How to Become an Encourager

Years ago, while I was in the midst of some difficult circumstances, I met a wonderful woman who had committed herself to living her life as an encourager. 

We saw each other once a week at a Women’s Study Group and were occasionally able to have a few moments of private conversation where we would share with each other a little bit about our personal lives. 

Because she had committed herself to the task of intentional encouragement, every week like clockwork, I received a beautiful card in the mail along with a hand-written note of encouragement and assurances that she was thinking of me and that I was not alone.

There are people all around us who are struggling and could really use some encouragement. Sometimes all a person needs is a smile from another person. Other times we’re prompted to become friends with someone who needs encouragement (like my friend did with me). 

Often, we have good intentions that we never follow through on.  If you’re thinking (good) thoughts about someone, let them know.  Send a text message, email, card or note, or pick up the phone and call them. 

No one knows your intentions until you make them known.

My sweet friend didn’t know all of the details of my circumstances, but she intentionally chose to come alongside me to encourage me and to build me up. She chose to invest her time, energy and even her finances into my life. 

Her support and encouragement infused me with hope and helped me to realize that the difficulties I was facing were temporary and that I would be okay. 

Never underestimate the impact of what a kind word or gesture can have on a person.

Her life and example inspired me to intentionally become an encourager as well. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is a sacrifice of time, energy, patience and even finances. But it is rewarding. Not because the person you’re encouraging will give you something in return (because it has absolutely nothing to do with that) but because you feel better for doing it. 

Imagine what could happen if each person would put these simple things into practice and choose to intentionally become an encourager. I think we would change the world.

My friend was intentional about her intentions and it certainly made all the difference in my world and in the lives of my children. Because of my choice to become an intentional encourager, my children have grown into adults who know and show compassion for others. They have actually become unintentional encouragers because it was simply a way of life for them while they were growing up!

In a world where there seems to be more negative than positive, it’s easy to become jaded, guarded and discouraged. But when we choose to become an encourager we create an atmosphere of positivity and the world certainly needs more of that!

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What Happens When You Become A Grandma

Finding out you’re going to become a grandparent is pretty exciting and I’m used to people saying that being a grandma is “the best”, but I don’t think I’ve ever really heard people say what actually happens when you become a grandma. Or maybe I just haven’t listened closely enough! For me, becoming a grandma has been overwhelming. Overwhelming in a good way, that is!

There are two main things that “happened” to me when I became a grandma.

The first thing was that my mommy instincts kicked right back in. Holding, feeding, burping, diapering…all of the essential baby care tasks came back in an instant. I was so surprised. My youngest child is almost twenty so I thought for sure that I would be out of practice. But I guess it’s like riding a bike; once you’ve learned, you never forget how. The same goes for caring for a baby, apparently!

The other thing that happened when I became a grandma was that my heart grew bigger. I have three children and with each one my capacity to love increased. It’s a natural occurrence, I’m sure, instinctual, perhaps. But the birth of our newest little grandson has made me feel a bit like the Grinch when he has his epiphany about Christmas and experiences a change of heart toward everyone in Whoville. The story says that his heart grew three sizes and that he had the strength of “ten grinches plus two”. This is exactly how I feel! The birth of this little has filled me to the point of bursting! I feel a bit giddy and have noticed an increase of energy and a lightness of heart.

I think that one of the reasons that becoming a grandma is so amazing is that while we are raising our children, we forget. We forget the initial flood of love and emotion that occurs when they are born because raising children is hard work. While they are growing up we are dealing with their emotions, hormones, attitudes and everything else that goes with it and the “new parent euphoria” wears off. When you become a grandma, the euphoria comes back. And I have a feeling that it lasts longer for grandparents than it does for parents.

Perhaps it’s because, generally, grandparents aren’t responsible for raising them. We influence our grandchildren, for sure, but the pressures of parenthood aren’t heavy upon us. We are free(er) to simply enjoy (and spoil) them!

The other evening, as I was holding LittleMan, Girl2 teased about how I’ve been since his birth. Well, I can’t help it! When she has children, she’ll understand. And when she has grandchildren, she’ll marvel at her heart just as I marvel at mine now.

Becoming a grandma has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope that as the grandchildren grow I will remember to enjoy every moment with them and to be a constant source of support for their parents. Like I said, raising children is hard work. But as a grandma, I am older so I have a reserve of information, wisdom, and patience!

We are blessed by our children and doubly blessed by our grandchildren. That is the truth of it. It’s what happens when you become a grandma; the blessings abound! The anticipation of LittleMan’s birth was nerve-wracking but his arrival has been overwhelmingly amazing!

We’re excited to watch the grandchildren grow and as they do, this Nonnie will continue to share about the amazing adventures of becoming a grandma!

 

 

 

Twigs Flowers & Gifts in Yerington NV

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it only appropriate to share a little bit about our hometown flower shop – Twigs!

