Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~I See You~ September 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:45 pm
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Hey you, I see you over there criticizing yourself.

I saw you chuck that poptart at the back of your kids head as they raced for the bus sans breakfast again because you overslept which translates to defcon 5 in your mind. I saw you sink into your bathrobe as perfectly manicured neighbor lady shakes her head in dismay because she always serves her babes eggs, toast, bacon, juice, milk & apple slices for the most important meal of the day. Whatever, she’s a liar. I saw Fruit Loops in her buggy at Walmart. Besides, I was known to eat a sugary “pastry” a time or few in my youth and look at me, 33 and still kicking!

I see you too, momma of the insanely picky tot who refuses everything with nutritional value. I know they eat instant mac & canned pasta every meal & you’re freaking out about brain development. It’s cool, momma. Many a college friend lived solely on Raman Noodles and still turned out to be successful docs, attorneys & teachers. One day they’ll outgrow the picky stage and gnaw on a piece of lettuce instead of a Cheeto, who cares if today is not that day?!

And you, football mom. I was totally giving you a fist bump in my mind as you served your kid concession stand nachos last night at the game. I was the one next in line to dish out salty goodness with a side of processed cheese for supper too. So what we didn’t cook organic beef with homegrown veggies for dinner?! Our kids just leveled someone twice their size on the ball field. That’s what I’m talking about!

I’m a health conscious mom, for the most part, but we all have those days when the theme for dinner is: “good luck family, you jokers are on your own!” And it’s all good. You are not a failure because of what your kid does or does not eat. Stop being so judgy about your parenting.

Consider this an act of solidarity: the next time you see me in the store and your 3-year-old is throwing down some Nilla wafers you haven’t paid for yet, I’ll simply wink and toss some gummies at mine to silence the madness so we can make it out alive.

You’re my hero, sister. We’ll win the healthy food choice battle tomorrow.picky-eater

Sidenote: Y’all know I like to tie a Scripture in to the majority of my posts. I asked my bible app for a verse on picking your battles and this is what it gave me from 2 Timothy “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” Seriously laughing out loud!

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~13~ September 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:23 am
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Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Effective today, at 12:43 pm to be exact, I will have been a mommy for 13 years. There is no greater accomplishment that I could ever achieve that would bring the sense of pride I feel as a parent. God has so generously blessed me with a large family that I don’t deserve and it all started with the cutie in the picture above.

From day one, this kid has had my heart. We are so much alike in numerous ways and yet so completely opposite in others. He is analytical, I’m emotional. He’s hardcore competitive, I’m driven more by having a good time. He is strong willed & self confident, when I tend to be concerned about others opinions & still struggle with insecurities.

In spite of all our differences, he gets me & I get him.

This picture was taken at a recent cross-country meet and I feel it sums up our relationship quite nicely. I have always & will always be my boys number one fan, his momma-coach. I will be there to push, encourage & support him in all that he does. He will never have to question the passion I have to see him succeed. He will never doubt the love that I have for him, my first born. The one who gifted me with the title “Mommy.”

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51

Thirteen years have gone by way too fast. I watched him walk into the school this morning, a teenager, knowing full well that as rapidly as these years have passed, the next five will go even quicker. My momma’s heart can’t take it. I want my boy to be my baby forever.

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.-Robert Munsch

Happy birthday to one of my greatest blessings, Peyton Andrew. You are a joy and a treasure. Words don’t always convey the depth of emotion behind them, but know this, there has never been a momma more proud of a son than I am of you.

 

~Learn to Lean~ September 23, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:31 am
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Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “How do you do it with 5 kids?!” This question is usually accompanied by a look that says, seriously lady, what’s the secret?

Well, I keep a fully stocked mini-bar, my Xanax never runs out and I have a personal assistant.

Totally kidding.

The truth is, I have learned to lean.

Very recently a worn momma asked how I manage my kids overlapping schedules. I looked her dead in the eye and said, “Honey, you’ve got to learn to ask for help!”

You see I am incredibly blessed with a fabulous group of women who lighten my load, encourage my weary self and keep this scatter-brained momma updated so as not to forget some vital activity my kids are supposed to participate in! Today I’d like to give honor where it is due and sing the praises of a few of my ladies…aka…saints.

