Laresa Watkins

Overcoming some fears this summer…

Jul 6, 2018
mommyinbonlee

I am not scared of too many things.  There are things I avoid because they make me uncomfortable, such as speaking in front of large groups of adults or going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday, but I can do those things without too much anxiety.  🙂

There is something I am really scared of, though, something that makes my heart beat faster and my thoughts spin out of control: murky water.  When we go over a bridge, especially the long, tall bridges like we went over last week when we went to the Outer Banks, I have to focus on the road in front of me. If I let myself, I will go through in my mind the entire scenario of what would happen if we somehow plunged over the edge of the bridge.  I imagine myself busting out the window of the car, telling Jason to grab Charlie while I get Maddie, then swimming to the surface only to be tragically eaten by an alligator just feet from shore.  Those bridges are all beautiful, but they make me very anxious and I am always relieved to reach the other side.

I avoid any water that isn’t clear enough that I can see my feet.  I love sitting on the beach and walking on the beach and building sandcastles on the beach, but the kids have to really beg me before I will join them in the ocean.  I feel the same way about lakes, rivers, etc. Nope, nope, nope.

Every once in a while I am forced to face this fear, and last week on vacation was one of those times.  Jason mentioned several days ago that there are lots of kayak tours on the OBX, and he wanted to go on one.  Without really thinking it through, I agreed.  Suddenly, I found myself here:

Yep, those are my feet. My feet on a kayak tour through a maritime forest complete with snakes, fish, turtles, 2 feet of mud which a woman would immediately sink into up to her knees if she accidentally fell out of her kayak, and alligators (Our tour guide, Justin, denied this, but I later learned that an alligator had, in fact, been caught in this exact area only weeks earlier. Not only did they catch the alligator here, but they tagged and then released it in the SAME SPOT.).

Why do I let myself get into these situations that scare me so much? Well, I don’t want to miss out on anything. I want to experience every single thing I can in this life, and I want my kids to experience every single thing they can.  While Maddie didn’t care for kayaking, Charlie discovered a new passion.  The problem is, now I am going to have to take him kayaking all the time.  This is him at the lake a few days ago:

I took this picture from shore.  🙂

I want them to be brave and courageous and feel free to try new things, even if they are scared.  And I want them to look back on these experiences and say, “Wow, I did that!”  So I have to do that, too.

Over and over again, apparently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance in the Chaos – A Good Morning

Nov 18, 2017
mommyinbonlee

I am a morning person.  Before having children I was a high school teacher, and I got up at 5:30 every morning to spend time on a devotion, take long showers, drink coffee, watch the news, and just get my mind in order for the day.  Jason is not a morning person and was usually asleep during this time, so I had the house to myself. It was a good time for me.

After becoming a mom, my time in the mornings became hit or miss.  When the kids were babies, I slept later out of sheer necessity.  Now I’m on a pretty good schedule, but I’ll get out of whack during the summer and it takes me awhile to get used to going to bed and getting up at decent hours again.

But, ya’ll, that time in the morning is so important to me.  When I hit snooze too many times and sleep too late and end up having to rush around to do what needs to be done in the morning, my whole day is out of whack. That’s why I’m making it the very first post in this series aimed at finding balance in our chaotic lives. If it is at all possible for you to wake up a little earlier in the morning and have some time alone, just some time to get a jump-start on your day, it will make such a difference to you.  I’m not saying you have to get up at 4:30 or anything like that (because I think women who do that are a little crazy, but whatever floats your boat), but maybe 6:15 instead of 6:30, anything to give yourself a little extra time.

Here is what I do with my extra time most mornings:

1-Spend some time with God– I keep a book of people I am praying for and things I am praying about.  I spend some time thanking God for who he is and for all of my blessings, then I pray through my list, and do a short devotion.

In Isaiah 61:3 Isaiah tell us some of what Jesus wants for his people:

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
He wants us to go through our days with a beautiful headdress, not ashes! Gladness, not mourning! Spirits of praise, not faint spirits! He wants us to be strong and glorify him in our day-to-day life. He will grant us all of these things, and spending a few minutes talking with him in the morning while our minds are fresh and we’re uninterrupted by everyday tasks gets us started on the right path for the day.

