a mother’s love

Seven Years Later…

7 YEARS LATER - YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOUR STORY WILL TAKE YOU...

 

I was looking at my calendar last week, and I realized that it was seven years ago that my world came crashing down around me. My mind wandered back to that awful night in November when I discovered the heartbreaking truth about my first marriage. I had been so busy working on exciting new things that I had forgotten about that particular anniversary.

 

Seven years. Wow.

 

Chapter 5

 

I’ve taken some time since then to ponder all that has happened in the last seven years, and I am in awe. I never would have dared to dream about where this story would take me.

 

Seven years ago…

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I was broken.

The future seemed hopeless.

I felt so alone.

I had three scared little faces looking up at me for reassurance.

I had to be strong… for them.

 

Seven years later…

Boys at St. Louis Arch

 

My heart has continued to heal a little more each day.

I have hope – wild and beautiful hope for the future – and now I get to share it with others.

I have learned that I’m not alone, and sharing the darkest parts of my story lets me help others know that they aren’t alone on this journey either.

There are three growing boys smiling back at me.

When I can’t be strong, I have my faith and the arms of my Beloved, family, and friends to hold me up until I can walk again.

 

Family at the Chicago Bean

 

The world which once felt so dark, scary, and lonely is opening up right in front of me! Somebody needs to pinch me, because I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you – 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year…

 

I’m going to KENYA in July!

 

And then I’m going to southern INDIA in September!

 

Everything has happened so quickly – but I am beyond thrilled to be joining our church in the work they are doing in both places. After years of learning about the situations and struggles that women and girls face in both countries, praying, and wondering what in the world a little mom from Kansas could do to help – I feel like it’s all getting plopped down right in my lap! I get to work with amazing women who are going through some of the very same struggles that we face. These women are just like us – they need to feel that they are seen, loved, and accepted for who they are. They need friendship, community, and security. Many of them are in abusive relationships. Many of them know the pain of their husbands being unfaithful in their marriages. These are male-dominated societies where women and girls are not valued, and my heart is aching for them.

 

My friend Joy told me stories of women who have to attend secret church services so their husbands do not realize that they are Christians. Sometimes the husbands will follow the wives to church – and beat them right in the middle of the church service. For their faith. It was when my friend told me about this that I immediately felt my heart drawn to these women. Seven years ago I didn’t have a voice, but healing, growing, and those who poured into my life were my voice until I found it again. My heart’s desire is to be the voice for others who can’t speak up for themselves, and to give them hope while they find their own voices again. Joy’s sister Elishba let me use her photo of one of these secret church services…

 

Madurai church - women

 

This is Nalini. She is one of these precious ladies. When her husband found out that she attended church services, he would beat her and lock her out of the house at night so she had to sleep in the street. Thankfully, her husband has been changing and she has been able to attend services without any trouble from him recently.

 

Nalini

 

Dear friends, these women and girls are our sisters, and I hope that we will all stand with them in support. We’re all on this journey together!

 

Joy and Ginger

 

Another exciting piece of news is that my lovely friend Joy is translating many of my blog posts into her native Tamil language – to be a book!!! Her father is the pastor of the church above – and they want to share our story with the women in their city. I am still in awe of how things are coming together! I have been busy editing and putting together our blog posts into a manuscript for Joy to translate – and then share with whomever can be encouraged by it.

 

This is what I’ve been doing lately – printing, playing around with the order of the chapters, and editing with my handy red pen…

Manuscript

 

*Sidenote – Isn’t my new African journal beautiful? My friend Toni from Red Pen Travelers did a fabulous job – and I can’t wait to take it with me on my travels! She will be making leather India journals in a few months to help support my trip to India! Check them out for yourself – her notebooks would make perfect Christmas presents!

 

African Journal - Red Pen Travelers

 

I am so excited to share all of this with you because you NEVER KNOW what the future holds. You never know how your story can be used to touch someone else’s heart. To you, my friends, who are hurting right now – when you feel like you’re being pulled under by the unrelenting waves of your own pain, please know that there really is hope. There’s no telling who you might help by sharing your story with someone going through their own storm.

 

Seven years ago I never could have dreamed that one day my story of feeling so broken and alone would help anyone – especially women in other parts of the world. I feel so humbled that this Kansas girl gets to take a message of hope to our sisters in India and Kenya next year. I can’t wait to throw my arms around them and let them know how loved they are. Just like you, my friends, I want them to know that they are seen, they are loved, and they are not alone.

 

I am so honored to get to spend part of your day with you. Thank YOU for going on this journey with me!

Love & hugs,

~ G

 

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Dear Ginger… 7 Ways to Help Answer Your Kids’ Tough Questions About Divorce

Dear Ginger... Answering Your Kids' Tough Questions About Divorce

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am always so touched by the messages and comments I receive here on the blog. I can’t tell you how much hearing from you has meant to me, and I am so honored to spend a little part of your day with you!

