July 26, 2013

A Simple Cup of Tea

I'm super excited to have my mom, Debbie Lowrie, as my guest blogger today. I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today without the investment that she poured into my life. Thanks, Mom, for modeling motherhood and for not selling me to the circus during my temperamental toddler years (I now understand what patience that must have required)! You can read more at her blog: A Splash of Grace. 

A Simple Cup of Tea

I start almost every morning with a cup of tea.  Some mornings it may be an English breakfast tea or green tea.  Other days it’s a fruity herbal tea or a spicy chai!  No matter what the flavor, I find comfort in sipping the hot beverage.  Research has discovered many health benefits of tea.  Some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  Others encourage weight loss, lower cholesterol, and help with mental alertness.

Even though there are many health benefits to drinking tea, that’s not the primary reason I drink it.  To me, a cup of tea represents a few moments away from the hectic pace of life.  It’s soothing.  It’s a time when I can stop and enjoy a few moments of quiet before my busy day begins or as a mid-day break.  It may also have something to do with my Scottish heritage. 

Great Britain is known for its tea consumption.  As I researched how their afternoon tea got started, I discovered that in the early nineteenth century in England, people usually only ate two meals a day – breakfast and then dinner around 8:00 in the evening.  Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon.  The Duchess found that the solution was to have a light snack and a pot of tea privately in her bedroom during the afternoon.  Later friends were invited to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.”  Others quickly picked up on this idea and before long, many were nibbling on sandwiches and sipping tea in the middle of the afternoon.

I realize that the “sinking feeling” Anna had was just hunger, but sometimes we can get a “sinking feeling” in the middle of the day that has nothing to do with hunger.  Sometimes I wake up with that “sinking feeling” or it hits me in the evening.  Mine has more to do with fatigue, or stress, or sadness. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed  and wonder if I’ll survive one more day! How about you?  Maybe all we need is a good “cup of tea and a walking the fields”!  But how is that possible when you have little ones that need your constant attention – when you haven’t even had time to take a shower. You simply long to go to the bathroom without little fingers poking under the door.  You daydream about a time when you’ll have a few quiet moments to yourself to walk the fields. Those days WILL come, but in the meantime have a cup of tea – even if it’s just in your mind!

When you get that “Sinking Feeling,” stop for a moment and savor some TEA:

TBE THANKFUL for what you do have. 
It’s easy to get in the habit of wishing things were different. Life can be hard, but even in the mundane work of your day or in the trials that you face, you can be thankful.  As you put your dirty clothes in the washing machine, stop and thank the Lord that your family has clothes to wear; that you have precious children that can make them dirty; that you have a washing machine and don’t have to walk to the river to scrub your clothes on the rocks!  Turn moments where you normally would complain into moments of thankfulness and prayer.  Being thankful has a way of putting things in perspective. Take a sip of tea!

EEMBRACE the phase of life you are in. 
We often live in the past or the future, but seem to have a hard time living in the present.  Children can’t wait to become teenagers. Teenagers can’t wait to be adults, and adults wish they were teenagers again!  Each phase of life has its own joys and struggles.  Wishing a phase away robs you of all the blessings and “growth” that can be experienced in the present.  So laugh and dance with your little ones while they are young.  Enjoy the messes and make memories.  These times really do go by quickly. Don’t wish them away! Take a sip of tea!

AALLOCATE time for yourself. 
Life as a mother of young children is EXHAUSTING!  Take a little time for yourself.  You need time to regroup, rest, and be refreshed or you will have nothing to give to others.  For me, one of the most important ways to be renewed is to spend time reading the Bible and praying. Sharing life and frustrations with others is also important.  Knowing you are not alone often gives you the courage to press on one more day!  Take advantage of your child’s nap time, or perhaps partner with a friend and trade off childcare – maybe once a month – so you can have an uninterrupted couple of hours to be refreshed.  Do whatever it takes, and you’ll be a better wife and mother for it. Take a sip of tea!

So, the next time you get that “sinking feeling” in the middle of the afternoon, (or in the morning – or even in the evening), why don’t you stop and grab a simple cup of tea.  Pause for a moment and savor its warmth.  And while you’re at it, like Anna did, invite a friend to join you for a cup of tea. She probably needs it too!

July 22, 2013

Dear Duchess

Dear Duchess,

Welcome to motherhood.