I highly recommend She Reads Truth.  You can pay to get the Bible studies on your phone or in book form, or you can go straight to their website to do your studies for free.  They have many great devotions to choose from, but I love doing the current one.  Knowing that women all over the world are doing the same devotion that day is so special to me.

If you don’t have much time (maybe you pressed the snooze button too many times and you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for your quiet time-not that I ever do this, but it could possibly happen 😉 ), I recommend Christine Caine’s “First Things First” Devotion.  She is just a straight-forward, get-it-done type of woman, and when you sign up for this you will get an e-mail each morning with a Bible verse and a couple of paragraphs about the verse.  You can read this in just a couple of minutes and it will help direct your thoughts for the day. I read it while I’m brushing my teeth.

 

2-Start a load of laundry– So, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is something I enjoy doing in the morning, but by having a load of laundry going, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I actually put a load of clothes in the washing machine before I go to bed at night, then set the “delay wash” so the clothes begin washing around 5.  After my devotion time I’ll throw the clothes in the dryer. There may be another chore (unloading the dishwasher, etc.) that you would rather get out of the way, but by going ahead and doing something small, you’ll just feel better.

In addition to that, make your bed.  It has actually been proven that making your bed will make your day more productive, and actually make you more happy and peaceful! It only takes a second.  This is one of my kids’ chores each morning, and they don’t understand why I feel it’s so important, but one day they’ll get it.

 

3-Work out- I’m going to talk further about this in a later post, but I just want to mention this as part of a good start to your day.  To me, the greatest benefit of working out in first thing in the morning is that I don’t get that mid-afternoon slump.  I went through a stage where around 3:00 every afternoon, I was getting really tired and grouchy, and I’ve found that working out, even just for 10 minutes in the mornings, solves that problem.

I don’t have time to go to the gym (again, I don’t care to get up at 4:30 in the morning) so I love to find workouts on YouTube.

I’ve also found a new app I’m trying out and I LOVE called aaptiv.  More about it later, but if you’re looking for a good workout in the mornings, go ahead and try it out.

 

So, there are 3 simple things you can do in the morning if you’ll wake up 30 minutes sooner than you are now.  You’ll have more energy, begin your days feeling productive, and most importantly, feel prepared to wear your beautiful headdress all day long.

 

 

 

30/31 Days

Oct 30, 2017
mommyinbonlee

A friend of mine posted some pictures on Facebook today, and the caption along with one of the pictures said something like “I’m living the life I once prayed for.”

This is so true for me.  I vividly remember my middle school self sitting on my bedroom floor, my back against my white iron daybed, holding my Bible in my lap.  It was a white KJV, and I had a hard time understanding what I was reading.  It was always clear to me, though, that I would be ok.  That my prayers for a nice life one day with a good husband and kids and a home would all be answered.  I just knew it in my heart, and I know now that God was with me every step of the way.

Now here I am, living the life I prayed for 25 years ago, and now I find myself often wondering, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, ESV) I know that these words were spoken to Esther when she was faced with saving the Jewish race, but I can’t help but feel that God also means them for me.

The reminder that I am living the days that I once prayed for gives me new perspective.  The mundane days full of teaching and cleaning and cooking and laundry don’t seem so unimportant.  God put me right here where I am for a specific purpose and this is my “such a time.”

 

26/31 Days (Guest Post by Kate Young)

Oct 26, 2017
mommyinbonlee

Tonight’s blog post was written by my friend, Kate Young.  She’s such a good friend-always willing to step in and help when I need it.  Tonight she blessed me with 20 minutes-now the question is: How will I spend it?

 

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My friend writes a blog. This month she has been challenged to write for everyday of the month and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her daily musings. Sometimes I find myself day dreaming about what I would say if I wrote a blog, especially when something funny happens… I find a lot of funny things happen to me! I imagine how wonderful it would be to have documented memories of my family.

