30 Day Skirt Challenge

by frazzledmama on July 18, 2014

About a year ago, Sugar Belle got on a skirt wearing kick.  I’m pretty sure that it had something to do with watching the Duggars every chance she got.  Not a bad a thing, since she was being very careful to choose modest skirts.  She is now pretty much exclusively wearing skirts, and often encourages me to do the same.  Bless her heart, I really should try to wear them more often. I have quite a few, and Mr. OverKill really likes it when I do…but y’all I really just love my shorts and jeans!

We were chatting the other day about her skirts and I asked her why she liked wearing them so much.  Her answer was quite profound yet simple.  She said, “I like to wear skirts because they are comfortable, and as long as they are long enough they are modest.  It isn’t like wearing shorts or jeans where I have to be concerned that they are too short, or too tight.  I just makes being modest easier for me.”

Wow.

I think most of you know that we are not a strict “skirts only” household, but we do try to maintain a high standard of modesty in our dress.  No skinny jeans, or short shorts, no 2 piece swim suits, etc.  So, it kind of surprised me that she felt that way about skirts.

As we were talking more we cooked up a plan, the 30 Day Skirt Challenge.  So our challenge to you is to wear  modest length dresses or skirts for 30 days and then see where you are at. Did you hate every minute of it?  Did you find it more comfortable, cooler, easier???

Our challenge will begin August 1st.  Each day we want to see your outfits, and we will be sharing ours on our Instagram and Facebook page.  We are going to use the hashtag #tfmskirts.

And like any good challenge, there will be prizes!!!  Details on the prizes are still in the works, but the plan is that each day you post your “skirted” outfit using the hashtag #tfmskirts on InstaGram or Facebook you will be entered to win one of our prizes at the end of the month.  So the more days you post pics, the more entrees you will earn.

We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below to let us know that you are up for the challenge.

Over the next couple weeks leading up to the challenge, we will be posting ideas for skirt fashion, patterns, and good deals on skirts.  Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, we have a board set up just for the 30 Day Skirt Challenge!

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The Truth About Panic Attacks – Part One

by frazzledmama on July 14, 2014

Panic

I have long had this post in my head, but have shied away from writing it, quite frankly because I’m not a medical professional.  What I am sharing here today is just my personal experience.  My hope is that I can help others who may be struggling with panic attacks.

If you want to read my post with all the details of my physical symptoms, you can find it here. Continue reading for the cliff notes version. :)

The bottom line was that I was having a multitude of symptoms that were stemming from a liver worn down from years of prescription drug use (which I am reliant on due to having my thyroid removed at age 10) and the over-use,on doctor’s orders, of ibuprofen to simply function for years until I finally got my celiac disease diagnosis.  One of the symptoms that I have continued to battle is panic attacks. At this point,I have been having panic attacks for 6 years. Oh. My……that is the first time I’ve actually thought to calculate that. 

Anyways, having dealt with these nasty little things for 6 years, I  have learned some tips and tricks on dealing with them. Lately,  I’ve been sharing my experiences with so many people and listening to them share about their symptoms. I am amazed at how many people are struggling with these things!   It seems, ladies, that we tend to suck it up and not seek support, encouragement, and help in these areas.  Why? Because we are still laboring under the delusion that we need to do it all and keep it all together, and having panic attacks or extreme stress is not part of that perfect picture.  And, if you are anything like me, you might not be able to face the fact that you are stressed out and having something called a “panic attack” because that could be a reflection on your faith

That is what I want to focus on today. 

When I finally received a diagnosis from the ER that the elephant sitting on my chest was a panic attack, I was relieved.  How could I not be??? Those meds they gave me took away every care I had in the world.  And it was an awesome feeling!  I never took those again. But once I came out of La La Land, I was crushed.  How could I be having panic attacks?  I was a Christian after all!  I trusted in the Lord, the Lord was my strength, He was in control, and I was…I was…not truly trusting Him?  If I was, I wouldn’t be having these stupid things, right?!?!  I could only think of talking this through with a trusted mentor at church.  The Lord put her on my heart, and I made a bee line for her the following Sunday.  As I poured out my heart to her, the tears started flowing.  Friends walked by and cast concerned glances my way.  The Frazzled Mama does not cry. Especially not in public.  What the heck was going on????  She gave me the best advice ever, and I want to pass it on to you mingled with my own thoughts now 6 years into this journey.

