Are you Mom to a teenage daughter?
Are you looking for connection, encouragement, and tips on how to navigate these crazy teen girl years?
Then grab your camera and your coffee, and join us!
The other day, as I was walking out of my teenage son’s room, I noticed some index cards taped to the back of his bedroom door. A closer look revealed that he had set athletic goals for his entire high school career (which does not begin for another 5 months). There were also college goals. And beyond. I laughed to myself and realized (yet again) that the apple had not fallen far from the tree.
Our house is a house of goal setters. My husband has been setting and tracking running goals for the entire 20 years I have known him. Ask him what workout he did on September 15, 2007 and he can go back and find it. The same goes for me. Well, maybe not to that obsessive extent, but my office walls are covered with goal cards for work, for health and fitness, for life.
But what about mothering?
After leaving my son’s room and considering the insane amount of goal setting this family does, the thought struck me. Why don’t I set goals on mothering? Isn’t it just as important- if not more- as my work, or my health and fitness? Isn’t mothering the part of my life where I really need to be intentional? How have I not set Mom goals?
I mulled these questions over for about 30 seconds, and decided to set some Mom goals. Then I decided to bring you along for the ride. So let’s do this together.
Let’s set some Mom goals.
We shouldn’t just go setting goals for the sake of setting goals. We need to slow down and consider our why. Remember in my last blog post, I shared my WHY with you, and the process that I used to break down my WHYs into several layers.
I want you to do this with your Mom goals. What’s the reason behind your wanting to do this? Are you wanting to connect more with your daughter? Do you want to create a safe place for her to share her thoughts and fears? Do you want to instill a sense of self worth in her? Are you worried about her interactions with mean girls? Whatever the reasons, think about them. You should be sure of your WHY before anything else.
Grab yourself a pen and paper, or go to your computer, and start writing. Remember that process from my last post. Write down your why. (For example, “I want my daughter to feel that she can always come and talk to me about anything.”) Then take it a step further and answer it again. Why? (Why do I want my daughter to feel she can come and talk to me about anything? I may write, “I want her to know she can come to me, because I know that she is about to start high school and she is going to encounter a lot of hard stuff.”) Go another layer deeper. Why do you believe she’s going to encounter this? Why? Why? Keep going until you’ve exhausted your WHYs. Then print that paper out, or take that handwritten sheet, and put it up somewhere where you’ll see it often. Be reminded of your WHYs.
Now you’re ready to write down some goals. You know the WHY behind your goals, so you know what you’re striving for. You want to instill in your daughter that she can always come and talk to you. So your goal might be to open up lines of communication. Well, that’s a great idea, but we have to make this a goal, rather than just a nice idea. So we need to make it SMART.
Specific- You’ve got to get specific with your goal. Beyond just opening up lines of communication, perhaps your goal could be to initiate conversation with her once every day. Now that’s specific.
Measurable- You’ve got to set a goal that you can measure. Opening lines of communication- how do we measure that? Initiating conversation once a day. That once a day piece we can measure.
Achievable- You’ve got to consider steps that you know are achievable in reaching your goal. Do you drive her to school each morning? Perhaps you can make that the time you chat. Take time to consider the steps you can take to achieve your goal.
Realistic- Your goal is probably going to be challenging, and that’s great. (Initiating conversation with my daughter every single day sounds challenging to me. Will she want to talk to me? What would I say that could get her attention and get her talking? Should I keep it light?) A challenge is good, but we need to stay realistic. Perhaps in our example, we realistically say that any conversation works, not just deep conversation. (Could you imagine trying to have deep conversations with ANYONE everyday? Exhausting!)
Timely- Finally we have to make these goals timely. Do you need a month of daily initiation to achieve this goal? Longer? Put your goal to the test. Set a deadline to measure your progress.
One “must” to point out. When writing out your goals, don’t write them out as wishes, but as definitive statements. Don’t say, “I want to initiate conversation with my daughter”. Say “I will initiate conversation with my daughter at least once a day, for the next 30 days.” This way you’ve already put in your mind that this WILL happen. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
Just like writing out your WHYs and placing them where you’ll see them, a visual reminder of your goals, perhaps listed simply as statements on an index card, can help you stay on track each day. Or maybe you are an alarm setter. I’ve become one since I started setting my Mom goals. For example, one of my goals is to take more photos at least one photo of my daughter every single day (see how I got more specific there?), so I now have a daily alarm on my phone. Every day at 4pm (after she’s come home from school), my phone goes off, playing one of her favorite songs, displaying the simple reminder, “Brady Pics”. I’m still struggling with every day, but without that reminder, I’d have given up on that goal long ago.
This is a MUST, but it’s also a bit tricky. Do you want your daughter to know you have these Mom goals? Will it unnerve her to know that you’re setting out to talk to her everyday? (Did you see those eyes just roll? Mmm hmm!) If you want to keep your goals private, that makes sense, but you still need to keep them somewhere where you’ll see them everyday. Perhaps that means tucking your index card into your pants pocket each morning. This way, every time your hand goes into that pocket, you’ll feel the card and be reminded. Perhaps your phone reminder is in “mom code”. Consider whether you’d prefer your daughter not to know and not to see your goals. On the other hand, consider what it might mean to her that you make her such a priority.
A wonderful way to make your goals more visually inspiring is to attach them TO THE ACTUAL INSPIRATION! Why not superimpose your goals right onto an image of your daughter? This way you’ve got both your goals AND your WHY in one beautiful place.
