Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Exhausted Mom Tips~ March 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:06 am
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The last 12 hours have worn this momma slap out! Before I dive into my mom tips, you need the backstory.

Last night, while making breakfast for dinner, I was pulling double duty and having my 5 year old do her reading books at the table.

“Buh-uh-buh-buh-la-eh”

Enter two teenagers with packets about registering for classes NEXT YEAR.

“What?! Say it again!”

And she did, louder and slower than the first time.

Grounded sister wails from the back of the house.

“I have no clue what you’re saying! Spell it.”

My gravy was at the critical point here, so it’s not like I could just walk away and look at the word. I try to quickly grab something from the freezer and ice cream falls out on my feet.

“B-u-b-b-l-e.”

Now I’m all about my little kindergartener learning to read but sometimes you just want to scream, “sweet Jesus, it’s bubble!!!”

Later in the evening…all is quiet and a thunderstorm erupts. Big black dog turns into tiny lap dog at the crack of thunder. So instead of peaceful slumber, my night was filled with a pacing pup that intermittently jumped on the bed, whimpering and vibrating like a wind-up toy.

So let’s just say this morning was off. I’m trying to balance the checkbook and thought everyone was getting ready. Y’all know what they say about assumptions?? I bellow, “last call,” and realize youngest daughter is chilling in her pjs, chatting with big sister about the caboodle she wants for her birthday. Jesus take the wheel. I have never dressed a child so fast in my life. I yank Emma’s hair into a side pony for Eighties Day and we race out the door, late. I throw the car in reverse, looking into a mirror for the first time today.

Oh. Lawd.

Now for the tips….

  1. Upon realizing you look a hot mess, throw on some shades. Then it looks intentional instead of like you forgot to brush your hair.image
  2. It’s totally acceptable to throw four cartons of ice cream across the room because someone left just enough to say they didn’t eat it all and now they’re cascading out onto your toes.
  3. When it’s “throwback Thursday” on the radio, it’s wise to remember your teens have cell phones at the ready to make you a Snapchat feature. Better hone your car dancing skills. (WordPress said you can’t see the video so only my Facebook peeps will experience that pleasure.)
  4. Lastly, for now: laugh at yourself, hug your babies when they’re on your last nerve and thank Jesus for sunglasses, coffee, 90s hip-hop & grace.
 

~Grateful Mommy~ January 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:11 am
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Some days I look at any one of my babies and think surely my heart will explode from the love I feel for them. Today it’s Bella, with her sleepy eyes and tousled hair, straight out of bed in her Elsa slippers. She makes a beeline for me as I sit reading with coffee in hand and lays across my lap. There’s nothing spectacular about the moment. She does the same thing nearly every day. But today when I look at her squishy face with the dusting of freckles across her nose, I tear up.

One day she’ll stop greeting me this way. One day she’ll walk right past me to the kitchen to fix her own breakfast. One day she’s going to stop pressing her nose to mine as she promises to love me forever, even on her birthday. Thankfully, today is not that day. However, I can’t know when that inevitable day will come.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, why I’m so overcome with emotion, maybe I’ve been reading too many books that pull on the heartstrings!! What I do know is my children are gifts. Even when I’m worn, hurt or furious, they are my prize, my biggest accomplishment and the joy they bring far outweighs the nuisances that pepper our daily routines.

So when Isaiah puts his big man feet on every available surface, Peyton cuts me to the quick with his sometimes curt words, Autumn rolls her teenagry eyes at me, Emma stomps off in defiance or Bella dissolves into a puddle of tears over the word “no”, I pray I can recall these tender moments when love is almost tangible.

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“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!” (Psalm 127:3-5 The Message)

 

~Learning to Relax~ December 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:19 am
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We’ve been in our new home for just over a week now. For many reasons, we decided that I would homeschool all five of our children for at least the remainder of this school year. One of the main perks the kids and I were looking forward to was a more relaxed schedule. No more screaming momma trying to rush the kids out the door by a specified time. Gone would be the days of frustration at trying to “get it all done.” And yet, I seem to be having difficulty adjusting to this lifestyle!

Apparently I’ve spent so many years rushing everywhere that I have forgotten how to chill the heck out.

The kids have done great with their school work, finishing in a fraction of the time had they still been in public school….which sent me into a panic, emailing other homeschool moms to calm my fears. Am I not assigning them enough work? Are my kids going to fall behind? Thankfully those mommas put my mind at ease before I doubled up the kids’ workload.

When the typical after school hour rolls around, we have nowhere we have to be. No practices, no bonus kids to pick up, absolutely no rushing out the door…ever. You’d think that would be pretty easy to get used to, and yet here I sit, telling you that it’s not!

Y’all are going to think I’ve snapped, but I actually Googled “what does the Bible say about relaxing?”

“Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.” (Ecc 11:10 ESV)

First of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve not read this particular verse before or if I have, it wasn’t very memorable to me. Secondly, I had to Google the definition of vexation: the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried OR something that causes annoyance, frustration, or worry. I’ve included another translation of this verse that drove the point home for me:

 Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear. (CEV)

I’ve been afforded an opportunity to slow it down for a while, to spend more quality time with my children without the anxiety that accompanies an overbooked schedule. They are growing insanely fast and Lord knows I am not getting any younger and I’ve been squandering this incredible luxury of essentially having them all to myself, even if only for a few months.

It’s time I make a genuine effort at learning to just relax and embrace this season with my beautiful family. If you have something causing vexation in your life, maybe today is a good time to say “no more.”

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Just in case you need a little help relaxing…the ocean always does it for me 😉

 

~Time To Build An Ark~ September 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:57 am
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This morning I am faced with a tough parenting decision that I really don’t want to deal with, mainly because I know it is going to make me public enemy #1 with the teenagers of the house. I feel like my hand has been forced and it’s either drop the hammer or watch them continue to make poor choices that are changing who they are, even if only bit by bit.

I am here to tell you that being a parent is NOT all fun and tea times. I’ve felt ill over it all morning, trying to brace for the backlash that is surely to come. What, pray tell, could have this mom of five feeling anxious? I’m about to set firmer electronic restrictions. If you have pre-teens or teenagers in your pack then you know what I’m up against.

I’ve spent most of the morning trying to come up with realistic limitations for the household, not just for the children, mom & dad can benefit from a reduction of screen time as well! I decided to take a break from the stress and open up my First Five app for today’s reading. (If you’re not familiar with it, search the app store, you want this one.) And wouldn’t you know there was a little nugget in there that fit this situation just so: “A storm doesn’t mean God forgot us. God remembered Noah and gave him instructions to build the ark. It was Noah’s obedience that kept his family safe when the flood rose.”~Wendy Pope

Here’s the thing when it comes to raising little people who will some day be an active member of society, sometimes you have to make the tough calls for their safety. They likely will not understand where we are coming from or even care to hear us out, but, like Noah, it is OUR job to ensure that we take the proper precautions to guard their hearts and minds against things which can lead to ruin. I loathe being the heavy! I want to be the cool mom that all the kids like and want to hang around. However, that is not my number one priority as a parent.

It’s time for parents to BUILD THE ARK! We have to protect our families, it is our duty. I am not suggesting that we shelter our children to where they are not prepared for the real world. What I am proposing is that we take into careful consideration what we allow them to be a part of, who we permit them to interact with and for the love of all that’s holy….MONITOR THEIR ONLINE PRESENCE!!! I can either be the bad guy or let them be exposed to the real bad guys out there.

We are fighting an uphill battle, friends, let’s help each other along with words of encouragement. I know I’m not the only momma struggling today. prov 22

 

~I Don’t Have Time~ August 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:01 am
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fog(Anyone else freak out when you let this sink in?!)

I don’t know if I’m super sensitive right now because our oldest just started high school and I came to the sudden realization that we only have 4 more years with him, but I’m struggling with the amount of time we actually spend together as a family.

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom so I do get more time with my children than most. What bothers me is how our days are filled. My kids attend public school so their day starts early, up at 6:45. We rush around packing lunches, getting showers and stuffing backpacks…not my idea of quality time as most days this puts everyone in a foul mood. They spend just over 7 hours in school but it doesn’t end there. One of my kiddos is in band so she is at the school until 5:30, just as I am leaving the house to coach my XC team. Hubs arrives sometime while I’m at practice and eats dinner with 4 of the 5 kids. Runner boy and I shovel it in sometime after 7 depending on how long practice went. The littles have to crash at 8:30 or there is NO getting them up the next day. A quick math problem reveals we spend approximately one hour each weekday together when school is in session. Are you kidding me?!

One would think that weekends would be better, one would be wrong. Saturdays will become filled with invitational meets & band competitions that will cause us to divide and conquer. Sunday we’ll ride to church together, but quickly separate to go to our designated classes. After several hours there, we’ll grab lunch and crash from the exhaustion of the week, maybe a family movie after naptime….hold up, momma forgot she’s low on lunch supplies for the school week so to the grocery I go instead of relaxing with my family!

Y’all, time is fleeting and it scares me to think of how little we are investing into the family that we’ve been blessed with! I am terrified that one day down the road I will wake up to an empty house and broken heart over the number of hours I spent away from the people who mean everything to me! So what do we do?!

