Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A little life lesson...

Watch this short eight minute clip. It's about growing up:

A Must-Watch For Anyone Frustrated With Growing Up

It's so funny because this evening I was stuck in a ginormous line at JoAnne Fabrics and there was a cranky lady at the check out desk. She was reaming the worker out for a sign that led her to believe one price, when in reality it was another price. The manager finally did an over-ride giving her the price she wanted as  she said super loud "...and ONLY because we need to move forward here and there is a long line waiting behind you!" When her total came up she counted out the correct change down to the penny, and then complained again. I couldn't hear the entire conversation but I began getting annoyed.

There were 10 people in front of me in line, and at least 10 more behind me. I got the snarky smirks from those around me, the snarly smirk that says "this lady is nuts... what an idiot..." I did the courteous smirk back, showing my understanding and agreement, but then I looked at the lady again, and this time I saw her with different eyes. I felt empathy towards her. The holidays are supposed to be merry and bright, but they are far from it usually. So many of us strive to make Christmas morning perfect for our kids. We strive to make our house perfect for company. We strive to make the best side dish to display at our mother-in-law's. We are all just trying to do our best. This lady was probably trying to do her best too. I imagined that she was on a tight budget and trying to make her money stretch as far as it could. Maybe she was trying to make home-made gifts for her kids or her siblings. I looked at her face and her cheeks were hot and flushed with frustration and probably embarrassment. Her daughter kept coming in to the store asking her when she was going to be done, that it was cold outside and "YOU HAVE BEEN IN HERE FOREVERRRRR!!" I said a little prayer for that woman, and I truly hoped that she would experience peace and hope.

In the clip I posted there is the mom struggling with the cranky kid. I've been there sooo many times.
There's the single girl, irritated with those around her. I've been there before.
There's the guy, mad that he has to wait in line. I've been there too.
There's the lady on her phone, annoying those around her. Been there.
And traffic. yep.

I love that it mentions that we have a choice about how we react in those "day to day" situations.
That it's not all about us.

I need to remember this daily. 'Cause most days I am stuck on feeling like it is all about me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

broken hearts lead to making a change

This past summer I became friends with one of the most wonderful women in the world. At our first playdate the kids gave us long enough periods of uninterrupted talk time that we were able to share our hearts on so many issues.  One huge heart ache that we had in common was over sex trafficking.

My eyes were opened to the huge overwhelming issue of sex trafficking a few years ago when my parents returned home from the One Thing conference at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I had no idea that this atrocity took place in the United States, and even here in Minnesota. At the conference they debuted the preview for a documentary. I wept as I watched. Over a year later I attended the documentary and it forever changed me.

But what difference could I make? How could I help? I'm just a stay-at-home-mama in Minnesota. I don't have time to volunteer. I don't have extra money to give. I have no resources to contribute to the fight for the lives of the women and children affected by sex trafficking.

I kept asking God "what am I supposed to do?! How can I help?!"

I have two friends that are making a difference in their own ways.

My friend Rachel started a makeup company called "be Lovely". She does home parties and raises awareness about women stuck in the sex industry. She sells beautiful lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows and liners that are all named after women and their beautiful attributes. She donates a percentage of her sales to organizations that help these women. You can check out her website at http://www.belovely.com/

My other friend Kjersti started a ministry called "Beautiful and Loved" that spreads love and encouragement to women in the sex industry. She and her team deliver gift bags and care packages to these women, reminding them that they are of great worth and value. You can find her website at http://www.beautifulandloved.com/

Recently my friend Jocelyn shared with me about a new business that empowers women out of poverty. Many women around the world try to claw their way out of poverty by working in a sweat shop or selling their bodies. Some are forced to abandon their babies or watch them starve and are so desperate that they are forced in to making money in dangerous, unfair and unhealthy ways. Trades of Hope partners with organizations that are giving women opportunities to make money at at livable wages. They are reaching out to women because statistically it is shown that when one woman is helped out, she brings four others with her.

My job is to be a voice for these women by sharing their stories and marketing their handcrafted goods. In return they receive wages that enable them to feed their families, get health care and send their babes to school. I even get a percentage that enables me to help support my family too.

This is a tangible way that I can help these women, raise awareness, and help make a difference even when I am deep in the trenches of raising small children and a busy family life.

If you would like to help in the most simplest way, if you would like to give a gift that is fair-trade and that helps make a difference this Christmas, please check out the website and place an order before December 16th to ensure that it is delivered on time.
Click   here to see my website and to look at the catalog. 

