I AM BRAVE AND BEAUTIFUL

I am Brave and Beautiful – a beauty movement that is sweeping the globe. Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song and video called TRY. Our blogging friend Megan of Brassy Apple wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to share what they looked like without make up and we joined in!! Colbie’s song says, “Take your make up off. Let your hair down… Look into the mirror at yourself, Do you like you? Cause I like you… “

Megan and her friend Cobi of Peacefrom6pieces have been the team behind this whole project. Their worldwide vision included creating their own video inspired by the song TRY. The talent of Robbins Creative made it possible for them to pull it off. You have to click play and see the beauty and bravery displayed and you might even recognize a few faces in there.

Us, along with 101+ other blogging women from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes have decided to be Brave and Beautiful! You can join in this movement too by sharing what you look like without makeup on. You don’t need a blog either! Just tag your photo with #IamBraveAndBeautiful on Instgram and search the hashtag to see who else has joined in. ALSO, if you tag it with a second hashtag – #ColbieTRY we just might be able to get Colbie Caillat’s attention since she was the inspiration behind it all!

Are you brave and beautiful? Here we go!

We wanted to take part.

Because we believe in this message so passionately.

You see, our oldest daughters are 14.  And that’s an interesting age, isn’t it?  Stuck in the middle of childhood and womanhood, sandwiched between extrinsic expectations and what really counts.

And it just wasn’t so long ago that we felt the same way.

And sometimes still feel the same way from time to time.  There are some things we never outgrow.  Those feelings of being insecure, or not enough.

 We’re doing it for our daughters.  Because we want more than anything to know they are beautiful without all the fuss.

We’re doing it for others.  Because we believe their is strength in numbers.  That women need women.

And we’re doing it for us.  Because sometimes we grow the most when we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations.  And because, despite our vulnerability, God has a purpose with this message and we’re pretty passionate that it gets out there.

This is us.  GINNY & KATIE. With Makeup.  All dolled up.

Katie and Ginny | The Vintage Mother

And this is us.  Naked (without makeup), vulnerable, and happy.  Because #iambraveandbeautiful.  #WEarebraveandbeautiful  and we believe in this message.

#iambraveandbeautiful | The Vintage Mother

Please join with us and a hundred+ others in celebrating TRUE BEAUTY.

share your natrual beauty - brassyapple.com

Don’t stop here. Get clicking around – its a blog hop! Below are more brave and beautiful women bearing more than their natural beauty. They each have a little bit of their heart to share with you. Some get very personal. Some share stories. For some this was very hard to do yet they gathered their courage and did it anyway. We hope as you click around (and YES pin these different posts!) you will feel the importance of it, the empowering effect it has and that it encourages you in some way.

>>>>>>>Important info! Blog Hops often have glitches the first day. If the link has an ERROR, simply click on the HOME button for each site, or google the blog name next to the link, and you should see their brave and beautiful post there. Links will be updated as soon as possible.<<<<<<<<<<<<

women sharing their natural beauty - no makeup

1. BrassyApple 2. Peace from 6 Pieces 3. Is this Really My Life 4. Among the Young 5. Love Me Dani Marie 6. Sweet Charli 7. Kim Orlandini 8. XO, Ashton Tilton 9. She Calls Me Mama Leisha 10. Raising Memories – Canada 11. A Little Tipsy 12. Amy Cornwell 13. A girl and a glue gun 14. My Craftily Ever After 15. Maybe I Will 16. WhipperBerry 17. Paging SuperMom 18. All Things Thrifty 19. Ashlee Marie 20. The Project Girl

women with our makeup on and what makes them beautiful

21. One Little Momma 22. Entirely Eventful Day 23. Diary of a Brown Eyed Girl 24. Tips from a Typical Mom 25. Utah Sweet Savings 26. Flats to Flip Flops 27. One Krieger Chick 28. What Meegan Makes 29. Simply Kierste 30. Live to be Inspired 31. HoneyBear Lane 32. Pretty Providence 33. Ma Nouvelle Mode – in FRANCE 34. MomEntity 35. Serger Pepper – in ITALY 36. Kiki and Company 37. Girl Loves Glam 38. Thrive

women from around the world share their face with no makeup on - BrassyApple.com

39. The Potters Place 40. Crafting in the Rain 41. Cooking With Ruthie 42. Delineate Your Dwelling 43. The Pennington Point 44. Bakerette 45. The Happy Scraps 46. Shannon Baird Photography 47. Tried and Tasty 48. Lionesses at the Gate 49. Fry Sauce and Grits 50. Lolly Jane 51. That’s What Che Said 52. Sugar Bee Crafts 53. Your HomeBased Mom 54. Happiness is Homemade 55. The Crafted Sparrow 56. R&R Workshop 57. I Should Be Mopping the Floor 58. Sassy Steals

Mommy bloggers share their face without makeup and what makes then beautiful

59. Let’s Eat Grandpa 60. Being Spiffy 61. Sumo’s Sweet Stuff 62. Ginger Snap Crafts 63. Bless This Mess 64. Apronista 65. Dreaming About Someday 66. Frenchie 67. Tastefully Frugal 68. Four Marrs and One Venus 69. Your Sister Circle 70. Over the Big Moon 71. See Vanessa Craft 72. Infarrantly Creative 73. Family StoryTelling

