Why I’m Not Afraid Of Stretch Marks and Wrinkles

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I saw it. Staring into my sleepy reflection at the end of a day that felt like two I saw the creases, the wrinkles in my forehead. I washed my face with ease as I tried not to add unnecessary lines to a once face of youth. I pulled over my t-shirt,  as it fell over a soft belly with a criss cross of stretched skin. Months of cocoa butter massaged deep can’t hide the growth of four lives that occupied me as their first home.

 

Swiftly, the thoughts flood in. The prevention, the brakes, the turning back the hands, the fountain of youth. I need it, how can I get it? How can I stop it? What’s next? How do I hold onto beauty?

 

Just as swiftly, the Lord whispers reminders and truth. My fountain of youth within my soul overtakes my worn in body. Every line in my freckled face is etched through the smile when he grabs my hand, the squinting back of tears when your mama heart is so proud, the silly faces made to sleepy babies. These precious lines etching my face keep the youth fountain within flowing and spilling over to all who come within my loves reach.

 

My stretched skin is proof of a divine plan. Proof of a God given blessing. Not all bodies make these kind of marks, but mine did.

 

I will soon cross over into my 30th year. I don’t want to spend the rest of my precious years fighting the inevitable. I want to LIVE and EMBRACE these sweet years God has given me.

 

I’m not afraid of the process of aging as I continue to mold and add sweet memory making lines. I’m not afraid to add another mark or two to this soft belly hidden under my blouse. In fact, I want it.

 

I want to age in grace, humility, acceptance, and joy. Let my inward youth spill over to draw others in and point to my Saviour deep within me. To have the dewy complexion of living a life spent up and used up, preserving nothing, using all I’ve got, and all I’ve been given. all for the glory of God.

 

Who’s ready to add more lines?

 

Photo credit pixabay

 

Sharing this with:  A Mama’s story, Raising Arrows, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Thankful Homemaker, Mamal Diane, Teaching What is Good,  Mom’s the word, conerstone cofessions, A proverbs 31 wife, Some of the best things in life are mistakes, Let this mind be in you, A Wise Woman Builds her home, Deep Roots at Home, Graced Simplicity, Raising Homemakers, Women Living Well, Hope in Every Season, Jill’s Home remedies, Little Natural Cottage, Our simple country Life, Raising Mighty Arrows, Happy and Blessed Home, Homemaker by Choice, Your Thriving Family,  New Life Steward, Hometead simple, Let this Mind Be in You,

Blog Words

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I want to write the good stuff. You now, the good stuff that melts hearts and makes the beats thump a little faster.

 

I only want His good stuff.

 

The grace, the beauty abounding in all my ugliness of words. I am so tired of shouting over the noise. I’d rather whisper to let His presence wash over. I want it to wash over our loneliness, insecurities, and mess. To let the waters wash over the bruises from a tarnished world. I want my words to peel back the layers of His goodness and tender love though we are so undeserving.

 

I desire my time here to be worthwhile, to mean something in eternity. Time is of the essence and far too precious to waste to not talk about the good stuff, His good stuff. The kind of stuff that wrenches hearts and praises our Creator.

 

As more read, I want God’s fingerprints to be seen all over it. Giving hope to anyone who can’t get out of bed, or who are up but want to crawl back in.

 

Lord Jesus may you take my words and penetrate souls in need of you. May I be so close as to feel your breath of life as I write through my mess. Let me never listen for applause or look for followers, but only incline my ear to your voice and be your follower. Take my stories and pen marks. Use me Lord to only glorify your name. Reveal your almighty purpose to those reading. Let your words transcend over the one day of social media and prick hearts for you.

 

Lord let the prick be the opening to all of the pouring you do. Let my words reach to the core, to the center of the prick, for your waters to flow in and overtake. Let me never forget the reason I breathe, write, and live; to fulfill my calling and bring glory to your name. Amen.

 

So tell me friends, what are your eyes waiting to read? Encouragement, inspiration, how to’s, one of my personal disaster stories wrapped up in grace? I would love to hear from you. I have created a newsletter titled The Good Stuff with intentions of delivering all of the good stuff  I find throughout the week that touched my heart in hopes God uses it to touch yours. I will share with you the crazy going on in my life to make you laugh, or be glad you’re not me! I will also share some great deals going around and occasional freebies. Sign up below for my newsletter, let’s connect, learn, grow, and talk about the good stuff.

