I’m a masterpiece!

 

 

 

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I’m a masterpiece, I’m a masterpiece.” We’ve been singing this little ditty around our house for a couple of weeks now. It all started after I heard a message from a speaker talking about how God created us as masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10). I was so inspired that I started repeating, “I’m a masterpiece, I’m a masterpiece.” I let Kenny hear the message and he was inspired as well. I was so excited that I stopped Shiloh and Tiago from playing so that they could speak this truth as well. I  told them to repeat after me, and they did joyfully. 

A few months ago we were at the Magic House, and there’s this room that has a space where you can paint. There are only four canvases available at a time. Once one is available, one of the workers puts a fresh sheet of paper onto the canvas, writes your name if you are too young to write it yourself, and then you get to paint away. While we were waiting for an open spot, there was a teenager painting.  He kept yelling across the room to everyone, “I’m making a masterpiece. This is going to be a masterpiece.” Shiloh found his antics quite hilarious and kept asking me what a masterpiece was. I just kept thinking in my head, “yeah right.” “What kind of masterpiece could he have been creating? He looked as though he was haphazardly throwing paint around and just being a little obnoxious. It wasn’t until I looked over at his painting and to my surprise, it actually looked amazing.  it was a beautiful sunset. I said, “wow, you did make a masterpiece.” Again Shiloh asked me what a masterpiece was and I just told him that it was something really good. I think it stuck with him because he got extremely excited at the thought that he too could be a masterpiece.

I thought about how I was hatin’ on this kid and didn’t realize the talent he had until I looked further. He was not only a masterpiece himself but he created one. This kid was encouraging himself and sometimes, some days, that’s what we have to do. We have to remind ourselves who we are and who we belong to, even when others don’t see it. Even when our identity is questioned. It has to be something that we know deep down inside that is unmovable and unshakeable.

As it relates to our children, we are determined to be a voice that speaks louder and more consistent than self-doubt and critics. Our three beautiful boys are each different and special in their own way. They have separate struggles, but we are learning to celebrate their differences and speak truth to their weakness. As two of our boys enter into school this year, I wanted them to know that they are capable of doing each task that will be set before them, even if it takes a little while to “get it.” They are masterpieces, created to do good things and so are you!

 

Life on a Limb

Two of my three boys have a few more weeks before the start of school, and I was figuring out what to do with them because we had reached our limit of being in the house together all day. Either I was gonna kill them or they were going to kill each other. I thought to myself, it’s going to be a really bad day inside or an awesome day out. We chose life lol!  We were almost out the door and I remembered that the Botanical Garden is free for city residents on Wednesdays and Saturdays before 12 pm (thanks for the reminder Holy Spirit). We hadn’t gone all summer and today was the perfect day to visit the splash pad.

 

We get there and we decided to go inside the Climatron. The Climatron is a ginormous dome-shaped greenhouse that’s home to an array of trees and flowers, many of which do not grow in our state. While looking around at some citrus trees and pretty flowers, my eyes locked on this sign: Life of a Limb: known as air plants. Epiphytes are plants that use other plants for support. They are not parasites. They get the water and nutrients they need from the air. By growing on other plants they can reach positions where the sunlight is brighter.

 

My first thought was wow! That has so many life applications. I thought about my kids. Many times, especially in the womb and while nursing they seem like parasites lol, but they’re really epiphytes. They need us as parents for support. Any good parent wants their child to grow higher and reach farther than they have ever gone. Parents are great hosts for epiphytes.

 

I started thinking about other applications of this beyond parenthood into personal growth.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always wanting to learn new things. I want to grow in my faith, profession, as a wife, and mother. I’m an enneagram 7 in case you were wondering lol. I remember praying for mentors in certain areas of my life. It was and still is a deep longing. I realized that I’m an epiphyte plant. I want to be in community with people that support me and help me grow even when the growth is painful. Growth can be very painful at times, but what’s even more painful than that is staying stuck. I started looking for people who were where I wanted to go and I began to seek council from them. Some are friends and some I watch from afar, but it has been instrumental in pushing me forward.