 

Today I’m answering another question that I receive pretty often…

 

What should I say to my kids when they ask me why their daddy and I are divorced?

 

First of all, I wish that I could give you a great big hug right now. This situation can pierce a mommy’s heart. Each time our boys have looked up at me with their dark eyes and asked me this question, I had to swallow the lump in my throat and send up a quick prayer for help in how to help them understand.

 

My boys were only 5 months, 3, and 4 when our marriage fell apart, and 1, 3, and 5 years old when our divorce was finalized. Because they were so little, and because of the betrayal and hurt that led to the end of our marriage, I had to find a way to help them understand without putting the weight of our circumstances on their little shoulders.

 

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I heard a story when I was growing up of when Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom was little girl, and she asked her father a deep question when she was still too young to understand the graveness of the answer. Her father’s analogy has stuck with me all these years, and I have used it when I talked to my own little ones about divorce in our family.

 

“Honey, I love you so much, and I know that you have so many questions. I wish that I could give you a better answer – but the truth is that the reason we are divorced is like holding a heavy suitcase. It’s just too heavy for you to carry right now, so I will carry this for you. And someday, when you’re bigger, if you really want to know, I will tell you more. Please know that I love you so much – to infinity and beyond! Thank you for coming to me. You can always ask me anything, and I will do my best to help you understand.”

 

Here are a few other tips in answering those hard questions:

 

  1. Take their questions seriously.

 

Look into their eyes and acknowledge their pain and wondering. As much as it hurts you, welcome their questions and keep that line of communication open between you both. This will help in your own growth, you can assess how your kids are coping, and help them with their own healing.

 

  1. Be honest, but guard your privacy and their little hearts.

 

boys

 

They don’t need to know all of the nitty-gritty details. They will never need to know ALL of the details that led to your divorce.

 

  1. Don’t bad-mouth your ex in front of your children.

 

Co-Parenting After Divorce

 

As much as you might be tempted to pull back the curtain on your ex’s character, please don’t. This is not the time to vent your frustration. Nothing good will come from it – only more hurt and confusion about loyalty to you both as parents. Instead, find a loving friend who will listen as you cry, yell, question, and process your own pain. And then you can be there for her when she needs it.

 

  1. But you don’t have to sugar coat things either.

 

You don’t have to pretend that everything is just peachy. It’s okay to let them know that you are sad about how circumstances turned out, but also let them know that you will be fine, they will be fine, and that you are working with their dad to parent them together as a team.

 

  1. Explain that it’s just too much for them to carry right now.

 

It isn’t time for them to carry this information. You’re not putting down their age by saying that they’re not old enough. You’re also not giving them a time frame of when they will get those answers. You may feel the need to carry most of this heavy information for them for the rest of your life. This isn’t just about protecting the other parent’s reputation. Children are much more perceptive than we give them credit, and over time they will see things about each of us as parents – good and bad – for themselves.

 

  1. Find ways to help them ease into this transition.

 

11 Ways to Help Children Cope With Divorce

 

Secretly tuck notes or funny cards into their bag when they leave with the other parent for the weekend. Give them a stuffed animal that they can take back and forth to remember you by. Take them to counseling so they can use play therapy and projects to work through their own pain. Keep a routine at your house that helps the children feel settled during this time of change.

 

 

  1. Show love for their dad.

 

Mommy, Do You Still Love Daddy?

 

Affection might be the last emotion you feel for the other parent, but it’s important that you maintain a civil relationship with their father. You don’t have to be best buddies, but I’ve learned that being at least casually friendly to their dad will go a long way to your children feeling settled, loved, and a jump-start on their healing after the divorce.

 

Offer him more time with your children on his birthday. Wish him a happy Father’s Day. Seek out his opinion when your child is sick. It might feel as if you are giving him more and more influence, but he is their dad. When you put the ball in his court, you are giving him extra opportunities to graciously co-parent together. He may or may not respond the way that you wished, but at least you gave him that chance, and your children will be better for it.

 

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any suggestions for our friends? Can you think of other ways to help friends who has found themselves in this heartbreaking place? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

 

Can I ask you for a big favor? Do you know anyone who might be encouraged by this blog post? Would you please consider sharing it with them? I want nothing more than to help others to know that they are not alone in this journey.

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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5 Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom

Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom!

 

It’s getting warm outside! Summer is in full swing here in Kansas. Our family was been busy with VBS last week, and we will be heading to swimming lessons and playdates over the next couple of weeks. I love the time that we get to spend as a family during the summer, but it can be crazy with so many activities!

 

My Three Sons - Swimming

 

I shared with you last week how much I love my new Beeyoutiful mineral foundation. Love, love, love! I enjoy hearing about the things that people found – what makes life easier – that I thought I’d share with you a few more of my favorite things.