I'm sure by now you've taken the time to marvel over tiny toes and fingers. Perhaps you've counted and recounted, marveling how his small fingers instinctively curl around your own.

I don't think it matters if your official title is "Your Royal Highness" or just plain ole "Mrs.," Motherhood ushers in a whole new dimension of identity and responsibility.

Yes, our lives are quite different. The only throne I'll ever sit on is in need of a good cleaning. The only photographer who stalks my movements is a four-year-old with a kiddie digital camera. No one cares what I'm wearing or where I'm travelling on holiday.

But, one thing I've learned on this mothering adventure is that deep down we're all the same. We know nothing. We have to learn everything and then relearn it again and again. The poorest mother in the mountains of El Salvador and the mother of a future king each wrap their hearts around tiny human beings.

We wrap up our hopes and dreams around these little bundles and we realize deep down what it means to love someone so much that you would die for them.

The pressures and responsibilities are different. Our obligations are different, but I think our hopes and dreams for our children are the same. We want them to be happy. We want them to be successful. We want them to grow up to be people we can be proud of - people of character and conviction.

The birth of a child is the beginning of an incredible adventure. It won't always be beautiful. There will be days when you'll think to yourself "What was I thinking?" Days when a thousand different people will analyze and criticize your parenting choices. Days when you'll be tempted to just throw your hands in the air and go for a walk. Maybe royal babies are different, but I doubt it.

So, welcome to this new adventure. May you always remember the day you received your newest title, "Mom."


July 17, 2013


If you're visiting from MOPS I want to say welcome!

I'm a mom just like you are - trying to wage war on the laundry, dishes, and seemingly endless piles of toys (that I swear reproduce like rabbits while I'm sleeping).

My three-year-old and two-year-old call me "Mom," but my name is Sarah. I'm a third-generation pastor's wife, stay-at-home mom, and writer who currently lives in New Mexico with my handsome and hardworking husband.

Lest you think I'm the model of motherhood, at this very moment, my sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and there is a pile of goldfish scattered all over the carpet.

I love being a mom, but I can honestly say it is the most challenging and discouraging adventure I've been on. I feel like my mission is to encourage and equip moms to be the best that they can be. I want them to know that moms are valuable and that the work they do is priceless. We're not perfect, but neither are our children. God has given us everything we need to be the best mom WE can be. I'm learning that God has placed us where we are for a reason. By being faithful in the little things, He is able to take our little and turn it into much.  

Mom - you are loved. You are valuable. You are enough. Keep up the good work!!

I hope you'll come back again for a visit!

You can also connect with me on social media!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mommysminute
Twitter: www.twitter.com/BloggerSarahB
Pinterest www.pinterest.com/mommysminute

In case you need a giggle, here are a few posts I wrote about being the mother of a preschooler:

Top Ten Reasons Why I'm Late - Preschooler edition

You Might be the Mother of a Preschooler If. . .

A Gift of Dandelions


July 4, 2013

A place for Compassion

He peeked around the side of his cinder block house; his dark brown eyes shielded by heavily lashed eyelids. He smiled and I could see a spark of mischief in his eyes. It's a look I've seen before in three-year-old boys. He walks over to a fence and talks with a friend. They play with the barbed wire that lines the perimeter of their house, wrapping long leaves around the sharp barbs.

I swear, he looks just like my son. His complexion is darker and the language is different, but I look at him and see the same eyes, the same smile, the same gusto as my oldest child. They are only a few months apart in age, but their life situations are worlds apart.

His mother, Ana, never attended school. Fortunately, her father taught her how to read and write in her home. The oldest of nine children, Ana shared about her childhood and her father's eventual illness. She shared how she met her husband through a family friend and how one day he went to an event at the local church where he heard about the Lord. Three days later, Ana went to the church and was able to hear the message of salvation.

They now have two children a little boy, age three, and a one-year-old daughter, Esmerelda. She and her husband have been married for five years, but they have been together for eight. They raise dairy cows in order to support their family. In the morning they milk the cows and the husband then transports eight containers of milk on his motorcycle to sell in the market in San Salvador. If they have a good day, they sell about $8 of milk. A portion of the money goes to pay the boy who helps sell the milk in the city and a portion then goes to provide care for the animals. When a cow no longer produces milk, they sell it and then use the money to purchase another animal. Her husband began tending cows when he was eight years old. The average family living in poverty in the rural areas outside San Salvador survives on $1 a day for a family of five.

