3 Tips On Life From A Mother’s Day Plant

16487705_1342105102519492_7140490781497723796_o

Photo of My Mother’s Day Plant From Malachi

Every year one of my four children have brought me a Mother’s Day plant from school. Unfortunately, the survival rate with my green-not thumb is relatively low. All until a few years ago.

It was a warm spring day like any other when my then eight-year-old son Malachi got off of the school bus. He ran into the house, hands extended with a present wrapped in a brightly colored paper bag.

After the appropriate ooohs and aaaahs, I looked inside the bag and there was a plant. A flower that barely reached the top edge of the painted flower pot. It was quite beautiful with purple flowers.

Malachi reminded me to water it when I forgot, sometimes he watered it for me. The little plant has seen two winters and it is still growing. I haven’t seen flowers in a while, but that is probably because it needs a transplant to a bigger pot. I can’t bring myself to move it from the pot my son painted.

This flower plant is now quite tall. The picture above shows you that it has grown like a weed, stretching towards whatever source of light it could find. Even in the winter when the Minnesota sun is less that warm, it reaches for whatever light it can absorb.

Right now the plant isn’t flowering, but this year I will be transplanting it to a new pot. It’s season to flower again will probably be here. The resilience of the plant is amazing. Along the way I have learned a few things about life from this plant.

3 Tips On Life From A Mother’s Day Plant:

  1. Rely on your team when you’re weak. Malachi and my daughter Esther helped me so often with watering the plant. In life we need a team to help us with things we don’t remember or aren’t very good at.
  2. Stretch Towards Sources of Light. This sturdy flower always reached for the light, bending toward it. Look for positive influences to build you up. Seek out God who is our light in dark times. Surround yourself with others who encourage and challenge you.
  3. Recognize The Seasons Of Life And Be Resilient. This Mother’s Day plant has been tipped over and lost half of its soil. It has been bumped, shaded, and moved. Still it is resilient as if it knows that it will flower again when the time is right. Our life has seasons. Be patient and resilient and your season to bloom will come again.

It is amazing what you can learn from a plant. My kids are outgrowing the plant school gifts, but this one continues to stay with me. If I’m fortunate, my not-so-green thumb will keep it alive for several more years with the help of my family.

What is your favorite gift that just lasted forever?

 

 

Do Something For You! Heartwarming Thursday

by Jill Kemerer

How often do you do something just for you? As a mom and wife, I tend to make my family my top priority. I’m grateful for them. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of what I want to do or even be aware of what my soul craves. My family likes seeing me happy. It’s my responsibility to take care of my needs, too.

 

IMG_1787

One of the pictures I framed!

Last weekend we had no plans. No plans!! When does that ever happen? Not very often in my world! My husband and son went off to do man-stuff on Saturday, and my daughter had to work, so I was left to my own devices for a few hours. I’d finished reading a book the previous night. I was in no mood to clean (I’m NEVER in the mood to clean). Did I mention it was hot as blazes outside?

For the first time in eons, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had a few errands to run, but afterward, I thought about the little projects I’d been putting off. Suddenly I knew exactly what I would do.

 

IMG_0925

Covered Bridge at a local park

 

Our hall pictures needed a change. Last fall I had spent a few hours at a local park, taking pictures of the gorgeous fall colors, and two of the shots were so pretty I had 8 x 7 prints made up. The prints had been sitting in my office closet, unframed, neglected. But Saturday, I replaced the existing pictures with my pretty fall park pictures. It only took twenty minutes, but it made me very happy!

To keep the momentum going, I browsed a local consignment shop and splurged on a few fall items. Again, these leisurely hours made me ridiculously happy.

 

IMG_1791

Love the fall colors and reflection

 

Sometimes we need to take twenty minutes to replace a few pictures or browse a store to our heart’s content. These little things affirm that we value ourselves, that our needs are just as important as our family’s. I learned long ago that no one was going to come in and force me to do the things I love. It’s my duty to make time for myself.

What have you been putting off for “when you have time”? Can you make that happen soon? Do something for yourself!

Have a wonderful day!