 

Here are some of my go-to, can’t-live-without, must haves for summer!

 

Summer Must Haves!

 

Dry Shampoo ~

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wash, dry, and style my hair every day. Between getting up early to work out, meeting up with friends at the park, and spending afternoons at the local pools and splash pads, I need something to help my hair stay fresh, easy to maintain, and looking good between washings. Dry shampoo is the bomb diggity!

 

There are two brands that I love:

Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive is cheap, smells great, and gives my hair a little extra volume oomph! I can pick it up at Target, blow dry my hair after a sweaty workout, and spray it in before styling. It’s a great way to buy myself a little time until I can wash it later.

 

Big Sexy Hair Power Play comes in a powder form that you sprinkle in at the roots. I wait a few minutes before I rub it in and brush it through my hair. I love that this one leaves the rest of my hair feeling silky and clean so I can go about 2-3 days between washings.

 

Benefit Eye Bright ~

 

This has been called A NAP IN A STICK – and I love it! It’s the lightest shade of pink, and when I apply it to the dreaded dark circles on my face, it helps light to bounce off that area! I look so much more awake, alert, and refreshed when I am sporting my Benefit Eye Bright!

 

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review and Giveaway!

 

 

OGX Argan Oil of Morocco  ~

 

Heavenly. That’s how I would describe this stuff! I use OGX’s Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner, too, but this penetrating oil makes my locks soft, silky, and so touchable. I can’t keep my hands out of my hair!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I bought the small travel size at Ulta months ago, and I’m still working my way through it! I rub a small drop between my palms and run my hands through the ends and middle of my wet hair after a shower, and then I style it.

 

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review

 

P.S. – It smells divine, too!

 

Pucker up! ~

 

I’ve become a big fan of having a pop of color on my lips! My sweet friend Heather gave me a pretty gold tube of Bésame Red Velvet for my birthday this year!

 

I tend to have dry lips, so I always wear a lip balm – even over my lipstick. My favorite is the Burt’s Bees “Red Dahlia” tube from Target. It adds just a hint of color to my lips, and looks great over a darker lip color as well!

 

My sister-in-law Amy gave me a new lip lavender mint balm from Honest Company, and I love it! It’s clear, but adds a nice little glow to my lips while keeping them soft and hydrated.

 

Red Lipstick

 

Sunglasses ~

 

Pulling weeds in the flower bed. Mowing the yard. A family walk around our neighborhood. Swimming lessons. Park play dates. Driving our kids all over God’s green earth for summer activities.

 

I couldn’t do it all without my shades! I keep these Kate Spades with me all the time, and it makes active summer life so much better. Plus, all you need is a little pop of color on the lips, and no on can tell if you have bags under your eyes from being up at night with a sick kiddo like I was last night, staying up too late reading a good book, or just didn’t have time to put on your Eye Bright!

 

Sunglasses and White Summer Dress

 

What about you?

 

What are some of your must- haves for summer? Do you have a favorite sunscreen? A fabulous lotion? A delicious summer drink? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

Wishing you a fabulous week!

 

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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Take a Little Time ~ 30 Days and Counting…

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

So this is one of THOSE weeks where things aren’t going quite right. My computer ate this post that I had aaaaaalmost finished the other day, and my Beloved is needing to take my laptop with him during the day to school and work, so I’m trying to finally get this post out to you before another whole week flies by!

 

Let’s see…What’s been happening lately? I finished up my 30 day fitness goal!!! Just over a month ago I was really frustrated about my health and body image. I felt sluggish and squishy, my joints ached, and my clothes didn’t fit. I had fallen off the exercise wagon, and was dragging in the dust. I felt self-conscious around my Beloved, and I just didn’t want to feel like that any more.

 

I looked at the calendar and realized that it was exactly 30 days until my birthday, so I jumped into 30 Day Shred workout videos. I decided to plow on through, doing the workouts for 30 days in a row with no rest days.

 

I’ve used these videos in the past, but had forgotten just how brutal Jillian Michaels can be. I got up early, bounced around doing jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, Supermans, and more. Before the first 10 days were up, I felt ready to move on to Level 2. And before the next 10 days were over, I felt as thought I needed the challenge of Level 3. By the time I was several days into the third level, I was bored and frustrated with being yelled at by a trainer on my TV at 0530 every morning.

 

On top of all that, my hip wouldn’t allow me to do a couple of the high-impact moves, so I had to find other ways to challenge my body during things like jumping lunges. I had hip surgery a year ago, (and knee surgery 16 years ago), and while I have regained so much strength and ability, I do have to be careful about some of those more jarring moves.