Natural beauty untouched photos

74. Albion Gould 75. Life as Mrs. Larson 76. Tried and True 77. Play.Party.Pin. 78. Bite of Delight 79. Ink Happi 80. ObSEUSSed 81. U Create 82. My Mommy Style 83. Find it Make it Love it 84. The Contractor Chronicles 85. Novae Clothing 86. Mommy Makes Things 87. At Home with Sweet T 88. We Like to Learn As We Go 89. House for Five 90. Organize and Decorate Everything 91. Sassy Southern Gurl 92. The Creative Mom 93. Keep Moving Forward with Me

raw natural beauty - join the movement

94. The Benson Street 95. Mom 4 Real 96. Sowdering About 97. illistyle 98. The Crafty Blog Stalker 99. A Fiery Red Life 100. Cupcakes & Crowbars 101. One Sweet Appetite 102. My DayLights 103. Restless Risa

beauty and bravery - women wearing no makeup - Brassyapple.com

104. Sypsie Designs 105. Vintage Mother 106. Like Mother Like Daughter 107. 30 Handmade Days 108. Queen Bee and Me 109. Apples by Ashley 110. Boutique Cafe – in CANADA 111. Just My Little Mess 112. Bombshell Bling 113. Sarah Tyau 114. Taradara Make it 115. Capturing Joy 116. Ivory Lime Photography 117. Jenkins Kids Farm 118. Free Time Frolics 119. Bella Storia 120. Dana Ohlsen Photography

#colbietry #iambraveandbeautiful

Ready in join in?Snap, hashtag and share! Tag @BrassyApple and @Peacefrom6Pieces if you can too!

Also follow our Bravery and Beauty PINTEREST board for more inspiration!

Back to School Dinner {2014-2015} LOOK & LIVE

LOOK&LIVECOLLAGEtvmI admit by this time in the summer I’m entirely exhausted from the excessive amount of technology use in our home, sibling quarrels, and hours of boredom we’ve endured despite activities that were planned to avoid all of those things.  We usually pack our summer with a huge vacation to avoid the summer heat here in Arizona.  But by this time, we’re back, and ready to get into a schedule and focus our lives beyond beating boredom.

Each year I try and put together a special dinner in preparation for the coming school year. I usually include something I’ve been thinking about or learning on my own.  Then I find ways I can teach and inspire my kids.  I have thought a lot about the phrase “LOOK & LIVE” lately.  It may have been THIS VIDEO which has left an indescribable affect on me that started the whole thing. I’m sure you’ve seen it.  And it may have been some very special feelings I felt while reading some verses in MY FAVORITE BOOK.

From Alma, Chapter 37 (paraphrasing)

“By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass; and small means instances doth confound the wise…they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight and His course is one eternal round…”

Teach them an everlasting hatred against sin and iniquity. Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart…Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in hear; for such shall find rest to their souls.

O remember, my son, and learn wisdom.  Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Yea and cry unto God for all thy support, yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withsoever thou goest, let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed on the Lord forever.

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night, lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning, let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…

O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so it was prepared for {our fathers} that if they might LOOK, they might LIVE.  And now my son, see that ye LOOK TO GOD AND LIVE. 

A similar phrase can be found HERE in the Holy Bible, which is also a FAVORITE BOOK, and sits side by side with my other FAVORITE BOOK previously mentioned. 🙂

I admit that I felt a greater sense of purpose as a parent as I read these words.  How badly do I want my kids’ faith in God to be at the forefront of all they experience this coming school year? I’m not just talking passing tests and getting good grades…I’m talking their day to day experiences of life, with friends and with situations.  How badly do I want them to seek God daily?  How badly do I want them not to be slothful, but purposeful in gaining knowledge and become good contributors to society and the world as a whole?  Pretty bad.  Bad enough to teach them what I felt when I read these verses.

So earlier tonight, we had a little dinner.  I used this time to teach them to aim high.  To go out into the world with the knowledge that if they LOOKED TO GOD, they would LIVE LIVES of happiness and peace. I had a lot of fun but most importantly, I know the kids listened when I shared from my heart.  I just hope they remember throughout the school year.

LOOK&LIVE7tvmI set the table just so.  Used my nice china, which always spells ‘special occasion’ at our home. The kids were so excited!

LOOK&LIVE3tvm

LOOK&LIVE1tvmI used a little already-made chalkboard banner I found at Target. It was so easy! LOOK&LIVE4tvmI compiled some cute little note/scrapbooks for them.  I found the white ones in the dollar section at Target, and the printable I’ve included below.  The wooden pencils, leather, and feathers I found at Hobby Lobby for cheap!

 

LOOK&LIVE5tvmI’m not quite sure how I got lucky to find this globe with the arrow through it at Home Goods just two days before, but I did and it was meant to be, and made the whole set up amazing.  If you ever need to borrow it, let me know.  My stuff is your stuff.

