Hope Restored

This past weekend, I talked my husband into stopping in Asheville on his way to Charlotte for work. I was excited to see some of our old friends and worship at our old church. What I didn’t expect was a renewed spirit and perspective.

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From the moment we were driving through the mountains (man how I miss those beautiful things), I felt at peace. Even though we’ve only been gone for two months, it feels like years. We spent most of our time with our friends Chris and Lynn and their two little boys, Koa and Kai. (Seriously, two of the cutest little boys you’ll ever see.) We drove by our old house, stopped to talk to our former neighbor (who is absolutely incredible) and enjoyed a night in my favorite place the city has to offer – downtown. Some of my favorite hi-lights were going to church and seeing our old youth group kids, worshipping with our church family and seeing the boys being loved on by the amazing volunteers in the children’s ministry. In a way it felt like we had never left.

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These moments we experienced were simply amazing and exactly what I needed. But what I drove away with a few days later was more than just memories to get me through until my next visit. I found a sense of renewed hope. I have allowed my current situation and season in life to dictate my every day thoughts, actions and words. It’s hard moving to a new place where you don’t have a community around you or a church that feels like family. But, as I was walking through my days in Asheville, God reminded me that I’ve been through a season like this before. I’ve been the new person in a new city. He provided for me then and He will provide for me now. I just need to trust and hope in Him.

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The entire time I was visiting my beloved city of Asheville, I never once felt as if I were home. Yes, I love the city and the people and the memories we’ve created there as a family, but I know it’s not home. Nashville is now home. And for the first time since moving here I can honestly say I am excited about it. I am excited about living here, raising my boys here, finding a community here, and getting plugged into a church where we can serve. It all takes time and that’s okay. God has never failed me and He won’t start now.

Combating the Winter Blues

What is it with winter and emotional distress? I’m used to staying home with my boys all day, every day. I can’t imagine what it is like for the moms who have been held hostage inside their homes all week because their school aged children are stuck at home for another blessed “snow day.” I would be all for an actual “snow day” if that meant there was actual snow to play in…not this icepocalypse that has reigned down from heaven.

I blame my attitude on the winter blues. You know, the thing that we all feel during winter months when we’re stuck inside for far too long with whiny kids. And if we’re perfectly honest, we would totally throw a tantrum too if it was socially acceptable. I’m sure there is a more technical definition for this disorder, but I don’t think it’s necessary since I’m pretty confident we’ve all experienced it at least once this week.

Today, this was me; I was down in the dumps, unmotivated, and depressed. I needed some Vitamin D without freezing my booty off. So, I hopped in the hot tub and just let the sun beam down on me. It was crazy how much better I felt from those few moments. I decided that things needed to change if I wanted to get out of my funk. So, I started brainstorming some family friendly ways to combat these winter blues. (especially when you have kids who don’t like to sit still very long) Here are some of our favorites. I’d love to hear what you do!?

1. Dance Party (which always turns into some sort of superhero fighting bad guys)

2. Play soccer or any other sport

3. Clean (There are ways to make it fun! Should I take you down memory lane with shaving cream and school desks?)

4. Hide and Seek (Warning: preschooler may forget their looking for you and you’re left in hiding spot for a long time. This may not be a bad thing😉 ).

5. Dodgeball 

6. Simon Says

7. Roll dice and however many dots there are, you do that many of a certain exercise (i.e.: 5 Jumping Jacks). This helps them work on their counting as well.

8. Obstacle Course     (you can see ours here: Boredom Buster Obstacle Course)

9. Fight dragons and bad guys. Bonus points if you dress up.

10. This one may be a bit scary…but let your kid pick which activity you do. (gasp!) 

Held Captive by Fear and Insecurities

Some of you have been asking where my blog posts have been. I need to apologize for not writing. I could tell you a million excuses: I’ve been chasing a preschooler and toddler; I’ve been in the transition of moving; I don’t have time. And the list goes on and on. All of these excuses are valid reasons, but if I am going to be honest with you, they aren’t the real reason why I stopped writing.

