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!


~Mom, Mum, Mommy, Momma, Mother~ May 9, 2014

Two more days and we get to honor those who gave us life.  This may seem a bit biased as I am a Mommy myself, but I can’t think of a position in this life that is more sacrificial than that of a mother.

It begins with nearly a year of serving as a walking incubator.  Belly’s expand.  Swelling sets in causing a lack of separation of legs & feet resulting in what’s affectionately known as “cankles.”  You endure agony so intense that it doesn’t register on the “rank your pain” smiley face chart.  We’re not even going to talk about the changes to the once svelte body that now looks more like…well…like I said, we’re not going to talk about those unpleasantries.

Then there are the early years, when Mom barely has time to eat much less sleep, bathe or be bothered to groom herself.  Every moment is devoted to this tiny human that God has blessed her with.  She feeds, changes, swaddles, rocks, coos and kisses at all hours of the day.  Sleep deprivation makes her a bit loopy.  You haven’t lived until you’ve poured coffee “into”an upside down mug or put milk away in the cabinet.  She can no longer carry on an intelligent conversation.  Talks now revolve around breastfeeding woes, whose kid has the worst “blow-outs” and when will my body return to normal.

Toddler days, my personal favorite.  Little Johnny has suddenly became mobile.  That moment that you longed to see come has arrived and you find yourself questioning why you were in such a hurry?!  They climb counter tops, yank table clothes, ride the dog & follow you EVERYWHERE you go.  The bathroom is no longer your safe zone.  Now you throw away your favorite momentos destroyed by tiny hands, wipe grape jelly from the walls and vow to not harm this tiny terror who used to be so angelic.

Moving on to school years, finally a reprieve.  You daydream of all the things you will accomplish while your mini-mes are off to get their learn on.  But wait, now your phone rings off the hook!  “Can you bake this?  Can you volunteer here?  Can you sew?  Can you supervise?  Can you lead?  Can you reconstruct the Statue of Liberty while reciting the Declaration of Independence backwards?”  (Ok, so the last one is a slight exaggeration.)  And you do it all, not because you feel obligated but because you have been privileged enough to stay home full time so that you can be available for your kids at all times.  Roman noodles, PB & J’s and fried bologna have made this possible, so I would be remiss if I didn’t give them a shout out.

Then we enter a Hell known as “living with teenagers.”  This is a stage that I am new to so I don’t have much insight.  What I do know is that we deserve some sort of medal for not backhanding those left in our charge when they roll their eyes, shake their heads, huff with exasperation and slam doors as if they are the ones who have the right to be irritated!  We rush from cross country meets, to football games, to choir practice and dance class.  We rattle off stats and plays and brag about how much awesomeness is pouring out of our kids.  All the while, putting our own dreams on hold, not begrudgingly, but with excitement for what the future holds for these spectacular, complex, sometimes hateful, now taller than you, people.

Adulthood is when some might assume that mothering slows down.  Based on my relationship with my own momma, I can vouch for how wrong that assumption is.  My poor mother has counseled me, nurtured me & comforted me in all types of crisis, even more so now than she did as a child.  She’s helped to mend my broken heart.  She’s brought clarity to my muddled mind when I’ve been overwhelmed.  Probably the most meaningful are the times she’s let me sob over the mistakes I’ve made, only to reassure me that I am more than my failures.

I am forever grateful for the momma that I was given.  I am equally thankful for the 5 that call me mommy.  I can’t imagine what the world be like if God hadn’t blessed us with the gift of mothers.  In spite of all the ups and downs, the times were I’ve questioned my sanity and the moments of complete exhaustion, I wouldn’t trade this job for all the riches of the world.  Don’t forget to celebrate your mom this Sunday…and every single day that you are here on this earth.  She deserves your praise.  mother

“She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.  Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:  “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her life with praises!” (Proverbs 31-Message)


~Laugh it Up~ April 5, 2013

mother-and-childrenWell, I survived the week, but the last few days have been doozys in this house!  For starters, my youngest who is not quite 2 has perfected the art of escaping her crib.  Nap time is usually “me-time” for mommy but the other day it was spent running up and down the stairs with my cutie-pie in tow, attempting to make her stay put.  Who needs a tread-climber & a trainer when you have 12 steps and a disagreeable toddler?!  Naturally, my 5 year old followed suit and found great pleasure in watching me grow more and more aggravated.  After two grueling hours of this song and dance, I gave in.

For those of you whose children are perfect nappers or are just as pleasant without one, do not talk to me.  My girls are like something from a horror film when they don’t get their mid-day siesta.  I spent the rest of my day listening to constant bickering, whining and fit-throwing.  I had two very disgruntled shadows on my heels as I tried to prepare dinner, tidy the house and finish the laundry that was starting to resemble Mount Everest.

Finally dinner was served.  By the time I finished fixing the last kid plate, the oldest were licking their bowls right about the moment my butt hit the seat.  My daughter started out towards the kitchen with my favorite hand-painted bowl in her hand.  In slow motion fashion, my beautiful bowl went flying out of her hands and shattered against the hardwood floors sending shards of glass from one end of the room to the other.  My boy’s heads snapped in my direction.  I could read their eyes, they were thinking, “Momma is going to kill her!”  I just stared blankly at my girl who resembled a deer caught in the headlights.  No one uttered a word.  As I deliberately slowed my breathing, two phrases played on repeat inside my head, “It was an accident.  Don’t yell at her.  It was an accident. DON’T YELL AT HER!”  This momma needed a word:

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”

(Proverbs 29:11 NLT)

Very calmly, I pushed aside my plate and sent all the kids away.  Then I could clean up the mess in private so they wouldn’t see the steam spraying from my ears.  Crisis avoided.  Later that night we joked that from this point forward, Autumn would only be allowed to use plastic.

Fast forward to the following morning, as if a part of some deep conspiracy, all five of my children were in a mood…or maybe it was just me, who knows.  Isabella woke up with a list of demands, screaming at the fridge, “I want apple juice!”  Too bad kiddo, I already poured milk.

We went tearing out the front door, late of course.  I managed to get the older 3 to school without too much drama.  I was unbuckling my girls and my bonus baby, (I babysit), when Isabella’s face started to scrunch up.  “Bella, you ok?”  Too late.  Like a seen from The Exorcist, she threw-up her entire cup of milk.  On me, all over her and across the entire back section of my Suburban.  Nice.  I could almost hear her saying, “I told you so” as thoughts of her request for juice instead of milk ran through my head.

Straight to the tub, clothes and all, while I call a friend in for back-up to run big sister to preschool.  Nearly two hours later, we’re both fresh & clean, the car is airing out, the washing machine is working in overdrive.  All is right with the world once more.

The moral of this story, ain’t no use crying over broken china, spilt milk or in my case…spewed milk.  Shooting off into orbit when life’s MANY annoyances come your way will only make this journey more painful for you and everyone around you.  Try to stay focused on the positive and when that doesn’t work, I have found that a nice long scream into the nearest pillow works wonders.