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Pampers in the Pews featured on Bible.org

Hey there wonderful people I am so blessed to share with you my latest article for Bible.org Engage-  “A Millennial’s Journey into Women’s Ministry” I am a true supporter of bridging the gap and loving each other well across generations!

check it out I would love your feedback

http://blogs.bible.org/engage/christen_jacobs/a_millennials_journey_into_womens_ministry

 

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Why Kim K just may be my pregnancy hero

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West catch a movie together

So right about now those of you who know me or those who just operate on common sense are probably doing a “Say what now?!”  I admit there are not many things that would make me put the word hero and Kim K in the same sentence.

But my honest truth is that she really is a model for pregnancy for me. Let me tell you why…

She wasn’t blessed with a “cute” pregnancy and that’s ok!

Yes I know all pregnancies are beautiful but lets face it some ladies have that perfectly round ball and no fat that appears any where on her body! People asked me all the time if I was going to do a pregnancy photo shoot. My answer was no! I enjoyed feeling baby move inside of me, I enjoyed the pregnancy attention I got but I did not love the way I looked.  In my first pregnancy I never seemed to pop out! In fact I got wider and wider until my belly button just collapsed on itself.  I was ok with that but I didn’t have the picturesque pregnancy that you see in magazines and neither did Kim! So a real life famous person had a baby bulge instead of a baby bump and the world got to see that this is a beautiful pregnancy too!  Work that bulge Kim K! You are a trail blazer for wide pregnant women every where!

She had cankles and the world needs to learn about this! Stop telling lies to young aspiring mothers every where! Your feet will grow and heels will spread and they may never come back!  

Ok I will not tell a lie this was a tragic choice of foot wear on her behalf. However this happens in pregnancy! This is what many moms suffer through before the bouncing baby comes! Kim K! Work those cankles and try another shoe but good for you!

Kim K feet

She is not afraid of having babies back to back! 

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Come next May I will have 3 kids 3 and under! I love my life! I love my Kids but to most people you would think that I have somehow lost my mind having so many children back to back. Here are the top front runners of strange rhetoric about having multiple children.

  1. You guys need a TV in the bed room! ummm ok we have a TV in our bedroom but we also like to engage in marital intimacy is that ok with you.
  2. Don’t you know how to use birth control. Why yes my husband was actually a sex ed teacher for some time you know.
  3. (Now on my third pregnancy) Are you going to have your tubes tied?  …I am glad that you are concerned for my reproductive organs however I think I would rather have a conversation about life altering surgery with husband… THANK YOU!
  4. After I found out about my second child another mother says… Oh I am so sorry…I’m like sorry for what? The miracle of life? No need to be sorry we love having our kids close in age.

 

All in all you can see that Kim is an every day women pregnancy hero. She isn’t concerned about what social norms say about how many children you have and how long you should wait. For me when I often feel like a baked potato warped in foil I am proud to see another lumpy pregnancy in media.

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Dear White People: I’m black and I need tips doing my multi-racial Child’s hair 

I giggle as I write this because I am in a major role reversal when it comes to hair sos calls.

Most white people run to the Internet or black friends to figure out what to do with their adoptive or bi-racial children. I’ve read fantastic stories of white patents working hard to learn the mystery of our thick tress. But here I sit on the other side of the grass and it’s not so green.

Here is the thing, my lovely chica has very fine whispy hair. Its got a bit of a curl to it but won’t stay in one place. It won’t hold hair clips or ties and head bands slip off like crazy!

What to do!!!!! I’ve tried brushing it with a little water to lay the curls down to no avail. I’ve tried frizz control and curl boasters with no luck. We wash her hair about every other day and use conditioner.

Now don’t get me wrong baby girl would be cute wearing a burlap sack but every once and a while I’ve taken her out only to notice all the other girl’s hair looks like their parents did something to it….. I’m over here like……well I tried.

Since little mama’s hair is fine it’s taking longer to grow in so there is no pony tail swag and certainlyimg_3506 no braiding. I am certain the answer is out there. Maybe this time from a white mom who can help this black mom with some tips????

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The Lord Keeps Blessing Me Right now Oh Right Now

I usually don’t do this, but when the Lord provides its a glimpse for others who are going through!

As many young families both working in the world of non-profit money is tight!

As I am now pregnant with my 3rd child one of my needs has been maternity clothes. Honestly I think I had given most of them away lol.

I could go on and on about how God has stretched our little tight budget to graciously cover 2 cars a house 2.5 children who eat like they are grown and lots of lovely undergrad debt. But today I just want to focus on what God has done today! As in foot in the door at work and he has provided!

While maternity clothes have been an issue for some time I don’t necessarily remember formally praying about this. I know my husband and I have sat down and looked at the budget to see where we can fit in a piece here and a piece there. But I can’t say that I even uttered a request to the Lord.