 

I was already seeing progress in my body. My shoulders were more defined. I could see muscle tone in my legs. My core was feeling tighter… Things were moving in the right direction, but I couldn’t stay with the Shred for those last few days. That’s when I decided to give PIYO a try. It’s a fast-paced Pilates/yoga regime where you use your own bodyweight to work on strength and flexibility. I’d heard great things about it from a friend who loves her PIYO workouts, and she thought it would be a perfect low-impact workout for my joints, while giving me the results I wanted.

 

I’m several days into it, and it’s been great! I love that there is a different workout to do each day, and I am drenched in sweat after each session! So far it has been pretty gentle on my hip, and I actually look forward to rolling out of bed at 0530 and having a little ME time before the rest of the house stirs! It took about three weeks for my body to adjust to getting up so early, but now it’s just part of my routine and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s something so invigorating about being up at such a peaceful hour.

 

I don’t have any pictures from my PIYO workouts, but I pretty much look like this when it’s over – in a good way! (via Pinterest)

Piyo

 

I’ve lost about an inch from my waist, about an inch and a half from my hips, an inch from each of my upper thighs, and an inch from each of my upper arms. My clothes fit better and better each week, and I’m actually starting to feel good about myself again! Isn’t the human body an amazing thing? The science behind how our bodies work, move, and strengthen is fascinating! I love having more energy to keep up with my guys, and seeing my body develop into a leaner, stronger woman is pretty awesome!

 

I still have a little muffin top, but I know that will come off with time. This last month has taught me so much about setting a goal, showing up no matter what, and seeing it through. Results will come! It’s not overnight, but I didn’t gain the extra fluffiness overnight either. I’ve been so encouraged by watching my physical body go through this transformation, and I’m excited to apply this in other areas of my life as well!

 

Last Week’s Goals ~

  • ~ Be up by 0530 every morning to get an early start on my day with exercise and quiet reading timeI set my alarm for 0600 on the weekends, so it was nice to get a little extra sleep before getting up early to tackle my day. 
  • ~ Continue with the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga every morning, or find something more challenging to finish out my month of working on my health. But do not weigh myself. Check!
  • ~ Drink 3qt. of water each day. I slacked one day last week, and I could tell a difference. I didn’t feel as refreshed, and I felt parched the next day. I love adding lemon and lime juice to my pitcher of water every morning!
  • ~ Write two more blog posts this week.
  • ~ Find ways that I can encourage a friend this week.

 

This Week’s Goals ~

 

  • ~ Wake up at 0530 each morning to get an early and quiet start on the day.
  • ~ Continue working out each day with PIYO and activities with our boys.
  • ~ Drink 3 liters of water each day, along with coconut water to stay hydrated.
  • ~ Experiment with my new Beeyoutiful mineral foundation, and play around with other makeup ideas.
  • ~ Hop into bed by 9:30PM – early enough to read before falling asleep.

 

What about you?

 

I’m curious – as I’ve been thinking about all the things that have kept me from taking better care of myself, I’m wondering – What things are keeping you from taking a little time for you? Kids? Work? Crazy schedule? Are you like me and forgot how to take care of yourself?

One of the hardest parts of taking a little time for myself has always been coming up with ideas for how to take care of me. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 101 FREE (or nearly free) Ways to Take a Little Time for US! And I’d be thrilled to send it to you! Subscribe to the free email updates from Just One of the Boys – just enter your name and email address below -and I’ll send you your FREE copy!

 

101 Ways

 

I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week with the hashtag #takealittletime, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. And don’t forget to drink water! You can even tell me how you are taking care of your body here in the comments or tag me in your photos! Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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Crashing into Grace…

So… My morning didn’t start out so great. I turned my head when something caught my eye, and I was not looking behind me when I backed out of our garage.

 

CRUNCH.

 

I felt my stomach drop as the realization of what I just did washed over me. I had just hit my husband’s car. Joe was still inside the house,  so I sent in one of the boys to go get him.

 

I put the vehicle in park, and I just sat there – still shocked by what I had just done. The sound of my own thoughts echoed inside my mind…

 

Look what you did. How could you be so stupid, Ginger? How could you be so careless? You know better than to get distracted. You’re so irresponsible. I can’t believe you just did that. Stupid!

 

Blame. Name-calling. Judgement.

 

That’s when my Beloved walked outside, and I saw him involuntarily cringe when he saw my predicament. That’s when my heart and my tears fell.

 

“I’m so sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. That’s why they call it an accident.”

 

GRACE.

 

“But I’m really, really sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. Really. It’s just a car.”

 

More GRACE.

 

Our oldest son climbed up next to me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. “Are you okay, Mom? Everybody makes mistakes.” 

 

No blaming. Just GRACE.

 

I ran my errand still shell-shocked, and returned home to my family. Aiden’s concerned face greeted me when I went inside. “Mom! Are you okay?” Our freckled middle child who doesn’t enjoy showing physical affection could sense what I needed just then, and he gave me a hug.

 

No judgement. Just GRACE.