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Prov 90:12 ESV)

To me this means taking a quick inventory of what is necessary and what needs to go. Determine your priorities and start eliminating things you do simply out of obligation or because it’s what is expected of you, (or your tribe). There is no glorification in having an overcrowded schedule. You and I will not receive praise for making sure that our family calendar is packed full of clubs, sports, volunteer assignments, etc, etc, etc. I am NOT suggesting that we all become hermits, quitting every activity that means we have to go our separate ways for a time. What I am proposing is that we don’t become so focused on our “to do” list that we spend our days rushing through this one life we are given. I’m so tired of having to say the words “we don’t have time” to my husband and kids. If we have reached the point where we no longer have time for each other, then we are doing something wrong.

Like I said, maybe it’s just me dealing with having a high schooler and the thought that my “baby” starts big kid school next year, but I can’t shake the feeling that my time could be better spent when it comes to my circus and my monkeys. Sending my kids back to school this week was not a relief, it was hard. I know I sound like I’m complaining, and I guess in a way, I am. I have become increasingly jealous of our time. Anyone out there face this same struggle and have some words of wisdom to hand down to young momma’s everywhere dealing with these feelings?

 (I should have warned you all that this was not my most inspirational post ever written…sorry!)
 

~Keepin’ It Real~ July 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:41 am
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I have a feeling that some of you are about to be seriously disappointed in me. I should start by telling you, I don’t swear, honest I don’t. I used to cuss like a sailor back in my pre-Jesus-loving days but I have since been redeemed and turned from my potty mouth ways. However, moments ago, I let a four letter word slip….and there was a witness!

It’s been one of those mornings where I feel like my brain is in a fog. I’ve tried to function like a normal human being but have found it rather impossible. So naturally I assumed I just needed another dose of caffeine. The coffee had gone lukewarm so I had to zap it in the microwave because coffee just isn’t coffee unless it’s scorching hot. Right as I went to grab my super cute mug from the machine of fire, my hand slipped and the nectar of the heavens went flying everywhere, including all over me. I did mention how hot I like my coffee, right?! Y’all it stung…seriously…and you know how I feel about my coffee so seeing it spill into the floor was a crushing blow. Before I could even think, the dirty word started to slip out. I caught myself midway through the “sh” sound and tried to throw on the brakes. So what came out was a whispered, slightly slurred, version of the word. I heard something behind me and slowly turned around to see Peyton…laughing. In my anguish I’d forgotten I was not alone. I started to tell him I was sorry for the slip when through his laughter he yelled, “REPENT”!!

That kid.

As I mopped up my mess, I did apologize, to Peyton & Jesus, for my faux pas. And I was thankful. Thankful for grace, even in the small moments. Thankful for kids who know their momma is human and can forgive her shortcomings. Thankful for a God who loves me, even when I slip in frustration. Thankful for the gift of repentance that draws us closer to that very same God. And lastly, thankful for the Keurig that quickly replaced my go-go juice so that this day can continue 😉coffee

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV) 

 

 

~When Life Is Just Too Short~ May 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 12:07 pm
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Days ago I opened the ol’ WordPress app on my phone and typed this title. That was it, no meat, just a headline that popped into my head for no apparent reason. I didn’t know what the post would be about until I read about a horrific accident in another state.

A caravan of family members were traveling home from a wedding when a semi caused a multi car accident. The first vehicle carried a pregnant mother and her toddler son. In separate vehicles were the husband & father to the pair and a set of grandparents. Immediately the news made us aware that the young boy was tragically killed. His grieving mother had to have an emergency c-section one month shy of her due date. I, along with every other person with a shred of faith I am certain, prayed for this family and that their sweet newborn would survive. He did not.

As I read the news yesterday, I simply cried. There is no way to fathom what this family is facing. As I wept for people I have never met, this title came back to me. While this is not the first time a terrible tragedy has occurred, it is one of those instances when life was definitely just too short.

It’s an expression I’ve heard my entire life but what does it mean? Life is too short for what exactly? And why does it take a death to remind of us just how fleeting it is?

Too short to live with regrets.

Too short to hold unforgiveness in your heart.

Too short not to dream.

Too short…

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NIV)

The hard truth of the matter is, we haven’t the faintest idea when our time will be up. We are not guaranteed a certain number of years with our loved ones. We are literally not promised tomorrow. So now what? What do we do with this knowledge that we’ve really always known but oftentimes choose to ignore?

Live every single day as though it is your last. Cliche, maybe, but a simple truth just the same.

Don’t hold in the sentiments, say them frequently and mean them!

Dream BIG!! Stop limiting yourself and God. Trust that He will give you the desires of your heart and allow Him access to plant them there!IMG_7245

Prayers of peace and comfort for all of those dealing with loss today, tomorrow, and everyday to come. May we not be so consumed by the what-ifs of tomorrow that we let today slip through our grasp.