LOOK&LIVE6tvmThese  fake apples were also found at Home Goods but you could easily use real ones. The book set was found at Designer Blvd here in Arizona, and the feathers from Hobby Lobby.

 

LOOK&LIVE8tvm

LOOK&LIVE9tvmAnd as one last little favor, I gave them each a little glass bottle with cork to remind them to aim high–LOOK and LIVE. All of which I found at Hobby Lobby in the bead section.

LOOK&LIVEFREEPRINTABLEYou can print out your own LOOK AND LIVE printables by pressing HERE.

Two last quotes that I love and had to share:

“Do the very best you can. Maybe you are not an A student. Maybe you are not a B student. Maybe you are not a genius; most of us are not. In fact the vast majority of us are not. … I have concluded that the work of the world is done by ordinary people who learned to work in an extraordinary way.” {Gordon B. Hinckley}

“You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others….” {Gordon B. Hinckley}

I’m looking forward with excitement for the coming school year knowing my kids have a better idea of our expectations and all the amazing opportunities that will come to them if they will just LOOK & LIVE.

 

Perfect Moments + Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day.  We reserve this blog for the best of the best, and even then we still don’t post all that we want to.

These days, I navigate through life with fewer expectations of other people, and greater acceptance of my own inability to do it all.  This is an interesting development since I am one who delights in things being “just so”.  Last year in church, a leader dear to my heart shared something that has helped expand my perspective on things.  He said this. “We are imperfect people.  Yet, we can have perfect moments.” Since that talk, I’ve thought a lot less about how perfect things are in my life, and a lot more about how to rejoice in the perfect moments with others that God blesses me with daily.

PERFECT MOMENTS www.thevintagemother.com

I had one such experience yesterday.  But I’ll start with what happened the day before.  I had just dropped one of my kids off to catch the bus.  We’d been racing from an early piano lesson.  The bus drove away when I looked down to notice an art project my daughter had been working on…recycled art…one I knew she needed at school to receive a good grade.

I know it seems like no big deal.  Take the art project to school and meet her there when she gets off the bus, right?  But I needed to be home for a few Moms who were dropping their kids off for babysitting co-op, AND I was out of gas.  Not literally, but I’d been running on fumes for too long, hadn’t taken the chance to get any, and there was nobody to rescue me (like Bill when he saved me last month when my tank ran empty) Yep.

So I was bugged. Bugged about the project being left.  Bugged that I would let these Moms down.  Bugged that I had to stop and get gas.  And bugged that here I was running to rescue one of my kids–after deciding just the night before to let “natural consequences” happen a little more often in our home.

And to add a little extra fuel to the fire, the gas station attendee/wanderer asked how I was doing and if I had any fun plans for the weekend.  Seriously?  I wasn’t in the mood for chit chat.  But I obliged out of courtesy.  “I’m doing fine.  No, just a regular old weekend.”  She said, “Well what about Mother’s Day?  Do you have any fun plans for Mother’s Day?” My reply: “Not really.  Just the regular thing.  Go to church and I’m sure my husband and kiddos will take care of me.”

Silence.

Me again. “What about you? Do you have children?” (just going through the motions and not caring as much as I should.)

More silence. Ugh.

Her: “Yes I do have children….but I don’t.”‘  Silence.  “I lost my husband and 2 children all at once.  You know they always tell you to cherish those moments.  Be in the now.  Enjoy your children because in a blink of an eye, they can be gone.  And you know what? They’re all right”

And I sat there, completely overwhelmed with the sudden dip this conversation had taken me… into emotional depths I hadn’t anticipated.  And all I could think to do was say, “I’m sorry for your loss…”

This flood of feelings washed over me as I got back in my car.  Everything from gratitude and sorrow, to humility and pain.  If God was going to teach me something right then, it was a good time because my heart was open to learning.  Two things popped into my head.  The first one being that I should take her a Mother’s Day gift.  The second one being that yesterday marked the 2-year anniversary of when Millie almost drowned. And who was it that RESCUED Millie?  Miss Besty.  The child I was running to rescue.

This beautiful perspective popped in my mind.  How blessed I was for the CHANCE TO RESCUE…to serve my children, to be there at the perfect moment….sweep in and do what was needed.  And how grateful I had been to Betsy, who had done the same for me–had spared me from an otherwise difficult journey of resentment and guilt.

Betsy Art www.thevintagemother.com

And so I took Betsy’s art and got there just a few seconds after the bell rang  Gave her a hug and I was on my way.  Grateful for a perfect moment to help, extend, assist, and do.

And throughout the day, I couldn’t get that lady off of mind.  I had to do something.  I grabbed her a gift, talked with a store clerk (this was a grocery store gas station) and found out when her next shift was.  Tomorrow.  Floral department in the store.  Between 2:30 am and 10:30 am.

And so yesterday, I delivered a little gift to my new friend.  She was in the middle of making a pink balloon bouquet.  I  told her how much I had been thinking of her and  expressing my gratitude for helping put things in perspective.  We hugged.  I wished her Happy Mother’s Day, and told her how much she had made mine.

www.thevintagemother.com

www.thevintagemother.com

 

And I relished in this perfect moment, recognizing that the Lord was aware of what I needed to feel today.