 

Twigs is a beautiful little shop on the south end of town, providing wonderfully creative floral designs to Yerington residents. Owner/Designer, Tracey is passionate about creating both beautiful and one-of-a-kind arrangements for her clients.

 

The shop is filled with unique and upscale gift items, household goods, soaps, lotions, jewelry, chocolates, a selection of baby items and plenty of other goodies!

As you can see from the photos, Twigs is all geared up for Valentine’s Day! This is just a sampling of what Twigs can provide for your special someone. It’s a wonderful place to shop for a great gift.

If you aren’t a local resident but want to send flowers or a gift to someone in Yerington, Twigs is happy to accept your order and to provide exceptional service to your gift recipient. Visit their website here!

And if you’re in Yerington, stop by, say hi and take a look around!

 

 

 

Words of Wisdom for Young Parents

The kids when they were all teenagers.

It’s amazing how the everyday tasks of house and home can help to provide words of wisdom for me to share with young parents!

One day several years ago I was feeling particularly self-satisfied with my accomplishments around the house. I had cleaned it from top to bottom and it felt great.

Just a couple of months before that, I remember looking around my house in disgust and asking my teenagers, “Do you remember when I used to keep the house so clean we could have eaten off the floors if we wanted to?”

The three looked at me, a bit puzzled and replied, “We don’t remember how clean the house was, but we remember how crazy, scary you got while doing it!”

I was horrified by their response, but they were right! I did get crazy, scary when I would clean. And not because I dislike housework. In fact, I like cleaning!  I think it was more because I would get frustrated that the house wasn’t always clean because you just never know when one of those home decor magazines is going to show up at your door and want to take pictures! Just kidding. Sort of.

But my kids’ honesty humbled me and as I pondered their words, I realized my error.

A long time ago, I had fallen into a trap. A trap that said I had to be Suzie Homemaker, Betty Crocker, Joan of Arc, and Mother Teresa all in one.

It was a train of thought that said that in order for me to truly be a good wife and mom, I had to perform a certain way. It was exhausting. And unfortunately, I remained in that trap for several years.

You see, my children didn’t care how clean or dirty my house was. They cared more about how it affected me.  They noticed more whether I spent time with them or on housework. They shared with me how they felt as if I cared more about how clean the house was than I did about them! The very thought of it brings tears to my eyes!

Through life and circumstances, I was freed from that way of thinking and began to relax a little bit more. I learned to choose my battles more wisely and how to make the best use of my time. And I gave up the idea that anyone was going to show up for a photo shoot of my house.

But by this time, my children were teenagers and didn’t necessarily want to always spend time with me, but when they did, I absolutely jumped at the chance!

The years go by too quickly and I now see that I wasted some of the best years on things that don’t matter as much as I used to think they did.

Parenting isn’t easy and thankfully, the children don’t hold it against me. Most of the time they laugh about it and make jokes about how “crazy” I was. Thank goodness that I’m better now – mostly. Ha!

As for Mr. SBF, he has never said anything about the cleanliness (or dirtiness of the house) – ever.

He’s always thought of me as Suzie Homemaker, Betty Crocker, Joan of Arc and Mother Teresa all rolled into one. And I suspect that it shall remain so for the rest of our days.

 

So, when all is said and done, what matters the most in life is spending quantity, as well as quality, time with your loved ones. Don’t pass up those opportunities for making great memories. The days go by quickly and before you know it, your children will be having children!

Don’t get side-tracked by the mundane things in life. Instead, cultivate a life of purposeful interactions and by the time your grandchildren are born, you’ll be a pro at having fun and making great memories!

Right now, we’re awaiting the birth of our grandson. His due date is the 18th and we’re on pins and needles, just wishing and waiting for the call from his daddy, announcing his arrival. What day will it be?

Check back soon or follow us on our social media pages to find out! Until then have fun making great memories with your babies!

 

Remembering to be Present

This year has been quite different for us. Mr. SBF and I were able to take an extended sabbatical and spent the last six months of the year road tripping, camping and visiting with family. The break from the stress of the past decade and from our normal routine was definitely needed and we feel so very blessed to have been given the opportunity.

One thing that I became aware of early on in our break was the fact that I am often not “present” in my everyday life. As an Empath, I am almost constantly inundated with the feelings and emotions of others and I think that retreating into my own thoughts is one of the ways I am able to combat the exhaustion that comes from the constant influx of emotion that I am faced with on a daily basis. And because I am often in my own head, I have realized that I miss out on a lot.

Sometimes when the family is reminiscing about something or even during a conversation with someone I’ll suddenly “snap out of it” and realize that I missed out on part of it because I wasn’t “all there”. Yes, really. Ugh.

And don’t get me started on electronic devices and what a huge distraction they can be! Giving a device to people who are in the habit of retreating into their own thoughts only perpetuates the problem, er, issue! And forget about giving them earbuds. I mean…yeah…just don’t! Can any Introverts relate or is it just me? Haha!

