Viewing entries in
Faith

Halloween

Comment

Halloween

Can a Christian family celebrate a national holiday centered around candy, dressing up, and community? Yeah! Oh wait, no… because it’s called Halloween!

The Guess Tribe celebrates happiness, togetherness, community, imagination, and joy on October 31. With Mr. Guess being a visionary, and our kids having individual big ideas for celebrations, our family has blended; paved our own way with family and neighbors alongside.

Halloween was the first holiday after my first husband passed away. Oh, how I needed a time to celebrate! That fuzzy, young half smiling Danielle was barely six weeks removed from tragedy, but clinging close to the one constant I cared for, my boy the Train Conductor.


Growing up, I don’t really remember having a store bought or custom made costume. I remember pointing out a Pocahontas dress once, utterly amazed that my mom bought it, then taking it home to paint on “tribal patterns’. (Cultural appropriation slayed with puff paint.) My trick or treating days ended in eighth grade when Mrs. Meanie exclaimed “You kids are too big to get candy! Go somewhere else!” We were even dressed up- Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop- quite the icons!


As Mom of the Guess Tribe, I still say ‘Nope!’ while Mr. Guess says “Yep!'“ to a few Halloween things. The boys visited a haunted house this past weekend. I would rather sit in a movie theater alone without any popcorn (SCARY!) Even scarier, the kids eat some food dye laden candies. My kids on sugar looks like that scene from Scream where the insides spill out from heightened blood sugar. That’s the plot line, right?

It’s been in the past three years, we (me) have enjoyed the start of a season of thanks much more freely. As you can see by the next few pictures! Is that a witch….??? According to Mr. Guess, no. It’s KiKi from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. I think he’s easing me into things. You’ll see my Dallas missing from a lot of these dress-up pics. He’s been off and on with the costumes, but his year he’s bringing it back as an Old Man!


TONIGHT the kids reminded me of the “Candy Witch”. An idea I had back in the day when Dallas was severely sensitive to food dyes. He left his candy out, the Candy Witch switched it for a toy! PS: Parents, you get the candy! #WINNING!

Back to Jesus, I really can’t say it better than Jami Nato, “I am so happy to be willing to change and grow, it has served me and my kids and the community around us. So when you see our jac-o-lanterns and wonder if I’m worshiping satan , the Answer is no. I’m enjoying the things that are right in front of me and I’m enjoying a national holiday celebrating neighborness and community and generosity and keeping dentists in business. It’s ok to change. I just can’t see Jesus turning off the lights.”

xoxo
Danielle

Comment

Influence Your Kids

Comment

Influence Your Kids

We have to earn our kid’s trust. This comes in listening to the small things and instilling values they can SEE with how you live your own life. Like the above scripture says “as beloved children”- here demonstrating how kiddos are natural imitators!

So in the same token, they are imitating what they see at school.

Comment

A Mom’s Mental Load: Self-Inflicted or Necessary?

1 Comment

A Mom’s Mental Load: Self-Inflicted or Necessary?

In 5th grade, I learned the difference between a fact and opinion piece of writing. Opinion was my favorite. Go figure! What I’m about to reflect on is my own personal opinion within the walls of my home. 

Having a primary parent does not work for our family. Having two parents that show up for their kids does work really well. 


SEASONS

By now you know I’ve been a teen mom, single mom, widowed mom, and now a married mom to three. In each season, I’ve realized the phrase “tough as a Mother” is an honor, not a pain point. I’ve prayed for deep discernment on my kid’s unknown actions and also deflected some tough parenting issues to someone else. Giving up these imaginary titles I place on myself leaves space for my kids to learn and grow with another adult. Usually their dad.


I recently read another opinion article about how mothers carry this mental load of care for their family. It’s true. Yet, no one asks us to. Is it innate? Is there an expectation there? What if we just... quit? Are we as women truly made to be nurturers and emotional supporters? All I know is, I carry weight that my husband doesn’t. “Will the teacher notice I didn’t fix hair this morning? I literally cannot even imagine signing the kids up for one more activity to chauffeur around to. What kind of future emotional impact will there be with us having the same six meals on repeat? Shoot, I forgot to flip the laundry!”


CONTROL

You know who else can yield a brush, drive a car, cook a meal, and re-wash a load of soured clothes? 

Mr. Guess. 

You know how Mr. Guess knows those things should even be worried about? By me telling him. The response is usually, “those things don’t really matter. It will all work out.” Ohhhhh is it that easy, sir? Yes, yes it is.