 

I also realized that my husband and I are hosts to epiphytes. Obviously, because we’re parents, but also because my husband and I mentor and support others. We always say that we have a lot of grown kids lol. It’s been amazing and rewarding seeing our epiphytes graduate college, get married, beat addiction, overcome abuse, persevere through challenging circumstances, etc, etc. We’ve experienced highs and lows, growing pains, failures, and triumphs with many. We feel blessed to play a small role in their stories.

 

If you look at the picture of this epiphyte plant you can see how beautiful and healthy it is because of the community and environment it lives in. I propose a few things for you if you’re interested in personal growth.

 

  1. Look for your hosts. Take an audit of your relationships. Who stretches you? Who helps you reach for more? If there is no one in your circle that does this, ask God to guide you. Maybe you’re the one that’s supposed to create this dynamic amongst your friends.
  2. Look for epiphytes to support. Why? Because someone will do it for you. I remember my husband and I praying fervently for mentors. It wasn’t until we started to mentor others that we reaped a harvest of mentors in our life. You may say you don’t have time. It doesn’t take much time and it will be rewarding. You’re building a legacy that will outlive you. What do you want to leave behind?
  3. Imagine how the world around us could change if 1 and 2 were a part of our core values. We would be lifting each other up while learning from one another.  There would be so many things that could change. I am an idealist and I just dream of this being possible. A lot of times we put focus on what others are not doing, but I propose that we focus on what we’re doing individually. If we do that, the trickle-down effect will take shape and we will start changing the world by changing ourselves

From Time-Out to Time-In

Hi guys,

It’s been a while, huh? It feels like every time I get comfortable with a new rhythm, it changes. The latest change comes in the form of newborn life and returning to a demanding job. We are in the thick of it right now, but I’m trying to enjoy even the toughest moments. Being a mommy of  two high energy toddlers and a newborn can exhaust your patience by the end of the day, but I’m so thankful for resources like Generation Mindful that help parents and children grow and learn together.

I’m an educator, and the Growth Mindset Theory has been transforming the educational  world over the last few years. It is the idea that we are continuously learning and growing, even though I may not be good at something. But if I keep learning and practicing, I will get better. 

Growth Mindset does not only apply to students. Anyone can benefit from developing a growth mindset, especially us parents. Parenting is hard, and there’s no one size fits all. We tend to parent the way our parents parented us. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Parenthood is one area that my husband and I are putting the Growth Mindset into practice. 

I’m really excited to team up with Generation Mindful. Having a sassy two-year old and a four year old with sensory challenges, it’s been difficult to find a balance between punishment and learning moments. We’ve decided to dedicate those learning moments into developing emotional intelligence in our children.

When we first found out our four-year old, Shiloh, had proprioception sensory challenges,  it was overwhelming, and we felt like we had failed. As we learned more about it, a lot of his behaviors started to make sense. He’s a sensory seeker and if he’s not getting enough input, he seeks it no matter if it’s in a positive or negative way. Shiloh has been going to occupational therapy for almost a year now, and we are seeing a lot of improvement with him. He can better articulate his feelings, and now I love having resources at home to help build his emotional intelligence. 

Our kids were so excited to set up the Time-in Toolkit. They were both decoding their feelings on the chart, and we even had our first calming corner experience.

Shiloh got upset because he wanted to continue putting tape on the posters, but we were all done. He got to explain why he was feeling “frustrated,” and we talked through some calming down strategies. He decided that he wanted to take a few minutes to read a book in his tent as a way to calm down. I caught a snippet on video.

My boys are benefiting greatly from our Generation Mindful resources, and here are 5 reasons why I’m loving them as a parent:

1. Visuals: Kids begin to put language to their feelings, and going through the visual tools helps them process their emotions.

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2. The non-judgmental online community and classes help parents with challenges they may be experiencing and give great ideas to take a positive approach to parenting where there are more learning moments than punitive.

3. The snuggle buddies are AWESOME. My kids absolutely love them. They talk about their feelings with them, and put on puppet shows with help from daddy :).IMG_3378.JPGIMG_3374.JPG

4. The kit grows with your child. Some of the items in the kit are too old for my kids right now, but I’ll definitely be adding them in the future.

5. My husband and I are growing as parents. We always say we don’t know what we’re doing. We’ve never been parents before lol.

 

So talk to me guys. Do you have a growth mindset when it comes to parenting? What aspects of parenting littles are challenging for you? What’s your parenting strategy?