I stopped out of fear and insecurity. Fear that I would say the wrong thing or worse, nothing at all. That my words just stayed on the page you were reading rather than resonating in your head and heart. Insecure that you were judging me, my parenting style, and my way of life. Even though I know “Mom Stability” is something that God laid on my heart, I allowed the enemy to tell me differently. I’m not the most eloquent writing and sometimes have a hard time putting into words what is on my heart and I allowed Satan to use that against me.

This season in my life prompted another thought – don’t we do the same thing in parenting? I was talking with my husband’s grandmother this morning about parenting styles. I expressed my fear of feeling as though I am constantly being judged by the way I parent or discipline or reward my children. Her response was one of the wisest I’ve heard. I’m paraphrasing, but here is the gist.

“You have to do the best with what you have. It doesn’t matter how you parent or how your children behave, someone else is going to always think their child is better than yours. And you’ll feel the same way about your kids. I may be able to tolerate some things that you can’t; you may be able to tolerate other things that I can’t. You just have to do what you can do with the tools you have and not worry about anyone else.”

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I felt as though I was freed from my insecurities upon hearing her words of wisdom. As long as we are obeying God’s commands and making choices that are glorifying to Him and furthering His Kingdom, nothing else matters much. So, with all of this, I am back to posting! I won’t promise that I’ll post every day or even every other day. But, I do promise to post when God lays it upon my heart. My prayer is that He uses my words to bless even one of you.

Now, I’m off to play with my boys and probably allow them to do things you would have never dreamed of letting your kids do….😉

WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? – QUALITY TIME WITH GOD

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I am a day late on this post. Honestly, I found it very difficult to write. Mainly because the guilt that came from the title alone stopped me in my tracks.

You see, I’ve been there. I am there. For too long I’ve either skipped my time in the Word while sending up a short prayer and knowing that I would be forgiven if I just asked. Lately, I’ve spent more time reading in other personal development books than I have been spending quality time with the Lord.

I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. I am just a messenger while at the same time a student. These things I write aren’t just for your benefit, but for mine as well. God is teaching me right along with you.

Sometimes I wonder if this is how pastors feel when they have to give a gut-wrenching-unapologetic sermon. You see, we can’t fully teach things we ourselves have not experienced.

When it comes to our daily quiet times (yes, daily. Not weekly, or every other day. DAILY), it’s not about when we do it. Morning? Afternoon? Night? I truly believe that God doesn’t care when we spend time with him. He just wants to spend time with us.

There are so many great devotionals out there. Some you can purchase at the local book store and there are some at the touch of our fingertips via apps on our phone. I urge you sisters to not let that be your only time with God. Yes, these avenues are fantastic. There is no denying that. But, it’s so easy to read through the Scripture provided and the short devotional the author provides and then maybe throw up a quick prayer and then move on to the next task on your list. I get it. We’re busy. We have mouths to feed, bodies to bathe, houses to clean, meals to prepare, and homework to help with.

This is the problem. We are putting our quiet times on our to-do list as if it’s something to just check off on our daily tasks. Rather, this precious and sacred time with our Maker should be something we covet and crave every single day.

A few days ago I wrote a post about priorities. Was your relationship with God on your list? If so, then it is something you need to make time for. Not because you feel like you have to. No, it should be something you want to do.

For me, I know that when I start my day in God’s Word, meditating on it, seeking Him, talking with Him, and most importantly listening to Him – being still in His presence, I have set the tone for my day. I am a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, business leader, servant of Christ.

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Does this mean you and I may need to get up before our kids do in order to have uninterrupted time with our Savior? Then we need to do that. Whatever time of day works best for you, make the time. Carve it out and pray that God gives you the hunger for time with Him. I promise He will be excited and answer that prayer. He wants a relationship with us. Then, be obedient when you get that craving for Him and his Word.

Do you need extra accountability? I would love to start a private group on Facebook where we can study God’s word together and hold one another accountable in this area. Comment below if you’re interested and we’ll get started!

