Monday, March 31, 2008

A Mother's Heart

From the moment I knew I was pregnant, my life began to beat with a mother’s heart. I dreamed of the day ahead when my little apartment would feel like a home. I wondered what my baby would look like, smell like, and act like. Was it a boy or a girl? As weeks turned into months, I longed for the day when my full belly would give way to full arms. Morning sickness and evening heartburn did nothing to douse the passionate flame of mother-love that was welding my baby and me together.

When my husband Rich and I brought our daughter home, the atmosphere in our apartment indeed changed. Unfortunately, at times it wasn’t as peaceful as I had hoped! During the first few weeks, reality was long days of breastfeeding, housekeeping, and changing diapers. The nights were even longer as I was awake rocking or pacing the floor with my crying baby. It took some time for my real life circumstances to apprehend my prenatal dreams! I had envisioned a clean home, a cooked dinner, and a content baby. As I transitioned into motherhood, however, there were many afternoons that I was still in my pajamas when Rich got home from work.
A clean house?
Dinner ready?
Forget it!
I had lost my heart to this little one, but there were times when I thought I was losing my mind, as well, LOL!

A new mom easily encounters stress from the many demands placed upon her. Emotionally, she is realizing that a tiny human being is totally dependent upon her. For the first time ever, she is able to accurately assess the weight of a mother’s responsibility. These heady discoveries are accompanied by the physical challenges of weight gain, hemorrhoids, fatigue, and sore breasts. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and even inadequate for the job.

Somewhere along the path of your pregnancy or after your baby is born, you may begin to doubt your ability to be a mother. You’re not alone. It is an awesome assignment to be given the task of raising a child. It is also an incredible blessing. Perhaps you’ve looked at other women handling the multitude of tasks involved in parenting and wondered if you’ll be able to do it. You may have even looked at your own upbringing and cringed, determined you will do things differently.

It’s comforting to turn to God’s Word and see that He handpicked you to be the mother of this child. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Incredibly, you and your baby were meant to be together! God planned it. Maybe you don’t feel qualified to be a mom. Here’s the good news: None of us moms are qualified, but all of us are called. God is the one who opens and closes the womb. Whether your baby was planned for and prayed over or the biggest surprise of your life makes no difference. God plans each life, and your baby is no exception. Your baby is a true gift from God. So trust Him, in His wisdom, to qualify you for mothering.

And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in
God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant"
(Luke 1:46-48a)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nickel Anyone?

Last Saturday, my 3 year old swallowed a nickel. He and grandpa were playing “cookies” – baking quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies on pretend cookie sheets. (Here’s my tip moms, don’t play cookies with money!) Before my dad could say anything, Ethan had popped a pretend cookie in his mouth and it disappeared. We think it was a nickel. It’s been five days and we haven’t found it yet. And you can imagine how much I’m enjoying feeling through poop every day until my son makes some change!

My son totally knows better. Yet he still swallowed a nickel. God willing, this will be the last time!

What have you been eating lately mom? Probably not any loose change, but maybe a few too many potato chips, bowls of ice cream, pizza slices or pastries. If you are trying to lose weight after baby, you’ll need to make some wise choices in the kitchen, grocery store and out at restaurants. Leave your indulgences for times out with friends, or when someone has you over for a treat.

As a new mom, you’re the gatekeeper for what goes in your mouth and your baby’s. Choose things like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, yogurt, chicken, fish, nuts, etc. Skip the junk food and of course, don’t eat any money, no matter how hungry you get for “cookies”!