First, your body is physical, and will wear out under pressure.  Outside of the Lord working a miracle, your body has parameters in which it can function.  Don’t eat enough, you have a problem. Don’t rest/sleep enough, you have a problem. Don’t get hydrating fluids, you have a problem.  Too much stress in your life, you  have  problem.  Panic attacks, I have learned, can be caused from many different sources!  In my instance, it was poor liver function, resulting in adrenal fatigue.  It can be many other things as well, such as chemical imbalance, stress/lifestyle, hormonal changes, thyroid issues…the list goes on and on.  The bottom line that I hope you can grasp, dear one, is that we are spiritual beings attached to a physical body.  The physical wears out, and doesn’t necessarily give an accurate reflection of our faith! That said, we must care for that physical body in order to do the work the Lord has set before us.  If that means sleeping in, great!  If it means taking some herbal supplements, fine!  If you need a prescription, go for it!  Don’t be ashamed to care for the physical body God gave you.  It is His temple, do what needs to be done to care for it, and choose to reject the stigma that you are somehow less of a person if you need supplemental or prescription help to balance out your body.  One of the best things ever said to me during the first year of having panic attacks was this, “The Lord is growing you spiritually, and your body is having a hard time keeping up.”  Wow!  That was so profound and healing to me, as I had immediately jumped to the conclusion that my faith wasn’t very deep if I was having panic attacks.   Growing spiritually is often stressful.  I can’t tell you how much my spiritual life deepened while dealing with Sugar Belle’s accident, but talk about stress!!!  Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about that time in my life, but I have a feeling my body would :) Remember you are a spirit, you have a body.

Which leads me to my next point, having panic attacks does not necessarily mean your faith is waning or lacking.  During times of stress and anxiety I think it’s a good idea to evaluate whether or not you are not fully surrendering a situation to God.  You may find that, at times, that is exactly the cause of your anxiety.   There was a particular situation going on shortly after the onset of my panic attacks that I would give to the Lord, and then take it back.  “Okay Lord I am trusting in you to resolve this situation.”  Five minutes later, my mind is obsessing on fixing the situation….Yeah.   I think that panic attacks are a great reminder that we need to cast our cares upon the Lord.   Having said that, could it be that we tend to think that if we just had more faith panic attacks would not be an issue in our lives?  I know I’ve struggled with these thoughts.  They went something like, “If I truly trusted God, there wouldn’t be a knot in my stomach, an elephant on my chest, and a dizzy feeling in my head.”  I’d like to suggest, that if you have searched your heart and find you are still devoted to the Lord, and you are making every effort to trust Him, that perhaps that is the enemy attempting to trip you up, the enemy outside, or within…our flesh. Please, dear one, don’t use a panic attack as a barometer of your faith.

Did you know there is such a thing as “good stress?”  There truly is, and that is a fact I had not embraced until very recently.  The problem is, our bodies cannot discern the  difference between good stress and bad stress.  Our bodies are wonderful intricate things, but they function in black and white terms. Stress is stress.  I can vividly remember walking through the exhibit hall at our state’s homeschool convention and having a panic attack.  Really?!?! That place is a homeschool mom’s dream!  I came to the conclusion that the overload of stimulus, and the excitement of it all threw my body into a panic attack.  I seriously looked at Mr. OverKill and said, “I want to go home.”   My point is this, my body can’t differentiate between good stress and bad stress.  Example, good stress = raising 4 super active kiddos, bad stress = not having enough money to pay bills.  Get my point?  Raising kiddos is stressful, but it’s good. It’s busy, it can be intense, but it’s good.  Not having money to pay my bills, that’s bad stress.  No two ways about it.  Our bodies don’t differentiate between good or bad stress, even if out minds do. 

Finally, we need to accept that raising kids is stressful.  It is not always a fun walk in the park.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten it into our heads that if we call motherhood stressful we have failed somehow, or we aren’t enough, or….fill in the blank with your own brand of demon.  But guess what?  It is stressful. It is hard. It is dirty. It can be painful. But it’s good too :)  You heard it here first, motherhood is stressful and it’s okay to say so!

Now, what can you do about it?

1. Meditate on God’s Word.  That is why I make so many Bible verse cards.  I hang them around my house to remind me of Whose I am, what my purpose is, and how He will help me accomplish it.

2. Take time to pray.  During the time when I was having intense panic attacks (I’m talking 8 or more a day) each evening, no matter what time it was when I finally got to it,  I took a nice soothing hot shower, and I prayed.  I also took time to be still before the Lord and remind myself of Who He is.  I truly don’t think I could have made it through without these times.  He would often bring scripture to my mind during these times which gave comfort or answers to things I had prayed about. One of my favorite scriptures to pray is Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

3. Cut yourself some slack!  Why, oh why fellow Mamas, is it so hard for us to say “No!”?  It rolls easily enough off the tongue when our children are involved.  But let someone from the children’s ministry at church ask something of us, and it seems that word is suddenly erased from our vocabulary.   Use it Moms!  If you are struggling with health issues, stress/panic attack related or not, you’ve got to cut back on your commitments.  You need to let your body heal, and it isn’t going to do a great job of that if you don’t find some down time for yourself.  You’ve also got to cut yourself some slack when it comes to the thoughts in your mind.  You are not a failure because you need to take a nap in the afternoon.  You are not lazy if you choose to sleep in because you were up with your heart racing all night.  Speak truth to yourself!