And so with that, I’m publishing this imperfect post, and hoping it extends to women everywhere that life is never perfect, people aren’t either…but it’s made up of perfect moments…moments that bring peace and perspective.

And it’s about others.  Not you.

It’s about rescuing.

My hope is that we seek to love, nurture, build, care for, connect, and shape everyone with a perspective that God blesses us with perfect moments so we can more easily recognize his love for us.

Happy Mother’s Day.

…and Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter…You can catch up with Ginny and I on our Instagram Profiles where we try as best as we can to keep things up to speed in real time.  (katie_vintage + ginnywilsonwinters)  And we hope whatever we share on here, whenever we share it, will be worth the wait.  xo

3 Gifts of Christmas

3 GIFTS OF CHRSTMAS {www.thevintagemother.com}

Through the years I’ve  had several friends ask about our tradition of giving 3 gifts for Christmas.   First, I wish I could take credit for the idea because it has been so neat for our family.  I attended a women’s church meeting the very year Bill and I were first married. We were anticipating spending our first Christmas as a married couple, and this idea was shared.  That was 15 years ago today and we’ve done this every Christmas.

We all know Christmas isn’t Christmas without gifts.  We give gifts as a symbol of God’s greatest gift sent to the world, Jesus Christ.  We give gifts to symbolize the gifts that the wise men gave to the Infant Jesus.  And we give gifts to show love to our families and fellowmen.

But sadly, Christmas has become a season of present purchasing, equalizing the present piles for Christmas Eve, and spending too much money on meaningless things.

Christmas, to me, is a matter of the heart.  How we view and do Christmas is determined by whether or not we are allowing gift giving as an action that  “leads us to Bethlehem”.  And we know that as mothers, even from that first Christmas night, that it was a matter of the heart.   In Luke 2:51 it reads, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Such ponderings lead a woman, a mother of eight, who I don’t know (but wish I did) to ponder on her Christmas, and most specifically her Christmas giving.  I was at a small church event one evening with only about 20 in attendance when she shared her story. It’s a story now when I look back, that I will be forever grateful for.

Her story went something close to this:

It was Christmas Eve, and after wrapping present after present for her 8 children through the month of December, she had both the exhaustion and the eagerness of Christmas morning in front of her.  As she surveyed each of her children’s piles, she could tell from the shapes and sizes what each child had requested that year.  When she got to one of her son’s piles, she noticed there weren’t as many gifts as the other children.  It looked alarmingly small compared to the others.  In her mind, she ran through what he had wanted…and it was just one special toy he’d been asking for for months.  It was there.  In the pile.  Along with a few other things: like some socks, some new books, and another small toy.  But it looked so wimpy compared to the other kids piles…This lead her to a quick late night trip to the local Wal-Mart to fill her cart with other things that would help his pile look the same in comparison to the others.  She got home, wrapped the gifts, surveyed the piles…and this mother of eight went to bed with the satisfaction and joy that Christmas morning brings to mothers everywhere when they know they’ve done a good job with presents for Christmas.

That morning was like the other Christmas mornings they’d experienced together as a family.  Everyone seemed happy and pleasantly surprised with the gifts they were given, and happy that they’d received even more than they’d anticipated.  Later that morning as she looked around the room, she saw the boy whose pile she’d  completed just a few hours before, only interested and playing with the one toy he requested.  Later she would find that he only played with that same toy for weeks after.  A sick feeling came over her.  And she vowed that next Christmas, she would change things.

She prayed.  She pondered.  She researched.  And listened to her heart.  And came up with the idea of giving THREE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS, reminiscent of the gifts of the 3 Wise Men.

In the Bible, is says in Matthew 2:11 “When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and…presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

What do we know about the gifts that were given to Baby Jesus?  We know that they were symbolic, that they were meaningful because they were rare, that they had been well thought through, for each signified something important.  Gold symbolized Jesus’ royalty, frankincense, an incense used in the temple–his divinity, and myrrh, his suffering and death as it was a substance used for cleaning and burial.

This mother’s gifts would also have power and meaning. And she thought too, that she could offer three gifts with purpose.

GOLD gift of wonder {www.thevintagemother.com}GOLD {The Gift of Wonder} wrapped in GOLD

These are gifts that tickle and delight. They are the gifts that are really wanted or desired–The gift that the receiver just can’t go without! A wanted toy, a planned outing, a season pass… something they just HAVE to have.

FRANKINCENSE the gift of meaning {www.thevintagemother.com}

FRANKINSENCE {The Gift of Meaning} wrapped in RED

These are gifts that have meaning and express affection. These might include: a scrapbook, a quilt, a special doll, an heirloom, a childhood memento, a piece of jewelry,  a treasure box, a framed photograph, or letters from the heart. This gift is extremely worthwhile and something that shows love.
MYRRH the gift of usefulness {www.thevintagemother.com}
MYRRH {The Gift of Usefulness} wrapped in GREEN

These are gifts that are truly needed. Look at your loved one’s needs and choose a gift that would be truly useful. These might include a new coat, a down comforter, or a new pair of shoes and socks. Use this gift for something practical yet worthwhile.