 

Our littlest guy hurried up the stairs. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” He leaned his head against me and looked up as I explained what had happened. His brown eyes got even bigger, and then his face softened. “It’s okay, Mommy. Sometimes stuff like that just happens.” 

 

No name-calling. Just GRACE.

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

And my Beloved. His kind eyes searched my face and could tell that I was still beating myself up for my mistake. He stood there with open arms – full of the forgiveness and grace that I was denying myself… that I have become accustomed to denying myself over the course of my whole life.

 

It was then that I realized the only one pointing fingers of blame was me. My whole family had surrounded me with love and forgiveness. I could continue on in my shame spiral, or I could accept what everyone else was already handing to me. GRACE.

 

This certainly isn’t the last time that I’m going to mess up, but today I’m choosing GRACE.

 

What about you?

 

Have you found ways to give yourself a little grace when you let yourself down? Do you struggle with it like I do? I’d love to read your comments below. It means so much to me that you let me go on this journey of life with you! Thank you so much for being part of our Just One of the Boys family!

 

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ March 2015 Edition

Is it really that time again? The month of March has come to an end, and we’re back with the lovely Leigh Kramer and sharing what we’ve been into this past month! Are y’all ready for spring? As much as I love boot and leggings weather, I’m pretty happy to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and soak up the feeling of everything being new and fresh again!

 

What have you been into this month? I just love seeing what everyone is reading, watching, and up to! Call me nosey! I’m always looking for a new movie or series to watch with my Beloved, or on my own for some much-needed girl time! And I love adding to my GoodReads list with new books to devour. Are we GoodReads buddies yet? I hope so!

 

So here’s what I’ve been into this month…

 

Spending time outside ~

 

Since the weather has warmed up, everything is getting green and lovely again! I’ve been perching with a book on my bench outside while I listen to the boys play basketball in the driveway or ride their bikes. I love this time of year… until my allergies hit! Ahhhhhh…CHOO! Have you found anything to help with seasonal allergies? I’m trying Claritin this year, but I’m thinking I might have to get out the dreaded NetiPot!

 

What I'm Into

 

Taking Back My Health ~

 

In preparation for my 34th birthday coming up this month, I decided to tackle the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene! I shared a few of my thoughts on the first week earlier this week… Will this help me welcome the next year with a bang, or will it kill me first?!

 

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Read in March ~

 

I’m a little in awe of how many books I read this past month. I had been feeling a little homesick for diving into good books, and I spent quite a bit of time getting back to one of my first loves – reading. I felt like I had been given an IV and felt so much more refreshed, invigorated, and like myself when I give myself time to read. Do you know what I mean, or am I just a weirdo? Anybody? Bueller? Nevermind. *wink*

 

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I have been waiting my whole life for this book! I can’t tell you how much I loved reading her original Pioneer Girl manuscript, and the added notes on each page that went into deeper detail of the history of Little House and the interaction between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

 

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win, Christine Caine – An amazing friend mailed me her copy after she read it, knowing how much this book would touch my heart. I could have underlined every word. There were so many areas that were convicting, encouraging, and inspiring – and it really lit a fire in my heart!

 

Unstoppable

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker – This one had been on my radar for quite a while. I put out a plea on Facebook to see if any local friends had it to borrow, and people ended up suspecting that I was pregnant! Yikes! A dear friend sent me a copy, and I have really treasured my early morning quiet time reading this sweet book every morning. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have been recommending it to every mom I know! This would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift for the special ladies in your life!

 

Surprised by Motherhood - an awesome book by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

On Writing, by Stephen King – I read this back in 2013, but decided that it was time for a refresher. I loved this book EVEN MORE this second time through it. I am a very new King fan. I’ve never read any of his scary books. I started 11/22/63 a while back, but had to take it back to the library before I got into it, but I think I’m going to give it another try soon! His years of honing his craft, the advice for new writers, and learning more about his life was surprisingly both entertaining and inspiring!

 

On Writing

 

Fooling Houdini, by Alex Stone – I’ve always been curious about magic. I mostly flipped through this book before I had to take it back to the library. I found his explanations pretty interesting, and I’d love to know more about the way our brains see what they want to see when it comes to illusions!

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty – I’ve seen this pop up on many to-read lists recently, and it was finally my turn on the library hold list. She had some really crazy stories about working in cremation!

 

I’ll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich – Shauna Niequest recommended this in a recent blog post, and I was excited to see it available at our library. This lady is the fashion guru to the NYC elite, and she has led a fascinating life.

 

Astonish Me, by Maggie Shiptstead – I always love learning more about the world of ballet. This story jumps around to different dears and lives that all intertwine. There’s a love triangle, drug use, depression, and the Nutcracker. Kinda crazy. I skimmed through the last few chapters, wanting to know how it turned out, but not wanting to read through every single line. I’ve been in the mood for more comedy lately, and this one just wasn’t cutting it.