 

photo credit pixabay

Why I Put Academics On The Back Burner

I have felt it. Felt the pressure hovering all around me as I attempt to wade through the waters of homeschooling the little ones entrusted to me. We all dream the dreams of raising inventors, world changers, and influential leaders. As mothers, the dreams lie within us all.

So we set to work...

 

Read the rest over at A Mamas Story!

Thank You Olivia Pope

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Photo Credit By ABC

 

You have exposed me. Exposed all of my hypocritical ugliness and for that I thank you, Olivia Pope.

 

I’ve watched with eyes wide open, on the edge of my seat, as I caught up on all I thought I had missed on Netflix. I was stoked to see that I didn’t miss the last two episodes. I am especially grateful I got to see the episode last Thursday night.

 

If it had not been for that episode… for Olivia Pope… for ABC I would have never had the opportunity for such great conviction.

 

I had almost forgotten for a split second that I believe in marriage, life, and love without agendas. I forgot why I pray desperate prayers for marriages to stick it through, I forgot why I cry and hold hands with women fighting for their marriage, I forgot why I write and educate women on the effects of abortion. I lost my voice, my vision. I forgot to fight.

 

Last Thursday the Lord breathed a renewed mission,vision, passion…whatever you want to call it.

 

That is to fight for the good and beautiful and to expose the ugly in disguise. I had been so fooled as I watched all of the affairs, killing, rape, and breakdown of families. My guard was too low, the filter too dirty. I let the garbage enter my home and heart.

 

Thank you once again for the wakeup call.

 

A wakeup call to not be of this world, to fight for the weak ones, to clean my heart filter, and guard my home, and honor my Saviour.

 

Teaching Contentment Instead of Thankfulness

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It’s everywhere. Signs, pictures, and images of thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation. My Facebook news feed is filled with beauty as friends participate in the, “30 days of thanks”. There are crafts everywhere reminding us of all the  blessings we have, filled with quotes on rejoicing and being thankful. Our family even has a thankful tree that the children and I do every November. Through out the month the children will say something they are thankful for. I write it on a paper leaf and stick it to our paper tree. We have a lot of goofy answers on those leaves:)…

 

Read the rest over at Raising Homemakers!

 

Photo credit pixabay

The Great Homeschool Sacrifice

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The older my children get the better we settle into our homeschooling selves. My oldest has conquered reading and is adding multiple digits, so I feel as though I have a couple of accomplishments under my belt for the other children down the line.

 

I gotta be honest, I am still  in a great struggle over here. My struggles seem to take turns jumping from different areas. Lately, it is the struggle of sacrifice that has taken front and center.

 

The time it takes me to homeschool I could have cleaned the entire house, written several blog post, read a couple of chapters out of my stack of books, tweazed my crazy eyebrows, painted my toenails, or could finally paint that wall I’ve been trying to get to.

 

The instant and delayed gratification are in a tug of war within my heart.

 

I believe with all of my heart that homeschooling is best for our family and is an endeavour worth pursuing.  However, my tunnel vision often starts to look around me as I feel the heart flutters of panick settle in.

 

What do I do? I start to blow up balloons for my pity party. I typically want everyone to come with pats on the back and words of affirmation. I know its terrible, I feel so ugly writing it, but its real!

 

Throughout all of my cycles of pity parties to sheer focus, the Lord continuously pulls me to Him guiding me every quivery step of the way.

 

Homeschooling is a lot like Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus. He puts one scary step in front of the other. All he has is faith and Jesus. His eyes are focused on the One and Only capable. He thinks… I’m walking on water! Look at me! This is Great! While Jesus’s loving eyes were fixated on Peter He never faltered, never told him to slow down or take it easy, but encouraged him on the faith-filled journey of his life with footsteps on top of water.

 

Like most of us, Peter looked around and panicked. As he was sacrificing his very life He cried, “Lord help me!” and there it was the hand. The hand that pulled Peter out of the now sinking water is the same hand that pulls us up from the pity party.