I’ve had many people ask me when I tell them we do this in our family, “Do you really give JUST THREE gifts?”  And the answer is, for the most part, yes.  Some gifts end up being “package deals” of sort, but the point is that with these three gifts our children know we thought specifically about each one.

It is hard to narrow it down to three.  It takes time, and energy and thought.  And Santa brings a little something as well—so the tradition of Santa can be preserved, but the focus is on the special wrapped gifts from Mom and Dad—symbolizing those special three gifts given to the Savior long ago.

I hope this inspires you to consider how you give gifts as future Christmases come and go, and the purpose behind them.

If you are interested in receiving a sheet of information regarding the 3 Gifts of Christmas, please email me katie {at} thevintagemother {dot} com

You Stay at Home?

So you STAY AT HOME?

So, I was going to post a pretty awesome Sweet Cinnamon Roll Recipe this week, But to be honest, I’ve been a little preoccupied.  It’s Fall Break for my kids and well, it’s been busy, We’ve been adventuring at least once or twice a day, heading to the park or an activity that I hope they’ll remember.  And we’ve been staying up on other things like practicing piano, and reading for school, and tidying our home so it’s peaceful here.

It’s been work.  And I’m not going to tell you I’ve loved every second of it, but I am going to tell you that I love being a mother.  It’s a choice I’ve made, and it’s more important to me than anything in the world.  Yes, I have a business.  Yes, my life is filled with many things, but I am choosing to focus my greatest effort, my greatest work, on the raising of my children.

I read an article that really touched me this morning.  I’ve read several of these kinds of articles in the last year or so.  I’ve pinned them on Pinterest and made sure I’m cataloging them in my hat of tricks for when I have to defend myself or explain to someone why I chose to have FIVE children.  (Yes, FIVE!) and if it’s really possible to be successful running a business, serving in my church, and being a good mother all at the same time.

I try. And most days I do alright.  And most days, I’m happy that I chose to stay at home with my children.  There are days I wish I DIDN’T have a business or DIDN’T have outside experiences that take me away from my sweet husband and children. But I will go to my grave saying that the greatest work I’ve ever done, is raising, nurturing, teaching, loving, building and blessing my children.

Here’s the article for you to read.  I hope you LOVE it as I did. (Press the link)

“You’re a Stay-At-Home Mom?  What do you DO all day?” 

What resonated with me?  Love that he said this…

“This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?”

The whole article is fantastic. I love it and had to share it.  I believe in mothers!  And I believe our society will crumble the minute we adopt the idea that being JUST a mother has no eternal value.

Pass the Baton

Several weeks ago I attended a evening church meeting where the guest speaker shared some thoughts that I have not been able to get out of my mind.  It was such a beautiful message that has had such an impact on me that I wanted to share it with you.

During the speakers talk he held up a hollow metal pipe about 12 inches long.  It was a baton used in a Track and Field relay race.  He talked about how passing the baton in a relay race is one of the most important parts of the race and that if the baton is not safely secured into the hand of the members of the relay team, it could drop and potentially the team could lose the race.  As he spoke, he passed the baton back and forth between his hands and as he securely placed it in the palm of each hand he talked about the importance we have as parents to secure things that are important into the lives of our children.  But as he continued talking, every once and a while, he would drop the baton on the podium and it would loudly clank and rattle until he picked it up.  By dropping the baton he symbolized something not being passed on to our children.  It was such a visual teaching moment for me that I can still here the loud sound of the baton dropping on the podium.  I knew then that I wanted to try my best to secure important things in the lives of my children.  Things that I didn’t want to drop the baton on.

So these last few weeks as I have thought, “am I passing the baton,” I have found myself asking these questions:  Am I passing the baton to my children when it comes to my belief in Jesus Christ and my love for His gospel?  Am I passing the baton to my children and teaching them how to work hard and do hard things?  Am I passing the baton to my children when it comes to serving and respecting others?  Am I passing the baton to my children and teaching them how to iron shirts, clean bathrooms, and even bottle peaches?  Of course there are so many things and parts of our lives that we want to pass on to our children, but the question is, are we actively doing these things now.

So last Monday night I did something that I normally would not have done on a school night.  After all the kids were in bed, I grabbed my oldest daughter, my 13 year old, and asked her to come to the kitchen.  I told her I needed to teach her how to do something, just as my mother had taught me.  She of course looked slightly puzzled, but as I pointed to a beautiful box of peaches that was given to us, I told her that I was going to teach her how to bottle peaches.

Peaches in a box | www.thevintagemother.com

It would of course have been better to do it on a weekend, but I knew the peaches could not wait and that “passing the baton” moment was right there.  So for an hour, I taught her how to boil, chill and peel a peach.  We heated bottles, packed bottles and lifted out the bubbles with a knife just like my mom had taught me.  It was a wonderful “passing the baton” moment that I know we both enjoyed.

Annie bottling peaches | www.thevintagemother.com

I know it seems like a small way to “pass the baton” to my child,  but it truly was something that I wanted her to know how to do.  I hope as we look at our lives that we will recognize the things that we want our children to know how to do and that we will work actively towards teaching them these things.  Even if it is just learning how to bottle peaches.