Therefore whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory
of God.
- I Corinthians 10:31


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strength for mom

Ever had a day where you were too pooped to pop?  Don't even know what that means but it's in a kid's book we have...  I am telling you, I am tired--bone tired.  What zaps us?  Illness, winter, strong-willed kids, picky eaters, potty training, discontentment.  Those are my current joy zappers.  Life can be tough.  Motherhood can be even tougher.  But what keeps us going? Knowing that we are shaping godly women and men.  Motherhood is work that feels like a fight sometimes.  We are fighting for our kids' souls, their future, the future of our grandchildren.  I know that sounds dramatic but isn't it true?  It's only what you do for Christ that counts.  So gently leading our kids to walk and talk with Christ, to journey with him, to let him mold and shape their character....these are worthy pursuits.  These are the things that will last for eternity. I challenge you to keep at it!  One diaper at a time.  One bath at a time.  One meal at a time.  Keep praying for your kids.  Keep teaching them who God is and who they are because of him.  Keep at it, you can do it.  

One day at a time, sweet Jesus!  

The joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10  


Sunday, March 23, 2008

When Real Labor Begins

My youngest will be eleven this Friday. I can hardly believe it! The year he was born, March 28th happened to be on Good Friday. My OB had gone on a ski trip, telling me as he left that I would still be around when he returned. (Yeah, right!) The doctor who was on call for my group was very young, having just completed his residency and having just begun his first year of full-time private practice. (Yikes!)

But God always has the right people in the right place at the right time, and this young doc was the very one I needed. You see, Derek's shoulder got stuck just after his head was delivered, and one of my nurses literally began to FREAK out--it was a crazy scene! But the doctor was able to maneuver my sweet Derek out of the birth canal by working patiently and calmly (and dismissing the hysterical nurse!), never seeming the least bit flustered.

When it was all over and Derek had arrived safe and sound, one of the other nurses came over to me and said, "Well, you can relax. The hard part is over!"

I smiled and gently replied, "Oh, no. The hard part will be raising him to be a godly man in an ungodly world." You see, for believing parents everywhere, the real labor begins after delivery. You, Mom, are the right person in the right place at the right time for raising your child. God planned for you to be there for that little person. He put the two of you together! And while you may feel inadequate and unprepared, while you may be ready to FREAK!, God will be working with you, patiently and calmly, to help you raise a godly child in an ungodly world.

We brought Derek home on Easter Sunday morning. He was my precious reminder of new life, fresh hope, and resurrected purpose. Today, as then, I remain dependent upon the Lord for the hard part--the real labor of parenting. And today, as then, I find Him faithful.

God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:9)


Friday, March 21, 2008

Bod for God

This week on The 700 Club, I watched a pastor named Steve Reynolds being interviewed about being a biggest loser. He’s lost more than 100 pounds. Being overweight all of his life, he grew to 340 pounds and developed diabetes. He knew it was time to do something about his weight problem. He developed a weight loss program to fight obesity and wrote about it in his book Bod 4 God. Now he’s called "The Anti-Fat Pastor."

Pastor Reynolds asked God to give him a passage in the Bible to keep him motivated. He said God directed him to Matthew 16:24,
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
For Reynolds, that verse meant giving up foods that were harmful and exercising again after years of inactivity.

Today is Good Friday, a day we remember the incredible sacrifice Christ made for us – His very life. Moms, I want to encourage you to give your "bods to God" as Pastor Reynold’s book talks about. The least we can do for our dear Savior is give Him our bodies. To be healthy and active so we can do good for His glory.

Use this day to say thank you to Jesus for loving you so much. Dedicate your heart and body for His use. During the busy activities of Easter weekend, make sure you take a moment to be still and say thank you to your Heavenly Father. You’ll enjoy your Easter much more as you do. Happy Easter friends! Have a blessed weekend with your precious baby!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I will help you

Isaiah 41:13 says, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

I don't know where you're at today but I could sure use some help. I live in Minneapolis and we've brought our family to Nashville this week for me to "work." In total I've done four guest lectures and two larger campus events at Belmont University. I did a television interview yesterday morning. Why do I share this? Because I am sicker than a dog so I know for sure that God's power has been sustaining me. Sometimes I think he uses my being sick to remind him that he's in control. But I also think it's a good lesson in 'where does my help come from?' Anyone who has seen me or heard me coughing in the last week has been fairly concerned about my health. Why am I doing this stuff at Belmont University this week? I believe so strongly in the message I have to share with women about postpartum depression that I couldn't bear to not be here. When God truly touches and changes you, it is a wonderful burden to share that with others. This week has been wonderful and horrible at the same time. As I type I'm burning with fever. But that doesn't change the fact that God loves me and helps me through it. My prayer has been simple, basic, maybe childlike...I've been pleading with God to help me and he has.