Anyway, during our time together, since it was just the two of us and we were traveling in our own car, I was able to sit and enjoy the scenery (and my electronic device) without the “noise” from the outside world. So, when we were around other people, I was able to listen and enjoy it because, during our travel time, I was able to rest and “regroup”.

Becoming more self-aware has been something I’ve been working on for several years now. And I’m grateful that I became aware of this “issue” early on in our sabbatical. I believe that it helped me to focus on making sure the time with my Sweetheart was quality time. And it has definitely made me more mindful of the time I spend with loved ones. I don’t want to miss out on any of the good stuff when my children and grandchildren are home because times well spent make the most treasured memories!

To make sure I’m paying attention to life, follow my social media pages! Let me know if you notice a lack of presence there! Heehee.

 

 

Baby is Coming!

When I was a young mom I remember people telling me to enjoy the time with my children while they were little because time goes by so quickly. I would smile and nod while wondering to myself if I would survive the toddler years.

Now that my children are grown I realize that I was given wise advice. The child-rearing season goes by extremely fast and before you know it, they are grown and having children of their own. That’s the season we’re in now. “Grandparent Season”!

How can it be that my sweet little round-headed boy, my “Baby Pumpkin”, “ManBoy” is going to be a daddy? Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was enjoying his first Christmas? And then the next day, his first birthday? Weren’t we just struggling with toddler tantrums and experiencing his strong will for the first time? Not very long ago we were dealing with raging hormones and temper flares that challenged us to our core.

Yet, here we are. ManBoy is all grown up and he and his beautiful “Watermelon” are starting a family of their own!

In a month, grandson number three is due to make his entrance into the world, to fill our hearts and our home with insurmountable joy. We are looking forward to this little and can’t wait to spoil him “rotten”!

For us, this winter means, “Baby is Coming!”

Check back with us soon for updates about our little’s arrival!

 

For the Love of Food

I am a Foodie by birth. Both of my grandmothers were Foodies and my momma was a Foodie, so really, I didn’t have a choice but to be one too!

My fraternal grandma had nine children so I think that she became a Foodie out of necessity. When I was small, three of her children still lived at home and I remember her always being in the kitchen. She would get up early in the morning to make breakfast for my grandfather (which usually involved homemade flour tortillas) and to prepare and pack his lunch for the day. Then when the children (teens by this time) would get up, she would make breakfast for them. After they would go to school, grandma would do some cleaning and various other chores, watch a “novella” or two, then by late afternoon she would be back in the kitchen preparing dinner. By the time the dishes were washed and put away and everyone had eaten their dessert (usually a bowl of ice cream) it would be “late” at night.

Even as I got older, grandma was always in the kitchen. Everyone knew that if you were going to her house for a visit, you had better make sure you were hungry. And even if you weren’t, you’d better be prepared to eat anyway! I can’t recall ever going to her house and not eating while I was there.

My maternal grandma, I believe, was a Foodie by choice. She simply loved food and loved cooking. After their children were grown, my grandparents opened a restaurant in northern California. I’m not sure how long they had the restaurant (it was before I was born) but I remember hearing stories about it. And when Gram spoke about it, she did so with fondness. “It was hard work,” she would say. “But we met some good people along the way.”

 

After my grandfather passed away, Gram began working in a school cafeteria. She eventually became the head “lunch lady” and worked directly with the school nutritionist to create delicious, healthy meals. When I was thirteen I was able to go to work with her during the Summer School program and help out in the kitchen. I was amazed at how much food they had to prepare! And even more amazing was the fact that they made almost everything from scratch. That same summer Gram was asked to cook for a church family camp that was taking place at one of the local lakes. She took me along to help. I learned a lot that summer and I treasure the time I spent with her.

Even after retirement, Gram continued her kitchen activities. Every year for Christmas she would bake dozens upon dozens of various kinds of cookies and goodies. Then she would divide them into tins and containers she had collected throughout the year and every household in her family (along with many of her friends) would receive a container full of her delicious creations. To this day, at Christmas time, my (adult) children still ask me to make Great-Grams Molasses Crinkles! (I will share the recipe in another post).

Just before she passed away, Gram gave me her recipe cards. Every so often I take them out and look through them just to feel the nearness of her spirit.

 

As for my momma, well, she was a Foodie for Love’s sake. Meaning, she cooked because she loved to and because everything she prepared was done so with love. I think that my being a Foodie stems mostly from the comfort of the love that she so generously poured into everything she did.

My passion for cooking encompasses all three of these wonderful women. I have cooked out of necessity, I have owned my own cafe, baking is my favorite, nutrition plays an important role in my cooking (sometimes) and I put a heaping amount of love into everything I do.

I am proud to be a Foodie.

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