 

We too may feel as though we are sacrificing our life, we can’t breathe, feel trapped, and feel like we are sinking.

 

For all those like me who tend to pull out the streamers for the pity party every month or so, I encourage you to fixate your eyes on Jesus! He is calling us out on the waters so let’s go. Can you imagine if Peter said ,”Nah, I’ve got some things I need to take care of on this boat over here maybe next time. ” What a terrible story it would have been. Let Jesus make your story beautiful. The sacrifice is part of the miracle.

 

Are you struggling with something you need to hand over to Jesus? Subscribe and share!

 

Photo credit pixabay

Tips For Mamas to Survive Sick Babies

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The time is approaching. All of this gathering in the kitchen over the holidays is a lovely thought but it also means colds, sickness, bugs, and flu. I’m not kidding when I tell you I barely survived last year. For about two and half months we were all stuck in the house either coughing up lungs, giving breathing treatments, throwing up, settling fevers, you name it! It all knocked me flat on my butt. I am determined this year to be as prepared and ready as possible to help me stay sane and capable to take care of all the needs of my family.

 

Here are my tips and things I will do differently in hopes it helps some of y’all out.

 

1. Take as many precautionary measures as possible. Start serving out the shots of  Elderberry syrup the first sign of a sniffle.

 

2. Be very diligent about applying Thieves essential oil to the bottoms of all of their feet before bed. If they do get something, it certainly won’t last as long.

 

3. Get you a diffuser and work that baby overtime, continuously running day in and day out…I actually need to order more diffusers… I was borrowing them from people last year to stick in everyone’s room when they went to sleep. *I have been pre-ordering RC essential oil all year. It was absolutely amazing with all of the respiratory issues for my baby boy.

 

4. Have your Thieves cleaner ready to wipe down all surfaces were they have gathered, nothing fancy, but real quick to kill whatever is there. Plus it smells great.

 

5. Pre-make some homemade chicken and noodle soup to stick in the freezer. Have some other family favorites to have on hand. Dinner was a nightmare unless some members of our sweet family bought food, which was such a blessing!

 

6. If at all possible do a nightly laundry load of all the blankets, pillow cases, and pajamas from the day they had been wearing. Hopefully the germs won’t continue to spread around which is exactly what happened last year.

 

7. Plan a drive out. I think the cool fresh air and different scenery can do wonders.(Don’t do this when your little one has complained of a belly ache…yep, she threw up all in the backseat)

 

8. Get together your favorite movies or a list of favorite Netflix shows EVERY child will agree on. The last thing you want is tears because they can’t agree on something when they are feeling terrible already. Also try to pick ones that may be educational without them knowing. This is for the mom guilt as you watch your children stare at a screen all day, makes you feel a little better when you can say, “At least it’s educational”

 

9. Have some books ready. To help break up them monotony have some books sitting there ready to be read when they are tired of the TV..if that would even happen.

 

10. JUST HOLD THEM!

 

11. Sneak in showers whenever you can, feed yourself whenever you can, take elderberry, drink lots of water and PRAY!

 

12. I asked my husband as I was writing this for his input and he gave great advice which was to ACCEPT it. Quit going on with daily life and trying to continue your normal to do list. Just sit still, let them pile on your lap, and take care of them. LOVE IT!

 

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to prepare yourself for taking care of sick little ones? Subscribe and share!

 

photo credit by pixabay

My Theory

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I have this theory about our tables and the stories shared around them.

I believe they are pivotal and generation changers.

So, daily I strive to do just that. Prepare my table, prepare my heart and home for stories that overflow. It’s in those chairs around the table where the memories are made. Not jut any kind of memories, but the kind you find yourself always trying to recreate from your own childhood.

Read the rest over at Story and Table

Photo credit pixabay

My Struggles When I Became A Stay at Home Mom

My Struggles When I Became A Stay At Home Mom

 

Y’all I prayed. I prayed desperate prayers to the Lord. I wanted to stay home with my children. I wanted to care for them, instruct them, and love on them day in and day out.

