Grace Today

  (Photo cred Annevoskamp.com)

Grace has been on my mind a lot lately. My words for the year are scandalous grace, words that I’m just barely starting to grasp, much less put into practice.

I’m trying this at home with my children. They need scandalous grace from me to cover all the mistakes and missteps and bad decisions that already have been and that are to come. 

I’m also working on scandalous grace towards my soulmate, my love, my Mr. Wonderful. The fault line between lover and caregiver is ever shifting, and I’m trying to rain down wifely-ness more often than caregiver-ness, because that’s what I was first. With a spouse I’m finding that scandalous grace matters almost as much in the little, everyday moments as it does in the big earth-shattering ones.

And to the world at large: I’m going to try my best to offer scandalous grace to you as well. To the friend who has cut me out of her life, to the woman who has cut me off and driven slowly in front of me, to those who have hurt me and those who will: the world says I should get even. Take revenge. Trash your car or at the very least, you’re good name.

But I no longer live by the world’s standards. I live by the scandalous grace of the One who has loved me more in this second than I could love my whole family for my whole life plus a thousand lifetimes.

Scandalous grace is so hard. It means forgiveness, even when they don’t want or ask for it. It means showing kindness when I’d really rather throw a temper tantrum and slash their tires. It means having a strength that the world deems weak, getting past the past, moving on and letting go. 

 (Photo cred Lifehack)

Scandalous grace is also something I have to give myself: when I fail, when I don’t live up to mine or others’ expectations, when I make a bad call. Every day is a chance to practice scandalous grace on myself or someone else. Every day is the opportunity to try again, even if I missed the mark the day or hour or minute before.

Scandalous grace is very simple, but it is so hard.

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

The Struggle is Real

Ever have those days (weeks) where you just can’t quite get your flow? 

We. Are. There.

The seven year old told me this morning during a particularly rough patch of getting ready time that he wished he was being raised by wolves.

Parenting fail.

The PTSD has been more PTSDish this week, with fogginess and forgetfulness. The Mama has had much less patience with everything. And then I find something that sent me right over the edge: 

 I left a note that says “To whoever’s doing this, I will hunt you down!” 

Unfortunately there are two potential culprits who can’t read so my threats may be lost on 33% of the household but whatever.

We’re transitioning our eating to organic, real food and gluten free(ish) so I made an attempt at gluten free cookies the other night that turned out like this: 

 The four year old got into the markers: 

 And at one point last night I lost the baby. THE BABY! Turns out he was outside while his big brother was practicing the trombone (your welcome Highland Farms addition!) but my heart was in my throat for a brief moment.

There have been too many doctor appointments, therapy appointments, treatments, homework, actual work, laundry, dirty dishes, dirty floors and just messiness. At this point it may be easier to burn the house down than to clean it, and of course we’re having family over this weekend for birthday celebrations.

Crap! I have to go buy presents.

Things are undone here at the Shafer Casa but we are still holding on. I’m in need of a perspective change, a paradigm shift, a better attitude.

The only way I know how to do that is to find things right now even in the middle of the mess to celebrate. To be grateful for. So here is my list for the moment:

-My sweet baby who still runs at me with open arms and slobbery kisses when he hasn’t seen me for awhile.

-My twelve (how is he twelve?!) year old who practices trombone outside and made first chair.

-My seven year old who tries so hard.

-The sweet girl who still just sometimes wants to snuggle with her Mama.

-The partner who hugs me when things get too hard and tells me we’re all gonna be ok.

Reading over that list shows me I have a lot of blessings in my life right now. I shouldn’t waste another minute on the stuff not going right, but breathe in the stuff that is.

Good talk, y’all. Thanks!  

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Confidence

There is a four year old red head in my house who is a princess and a mermaid, a ninja and a spy. She runs like her Mama (which is to say awkwardly and slow, but don’t tell her. I want to be there when she catches a glimpse of herself for the first time.), fights like her brothers, is serious like her daddy and has a confidence that I’m so proud of.

She thinks she’s right 100% of the time. It’s awesome and a little scary all at once. This little girl already thinks that she can rule the world. Not one day, but right now if she chooses.

I’m so pleased about this. 

You might be saying what?! I know, it makes for some hair-pulling-out, frustrating, give-myself-a-timeout parenting oftentimes, but the young lady she is becoming is going to be one that can navigate whatever world she finds herself in. As a Mama of a daughter, as a woman grateful to other women who went before me and broke glass ceilings and paved pathways, as a female who has navigated male-dominated careers and jobs and schools, I (mostly) don’t mind this strong will of hers. 

Because I know that if I can teach her to have a tender heart toward hurting people, show her that even one person can make a difference, guide her to serving others in some capacity, along with her strong will and absolute confidence, she will indeed rule the world. Not with an iron fist, but with a velvet glove.

God bless all the Mamas of strong-willed children out there. It’s a tough road to the finish line but just wait and see what kind of human being emerges-I bet you’re going to be so proud!

PS, This is the outfit I let her leave the house in yesterday, notice the skirt and the boots (that are two sizes too big) are sequined–she is my daughter! Talk about your big, bangin’ confidence!!!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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They’ll Be So Surprised

I fully admit it: I do mornings poorly. I’m not able to adequately function until after my second cup of coffee and that means the kids are on their way out the door by that point.

I’m trying to turn mornings around. Maybe I can’t tell them coherently how much I adore them or think they’re special in the wee hours. I’m not great at communicating til the java kicks in so my mumblings and grumblings probably don’t convince them that I think I have the four coolest kids on the planet.

So I’m leaving them notes that they’ll see when they first come downstairs for breakfast. I know fully 50% of them don’t read yet but that’s what big brothers are for.

And my hope is that they’ll tuck a spark of sunshine from Mama in their little hearts for later and it will remind them while they’re away that I love them so much. And that I think they’re the absolute best.

To All the Mamas

Can I just tell you good job today? And thank you! I know that this gig is hands down the hardest, craziest, most rewarding and yet often, thankless job you can find. As the Mama of Littles, I know they can’t really say thank you; as the Mama of Bigs, I also know sometimes they just don’t think to.

And that is ok. It’s not up to them to build your self esteem as a parent, even though they may tear it down sometimes. So that’s why I have taken it upon myself to say thanks. I am a bona fide grownup (most days) and now that I’m a Mama, I get the need for encouragement from outside sources.

During the dark days of Littles, when you’re sleep deprived and don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror because you suddenly look like an old woman with carrots stuck in your hair it’s hard to find encouragement. Especially if others around you have opinions. About everything.

And I hear that there are also dark days for Mamas of teenagers too. I have a tween right now and all of the eye rolling and sighing is making me super excited for those years to come.

Sometimes the minute to minute, day to day stuff gets in the way of our enjoyment of these children. And then we get cranky or forget who we set out to be in the first place or feel mired in the weird nooks and crannies of our lives where we have left small pieces of ourselves. Maybe we left them accidentally, like skin sloughing off. Or maybe it was on purpose, like cracker crumbs to help us find our way back someday.

Oh, this Mama gig! The only thing I can guarantee is that it’s probably not what you expected it to be. And you’re probably not who you expected to be. And that’s ok too.

That is why I’m going to say thank you today to all the Mamas doing hard work. And I’m going to say to most of you (you know who you are): you’re doing a good job. You’re giving your best to your kids and family and spouses and work and activities and lessons and recitals and sports practices. You’re up early and staying late just to finish the job that has no end.

I’m proud of you. This is hard but you’ve got this. 

And just in case you didn’t catch that: 

YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

Now I’m going to go call my Mama.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015