What about you? What do you need help with? Is your pregnancy driving you crazy? Are you exhausted from your children? Do you need more physical or emotional help? Do you need friendship? Is life overwhelming in general? Are you longing to find someone who shares your concerns about parenting? No matter where you are or what is going on in your life, God cares about you. He says he will help you. That may not seem like a huge thing to you. This is the same God who created the universe and raised his son from the dead. This is the same God who parted the Red Sea and flooded the earth. This is one powerful God. If he's offering to help you, I'd take it seriously...and I'd take him up on it.

My challenge to you this week is to look for ways to ask God for help. Thank him in advance for all that he will do for you. God wants us to ask for his help but he desires our praise and thanks, too!

Be lifted,


Monday, March 17, 2008

Want to Stay at Home with Your New Baby?

From the time I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to stay home with my baby. So my husband and I began to make some changes to our lifestyle in order for me to be able to stay home. The first thing we did was look for a cheaper place to live! We were living in Charlotte, NC, at the time, and we were in a really nice apartment. Of course, we were both working, so we could afford a beautiful, new apartment in the city, close to our jobs. But we said a prayer, let go of it, and started looking for somewhere else. Just about five miles away, we found a fantastic apartment, on the bus transit line (Yeah, we dropped down to one car, too! One car = one car payment....two cars = two car payments....just do the math!), and $200 less than what we were paying! With an extra $200 a month and only one car payment, things started to look doable!

There are lots of things you can do from home if you really want to be there with your baby. You might even be able to arrange with your current job to work from home. But please don't ever forget WHY you're staying home! If you get all wrapped up in trying to make money from home--especially where the Internet is concerned, because the Internet is open 24/7--you've lost your focus. You've got to remember your top priority isn't making money. Your top priority is being a mom. And there is no greater calling. So don't get it backwards!

My friend Cherie and I compare notes all the time. She works from home selling beautiful hand-crafted lighting: chandeliers, sconces, gorgeous stuff. She's been at this for several years. It has not been an overnight success! But I ran into her at the grocery store over the weekend and she had big news: One of her chandeliers was featured in an article in Better Homes and Garden magazine! Wow! How exciting! She has worked so hard over the past several years building her business and that's what it's all about--doing something you love, for the people you love, and hanging in there. Pressing through when you feel like giving up.

I didn't start writing books and freelancing immediately after my babies were born. That would come later. What I tried to do in the early years was cut costs, and that became a job in itself.
Clipping coupons,
Learning to recycle and reuse,
Making my own baby wipes,
Making my own baby food, and
Shopping consignment sales for clothes
all helped to add to our bottom line!

Another thing I found during those early years of staying at home: I had to learn to be content. It continues to be a lifelong lesson, because, believe me, now that I have teenagers, I can attest to the fact that they are not getting any cheaper! LOL! But it's just really important, if you decide to stay at home, to be content in what your husband can provide: doing the best with what you have and learning to do without the things that are not necessary.

Babies do not stick around. They grow up. Fast.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,
because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you"
(Hebrews 13:5).


Friday, March 14, 2008

Maximize Your Walk

After I had my first baby, I loved taking walks with him. I’d either put him in a front carrier or push him in the stroller. Either way, it was therapeutic to be out of the house for both of us. And it was great exercise!

Make it part of your weekly routine to take walks. You can walk around your neighborhood, a park or other scenic place. Keep in mind, if you’re strolling at a leisurely pace, you’ll enjoy the experience but probably won’t burn too many calories.