Now you can’t just superimpose these goals onto any old picture of your daughter. For this, you’ll need something special, a portrait. And I can give you the guide to create that portrait.
Are you ready to set some Mom goals with me? Let’s do this together. I’m sharing my Mom goals here with you, superimposed on one of my favorite portraits of my girl. Hold me accountable, friends! Make sure I’m working toward my goals.
And let me do the same for you. In the comment section below, share with me ONE Mom goal that you have. We can encourage each other, and hold each other accountable.
We can do this! Our girls are so worth it!
This Instagram Giveaway is for ALL TEENS! Not just seniors, and not just the ladies. All are welcome to enter!
I will be giving away ONE JLP BESTIES MINI SESSION. That means 30 minutes of fun with up to 3 besties, along with 20 digital files! All FREE!
But you have to enter on Instagram, so find me there!
The contest will be so fun, but it will be fast too. Just 3 days, starting today, so don't wait! Grab your besties, and come find me on Instagram!
As ladies, we've all heard it. For some of us it might conjur up images of turtlenecks and long skirts, or of bonnets and long braids. It might create a picture of frumpiness, or of lonely Friday nights, friendless, boyfriend-less, joyless.
Modesty. It has become almost as harsh as a four letter word in our culture.
But wait! Before we toss it aside, let's take a step back and consider it for a moment. What is modesty? The Bible tells us that as women, we should "dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning [ourselves] not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes." (1 Timothy 2:9) I know, I know. How could the Bible possibly be relevant to our culture today, at least with respect to what we wear or don't wear. Times have changed so much!
But hear me out. As women who follow the Lord, we hold the promises of God to be true for eternity, right? We believe He loves us, that He has fearfully and wonderfully made us (Psalm 139:14). We believe that He has plans for us and that they are good (Jeremiah 29:11). We believe He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). And we believe He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and loves us with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17).
So if we believe all these things about God, why then can't we trust Him when He tells us how to live, or how to dress? He is not "out to get us", not set on making our lives miserable. In fact, the opposite. What we see as imprisoning God knows is freeing. What we think is trendy and stunning, God knows is going to hurt us. We are His precious daughters. He wants the very best for us. Better than we can ever ever imagine. So He calls us to protect ourselves from the eyes of the world, to keep that which is so precious protected for those who can hurt us, from that which can lure us away from His perfect love.
It isn't easy to live modestly today. The world tells us that we need to reveal to be beautiful. Popular clothing stores sell us on shorter skirts and tighter tops. The more skin, the more stunning. And yes, the more skin we see around us, the more stunned we are. But take a moment and consider that. Do you want to stun people that way? Are we really revealing our beauty when we reveal our skin?
I'm not inviting you to dorn a full-length, high-necked gown and high boots. I'm simply encouraging us all, no matter what the age, to celebrate the gorgeous beauty that God made in us, in a way that will bring Him tremendous joy. You don't need to be frumpy to be modest. Just take a moment each morning and consider the "stunning effect" you want to make to your world. Do you want to stun those around you with your smile, or with your passion for others, with your gift for music or algebra, for your ability to hurdle like a champion- or do you want to stun the world with your skin and the amount you show?
You are absolutely beautiful! Show the world that you are stunning for a whole different reason. Then when they ask what it is that makes you so beautifully stunning, share your Beauty Maker with them.
What is your greatest struggle with living a modest life? Is it finding clothes? Having a modest mindset? Standing out in a sea of immodesty? How do you live modestly in today's culture? Share your tips with us!
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Oh how I have always loved this verse. The thought of God giving me the deep desires of my heart- well, it's enough to get your imagination flowing. An amazing husband? Check! The perfect children? Check check check! A beautiful house with a white picket fence and the greenest lawn on the block? Sure! Oh and don't forget the tiny waist and flawless skin and hair. SWEET!
But it's funny how as the skin began to wrinkle and the hair began to gray, the wisdom behind this verse started to sink it and I began to see it for what it really meant. And then I truly fell in love with the words. Because, you see, I sort of skipped over that beginning part of the verse. Delight yourself in the Lord.
What does that even mean? As I began to see those words and meditate on them, and as I began to ask God to open my eyes to what they really meant, I was enlightened. What is life like when we delight ourselves in the Lord? To me, it's beginning every day alone with my Jesus. It's taking a walk with my dog, or my kids, or alone, and praying and thinking about my wonderful Savior. It's praying over His word and asking Him to help me understand it (because sometimes it's hard!) and seeing His words in a whole new way (like this verse).
Then I delight in Him. And then the desires of my heart change.
I no longer desire the amazing husband. I now desire to be a better wife. I no longer desire the perfect children (REALITY CHECK!). I desire to be the best mother I can be, to lead these broken and oh so human children to the God who loves them with a perfect love. I no longer desire the gorgeous home, I desire the day I'll walk into my heavenly mansion and maybe sip a cold drink on the porch with my dear dear sister friends, or walk the streets of gold with my mom, or with my daughter, or all together. To hear Jesus call me by my name. Jennifer. Daughter. My child. I desire this so much.
I desire less of me. More of Him. And He gives me the desires of my heart.
So I'll take the gray hairs and wrinkles. Ugh, I'll even take the growing waistline. Because as I delight myself more in Him, He gives me so so much. Every desire of my heart. And that is priceless.
What does "delighting yourself in the Lord" look like to you? What "delights" you? How has God given you the desires of your heart?
Share your story here with us! Let's encourage each other today to DELIGHT DELIGHT DELIGHT in the Lord!