Laresa Watkins

A Couple Things For Which I am Not Judging You

Aug 21, 2019
mommyinbonlee

So, I will admit that I am a pretty judgemental person. I know that’s not good and I am constantly working on this flaw of mine. I ask God almost every day to make me more understanding and to soften my heart towards people, and over time he has. Unfortunately for me, He does that mostly by putting me in exactly the same situation that I once judged someone for!

Here are some things that I once judged people (perhaps even you) for, but no longer do:

Buying Uncrustables. When I first saw a commercial for Uncrustables (you know, the pre-made and frozen pb&j sandwiches), I immediately commented to whoever was with me, “How lazy is that? When I have kids, I will NEVER buy those. I mean, how much trouble is it to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

10 years and 2 kids later, you will not find my freezer without a box of Uncrustables. What I have come to realize is that IT IS REALLY HARD TO FEED THESE PEOPLE. Kids are constantly hungry and asking for snacks. Even if you fed them 30 minutes prior they will ask, as you are getting in the car, for something to eat. The answer: Go back to the freezer and get an Uncrustable. We go on lots of field trips to zoos, museums, and aquariums, and it costs roughly $1,200,586 for the three of us to eat lunch at one of these places. The solution: Stick a few Uncrustables in a lunch box. The kids each play year-round sports that have 3 hour practices that go right through dinnertime. Easy fix: Throw an Uncrustable in their bag.

Basically, what I am telling you is that I no longer judge any mother for anything. We’re all doing the best we can to raise healthy, well-adjusted children, and if that means throwing a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a bag and calling it a meal, so be it. We also eat red hotdogs at the ballpark 4 nights a week, so there’s that.

Do you know what it took to get me to this non-judgemental view? Having 2 kids who are constantly starving and not having enough time to make a sandwich. I get you, fellow Uncrustable-stockholders.

Having a Child with Unbrushed Hair. Just a few Sundays ago, my son stood up in front of the church and sang our Vacation Bible School songs for the congregation. He danced and smiled and did a great job, all the while looking like he had stuck his finger in a light socket during Sunday School.

I used to sit in church and wonder why the mother of the young girl in front of me refused to brush her daughter’s hair, but now I know: She DID brush it!

Somehow, between the bathroom and church or school or Costco (where we buy our UnCrustables), kid’s hair reverts back to the same hairstyle they woke up with. It doesn’t matter how much time, money, and energy I put into my children’s hygiene and appearance, they always look like they have nothing or no one.

So, you can see how God has worked in my life to make me less judgemental. I’m sure more things will come up in my heart that I am guilty of judging others for. And to the mom-to-be who sees my unkempt children with jelly stains on their shirts from the Uncrustables they just ate in the car: Your day will come.

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?

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