Saying No So You Can Say Yes

This month I am starting a series titled “Who has time for that?” We will be focusing on balancing life and learning that we really do have time for the important things in life…yes, even during this holiday season.

If you follow my public fitness page, Liz Edwards Fitness, you will see my daily tips on balancing life throughout these next couple of months.

What it really comes down to are our priorities. What are your top three priorities? For me, it is my personal relationship with God, my husband and kids, and my business, respectively.

When I sat down and started thinking about all of the things I was doing on a day to day or weekly basis, I realized that the activities I was doing weren’t reflecting what I was saying were my priorities. What about you? Do yours fit with what you say your priorities are?

There comes a time that we have to say no to certain things. Trust me, this was so hard for me for so long. Any time someone needed help with something I was eager to offer my services and time. Later regretting my decision because it made me overly stressed and I was then not making time for my “priorities.”

It took a while, but I learned that even if something is good and would be fun, it may not be what is best. There is something greater that is waiting.

Think of Ruth. When her husband died, she had the chance to go back to her home and spend the rest of her days with her family and be comfortable. Instead, she chose to go where it was uncomfortable and she knew nobody except her mother-in-law. Because she chose the better choice, she was rewarded with a kinsman-redeemer in Boaz.

“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where ou go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.” (Ruth 4:13)

Sometimes we need to say no. How do we know when that is the answer? An easy answer. Pray. If someone asks you if you can do or help with something, tell them that you appreciate them thinking of you, but you need to pray about it. We must also be in tune with the Holy Spirit. Put our selfish desires down and listen to the words being whispered in our hearts. We will be rewarded.

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Fit Chic Headband Review

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A few weeks ago, I posted this picture on my public fitness page. I have naturally fine, curly hair and when I don’t have time to shower (which happens way more than I care to admit) this is what it looks like.

I desperately cried out for help from my followers on a solid headband that won’t slip out of my hair while working out or just running around town doing errands. Yes, I am that mom who wears yoga pants, no make up, and my hair looking a hot mess. (But I actually do work out. Wait…that makes it even worse that I go out in public like this.) O’well.

I had some very helpful people suggest a few different brands and I am so thankful they did! I first contacted Fit Chic Headbands to see if they could help this disaster of a head of hair. They were very timely with their response and went above and beyond in helping me make it work for my hair type.

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I have what I like to call a “five-head” (instead of a forehead) because my forehead is so huge. I wanted to wear the headband like the typical headband (with hair showing in front of it). With this headband, you cannot wear it like this without it slipping off your head (if you have fine hair). You must wear it on your forehead a bit like this picture in order for it to stay on. Once I did that, it stayed on like a champ during my most intense workout and my errand running for the afternoon.

If you’re looking for a fashionable headband that won’t slip off, you cannot go wrong with Fit Chic! Because of their generosity, I have TWO headbands to giveaway (yes, for FREE)! I will be doing a drawing for these in my next accountability groups. Stay tuned to hear more about these groups and how you can be eligible for your very own Fit Chic Headband.

The Mom Who Can’t Control Her Kids…That Mom

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We all know that mom. You know who I am talking about. The mom who can’t seem to control her children out in public. Her kids are screaming, throwing fits, crying uncontrollably, talking back, and just flat out not listening to her pleas.

Why can’t she get control of her kids? If I was that mom, I wouldn’t take that from my kid. If that were my kid, I’d teach him a solid lesson that would stick. 

Truth be told, I am that mom on occasions and I’d bet that you’ve been that mom too. We see the glares from those in the store. We hear the comments they make. We are mortified. We put enough guilt and shame on ourselves without needing it from everybodys’ judging glances and whispers. Yes, we feel like a failure at that exact moment our child is acting like he has been possessed by some evil spirit. I promise, he can be sweet and listen and be obedient.

When we see that mom out and about, give her a smile as if to say, “I understand.” Or speak to her and tell her that she’s doing a great job and that we know that being a mom is tough work. We all need a bit of encouragement throughout our days…especially those days.