4. Come back and read my next installment where I share what supplements, exercises, and lifestyle changes helped me. :)

I dearly love each of my readers and I pray that this post has helped some of you feel that you are not alone.  For whatever reason, panic attacks have been a taboo topic, and stress given the brush off as the cause of many physical ailments.  Mamas, let’s love one another, meet each other where we are, and encourage each other, even if it is uncomfortable at first.  If you have been struggling with panic attacks, don’t walk that path alone, confide in someone you trust.  You may just find you are not the only person in this particular boat.  Or contact me, leave a comment and I’d be happy to correspond with you.

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The Speech of Motherhood

by frazzledmama on June 25, 2014

james-button

 

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

                                                                                                                                    James 3:1-12

I really find this passage in James intriguing.  Maybe it’s just me…but I think it’s interesting that James starts off this passage by talking about the huge responsibility that teachers carry.  Verse one is specifically talking to pastors, or teachers in an official teaching capacity.   If you are a teacher of God’s word, James 3:1 says that you can expect to be held to a higher standard by the Lord.  Really though, that higher standard is also expected of you by your fellow brother’s and sister’s in Christ, isn’t it?  You’ve done it, haven’t you?  Or is it just me….We expect our spiritual leaders to be a little bit “better” than we are, a little more holy. We expect them to hold a higher standard than the “average” Christian.  James goes on to encourage us to look inward before we cast judgment on our Spiritual Leaders. He says, “We all stumble in many things…” and then proceeds to use the tongue as an example.  I find his approach interesting because it’s like he gives this single admonition to teachers, and then launches into 11 verses, which when boiled down to its simplest terms becomes, “Don’t be so judgy and watch your mouth!”

My mind races in so many directions on this passage, but as most of my reading audience is moms, I want to share my thoughts on what I am calling, “TheSpeech of Motherhood.”

I don’t think I have to tell you what words can do to a person.  Especially the littlest people in our lives.  How easily little words and phrases can me misconstrued and crush those fragile blooming hearts and cloud the minds that are forming thoughts and opinions of oneself.  Dear Mommas, it is so vitally important to bridle your tongue when you are speaking to your precious children!  They internalize so much of what we say to them.  Now, I am not the kind of Momma who never expresses displeasure to my children, nor do I keep a sing-songy voice all day long.  I don’t believe that is doing my child any favors either.  They must learn to deal with the emotions of others when they have disobeyed or not followed directions.  However, the choice of words and the severity with which they exit our mouths should be filtered through loving kindness towards our children.  I have purposed, as did my parents, to never call my children names, or assign unfavorable attributes to them as an individual.  If they are being lazy, I tell them they are being lazy, I will not say that they are lazy.

Have you ever noticed that when a mom is speaking to her children, her tone of voice, even her demeanor are generally different than when she is speaking to anyone else?  This can be a good thing, or a bad thing.  I believe that the Duggars do a great job sharing this concept of bridling the tongue with the world.  But even before the immensely popular Duggars came on the scene, I had a great example of using my tongue to build up my children in Mr. OverKill’s aunt.  I’m going to call her Auntie Regal Serenity.  I choose that title because it suits her to a T.  She has been mothering children for well over 30 years now. You might expect to see a beaten down, frazzled, dejected person after all those years of pouring out her life for her children.  But no!  Everything about her, even the way she walks displays an air of grace and dignity befitting a queen.  When I was expecting Bubba, she was expecting baby #8.  It was so much fun to experience my first pregnancy with her.  I was always impressed at how she never yelled at her kids.  I thought she must have the patience of Job.  She shared with me that she did not, but the Lord had taught her to guard her children’s hearts, by guarding her own mouth.  The Lord was so kind and gracious to give me an example of what “bridling the tongue during motherhood” looked like.  I promise you, I know that it is not easy!  I also know that you are going to fail.  James tells us that plainly in verse 2. But, day by day if you purpose to bridle your tongue you will find that soon, it will become second nature to speak words of kindness and love, even if they are also words of discipline and correction.

Be honest with yourself. How bridled is your tongue?  What would your husband say, or your children?  What type of lasting impression do you want to leave on their souls?  What example are your giving them for how to speak to others, and one day your grandchildren?  I know it is hard, I promise.  I am not perfect, ask my kids. But don’t allow that imperfection in you stop you from trying.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, to convict you, and to help you improve your “Speech of Motherhood” and as James tells us, He will!

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