SAVOR THE FLAVORS {dating & waiting}

I love that the youth of our church are encouraged to wait until they’re 16 to date. It seems like it’s an appropriate time when most teenagers have developed a little bit of maturity, and they’ve had enough experience in regular social situations to know how to treat and respect the opposite sex.

Because of this, our church family hosts a night called Dynamic Dating for the 15-year-olds who’ll be turning 16 that year. It’s a time to bring the youth together for a practice run of sorts. And let’s be honest. There can be some majorly awkward moments when you’re first starting to date! They sit boy girl at dinner, and are taught etiquette and table manners and other skills that will help them.

Each year, they ask a couple to come help teach a principle that would be meaningful towards the end of the evening.  My husband Bill and I jumped at the opportunity to do so.  We wanted to teach the idea that dating was the chance to get to know what you really wanted in a potential spouse some day.

Our class title was SAVOR THE FLAVORS.  We talked about the excitement that comes from dating all sorts of people {flavors} and waiting to settle down with just one flavor until an appropriate time. {pre-marriage}.

Dynamic Dating | www.thevintagemother.com

We talked about that there’s a flavor out there for everyone, and that you’ll never know exactly what you love without having had the chance to try several flavors in the past.

Savor the Flavors | www.thevintagemother.com

Savor the Flavors| www.theivintagemother.com

We had the table all set-up. complete with fake ice cream  in cones.  Find the recipe for that here.  LOVED it.

Dynamic Dating | www.thevintagemother.com

We made a Dating Notebook for each of them, to make an effort to record experiences, even put pictures so they can keep a record of the kids they date. Speed Flirting | www.thevintagemother.com

The kids then spent time afterwards SPEED FLIRTING.  They just get to know each other for a minute or so, and then are asked to rotate spots for the next minute, enabling the opportunity to talk to someone else.  It’s very fun to watch.  That room was filled with hormones, but the good kind! 😉

I thought this idea was fun to share, and the principle taught can easily be used to adapt as a lesson for your own youth.  How fun would a quick trip to Baskin Robbins be combined with a little parental instruction be?  Pretty awesome.

Faith, Home, Family, Country

A little peek inside our most favorite place in the world.  Come and meet our amazing parents + family, and why life for us is about faith, home, family, and country.

Happy July 4th!

Huge thanks to Chris Wilson from Christopher Leigh Studios who filmed this treasure for us.

How I Talked To My Daughters About Sex

One Mom's experience with the birds and the bees and why it worked.I knew it was time.  We were starting to get some deep-hearted questions and I could feel something within me anticipate what every mom forgets she’ll have the responsibility of doing:  giving “THE TALK”.  My oldest daughter had recently been baptized at age 8, and I could feel the “mother tugs” that I needed to take action.

I spent a lot of time considering how I could best do this.  I spent time reading articles and I spent hours at the bookstore.  I was amazed at what was available.  Many books with great information and even pictures to help communicate everything from where babies came from to what to do if you become pregnant. (Huh?  Kind of interesting, I know.)  I looked within resources within my church and books authored by those whose standards reflect my own.  What I found were great pockets of information in most of the books, but not ONE resource that reflected all that I had hoped to share or hoped to convey.  And some just offered way too much information that I didn’t need to share.  How would I be able to know just how much my daughter’s heart and mind could handle?

I chose to make it a matter of prayer.  I knew God would bless me in my efforts and help me communicate exactly what was right for her if I sincerely asked.  I felt inspired and guided through the entire experience.

I hope that we might inspire you in your efforts to teach your children about the birds and the bees!  I don’t think there is any specific age that is ideal.  Children are ready for things at different times, but I have found around 8 and 9 they can understand everything that needs understanding.

First, I made a special invitation with similar wording to invite my daughter to brunch with me:

”You are invited to an AMAZING DAY with Mom.  {Day, Date, Time.}  We will go have brunch and spend the day talking about some AMAZING things.  Please wear your baptism dress because this is an extra special occasion.”

I had support from my husband with the other kids and we set aside several hours for everything.  I focused on the AMAZING part of things and kept things really upbeat.  I purposely chose the Saturday right before Mother’s Day. (reasoning coming…)

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Here we are starting out.  We grabbed a quick picture and then we were off!

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We went to one of my favorite luncheon places in Scottsdale called Arcadia Farms.  I asked to sit on the back patio and we enjoyed a quaint, little, intimate experience.  I used the time to compliment my daughter on “How much she’s growing up” and “How proud I am of her” etc. while we were waiting for the food. {No sex talk just yet}

My Mom had just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and lived a state away.  This little bird was just hanging around our table and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense that this little bird was symbolic of her being there and helping me.  Love that!

How to talk to your daughter about sex.

After brunch, we walked across the street to a little courtyard, sat down on the grass, and I helped prepare her heart and mind for what we were about to talk about. (“We’re going to talk about something so special and so AMAZING…”) I pulled out 5 books that I had chosen to teach from.  I had marked various sections and phrasing that fit with what I had hoped to teach from each book–leaving out things I didn’t feel were necessary or appropriate.  How to talk to your daughter about sex.