First up, not surprisingly, is my super fantastic Mom. Without her, I’m pretty sure I’d have thrown in the towel a long time ago on this whole child rearing thing. She talks me down & reminds me that the teenage years are just a season and there’s no need for me to threaten to sale my kids or to throw myself off the back deck. When she’s here, I never have to ask her for help, she simply swoops in and does whatever is needed. She does dishes, hauls the bags for our cross country team and keeps me sane in the midst of the war zone that our home can sometimes be. She is, hands down, my number one girlfriend.

Then there are the sweet sisters from my life group. God gave me the bestest bunch of women to do life with, you should totally be jealous. Carol helps me with my band girl when my coaching schedule prevents me from being available to run her to and fro. Beyond that, she’s my Jesus girl who keeps things in perspective when I can’t see the good in my struggles. Sarah takes care of my dancing queen every week, again because of my coaching commitments. She treats my girl to an after school treat, gets her dressed & ready and even brings her home afterwards! As if that weren’t enough, she sends me reminders often that she is praying for me. Crystal is my encourager. Even when I know I’m failing miserably, she somehow manages to make me feel like supermom. Tina is my life preserver. We live close to one another and I can’t count the times she’s jumped in and helped me out when I’ve forgotten something or someone! Then there’s Rachel. Not only do my little girls adore her, but so do I. This woman gives me complete freedom to be my crazy, messed up self without fear of judgment.

See?! I told you to be jealous! These women are rock stars!

Now for Julia. My mom friend who has also found herself seriously outnumbered. Her 4-1 ratio helps her relate to my 5-1. There are many parallels in our lives that made us fast friends. She’s a writer, coach, health concious, stay-at-home mom who’s parenting style is pretty dang similar to mine. She’s the only person I know who burns up the roads more than me and reminds me we’re human so it’s completely okay to be exhausted beyond comprehension. But best of all, she’s my Friday morning running partner. On these runs, we vent, dream, encourage and solve all the worlds problems while we sweat and beat out our frustrations on the pavement. She makes me feel like I’m not the last of a dying breed as we fight to teach our kids “old school” values in the midst of a culture that promotes self over selflessness. In my opinion, every mom needs a Julia in their lives.

Nowadays it seems women are so busy trying to out-mom one another that we miss out on our most valuable asset, each other! I for one am happy to admit I would be lost without my tribe! We were not created to compete but to complement. So let’s do as the Word instructs us in Galatians 5 & 1st Thessalonians 6: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”IMG_2448

 

~Love in a Sweatshirt~ September 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:42 am
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Early on in the football season, the boys were given discount cards to sale as a fundraiser. Isaiah brought his stack home determined to unload all 20 so as to earn a free hoody. This overextended momma let him know right up front that this year, he was on his own! Normally my shy guy bribes his social butterfly sister to do the peddling for him, but not this time. He harassed the entire neighborhood along with the majority of our church family. No one was safe, from the teenagers to the granny-mothers who hadn’t a clue what he was selling, he didn’t discriminate between his targets.

All for a sweatshirt.

Low and behold, he managed to get rid of every last one. Kudos son, on a job well done.

Last week while I was away with my cross country team, I get a text from football boy. The sweatshirt had arrived. Naturally I proceeded to pick at him about how I couldn’t wait to borrow it since we wear the same size. “No way, Mom. You’re not taking my hoody.”

The next day, gameday, brought on another opportunity to tease him about my  new attire for the game. Somewhat irritated, he adamantly refused my requests as he threw on his jersey before school. I let him be and went on to make breakfast and pack lunches. Then just before we walked out the door, he came in to the kitchen, brand new personalized hoody in hand. “Here, momma, you can wear this to the game tonight.”

Lord help me not to cry like a big sap!

Some of you may think I’ve flipped my lid. I mean, what’s the big deal, it’s just a shirt, right? Uhm, no, it’s much more than that. He worked his little tail off to earn that reward and he chose to share it with me, his super proud momma. I knew this was his way of saying, “Love you Mom.”

After he left for the day, I looked at my mom and said, “I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees tonight, I’m wearing this sweatshirt!” And I did, with a huge smile on my face that was also bittersweet. His hoody….was too big for me. So with the sleeves hanging over my hands, I waited for him at the gate post game to talk about how he’d get that missed interception next time. And as he stood looking down at me, my heart melted. My little boy ain’t so little anymore. Now every time I pull on his prized possession and it swallows my smaller frame, it will be like wrapping up in a warm hug from my oldest son who’s growing up way too fast without my permission.