In steps Compassion. A few years ago Compassion International opened what is called a Child Survival Program in their community. The Child Survival program seeks to educate and equip moms as they face the crucial first years of a child's life. When the program first arrived in the area, Ana's first child was 1.5 years old. A volunteer from the Compassion project came through asking if there were any pregnant women in the community who would be interested in participating. A few months later, Ana found out she was pregnant with her second child. She immediately went down to the center and enrolled.

The Child Survival Program focuses on four main areas: Physical, Spiritual, Cognitive, and Social/Emotional needs. What I really appreciated about the program is that they refer to the mother and child as a unit, "un union." They attend to the needs of the mother, knowing that by equipping her, she'll be best able to care for and nurture her child.

One thing a mother in the program said really stuck with me. "The Child Survival Program helped me to dust off my dignity." She told me that many of the women in her community struggle with low self-esteem and low perceptions of self-worth. By teaching these women that they have value in God's sight, it enables them to have a healthier image of themselves, which can then be communicated to their children. They have value because they are created and loved by God.

In the culture of El Salvador, there are many times when a woman is left with a child and no husband/father in the picture. It's not uncommon for a man to have children with multiple women and then move on when he so desires. Some of these women are so in need of financial stability that they will stay with an abusive boyfriend simply because they have no other way to physically survive or support their families.

Poverty can be a prison. The chains can be mental, emotional, and financial. The mission of Compassion is the set the prisoner free in Jesus' name.

Yes, Compassion meets the physical needs of these families, but what I heard over and over again from the moms that I spoke to, is that they appreciated the spiritual nourishment as well. They appreciated the times of prayer and Bible Study with the other moms at the Child Survival Program. They valued the lessons on basic things like nutrition, developing fine motor skills, and child development.

We sat at Ana's home, under the shade of some palm trees and listened to her story, her testimony. Ruth, one of the Compassion workers shared a Bible verse with Ana and her family.

Isaiah 55:1 "Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost." 

Ruth leaned toward Ana, "What does that verse mean to you?"

"God is giving us spiritual food if we come to him," Ana said, "God is calling to us and He's asking us to join Him. Every day we need the mercy of the Lord. Even if we have no money. Come. Buy. Eat. If no one can help me in this land, God can do it. All the time we need to seek spiritual water, and we know we will find it when we seek the Lord."

 I seriously could write volumes about today - about the amazing children I met and the tireless workers who face unique challenges and dangers, about the mothers and the babies and the difference that Compassion is making in their lives.

I know there are a bazillion different agencies helping the poor, but I've seen this one behind the scenes and you won't meet a better group of people, with a passion and a love for the Lord and for the children of this country.

The Child Survival Program provides the following services for mothers and their babies:
*Regular medical exams for both the mother and the child, begining at pregnancy.
*Regular height and weight checks for the child
*Food supplementation for those children at nutritional risk.
*Vaccines and medicine as needed
*Mosquito nets for the sleeping area (which is very important in an area where Malaria and Dengue Fever are present).
*Regular classes on childcare and child development (covering basics like how to help develop fine motor skills, nutrition, how to keep your child safe from accidents or illnesses.)
*Workshops for the mothers so that they can learn a trade and help support themselves financially. (The CSP we visited today teaches the mothers how to sew. They are then able to make clothing for themselves and items to sell at markets). Ana was so proud to show us the skirt she finished sewing the day before.
*Bible Classes and Prayer Time
*Birthday parties for the mothers and their children (One mom said she was so excited for the chance to eat at a restaurant. And was proud to announce that there were TWO pinatas: One for the mothers and one for the children.
*The children also receive a developmentally appropriate toy every three months. Ana said that this was such a blessing since they don't have the resources to provide simple things like toys for their children.

I seriously could go on forever. As a mom myself, I felt a bond with these women. We all enter motherhood the same. Not entirely sure what to expect, not entirely sure what to do. I'm so thankful that the people of Compassion have come alongside these women and have sought to be a blessing in all areas of their lives: physical, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive/knowledge. Over and over again they wanted me to tell everyone how thankful they are for the program, that is has made a difference in their lives and in the lives of their children.

We talked with Ana about the dreams she has for her children. I want my children to know the Lord. I would love for my son to be a pastor or a president of youth. I want them to be leaders and to love the Lord, and thanks to the work of Compassion here in El Salvador, Ana's dreams for her dark-eyed son just may come true.