Here are the names of the books: (1) It’s So Amazing by Robie H. Harris (2) The Care and Keeping of You by The American Girl Doll Library (3) How Are Babies Made? by Usborne (4) Growing Up by Brad Wilcox (5) How to Talk to your child about sex by Linda and Richard Eyre.

We spent a lot of time.  I asked her questions along the way to check and make sure she was understanding.  I talked about everything I felt like she could handle.  I purposely left out a few things but that’s only because they are just plain gross and I don’t even talk about those things as an adult or didn’t agree or feel the need to teach those things to my child.  Otherwise, I used specific and appropriate wording to explain about things, making bridges with prior connections of things we hadn’t used the appropriate wording for.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.At the end of the discussion, we talked specifically about the beauties of procreation and the importance of saving those AMAZING and procreative powers for when she was a wife and mother.  (I talked here about the connection of Mother’s Day)   I used the opportunity to do something that my parents did for the children in our family.  Basically in a nutshell, it’s an agreement between us as parents and our children, signifying if you refrain from the use of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and or promiscuity and live a clean, moral life up to the age of 20, we’d give that child *$1,000.00 (*PLEASE READ ADDENDUMS 1 and 2 BELOW THIS POST) as an ultimate reward for positive behavior.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We signed the contract and I gave her a hand-stamped necklace that had her initial, a fresh water pearl and the word “promise”.  We talked about the symbolism of the necklace, that it was symbolic of the special agreement (or promise) in the contract and the important understanding that she was to try and live a clean and virtuous life.

Overall we had a special experience talking.  I left the door wide open for her to ask any other questions additionally as they came from day to day, and I felt a sense of satisfaction that what I had shared were the right things for her to hear.  We’ve since had open and beautiful little snippets of conversation when needed.

All of this worked so well, that when my #2 was old enough three years later, we shared a similar time together.  She was recently baptized, and Mother’s Day rolled around.  I can honestly say I had just as special and tender experience with this one.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We started out with an invitation and picture.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Breakfast, and would you believe, a bird?  Yes.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Special time to visit.  And a little drive to somewhere important where we could talk quietly and peacefully without other distractions.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.This process really worked for me as a mother as I have found my girls coming to me when questions arise and not searching elsewhere for answers they are curious about.  I’ve laid it all out there for them and they know I can be a trusted source to tell them the right thing.

I hope it brings you some insight into how you too might be able to talk about these important things with your children.

(*) ADDENDUM #1:  Thank you so much for your many comments, emails and those asking for a copy of our contract.  And thanks to some of you who have voiced concern regarding it as well.  I want to reiterate that this contract is something that worked for me, and that’s why my husband and I chose to do the same.  My parents put it into play precisely because they felt my oldest adopted sister was headed down a long and difficult road and felt like they could do more to help encourage positive behaviors in their younger children. She’s been addicted to drugs longer than not, had 4 children from different men, along with a whole slew of difficult life-changing circumstances that have affected generations.  I can’t even begin to tell you the struggles and challenges and pain she’s endured, and what we’ve experienced as a family because of it.  I want to reiterate that the contract is not meant to be a price put on virtue nor the means to an end-all with our children, but rather an incentive to encourage my children with all positive behaviors during curious years.  As parents and as a society, we reward our children for positive things all of the time, much like a child is rewarded for good grades, or taken to get a treat after making a soccer goal, or being rewarded a scholarship for academic success.  As a mother, I don’t know what road my children are going to take (they will choose as they will)  but I can do all I can to encourage and nurture them down the best road I know, and if that’s a reward for positive behavior, so be it.

(*) ADDENDUM #2: I wrote this post specifically to share ”How I talked to my daughters about sex” (and titled it as such)  not ”How YOU should talk to your daughters about sex.”  Let me reaffirm that this is what I did, and if it inspires YOU in some way or another to have courage to talk about these things, then that is so great.  And let me reaffirm that if it doesn’t work for YOU, then just move on.  Simple as that. Though most comments and emails have been sent favorably (and I am so pleased this is inspiring so many of you!)  I have found it so interesting to see enough people quick to judge me and how I parent, especially in regards to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it comes into play with the idea of the contract, and especially when they have not read the contract in full or know me or understand how important this is in my life.

Let me be clear.  (No need to email me or leave comments anymore because I won’t post  them or have the time to answer the emails that come).  First and foremost please know that because I have implemented this incentive by no means lessens our emphasis on the beautiful gift of The Atonement and the Power of Repentance in our family.  I find it interesting that some are quick to judge how “cut and dry” the contract is, when they don’t know me, what sort of parents we are, or how we’ve personally used The Atonement in our lives or how we’re teaching our kids regarding it.  If you were to read the contract in full, you would find there is a phrase that says , ”In the event that ____________ is not able to keep the covenants set forth, the parties will enter into a new agreement to reflect the circumstances at the time…” We’ve absolutely left room for God’s greatest gift to work within it.  I personally don’t think anyone gives “The Talk” and turns around and says, “But you’re going to make mistakes and maybe lose your virginity, so good thing we have The Atonement.”  Talk of The Atonement is talk for another time, and we most certainly have had these discussions and talks with our children.  All of which I don’t feel the desire or need to blog about.