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb, his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!”

(Psalms 127:3-5 The Message)

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~Guys…Know Your Role~ September 10, 2014

Yesterday I made a comment on my Facebook page in regards to how I feel about “men” who hit women in response to all the media coverage of a certain NFL player who not only hit his then pregnant fiance, but hit her hard enough to knock her unconscious.

My post: Any “man” that hits a woman should be left alone in a room with that woman’s Daddy. That’s my 2 cents.

I had a few friends comment, most in agreement with me, but one in particular got my attention and that’s what I’d like to elaborate on today 

Comment: Agreed! What’s with all the abuse lately? Has it always been this bad and we’re just seeing more of it in the media? Or are more men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility? Ridiculous.

Umm, wow. 

I haven’t been able to shake these words since I read them. 

Is violence against women only a recent development? No. However, I do think it used to be more taboo for anyone to speak up or out against it. When I was young, I recall seeing my biological father hit his girlfriend in front of me & her daughter. The memory is fuzzy but what remains crystal clear is that no phone calls were made & she didn’t leave. Why? I don’t know, even to this day, I do not know.

Mostly what we see now is when someone in the public eye is involved in a domestic dispute. We haven’t a clue how many terrifying situations are playing out behind closed doors where there are no surveillance cameras to capture the evidence.

What really struck me about my friend,  Jay’s, comment was the last question he posed, “are men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility?”  It pains me to even think it, but I’m afraid the answer is yes. 

Growing up I knew my daddy, (not my biological father, but the man who raised me), would have “handled” any guy who hurt me, physically or otherwise. My mother taught me to have enough self respect to never allow myself to be treated as anything less than a treasure. My girlfriends and I had each other’s backs, we didn’t laugh about it with the guys making the hateful comments.

Nowadays, you can turn to just about any secular radio station and within minutes hear a song that uses derogatory names to describe “their women” or explicit lyrics that paint a VERY distorted idea of what love is. Young men are quick to name call their girlfriends when she upsets them. Even simple gestures like holding the door for ladies seems to be a reason for fellas to mock their peers as if it makes them less of a man to behave like a gentleman.

I believe it’s time for the old-fashioned guys to take a stand. Don’t be afraid to set a shining example of how a real man is supposed to treat all women. Teach your sons what the Bible says about honoring your mother & respecting your wife. When you see a woman being mistreated, don’t shrink into the shadows as if you didn’t see it….speak out and defend her! Guys, you were created to be a protector and a provider, step into your role! Don’t allow yourself to become desensitized to what should enrage you. 

As a fairly strong woman, I am fully aware that in most cases, I, like so many of my friends, can defend myself. But, I am equally proud to say that if any man ever challenged me, they’d have to go through my hubs, my dad and my boys before ever getting to me. As it should be.

“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)

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~How, Not How Much~ September 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:00 am
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It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve sat down to write when in reality it’s only been about a week.  This time of year always proves to be the most difficult to manage my time wisely.  The only reason I’m able to fire off a quick post today is my sweet baby, Bella, was up through the night with a pretty substantial fever so we’re laying low this morning while the rest of the fam is off to church.

Today I simply want to encourage the families out there like ours that are struggling to manage overloaded schedules and still have time for each other.  This past Thursday, I saw my husband for a whopping total of 5 minutes!  At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if he remembers what I look like.  The sad truth is that it’s not abnormal for us to barely see one another during the week.  He leaves for work before I get up and my evenings are full with activities for the kids.  So how do we make sure our marriage doesn’t suffer during this busy season?

My Aunt Lisa commented on a photo I shared on social media that I think applies here: “Quality not quantity.”

Our commitments are oftentimes going to pull us in different directions, our children included.  I believe the trick to keeping that separation from causing trouble in paradise is to make the absolute best of the time we do share.  If all you have is 5 minutes, tune out everyone and everything else and let your loved one know they have all of you, even if it is for a short time.  I’ll give you one more prime example.  My oldest, Isaiah, plays football which consumes a large majority of his time and all of his focus.  So I make it a priority to be at his games, to know & understand what’s happening on the field, so that we can have a quality conversation on the ride home.  It matters to him so it matters to me, and he knows it.  

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and underloved by the lack of time with those you hold near and dear, remember, how you spend your time together is far more important than the amount of time spent.quality