I've gotten so much support and confirmation in what I am doing with Trades of Hope. I am excited to see where it takes me this next year. 

If you have any questions or want to book a party with me, you can email me at sierrahegstrom@hotmail.com.

Peace be with you on this CHILLY Minnesota afternoon. The high for today is -1. I got to spend the morning with my sweet neighbor friend and her kiddos as we sipped coffee and had good conversation. I am so grateful for other mamas to spend time with during these dreadfully cold days. Hope you are staying warm today.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sugar Cookies, Noodle necklaces and a Thankful Heart. It's all worth it.

Hey friends!

Yeah, i'm done starting out each post with "oh em geeee it's been so long... sorry I SWEAR I am back to blogging regularly.... blah. blah. blaaaaaah......."

Life's been busy since the beginning of the fall. I'm over it. I've been in a blogging rut. So much is going on and I can't barely process through it all enough to write about any of it.

There are days when I am sure I am ruining my children. Then there are days when I am sure they are ruining me. Today was a little of both.

It's the holiday season, and Christmas will be here in 16 days (the only reason I know that is 'cause "Santa" told my boys that today). Am I prepared? no. Have I begun to shop? not so much. Do we have a tree yet? yes.... Does it have lights or ornaments yet? mmmm... no.

Currently Max and Gabriel are watching a Christmas movie. And Eli is in the kitchen I think, doing dishes. I'm sorta over this day. Mama needs a minute to write it out.

I tried creating fun Christmas memories tonight. I brought my boys (by myself) to our neighborhood coffee shop and eatery Groundswell since they hosted a little party for the kiddos with Santa, cookie decorating and crafts. We got there and the kids had a ball slathering gobs of frosting and spilling piles of sprinkles and candies decorating their cookies. The shop's baker, Megan, was so sweet and patient, allowing for total culinary artistic freedom. It was wonderful. I sipped my vanilla latte and was proud of myself for getting through the stress of getting them out the door in sub-zero weather.

That lasted about 15 minutes from the beginning of decorating to cookies being eaten. Then it was craft time. We took a break to meet with Santa. And of course Max asked me if Santa was real on our way back to the crafts.

Gabriel wasn't about to sit on that man's lap. he wouldn't even get close.

Santa explained to Max that it's important to be a good big brother and to be a good helper.
He wasn't messin' around. he knows Max's type.

Gabe decided to join in to the conversation about what everyone wanted for Christmas.
"I want a arrow and bow!" to which Santa replied, "well... I'll have to talk it over with your mother..."
If Santa was real, I'd want him to be just like this one. 

(**We don't do Santa in our house, so it's confusing for him when we tell him that in our house mama and daddy bring the gifts, and then he meets the jolly guy in real life. We explain that Santa was a real dude, a nice and generous guy who lived long ago and that  people pretend to be him every year around Christmas just for fun. I reminded him in a quiet whisper in front of the other excited kiddos waiting in line**)

Luckily my friend was there to help out during the noodle-bell necklace craft or I think I would've lost it. Max was irritating his brothers. Gabriel was freaking out over where his goody bag was (all while doing the "pee dance" since he refused to go potty before we left the house). Luckily Eli was being a pretty good boy. It was time to go, and as I stuffed their sticky candy cane stained hands in to their gloves, of course Eli spilled his glass of water, of course Max was actin' a fool and Gabe was trying to run out the door. Then my cheeks started to get hot and my throat tightens and I am wondering WHY THE HECK I THOUGHT I COULD PULL THIS OFF BY MYSELF. (Matt was working)

All in the name of trying-to-create-sweet-memories for my kids. Who knows. Who knows if they'll remember or not. If they'll remember that mom was stressed or if they'll just remember that mom braved whatever the turn out was going to be and did it anyway.

Bottom line: They had a huge sugar cookie piled high with frosting and sprinkles for dinner. They got to make their first noodle necklaces with bells on yarn. They got a pep talk from Santa.

On the way out to the car as I am acting like a chicken with her head cut-off  hustling my chicks in a row, I hear a "THANKTH MOM FOR BINGING UTH TO THE COFFEE THOP!"

There. There it was. A thankful heart. It was worth it.
I'm exhausted. I'm just glad they got full off the cookies.

Gabe just saw my new fox earrings and asked "mom? what does the fox say?" Cue the fox song. They know it by heart.

peace out.