SPOILER ALERT: it’s self-inflicted

Bottom line, I had to quit listing out subtitles to motherhood (chauffeur, cook, teacher, principal, counselor, doctor, maid, laundromat, nanny). I’m just a M O M and these kids and husband, I can choose to gladly serve or be bitter about it. 


Would it be nice if motherhood was a paying gig? Sure! Who doesn’t like some extra cash. But the pay truly, hear me out, is in the giving of yourself in love and receiving back more than you could even imagine. The sacrifice and selflessness are the token that you keep on loading in the slot.

#WORTHIT

I could brush off the give and take we have in our marriage or tell you this- it was hard fought for. From someone who raised one kid on her own, to voluntarily creating more humans with another human... it took some compromise and relinquishing of control. 


“I married you to parent our son,” said as a joke to make a tough parenting conversation with Mr. Guess a little lighter. But it’s so true. I married a man that I prayed specific qualities for- and none of them included “Please, Lord Jesus, let him worry about the little things like dust bunnies and lurking food dyes.” No, I wanted a man that would listen to me and the kids. A man that knew how a boy’s brain ticked and could guide him. Someone who was gentle where I was rough around the edges. The man I needed to pursue my heart was heading fast after God’s heart for his own life. Who we needed was a parent that didn’t pass off but leaned in.  


And he needs that from me too! Our kids deserve it. 

STOP IT

This mental load, don’t fall for it. Fact: it will make you tired. bitter. lonely. fearful. discarded. Focus on serving, loving, giving. Settle into enough, joy, and receiving. Praise the Lord, He’s already made a way for you, Momma! 


There is no season you’re in as a mother where you have the excuse to let the mental load weigh you down. Seek out a friend for help when needed. Renew your thoughts. Don’t have a friend? Be a friend. Let other adults into your kid’s life. Whether divorced or single, there is a way out of the mental load. Put it at the top of your list “give grace and ask for help when needed”.


public.jpeg

I can’t leave you without encouragement from a well that will never run dry on direction. God’s Word is an open book of instruction. Pray over these scriptures. Ask God to show you in what ways can you let go of this mental load and step into a role you’re made for as a Mom. 


ANXIETY: “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:22-24‬ ‭


FEAR “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭


CONTROL “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭


FRIENDSHIP “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭


SERVING “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:46‬ 


JOY “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

1 Comment

Hypocrite or Holy Writ

Comment

Hypocrite or Holy Writ

You can walk into church a hypocrite and super sad and/or wearing a tiara like Mindy


Here’s the thing no one tells you but they’re trying when they sing “Come as you are” and saying “Oh, honey, I know it’s hard right now but the Lord’s house is where you need to be.”

We’re kind if saying it, but watered down a bit. Because what Jesus says is He WANTS your broken and WANTS your presence with Him and WANTS you to quit trying to fake yourself out.

Before church, like 10 minutes countdown to leave, is one of the strongest spiritual battlefields for a Momma sometimes. Not just because the wee one is crying and the husband might be missing (maybe you’re single moming it 🙌🏻#superhero) while you’re fighting the toddler in a tiara to de-accessorize down to just three, please. 

It’s a literal head to head, because the Enemy wants nothing to do with you being joyful in the Lord in a church building with other people shouting “JESUS!”

……….

This evening I was crying so much I couldn’t get the fake-up on which made us late to church. (It happens.) We weren’t able to sit with friends or in the “usual” spot. The man in front of me had cologne that wasn’t my favorite. The lady probably three rows back was interrupting my thoughts with her loud singing. A guy close by looked like a bad ex from the back of his ears down to the shoes he was wearing. 

I was real focused on worship y’all

Directed prayer is something our church does after singing a few songs. It’s a time to reflect, pray together as a congregation for the same thing. I got a little “right with God” about being so self centered and grouchy and really just down on myself for the “little sins” going on in my life unconfessed. But those prayers didn’t go higher than the ceiling as my Mamaw would say. (Kinda forgot p r a y e r is a time for the Lord to search my heart. Not for me to play a quick game of “Sorry!”) 

You know what the worship crew had the audacity to belt out after this prayer time.... 

“Great is thy faithfulness. Thou changest not. Thy compassions they fail not.” 

Nope. Can’t sing that.

“This is your altar...” something the Lord clearly said to me mid worship one of the first times we attended a new church that had no altar. (Like, where do I GO to pray, Lord?). Great is thy faithfulness… not mine, but Yours, Lord

………

“When Jesus comes back, what do I want Him to catch me doing?” was the question the Pastor asked. And there it was... Those tears I cried earlier in the evening were in vain. “I’ve done it ALL RIGHT! I’ve searched my heart and come up empty.” 