 

My work schedule really wasn’t too bad. I was a nurse working an average of two 12 hour night shifts a week. My biggest challenges were significant loss of sleep, keeping babysitters lined up if my husband as at the firestation and missing them…a lot.

 

At the time, I was homeschooling with my fourth baby on the way. The anxiety began to slowly bubble up inside as I wondered and anticipated the new juggling act that lay before me. I continued my earnest prayers for peace and to help us find a way to get me home full-time. It was a true desire in my heart.

 

Fast forward a bit to 3 months after sweet Easton’s birth.

 

It was time for mama to go back to work. We had crunched the numbers several times and both agreed the timing was not quite right…so off I went.

 

It never mattered which baby I was leaving for the first time the tears never ceased to fall. Once to the hospital the tears dried quickly and I got into nurse mode.  My husband and all the children did great, and baby boy took his bottle like a champ. Hearing of the night’s success settled my broken heart.

 

The following week came the same routine. I left my babies, cried, rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

 

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his step. Proverbs 16:9

 

Four hours into my shift my little guy had been screaming and refusing to take his bottle. (He was exclusively breastfed.) My cool, calm ,and collected husband called in a panic, as you can imagine. My heart began to race as my postpartum hormones took over while hearing my baby scream on the other end of the phone. I quickly managed my plan to get my patients taken care of and handed off to another nurse. I got home around midnight and found them on the porch…The baby crying and my husband exhausted.

 

To make a very long story short, little man never took a bottle ever again! We tried many different bottles, tips, and tricks. He wasn’t having it.

 

Deep underneath the frustration and fear lied my answered prayer, all I had ever wanted, and prayed for so long. I was officially home with my children full-time, out of necessity. Completely not how I expected it, but isn’t that the way the Lord works?

 

We were both overwhelmed with gratefulness that I was home… yet ya still gotta pay the bills!

 

My husband, being the rock star that he is, set off to do any kind of work you could imagine. He cut grass, moved furniture, cleaned out basements, landscaped, helped maintain and repair septic systems, excavated…the list goes on and on. He worked his butt off and God continued to bless him with more and more work.

 

We were praising God for His blessings, but y’all I’m gonna be honest…it was really hard for me, hard for both of us.

 

Ya see, when I was working we shared a lot of the responsibilities of the household. When I came home he had  to make the living. We both felt pressure in different ways. It was a big life adjustment with four children under the age of 6, and I missed my husband a lot.

 

We had many arguments that first year. I needed him home to help me, but as the provider he knew he had to get out there and make it happen.

 

God knew and saw things we didn’t,  just as He always does.

 

My husband has had the opportunity to start businesses, get certifications, and has introduced our family to many wonderful people and resources.

 

I have learned to fully rely on God. I have been able to pour my heart into homeschooling our children and have turned our house into a home. I have had the opportunity to befriend so many other women by being available to form relationships.

 

Our marriage has blossomed as we went through the growing pains. We are now on the same team, understanding one another. The transition was tough and stressful, but the Lord continued to mold and shape.

 

When you find yourself struggling or trying to, “crunch the numbers” to make something happen, remember God is in the process of directing you steps every.single.day. His plans are great, with big pictures…we must trust in Him, trust the process as He reveals plans we never dreamed of.

 

What are you struggling with today? God sees your heart and hears your thoughts. Subscribe and share what the Lord’s been doing.

Misconceptions of the Modern Day Homemaker

Misconceptions of the modern day homemaker

 

“Your lazy… a waste of time… uneducated… oppressed…you eat bonbons all day… over protective… sheltered… noncontributing… a busy body… selfish… you think your too good to do, “Real work”… old fashioned… and no fun”

 

Ever had any of these phrases pierce your ears? Ever felt the judgment and wondered if these thoughts were encircling others minds?

 

I think we have all been there a time or two. We’ve had times we let society dictate our worth. At times we have cooked, cleaned, and cared for sick babies in vain wondering what’s the point.

 

Read the rest over at Raising Homemakers today…

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Hey Y'all! My name is Brittany Styron. Sweet Country Roots is a place I hope to encourage, inspire, and bring a chuckle. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and join conversations about marriage, babies, homeschooling, frugal living, good food, and an old fashioned way of thinking.

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