 

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, by Jessica N. Turner – This was another great book! I loved reading it at night and thinking about how I can better use the “fringe hours” in my own life as I fell asleep at night. I’ve already recommended it to a friend, and I’m sure that my copy will be out on loan quite a bit!

 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart about Money, by Ron Lieber – A very different look at teaching kids about money! Loved mulling over different ideas and talking with my Beloved about them. I think this is one we should get for our collection someday. I was sad to take it back to the library!

 

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – I listened to half of this book while I was on a road trip by myself, and then I finished it while going on walks or doing the dishes after the boys were in bed. It’s in the same family as Gone Girl, but not quite as messed up. If you’re looking for a page-turning thriller, this is a good place to start!

 

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan – This is the first book I’ve read from Kelly Corrigan. I really enjoyed her Medium Foreword interview series, and I wanted to get to know HER a little better. I’d heard awesome things about this book before, but I had avoided it because it dealt with cancer. Because of how cancer came into our family, I hadn’t wanted to “go there” just yet, but I’m really glad I went ahead and read her story.

 

Help Me, Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear!: The Go-To Guide for All Shapes and Sizes, by Shari Braendel – A fun look at clothes, fit, and color! This stuff fascinates me. I love the science behind why our bodies are the shape that we are, and why color does or doesn’t work on a certain skin tone. With my olive-ish complexion and a straight up and down shape (complete with a bit of a muffin top), and it can be difficult to find the exact shade or fit for my body. I loved her explanations and ideas on new colors. It is easy for me to get stuck in a rut – but she inspired me to shop my own closet and use things in new ways!

 

 

Reading in April ~

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – I saw my friend Andrea reading this a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest!

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I can’t believe that I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I recently watched her interview with Medium Foreword, and decided that I had to remedy that in April!

 

Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan

 

Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell

 

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

 

 

Screen Time ~

 

This month my Beloved and I watched House of Cards, Blacklist, and March Madness! I’m a Kansas Jayhawk fan, so I was pretty disappointed when they were knocked out by our in-state rivals Wichita State University. Humbug.

 

I finally got around to watching Capote. Philip Seymore Hoffman is beyond amazing in it.

 

I tried to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I fell asleep. It seemed to interesting that maybe I’ll give it another shot this month when I’m not so tired.

 

On the Blog ~

 

I shared a very personal and painful look at forgiveness

 

Forgiveness

 

 

I shared my very first VLOG with you and asked for your help

 

We talked about what THEY don’t tell you about parenting

 

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

 

I shared 7 simple ways to help when a friend is hurting

 

Dear Ginger

 

Gave you a peek into a day in the life of a #BoyMom

 

It takes a lot more than that to scare me - I have boys!

 

 

And had fun designing several #boymom photos! (Click here to see more!)

 

Yes, I do have my hands full... #boymom

 

If I step on one more LEGO, so help me... #boymom

 

Put your weapons down and eat your breakfast! #boymom

 

No, Mommy doesn't have one of those... #boymom

 

 

What About YOU?

 

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to this month! Have you read any good books? Watched a must-see movie? I’d love to hear all about it!

You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

 

Wishing you an exquisite month of April!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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#Boymom – A Day in the Life!

It takes a lot more than that to scare me - I have boys!

 

 

A day in the life of a #boymom:

 

7:00AM – Breakfast. “Put down your weapons and eat your oatmeal.”

 

7:20AM – Discourage him from putting gummy vitamins up his nose.

 

8:41AM – “We don’t wear Spiderman undies on our heads.”

 

8:42AM – “Because I said so.”

 

10:19AM – Laundry time. Check pockets for insects, crayons, and treasures.

 

12:04PM – Lunch time. “Nice try, but you are not allergic to veggies.”

 

2:28PM – Sibling squabble. “No, you may not sell your brother at a garage sale.”

 

3:37PM – Grocery shopping. “Yes, I have my hands full. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

3:42PM – Still grocery shopping. “Yes, they eat a lot. Yes, I know they will eat me out of house and home when they are teenagers.”

 

4:02PM – STILL grocery shopping. “No, we’re not trying for a girl.”

 

4:45PM – “I’m pretty sure you won’t starve to death before dinner is ready.”

 

5:37PM – Supper. “No lightsabers at the dinner table.”

 

7:24PM – Bathtime. “No, mommies don’t have those.”

 

8:02PM – Bedtime chat. “I don’t know why God made boogers.”

 

10:27PM – Your bedtime. Find a rubber snake under your pillow. Sigh, smile, and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

 

#Boymom – The faint of heart need not apply!

 

What about you? Is there anything that you would add to the list? I’d love to hear about a day in your life!

