, for we've all had hiccups to overcome in our day. Just as this mom chose to make her preschooler's day regardless, Happy Family allowed me to do something to make HER day a little better back.

The second recipient is a friend, but she is also the founder of the Moms Helping Moms Foundation. Perhaps you remember me telling you about this exceptional foundation that helps local moms in need. Perhaps you follow me on Twitter and saw the foundation tweeting their thanks last month.

I want you to know that YOU as my readers had a part in these special gifts. By reading, you helped Happy Family gift this site with some great products because they think you'd like too. And I have to say, a healthy body is a close second to a healthy soul. Thank you Happy Family! ❤️

P.S. Stayed tuned next week for a special post that will be featured over at the Laundry Moms!

TODAY Video Clip