Some of you have asked, “What if…she goes off to college and decides she wants to drink and have sex…” or ” What if she loses her virginity at age 14 and hides it from you because she doesn’t want to tell you…” or other various scenarios.  To that I say: We might very well find ourselves with our kids at age 20, telling us they did or didn’t live up to their end.  But I’d like to think we were less clueless than that, that we’ve been involved in our children’s lives helping them, communicating with them,  and showing them the way as they make mistakes.  Let this be known.  We will determine whether our children deserve it or not, despite circumstances that have arisen, even mistakes they’ve made.  What loving parents wouldn’t want their child, even despite difficulties, to have experienced the joy of having fully repented of a sin, and still enjoying the blessings of a job well done?  It’s a working contract, between parents and child.  And it’s personal.  What we do with our children, their situations, scenarios, experiences, will be determined on their hearts, and where they are in their lives and what they’ve done with The Atonement up until that point.

If you are interested in a copy of the contract and read further regarding this special agreement we’ve chosen to share with our children, please feel free to leave a comment or email me personally at katie@thevintagemother.com.  Thanks.

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My Happiest Mother’s Day

I’ve just tucked all my children in bed, gone through the nightly rituals of hugs and kisses, prayers, and endless lullabies and back tickling.

We’ve giggled together about their anticipations of Mother’s Day tomorrow.

“Oh Mom, I can’t wait for tomorrow!’’ says one.

‘’Mom, promise not to look closely at the gift on the piano, k?  You can kind of see through the wrapping paper,’’ says another.

My house now is unusually quiet.  It’s probably not anything different than what I am used to, but perhaps it’s because I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind today that are whispering so loudly that  I am quite certain I won’t be able to sleep unless I put them somewhere.  So ‘’at peace” is where I’m hoping to leave off tonight.

One year ago today, the eve of Mother’s Day 2012, my daughter Millie almost drowned.

That day changed me forever.  And I don’t think I will ever be the same again.

It was very simple.

We were celebrating Ruby’s 12th Birthday with her friends.  It was a beach party and we had the perfect spot to celebrate.   Bill had gone inside to quickly change, and I was preoccupied with the birthday festivities.

“MOM! MILLIE CAN’T  BREATHE!”

I was several yards away.

I ran!  9-year-old Betsy, lugging her sister from the pool.

“NO!”  I thought, ‘’A mother’s worst nightmare!”

She was gray.  And the best way to describe her was that she was “stuck”.  Stuck in between air and water, her small little 3-year-old body uncertain of what to do exactly.

I’ll never forget her eyes longing for me to save her.  Bill ran out, Millie still stuck, unable to even gasp for air.  What do I do?

Mama’s Instinct set in.  I threw Millie up over my shoulder and wacked her hard.  What seemed like 2 cups of water came out of her lungs down my back. I did it again.  And again.

She lay there in my arms, lifeless…but alive, wanting to fall asleep.  She was exhausted.  Her poor, sweet little body having done its job to help save itself.  But she was there.  And breathing.

Such gratitude!

We took her to the hospital.  Our doctor friend whose home we were at encouraged us to go and get her checked out.

After arriving, who knew God would be so kind!  The son-in-law of a family we love happened to be doing rounds as an EMT on the first floor of the Emergency and peeked inside our room.  He and Bill were able to give Millie a priesthood blessing. And I felt peace.

Oxygen levels.  Checking of vitals.  And learning:  The body can “drown itself” even after it seems like everything’s clear.  And it only takes 27 seconds for lungs the size of Millie’s to fill up with water.

27.

They would need to watch her overnight.

Bill insisted I go home to be with the other children through the night.  I wanted desperately to be with Millie, but he assured me there was nothing I could do that he couldn’t do.  And the kids waking up to no mother on Mother’s Day would be terrible.

He was right.

I gathered my kids from our friends house and we went home.  We talked about it, and we knelt in prayer to thank the Lord.

I couldn’t sleep, my mind wracked with the what-ifs and could-have-beens.  I can’t believe how close it was, how truly blessed we were that the Lord spared my sweet Millie’s life.  And yet my heart ached.  How many mothers are there who’ve lost, or suffer the absence of a child in one way or another. Miscarriages.  Illnesses.  Deaths.  How comfortable are the day to day comings and goings until one day, we find we’ve taken them for granted?

Morning came.  We went to the hospital.  Millie was wonderfully herself.  I crawled right on in bed, brought my children in close, and felt such gratitude for these amazing children in my care.

And we spent the day with Millie until she was able to leave.

My Happiest Mother's Day | www.thevintagemother.com

Our children are not ours.  They are sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven who created them.   Our time doesn’t necessarily match His time.  What moments we have with them can be dashed in an instant if His plans far exceed our own.  And His most often do.

I will forever remember this as my Happiest Mother’s Day.  I hope I remember it as the day I really started loving and living.

Love your children today!  Tell them until their ears turn pink that you love them…

Because you can.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and women out there, especially those who’ve known something of tragedy, loss, or a close call.