My Baby Grew Up : Heartwarming Thursday

by Jill Kemerer

This past Saturday my daughter (our oldest child) graduated from high school. It was a lovely, beautiful day, and we

were so blessed to spend it with family. I only cried a few tears during the ceremony, which was impressive for me. The next morning I drove her and a friend to the Detroit airport at 4:30am for a marine mission trip they and twenty-eight other kids were chosen for as part of a marine biology class. After staying with them until they checked in, I watched as they went through security and disappeared.

And then I lost it. All I could think was she grew up.

She grew up.

 

High school graduation

This was her graduating class–congratulations, class of 2016!

 

How did it happen? When did it happen?

I could still see her as a sleeping baby, as a toddler with this big grin on her face and blond, curly pigtails on top of her head. With braids down her back at preschool. Playing with our son outside, giggling, laughing, yelling. Going off to first grade and third grade and fifth grade. Volleyball tournaments, math tests, basketball tournaments, tennis lessons, dance recitals, book reports, tumbling, cheerleading, art projects, track medals… Then ninth grade and tenth grade and wait, senior year, already? Running cross country and track. Hunched over a laptop doing homework for hours on end. Sleepovers–so much laughter and pizza and silliness. A few yelling matches when she learned to drive. Dances, exams, proms. So much!!

And it’s over. *sob*

We’re having a big party for her this weekend. It will be a day of fun, food and celebrating. And when it’s over, I’ll crash for a few days. I’ll try not to wallow too much over the end of an era. Each new phase brings something wonderful, and this one will too.

But until then, I’ll continue to smile when those memories hit me. I’ll cry a few tears. And mostly, I’ll send up prayers of gratitude for getting to spend the first eighteen years of her life with her every day. I love her so much. And she grew up.

***

Are you going to any graduation parties this year?

Have a terrific day!

 

Heartwarming Thursday: Pets!

 

by Jill Kemerer

I don’t know about you, but my heart just melts into a puddle when I see cute animals. I love my pet. Sophie is a miniature dachshund, and she’s got quite the personality. That’s her in the picture. She’s scared of big dogs and barks at them, but she loves kids and is always looking for a lap to sit on, preferably under a blanket.

I also love seeing pictures of other people’s pets, too. A few parents from my son’s baseball team are getting puppies soon, and I think I’m as eager as they are to see photo updates. Puppies are so cute!!

Kittens and cats are adorable. A friend breeds special cats and had a fresh batch of kittens on Facebook last week. My heart might not be able to take all the cuteness!

Don’t get me started on bunnies. Floppy eared, mini-lops, ginormous ones and even the little wild rabbits hopping around the neighborhood make me say, “Aww…” every time I catch a glimpse.

My first book featured orphaned otter twins, and whenever I see otter videos on Facebook (I see a lot of them!), I want to start my own otter rescue facility. They are such playful animals. Unfortunately, they aren’t pets, but they sure warm my heart just the same.

I’ve always been an animal lover and always will be. I have Pinterest boards devoted to cats and other cuteness. What can I say? They make me smile!

I’d love to hear about your pets! Tell me about them in the comments!

Have a great day!

 

 

Heartwarming Thursday: Friendship Dry Spells

by Jill Kemerer

Have you ever had a time in life where you really didn’t have any friends outside of your marriage or immediate family?

I have on more than one occasion. We’ve moved many times, and one move in particular created a friendship dry spell for me. It’s strange to not have someone to call up and meet for coffee. It’s difficult to fill out school forms and literally have no name to put down for emergency contacts. More than anything, it’s lonely.

What do we do without good friends?

DSCN1234

 

When my heart curls up in a lonely ball inside my chest, I turn to the Lord. We always have a friend in Jesus. He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) says, “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.” Even when our longing for a friend lingers and isn’t fulfilled, we can give that to the Lord and know He cares.

Sometimes we lose friendships that were dear to us. Any number of things can end a friendship–different phases of life, divorce, long-distance moves, misunderstandings, death, or a change of heart. We don’t always know why we lose a friend. Again, we can turn to the Lord for comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Hopefully, the dry periods with friendships are short! Tending to friendships is vital. If you’re blessed to have local friends, make an effort to stay in contact with them. Text them, call them, invite them for coffee or a lunch date. If you have friends who don’t live nearby, text them, call them, email them, send them a card–whatever! Keep the communication flowing. We are so blessed to live in an age where we can keep in touch with just about anyone, anywhere in the world.