If you’re 6 weeks postpartum or more, you can maximize your walking time by:

Pumping up the speed. Let’s say it takes you 25 minutes to walk one mile. On your next walk, shave off 2 minutes. Keep working up to a faster pace. Try to beat your last record.

Practicing good posture. Stand up straight with your eyes forward, not looking down. Keep your chin up and suck in your stomach. Good posture applies spiritually speaking too. As you walk, hold your head up high remembering that you are beloved in the kingdom of God. Meditate on the words of I Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people."

Joining a Stroller Strides group. Stroller Strides incorporates the environment, resistance bands and your stroller to get a total body workout in 60 minutes. It’s a highly effective program and you’ll meet other moms and babies in the process.

Whenever you walk with your baby, use it as a special time to talk with God about your cares and joys. And you’ll be losing your baby weight in the process. What a great combination!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Does Mom ever get a day off?

I debated on whether or not I should even write today. I'm horribly ill with the flu and constant asthma attacks. When I say the flu I mean THE FLU. I don't have much energy to type so I'll make it short. Does Mom ever get a day off? Unfortunately, in my experience, moms only get the day off when they are about to be hospitalized. Yesterday I was so sick that my husband absolutely had to come home from work to take care of the baby. Ironically, the baby fell asleep in the middle of my bedroom floor minutes before my husband walked in the door. So I felt like a heel for calling him. The baby had already had a two hour nap and I never guessed he'd take another nap one hour later! I'm running fever and don't have much sane to offer today. But I must answer the question. Moms don't really get a day off. At least not guilt free. I don't think it's in our chemical makeup anyway.

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Have a Seat

One of my funniest pregnancy stories is of the day my husband took me to see the beautiful rocker-recliner he had just bought. It was supposed to be a Christmas present (the baby was due in January), and because he knew I had been worrying about how I would rock the baby (since we had no rocking chair), he took me to see the one on the showroom floor. The store would be delivering mine the next week.I loved the color, but when I sat down in it, I began to cry. It didn't fit my body! I was so upset. Of course, nothing was going to fit my body at about 3 weeks away from my due date. But a million thoughts ran through my mind, urged along by my raging hormones:

1) Rich has wasted our money on this chair.

2) We didn't have the money to waste.

3) We will go bankrupt over this chair.

4) I do not fit this chair.

5) I will never fit any chair again.

6) I will never be comfortable and able to sit anywhere ever again.

7) The baby will not sleep without being rocked.

8) I cannot rock in this chair that I don't fit.

9) The baby will not sleep.

10) I will not sleep.

11) No one will sit or sleep ever again.....

It sounds so crazy, but that was where I was! Fortunately, it was temporary! Those thoughts that seemed to make so much sense and that situation that seemed so permanent were just temporary. I was rocking away--comfortably--in that chair as soon as we brought the baby home, and now, almost 16 years later, we still have that chair! And yes, it does fit me just fine! It always has.

It is so easy to get caught up in temporary situations or even feelings and think they are going to last forever. You will be a mom forever, but every moment of motherhood is temporary--fleeting. So choose to cherish it!

Love your new baby.
Laugh at yourself.
Learn as you go.
And tell your funny stories with honesty and openness. You will be an encouragement to someone else!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You Can Do It Mom!

You’ve been making a person inside of your body for 40 weeks – talk about hard work! Then after your sweet baby is born, your body has to recover from delivery. And of course the shocker for many new moms is: why do I still look pregnant after my baby has been born?!

Have no fear mom! God designed our bodies in such an amazing way to produce life, and He will give you the strength to bounce back physically after the baby as well. Give yourself 6 weeks to rest and recover. Walk if you’re comfortable doing so. Then when your doctor gives you the green light, you can start working those pregnancy pounds off and I will be here to help you!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be giving you tips and encouragement about refueling your body and losing weight after baby. After 3 pregnancies in 3 years in my 30s, I have learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t. And I’m excited to let you in on the good stuff!