Do you know a #boymom who would enjoy this I HAVE BOYS picture or post? Forward this to them and make them smile! Life can feel so overwhelming when you feel alone. #Boymoms have to stick together!

*Fist bump!*

~ G

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What They Don’t Tell You… Parenting Over the Years

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

“Mom, what does @$*%!^ mean?”

 

I held a steady poker face to cover the horror that gripped my heart as I listened to the words that my curious fifth grader had overheard at school.

 

Uhhh… Wow… Ummm…

 

I did the best I could to answer his questions, explain why such a word can cause so much hurt, and warn why it would never be acceptable to use it.

 

Later I wrapped my arms around my little man-in-training, and felt him return my goodnight hug.

 

“Thank you for talking to me, Mom. I love you.”

 

I ruffled his hair and sent him to bed before I collapsed back on the couch, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had reassured him that he could always come to me with his questions, but I was silently cursing the parenting books that I’d read cover-to-cover twelve years ago as I prepared to become a mother. They never mentioned anything like this. 

 

Sure, everyone knows that the first year is going to be rough, and that the terrible twos can get dicey, but no one tells you that parenting just keeps getting harder and harder with each passing birthday party. I’m no longer worried that my little guys will put something in their mouths, stick a chubby little finger into an outlet, or tumble down the stairs. Now I get to worry about swear words, girls, peer pressure, social media, and Middle School.

 

Oh goody.

 

Makes me wish we could go back to when my boys were little and I spent my days just trying to keep them from killing themselves!

 

A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s touching story, Surprised by Motherhood. As I read each chapter her words took me back to those early days of being a mommy, and I started to remember a few surprising things that the What to Expect books left out…

 

You will never sleep again.

Bad dreams, croupy coughs, stubborn fevers, sleepwalking, and burning the midnight oil while you make four dozen school treats all get in the way of sleeping through the night.

 

You’ll discover how selfish you really are.

I love my boys more than life itself, but sometimes I want to eat the last cookie. I’m definitely not a morning person. And I’d rather have a root canal than listen to them explain anything Minecraft.

 

They will eat you out of house and home from now until forever.

Speaking of cookies, and food in general, be prepared for them to eat it all like a plague of locusts devouring everything in sight. I just realized that in a few short years, we will have THREE teenage boys in our house. Hold me.

 

Someday you’ll have THE TALK with your child.

If this one doesn’t put the fear of God in you, nothing will. Looking into their eyes while you explain the science of how babies are made is not for the faint of heart. Your breathing will become rapid and shallow, you will experience dizziness, there will be profuse sweating, and you will speak higher and faster than normal, but try your hardest to postpone your panic attack until after the big talk.

 

I had mistakenly thought that I was prepared for life as a mom. All of those years ago I read up on how to properly care for my baby. I studied swaddling diagrams. I weighed the pros and cons of crying it out vs. nursing on demand. I was a parenting expert before I had kids… And then I became a mother and realized that I didn’t know anything.

 

Those darn What to Expect books forgot to mention several other important things as well…

 

The journey.

Experiencing the world through the eyes of your child is an incredible gift. You get to discover dandelions and ladybugs and puppies and rainbows all over again. The world is such a magical place, if we will only pause long enough to see its beauty again for the first time through their wondering eyes.

 

The pain.

Having a child is like ripping your heart out of your chest and sending it out alone into the world. Their joy is your joy. Their hurts are your hurts. You will want to shield them forever from the pain, injustice, and darkness of this life – but what they really need is for you to take their little hands and guide them through it.

 

The LOVE.

The amount of love that you will feel for the precious gifts who are entrusted to you is undefinable, unmeasurable, and infinitely beyond what you had ever imagined.

 

I wasn’t prepared for this. I wish the books had warned me. But then again, I wouldn’t trade this adventure, and even the surprises along the way, for anything in the world.

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Mama said there’d be days like this…

And the day was going so well…

 

I’m wondering if you would mind helping me with something today?

 

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Take a Little Time ~ Forgiveness

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Happy Monday, Lovelies! I’ve been thinking of you all – and feeling so grateful to be on this journey with you!

 

How was your week? What are some of the ways you have taken a little time for yourself? Did you call a friend? Light a candle? Fix yourself a cup of tea? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

I was a bit vague about one of my goals last week:

  • ~ Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

This is a tough post to write, but I want to share a little more about what I meant…

 

I meet with my ex-husband after every 9 weeks of homeschooling for a progress report/parent-teacher conference. I dread it almost more than anything. It’s not that it’s difficult to write up report cards for our sons. It isn’t – in fact, it’s pretty easy because I keep detailed and organized records of our lesson plans and their grades. The reason that I dread it so much is that…well… My shoulders tense and my eye begins to twitch when I think of sitting across from the person who hurt me in so many ways, and I put it off as long as I can. Then I get even more stressed because life would be so much easier if I would just hurry up and get it over with.

