Encouragement for Moms – Productive Relaxation

Around the age of 30 I took a serious inventory of my life. I was married to the man I loved, had a wonderful two-year-old son, a beautiful newborn daughter, and I made a difference daily in the lives of the children I taught.

This is it, I thought, I have accomplished all my goals. I was still patting myself on the back for a life well-lived when a thought entered my mind. What about my book?

Ah, yes, the book I started my last year in college. The Christian romance that I promised myself I would finish every year, usually before my birthday. The story that had been rolling around in my head for a decade. What about that book?

I enjoyed writing even as a child. I spent hours thinking of stories and then writing them. I considered it my hobby before I had kids.

I sighed. Would this be one more thing I sacrificed for my kids? I had scrapbooks unfinished and drawers of stamps I had no time to use. Would this story that had developed over a decade go untold as well? That night I decided I would accomplish this goal as well.

Twenty minutes a day, that’s where I started. After dinner when the dishes were done, I would sneak into the office and type away. My husband, Jeff, supported my efforts, but at first there were many interruptions – a screaming baby, a demanding toddler, and something really important always ended up missing as soon as I went into hiding. Some days I wrote only a few sentences. Rather than giving up, I grew more persistent because, as I used my gift, I found peace. I could feel the stress of the day literally melt away as I entered my fictional world. I craved more. And then one day about three months into my pursuit, the most awesome thing happened. I was in the midst of making dinner after coming home from a stressful day of work. My head hurt and the kids were whining. I thought I was going to lose it any minute.

“Why don’t you go write?” Jeff removed the spoon I was stirring the spaghetti sauce with from my hand. “I’ve got this. Go write so you can relax.”

My mouth opened, ready to argue with him, until I realized what he had done. He had granted me freedom to unwind.

My husband hasn’t always been around to help me achieve my balance of writing time, especially when he started working nights; however, making sure the kids had a strict bedtime gave me hours to write while waiting for him to come home. Even now my ten and twelve year old know Mom is off the clock at 8:30 p.m. That’s my time to sit with my laptop and get lost in my writing. I have found doing something I love provides me more joy and peace than any amount of time watching TV or doing other mindless activities.

I know what you’re thinking. “You don’t know how exhausted I am at night. It takes all my energy to make it through the day. I can’t be productive.”

I do understand, because I’ve been there. I literally spent an entire summer on the couch, in pain, watching TV and playing games on my phone trying to avoid my pathetic reality. Where did it get me? More pathetic than when I began. The next summer was just as painful and I finished one book and started another, both of which have been published.

productive relaxation

What if writing isn’t your gift? I have a friend who loves to crochet. She sits at night after the kids have gone to bed and has made baby blankets and hats to give to birthing centers. Another friend loves cooking, so she blesses sick moms and new moms with meals. Another loves crafting and is always coming up with creative ways to bless people. I use the trivets she recently made me daily. My friend that loves exercising started a free weekly exercise class for women. She inspired many ladies on to good health and habits.

I still go on Facebook for about fifteen minutes a day. My husband and I enjoy watching TV together occasionally, but I know from experience there is such a thing as productive relaxation. The trick is finding the passion you have and using it to enrich the lives of others. The coolest part? Not only will you be using your gifts to bless others, but your kids will see it. My daughter loves art. Once a week she does some kind of project and often gives it away to someone else. My son has a passion for reptiles. While other people rescue cats and dogs, he rescued bearded dragons this year. You may think reptiles don’t have feelings, but I do believe our four beasts know my son’s love for them.

I think it’s time we stop resorting to mindless entertainment in what little free time we have as mothers. Make the best use of your child’s nap time or that fifteen minutes you sit waiting for your kids to get out of school by doing an activity you enjoy that will benefit others. My writing? It started out as something I did for myself, to release all those stories that were stuck in my head. Today it has turned into a way to encourage and inspire others. One hundred years from now it won’t matter how many candies you crushed or if you knew the latest dirt on the popular movie stars. Take what little free time you have and pour it into something you can truly be proud of. Trust me, it will be worth the effort and you will find the peace and relaxation you are looking for.

Father’s Day Quotes: 11 Quotes to Show Dad You Care

Father’s Day is a great day to show your husband and/or dad you care.  From our family to yours, we celebrate our dads everywhere this weekend with 11 quotes.  Happy Father’s Day!