I also pray for my friends. Prayer is one of the best gifts we can give, and it’s free. What’s not to love about that?

I pray you’re blessed with many friends! And if you’re in a dry spell, my heart goes out to you. It’s hard not having anyone to rely on and share our joys with.

How do you nurture your friendships? Have you ever been in a dry spell? What did you do?

Have a terrific day!

 

 

Heartwarming Thursday – Memoirs

Claiming Ground

by Jill Kemerer

Whenever I research, I use a multi-faceted approach. I look for material online, YouTube, magazines, people who have experience with the subject I’m researching, and, of course, books. I recently read two memoirs with very different tones, messages, and content.

One of the memoirs, Claiming Ground by Laura Bell, tells of her years living in Wyoming as a shepherd, cattle ranch hand, and various other positions that built off her knowledge of the land. It’s a quiet book, an honest one, and it really touched me. Laura doesn’t shy away from the mistakes she made, and her love of the land and her stepdaughters shine through. That being said, the book is a tough read. She grew up in a Christian home, but I didn’t get a sense of her faith, and when she lost someone close to her, I found myself longing for her to have that faith. Heaven comforts me, and I want it to comfort everyone.

The other memoir I read, This Isn’t the Ivy League by Mary Clearman Blew, held me captive for the first hundred pages, but as I continued, I felt the opposite of heartwarming. While I’m fascinated by women who trailblaze, this book unsettled me. I admire Mary for fighting through prejudice to become a professor at a university, but the overall theme depressed me. The message seemed to be that she paid a heavy price for wanting more than typically was expected of women in the fifties and sixties. But I feel that much of that price was brought on by herself. Honestly, I’m not sure what I was supposed to take away from this book.

It got me to thinking about what makes a memoir satisfying. I don’t want to read about someone’s charmed life. I love honesty. However, if the honesty gives the reader no hope or nothing to chew on in a hopeful way, the memoir falls flat.

Have you read any memoirs lately? What would you recommend?

 

Have a lovely day!

Not Another Self-Help List! Heartwarming Thursday

by Jill Kemerer

It must be January! The New Year, New You theme is everywhere I look.

30 Days to be a Better Wife

8 Ways to Fill Your Home with Positive Energy

19 Fun Things to do Alone

My Pinterest feed is FULL of pins like this, articles telling us how our lives can be better and giving us a checklist to make sure we follow through. I usually love self-help articles, books and checklists. Who doesn’t want to be a better version of themselves? But today when I was scrolling through pin after pin of ways to improve every aspect of my life, all I could do was roll my eyes and pretend to gag.

I just couldn’t take another self-help list.

 

Not Another Self-Help List

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

 

Here’s the thing, I’m in the trenches of “improvement” as we speak. No, I don’t have grand resolutions. I’ve failed too many times at those in the past. I’m brutally honest with myself. Twenty-four hours is about all the willpower I have. Each day I try to meet my “let’s get healthy” goals. What are they? (Don’t laugh!!)

  1. Drink 96 ounces of water a day. (I work from home where the bathroom is handy or this wouldn’t be possible!)
  2. Count my calorie intake using MyFitnessPal, an app on my phone. (Some people hate counting calories. I get it, but for me, it works!)
  3. Exercise for 20-30 minutes 5-6 days a week.

I have a secret weapon for meeting these goals. Prayer. Yep, good old-fashioned prayer. I ask God to give me the strength and motivation to improve my health each day.

Psalm 34:8 (NIV) “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Does this mean I always meet my health goals? No, but since they’re not too over the top, I usually do. On the days I don’t, I refuse to berate myself. My life runs better when I do what’s good for me, and that’s usually motivation enough for me to get back on track.

Honestly, the above list is all I can handle right now. So I’ll have to wait to take the steps to improve my home’s positive energy, and I’ll take a rain check on thirty ways to be a better wife. But the fun things to do alone? I might check that one out!

Instead of feeling pressured to DO THIS! TRY HARDER! BE BETTER!, I hope you’ll smile, close your eyes and rest assured you’re more than enough right now. Pray daily for help to meet your goals. And hang in there! You’re not alone!

Are you in the beginning of a health kick or other self-improvement plan? How is it going for you?

Have a terrific day!