 

I’ve shared with you how I’ve been hurt, how I’ve forgiven, and how I’ve healed – but I need to tell you something:

 

Forgiveness doesn’t equal amnesia.

 

Those memories and wounds are still there… even years later. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse what they did – but it frees you from the chains of anger, fear, and resentment that bound us to that person. Forgiveness allows us to heal. But it still doesn’t make sitting in a coffeeshop with that person a cakewalk. Meeting with someone who has caused me pain will probably never be enjoyable – but the passage of time, giving myself grace, and doing this for our children is slowly making it easier – a little at a time. And this week was no exception.

 

Forgiveness

 

I always breathe a sigh of relief when we finish our meeting, a little bit proud of myself for facing and overcoming something that I had filled me with so much worry just an hour earlier.

 

See, that wasn’t so bad. It was a little easier than last time!

 

My eye stopped twitching, my tummy quit working itself into knots, and I was finally able to relax after it was over. I did it. I crossed it off my list.

 

You might not be in my shoes, but I’m wondering if there are unpleasant things in your life that you put off, too? If so, please take this week to cross it off your to-do list. The weight of it being lifted off your shoulders is such sweet relief.

 

And forgiveness… I’ve shared before how forgiveness isn’t a gift that you’re giving to the other person. It’s a gift that you give to yourself. People ask me if forgiveness is a one-time thing – and I think it’s a specific decision that a person can make one time, but it is also a daily decision to live out that forgiveness in our lives.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t take away everything that happened to you – but it will give you the courage and strength to face what is in front of you. Forgiveness is still the best decision I have ever made, the best gift that I can continue to give myself and our precious boys, and the best gift you can ever give yourself.

 

Just know that you’re not alone on this journey of forgiveness and healing. I’m right there with you and cheering you on the whole way! *Group hug!*

 

Last Week’s Goals ~

 

  • Write down (or take pictures of) THREE things you are grateful for each daySome of the things I was grateful for over the last week:

Quinn’s laughter – makes me smile every time.

Hearing the words, “I’m sorry.” 

Forgiveness.

A good night’s sleep.

Orange juice. Copious amounts of orange juice.

The friendships we have made in our weekly small group. We love the range of ages and phases of life we are all in – but the feeling of community is so sweet! (And check out the pineapple parfaits we had this week. So thankful that they don’t mind being my Guinea pigs when it comes to trying out new recipes!)

pineapple parfaits

 

  • Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

  • Indulge in some quality time with my Beloved! It’s a kid-free weekend, House of Cards is coming back to Netflix, and we have more chapters to read in Love & RespectJoe and I both came down with colds just as the weekend began, so we spent most of our time on the couch snuggling through fevers, watching House of Cards, reading, napping, coughing, drinking orange juice, and blowing our noses. Not super romantic, but I actually enjoyed having that down time with my Beloved! Now that I’m feeling a little more human, I’m ready to attack the coming week!

 

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was pretty good at exercising Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but by Friday I was too coughy/sneezy/achy/fevery/miserable to work out. But I think I lost a couple of pounds from pretty much only eating grapefruit over the weekend. There had to be a silver lining somewhere!

 

  • Measure out and drink 60 oz. of water each day, and a serving of coconut water to keep my body hydrated. I probably drank my weight in tea over the weekend. I couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking chocolate coconut water over the last few days, so I’ll probably double up on that this week to make sure I’m staying hydrated.

 

 

This Week’s Goals ~

 

Our Group Goal ~

  • ~ Let’s take care of our nails this week! Trim, file, push back cuticles… Buff, polish, apply Jams… Whatever floats your boat! And I’d love to see them!

 

For My Head ~

  • ~ Now that my broken finger is mostly pain-free, get back to playing the piano every day (even if it’s only for a few minutes).

 

For My Heart ~

  • ~ Push myself outside my comfort zone and share a video blog with you!

 

For My Body ~

  • ~ Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 

For My Family ~

  • ~ Family Game/Puzzle Night! What are some of your favorite games to play as a family?

 

 

Will You Join Me? ~

 

I’m curious – as I’ve been thinking about all the things that have kept me from taking better care of myself, I’m wondering – What things are keeping you from taking a little time for you? Kids? Work? Crazy schedule? Are you like me and forgot how to take care of yourself?

One of the hardest parts of taking a little time for myself has always been coming up with ideas for how to take care of me. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 101 FREE (or nearly free) Ways to Take a Little Time for US! And I’d be thrilled to send it to you! Subscribe to the free email updates from Just One of the Boys – just enter your name and email address below -and I’ll send you your FREE copy!

 

101 Ways

 

I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week with the hashtag #takealittletime, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. And don’t forget to write out three things you are grateful for today! You can even share them here in the comments or tag me in your photos! Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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I’m Ginger ~

I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

Join the fun!

MY GIFT TO YOU!