Father's Day Quotes

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California Moms Declare #NotOneMore

On May 23 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.  The assailant killed seven people including himself and wounded thirteen people.   In the aftermath of the incident California dad Richard Martinez, whose son was killed in the Santa Barbara shootings, said the following:

“Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: Not One More. People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”

As California moms, we stand proudly alongside Richard Martinez and ask you to join us in declaring #NotOneMore.

Time For Justice Message Showing Law And Punishment


  • This is not the first incident that has involved gun violence affecting our schools (ie Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Harvard, University of Texas, etc..).
  • There has been a school related shooting every other day in January 2014, February 2014 & April 2014. Check list of school shootings for a full report.
  • According to the Children Defense report on Gun violence,  since 1963, three times as many children and teens have been killed by guns on American soil than U.S. soldiers have been killed in action in wars abroad. From 1963-2010, 166,500 children and teens were killed by guns in the United States, while a combined total of 52,183 U.S. soldiers were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars.


  1. Send a postcard to your local representative:  Send a postcard to your members of Congress and Governor to tell them that enough is enough and we demand action to protect our children from future similar incidents. We want the loopholes closed that allow dangerous people to purchase guns.
  2. Sign Santa Barbara Not One More:  Tell Congress: “I join Richard Martinez and demand immediate action to curb gun violence — NOT ONE MORE. Pass gun safety policies like comprehensive background checks on all gun purchases now.”

Best Mother’s Day Ideas For Inland Empire Moms

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 11, and locally there are some great ways to show your love and appreciation for hard-working Mom.   The Inland Empire is full of small businesses offering ways to shower her with love and appreciation.  Whether you go out or stay in, shower her with gifts or put all your love into something homemade, here are some ideas for Mother’s Day plans for any budget.
A gift from the heart
Commemorate her time as a mother by having all of the kids pitch in on a project. Have everyone hand-draw a card featuring their favorite memories. Trace everyone’s hands on top of another in different colors to freeze the moment in time, or bribe them with ice cream to get them to all smile at the came at the same time and put it in a lovely photo frame for her workstation.  Even better- let her put on a nice shirt and some lipstick and get her in the shot too!
Photo advice- pick a neutral background, dress them in similar colors and, if they refuse to sit still, incorporate favorite toys to frame them.

Photo advice- pick a neutral background, dress them in similar colors and, if they refuse to sit still, incorporate favorite toys to frame them.
Spa Day
Actually, mom would like to get covered in mud and lay out in the sun to dry. Give her the gift of an afternoon to Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona where she can coat herself in mud and enjoy several bubbling pools before relaxing under a shady tree.
Admission $46-64, spa treatments extra, GlenIvy.com
 Flowers are always nice
Skip ordering from the florist (unless you have a favorite shop- support local business!) and go to your local farmer’s market the day before. Find fresh local blooms at great prices- grab a couple bunches and make a one-of-a-kind bouquet for her to put in a favorite vase (or look for a pretty one at a local thrift store). Temecula Old Town Farmers Market 8 am-12:30  Facebook
Give her the night off
Give mom the night off and round up the kids for cooking dinner. Make a favorite or just do something easy – just be sure to clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher while she is watches her favorite Netflix show.
Sweets for the Sweet
Give her a treat to enjoy, by herself, in a comfortable spot (hopefully) far away from fighting kids and crying babies. Casey’s Cupcakes, which started by the Mission Inn in Riverside and was the 2011 Cupcake Wars winner, is featuring an almond-raspberry cupcake this month. The shop also has gluten-free and sugar-free versions available. From $3.50 CaseysCupcake.com
Fill the Air with Love
Treat mom to some scented candles. Is she a latte lover? Try a candle from Bennett Candle in Redlands. Does she love her morning coffee? Try one named after local favorite shop Augie’s Coffee. Or give her a four-piece sampler in a rustic box she can set out and enjoy even without the wicks lit! Prices vary from $9-$45. BennettCandle.com
Time Out
Let mom take a book and go to the local coffee shop to read a couple chapters or relax in the bath with the door locked (no knocking). Make sure that she comes back from her break to the house looking at least as nice as she left it – get the kids to chip in on a couple chores around the house so they don’t demolish the living room while’s she’s relaxing.
Any more ideas? What are your favorite ways to treat your mom on Mother’s Day?