And from that cry at my altar of a chair with lights on.... I penned this heart response “You might have confessed and have forgiveness from your past. You might live day to day loving me. But I’m asking for your eyes to be on eternity during your every day. This skips tomorrow and two Wednesday’s from now and Christmas coming into 2020. Eternity is keeping in mind that my return is coming.” 

……….

The world is a lot more hopeful with kingdom eyes looking through a microscope. People dress up and make themselves smell good for things they’re excited to go to. Women make a joyful noise singing because they are happy in Jesus. We can see people that remind us of our past, but being far removed from that, faithfully see God had a plan all along. 

Coming to church in a drought, left filling the river and dry banks with tears during that one last verse the worship leader felt we needed (so thankful for one more verse).

………

So please, go broken. Go fancy. Go fake and prideful. Go worn out and humbled. God wants every piece of you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Comment

Sleep

Comment

Sleep

There’s this theme of “mindfulness” floating around on the internet. All kinds of inspirational quotes follow and how being mindful throughout your day can lead to a focus on what matters. This seems impossible, to stop and think, during a busy day of raising up three kids, running a business, and keeping marriage a priority. Throw in the 100’s of tasks in between those areas, and Whoa!… insert overwhelmed. Defined, mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

How does this play into sleep?

Well, besides the fact that I’ve been up at night not being able to fall asleep due to worry, I wanted to play connect the dots on mindfulness vs busyness.

Is the reason you can’t sleep at night due to a checklist that doesn’t have all the boxes ticked? Or, is it because without being mindful, priorities have gone to the wayside. There are so many things pulling at our attention, literally if you still have toddlers at your toes pulling at your shirt.

Here are some unconventional tips to sleep better at night. Trust me, they work! You won’t find counting sheep on the list!

1. Keep your priorities straight- throughout the day, make a point to check off what matters. I am the queen of ideas. Does your mind ever turn off? I’ve found through chatting with friends, that some people literally have a blank mind sometimes. This blows my mind! It’s always on. This isn’t a good thing as I can get pulled away by the next best thing instead of putting work in on what needs to be done. Checking off what needs to be done at the start of my day leaves less anxious worry throughout the rest of the waking hours.

2. Create a routine- In the morning, it’s my goal to pick up, clean a few things, and get laundry going before the coffee brews. My morning routine sets the pace for the entire household’s day. Even more important is a nightly routine. I’m not sure what works for you, but for me it starts in the bathroom. Take the time to wash your face (oil cleansing is my new favorite method!) and brush my teeth. Start the dishwasher. Crawl into bed and turn on Netflix. I keep lavender essential oil close by to put a drop on my hands and inhale or to put into a diffuser. This is my time to tune out the day, and I can do so peacefully if tip #3 has been the focus.

3. Think on what matters- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whater is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. Do you trust that what God has put into His Word as good practice for mindfulness is still relevant today? I do! Behind every inspirational quote, there is a scripture that has already been written.

My Daddy always said that all of life’s problems could be found in the Word. I tested that one! I urge you to give it a try. Before you do a quick word search for “scripture on fear”, dig into your Bible to find the stories already been written with an ending.

4. Be in consistent conversation with yourself- My Mamaw was always muttering. Talking under her breath was her consistent conversation. Check in with your thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to that tightness in your chest or weightless feeling in your legs. Then provide an antidote!

Prayer is my antidote. Is it that way for you? Taking each moment during the day and being in conversation with the Lord will lead to better insight on your next best step.

5. Clear your mind- I mentioned Netflix, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen advice in any article written for “how to sleep better”. But it works for me! For a mind that’s constantly on, tuning into a fictional character’s life story helps me tune out the clamor of the world. What works for you to clear your mind?

I want to reiterate this thought, Is the reason you’re not sleeping at night due to busyness throughout your day instead of mindful intention?

A couple of extra tips for good night’s sleep: have a routine with your kids; explore aromatherapy for helping to clear and settle the mind; go to sleep at the same time as your spouse; have a lights out time and wake up time that is consistent.


Here are some quick facts about how important sleep is:

• while sleeping, your heart and blood vessels repair
• lack of sleep contributes to obesity, depression, and diabetes among other health issues
• between the hours of 1:00-3:00 am, your liver detoxes. If you’re not asleep by this time, expect to be kept up with restless legs, possible itchiness if you suffer from eczema, or just overall restlessness
• you need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
• good sleep can maximize brain function and athletic ability!

What fact most resonates with you? Moms with brain fog, turn off the lights sooner. Restless legs, create a routine and be consistent.


Here’s a sleep tracker for you! Fill it out and see how sleeping consistently makes you feel during the day.

Comment