I saw her today, and told her how much I enjoy reading her blog every night and that I hoped that she would continue to write everyday. I was not not expecting her response. ” I love to write, but I can’t wait till I don’t have to do it everyday. It’s too tiring.”
That made me think of motherhood….to do one thing, something else has to give. To leave the house on time, the dishes will sit in the sink. School was important today, baths were not. My daughter needs her clothes washed, I’ll wear yesterday’s jeans. My son needs his diaper changed, I’ll go without make-up today. Tonight is no different… my daughter and I wanted to watch a movie together, we ate pizza for dinner.
It would be wonderful (in an ideal world) to write a daily blog or diary, but what would I forfeit? Maybe 20 minutes of talking to my husband? 20 minutes of sleep? Perhaps I would leave the laundry for another day….
Maybe one day I will write, but for now I will pass this ‘one blog entry’ to my friend and see if she can use it…I wonder what she will do with her extra 20 minutes?

16/31 Days

Oct 16, 2017
mommyinbonlee

My MOMS group is a small, fabulous group of women. We come from diverse backgrounds, have varying goals and dreams, and run our households differently, but we are bonded together by the great equalizer of motherhood.

As part of a meeting that we had a couple of years ago, we were challenged to list five things that only we could do. Just five things. Doesn’t seem too hard, huh? But when I brought up the question that had been asked of us (What are five things only you can do?), I was met with silence and blank stares. No one started furiously writing as I had expected, no intense conversations began between this group of deep, thoughtful women.

I tried to give them ideas, but they were shot down one after another.

“Could anyone mother your children like you do?” I asked.

“Sure,” one woman answered. “My mom could do it.”

“What about being a partner to your husband?” I suggested, “I’m sure no one else could do that.”

Another woman said, “He could find another wife.”

I said to a friend known for her fabulous pound cake, “No one else could make a pound cake like you.”

“Actually,” she responded with a laugh, “I put the recipe on Facebook yesterday. Anyone could make that pound cake.”

I had nothing to say. My mind was blank, because I myself couldn’t answer the question. Is there anything I uniquely do that no one else could ever do?

“We don’t think highly enough of ourselves, ya’ll,” I half-joked, moving on in defeat to the next question.

When I got home that day, I started an experiment. Every single thing I did, from common chores to playing with my children to talking on the phone with a friend who had a problem, I asked myself, could anyone else do this?

Sometimes the answer was yes. I laughed to myself as I balled up my husband’s underwear and shoved them in his drawer, thinking that he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a woman who could do this chore better than me. As I heated up bowls of instant oatmeal in the microwave, I knew that my kids would gladly welcome someone who made better breakfasts than me.

But I also found things I do that I knew could never be replicated by anyone else. Like the time Maddie and I spend together in the mornings, curled up on the couch under a blanket, me doing my devotion while she watches Scooby Doo. Or fixing the perfect cup of coffee for my husband every morning (It has taken me 15 years to do it right, so I seriously doubt anyone else could ever replicate it!). Or sharing Charlie’s excitement over a silly joke that no one else finds funny.       

As moms, I think we tend to downplay what we do every day, thinking that anyone could perform the mundane tasks we perform, but realizing that every one of us is unique is very important.

No one else could ever love our children like we do. Sure, other people could provide for their physical needs, but we were specifically created to raise those little people.

No one else could be the partner that we are to our husbands. We were made for them. No one else could ever team with them the way we do to live the lives we have created together.

No one else could do our mission work the way we do it. Whether it’s homeschooling, sharing the love of Jesus with someone at our job, helping an elderly person grocery shop, baking pound cakes for our sick neighbors, or leading a Sunday School class, no one else could do it like we do, and there is a possibility that it wouldn’t happen at all if we didn’t do it.

Ladies, what if we realize our worth? What if we acknowledge our importance? That there are some things that only we could ever do?

Would we perhaps be braver? Would we go about our mornings with a different attitude, knowing that the cup of coffee we pour is important in how our husbands start the day and that no one else could do it right? Would we consider the time spent cuddling on the couch imperative for our children, and understand that no other woman could take our place? Would we do our mission work with a different attitude knowing that without us, this work of God would not get done in the same way?

Knowing that we’re the only one is scary, but empowering. Let’s be brave, own our worth, and see what happens. What if….

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