Here’s the first thing I want to encourage you to do: Believe that you can lose your baby weight. For some of you, you may feel like you will need a miracle but remember what Matthew 19:26 says, "With God all things are possible." When you have a "can-do" attitude, it’s much easier for God to do the miraculous.

If you buy the lie that "I’ll never have time to exercise" or "I’ll never fit in my old clothes again" – guess what? You’re probably right! You will go where you focus.

Keep coming back to Totally New Moms, and let us cheer you along the wonderful journey of motherhood. And remember, when it comes to losing weight after baby, you can do it mom!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Work in Progress

Are you pregnant? Do you already have your first child? Are you longing for that first child? Do you have three (like me) and you're trying to figure out how to manage all the little creatures?Do you have a gaggle of children and your whole house runs smoothly while the rest of us drool in admiration? Do you have kids in high school or college? Perhaps you have all grown and married children. Maybe you are a grandma. Somewhere in all the various stages of life and motherhood we have something in common. We are all a work in progress. The longer I live and the more I experience the more I realize I don't have it all together. I'm not sure I have much figured out at all. But one thing I do know is that God loves me and he will be with me every step of the way. If he really wants me to be more like him than surely he knows that's impossible without his hand in my life.

Today, this verse is heavy on my heart.
Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

I dare you to believe God and take him at his word. He will guide you always. That's powerful stuff. He will satisfy your needs. Isn't that reassuring? He will strengthen our frames. I don't know about you, but I could use some strength today. Motherhood can suck the life out of us if we don't continually turn to God for our needs and satisfaction. Being a mom is monumentally difficult at best. We wear so many hats that our heads should be rubbed raw. We are maids, waitresses, cab drivers, counselors, referees, cooks, prayer warriors, church workers, community builders, nurturers, care givers, homework helpers, reading buddies, brushers of teeth, changers of diapers, wipers of puke. I'm tired just listing this stuff. It is so easy to get bogged down in the yucky parts of parenting. My prayer is that you will be refreshed and renewed so that we can be the best moms for our kids, the moms God intended us to be. As we go through this journey of motherhood together, I pray that we will continually turn to our loving God for guidance and to each other for friendship.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Consider your World Rocked!

Welcome, new and expecting moms, to Totally New Moms! Arlene, Sue, and I are so excited to get this blog underway! I’ll be posting every Monday, and I pray that I can help you get your week started off in a positive, refreshing way!

I have recently become acquainted with Michelle Duggar, the phenomenal Arkansas mother of seventeen children whose family is often featured on the Discovery Channel. Michelle recently shared with me that she had been helping her niece, a totally new mom, with her first baby. I couldn’t help but think, Wow! What would it be like to have a mother of seventeen coaching you through those first days and nights with a newborn?

Can you imagine the depth of insight, the patience, and the wisdom she would have? And can you imagine how relaxed you would feel with her by your side? After all, I’m sure there is nothing she hasn’t seen or dealt with in her own personal experience with newborns!

But I’m sure that even Michelle would be the first to agree that every baby is different. It doesn’t matter if you are on your first, your fifth, or your seventeenth! God created each of us uniquely, and in His great eye for detail, there have never been any two of us who were completely alike. We are individual souls, each with a particular purpose, designed to connect with God in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

No matter what you are experiencing with your baby today, God is by your side, and you can rest in Him. He has dealt with everything! He created your baby, and He knows her needs as well as yours. If you’ve been anxious or stressed about all this new mom stuff, tell God about it. He wants you to let Him help you with your parenting. He knows how a new baby can rock your world! Focus on Him today, even if you just have two minutes to take some deep breaths and remember that He is in control! As you follow His lead, you will find that your world, though seemingly turned upside-down, is actually right-side-up in His eyes. He has always planned for you to be the mother of your child, and through your journey of mothering, you will find Him right by your side:

Tending to the details,
Gathering your senses,
Carrying you through the rough spots,
And leading you ever so gently.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11).


Saturday, March 1, 2008


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