Even so I walked in to work today an a sweet co-worker had two maternity dress pants on my desk. I didn’t ask her for this but she was led to do it! (Praise Dance Number One Ensues)

After catching up on emails I stroll over to our Women’s Bible Study and a sweet friend of mine hands me a bag with yet another shirt I can wear! Again she had no clue (Now initiating praise dance number 2)

While speaking with this friend another friend tells me she caught a sale and picked up two maternity dresses for me.  (Let the count down begin for praise dance number 3)

So lets just circle back and observe what happened hear: God heard my unspoken prayer that I truly wasn’t even thinking about today. I came to work and received 2 pair of pants, 1 shirt, and 2 dresses all from people who I did not ask.

So ask me again if God’s hand is over me and that her perfects all things concerning me even down to the smallest detail.

I can say nothing but sing this little song “The Lord, is blessing me, right now, oh right now.” praise

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My kids are with my husband and they are ok

My mother was a stay at home mom.  She is college educated as a teacher, and smart as a whip, but when she began to have children she decided to stay at home and invest in us. I am forever indebted to her for her sacrifices.

Even at an early age I knew the benefit I had in my mother. If I left my lunch at home, she was at the school to delivery it. She knew my teachers and they knew her. She was president of the PTA. She always had dinner on the table. She was with us to drop us off from school and pick us up after. She was present and I was blessed.

I, like most little girls, wanted to be just like my mom. I was driven in school and set career goals but I knew eventually I wanted to be a stay at home mom. But when it came to be my turn, it just didn’t seem like a good fit for me.

I had a bit of an identity crisis as I returned from maternity leave the first day.  There I was with my 3 month old baby bundle, it was like 6:30 am in the morning. I am not a 6:30 am type of girl. And here I am at this ungodly hour with a smile plaster across my face. I was gripping the steering wheel with excitement! I was ready to return to work.

I no longer had a pull to stay at home and quit my job. I honor those who do but it just didn’t seem like what was playing out in my own life.

I do full time ministry which means that I work Sundays, some Saturdays, some evenings and I am generally on call for just about anything.  Don’t get me wrong, I prioritize my family, I cook dinner almost every day. I hug and kiss my babies, I teach them, walk with them, train them, pray with them and invest in them daily. But the difference is that when you may particularly expect to see a mother with her children, mine are with my husband.

There are several Saturdays that I kiss my son and daughter set them up in the bed with my half sleep husband and put on a movie to give him just a little bit more rest before they are ready to really get moving.

Sundays are a work day for me. I am either, teaching or training, planning and greeting. There are many times I can steel away for a service and nestle in next to my husband and hold my baby girl to my chest as we listen to the sermon. I wish I had more times like that but the times I do have I cherish.

Most Wednesday Nights my husband puts dinner on the table and I get home after the babies have gone to sleep. I admit sometimes I listen for them to stir so I can pick them up and rock them. I do miss them something terrible throughout the day.

When I am out and about on my job people ask me all the time “Where are your kids?” I get things like “Christen I am starting to believe you don’t have children.” I honestly feel like I need to have a shirt made that says “My kids are with my husband and they are ok!”

I get this question all the time and I wonder, “well do people ask you where your kids are at when you are at work?” Do they assume they are not safe and cared for because they are not up under you as you go from task to task?

Men and Women seem to be perplexed about how I can do what I do. My answer is always the same, by the grace of God and the consistent presence of my husband.  I can’t do what I do without him bottom line and guess what he is ok with having to fill in the gaps on my behalf.

As we face a culture of fatherlessness, my kids are blessed to have a father. Not only are they  blessed to have a father but they have a father that is actually willing to change diapers, cook and clean and bring the kids to church on his own. But yet somehow that is not enough!

One day after explaining to a group of people, how my husband is the key in allowing me to play my role, there is yet still the push that if I am not the one cooking on a Wednesday night, if I am not the person who is watching Saturday morning cartoons, if I am not the person who dresses them for church that somehow my family is missing out. Some how I am not fulfilling my call as a mom.

So this is my challenge and my response. My kids are ok, in fact they are more than ok. They have the love of their mother and they have the love of their father. They know what it is for their dad to comprise what others view as traditional gender roles for the sake of this children. They know what it is like to be rocked to sleep by mom and by dad. They know that my husband has cleaned up their vomit, cleaned up their poop and cleaned up their tears. They know that this whole God thing isn’t just something that belongs to mom, but that dad on his own volition and his own will leaves the house on Sunday morning long after I have gotten up. He baths them, he dresses them he cooks for them he packs extra clothes for them, he brings bottles and snacks for them. He manages to get two toddlers in and out of the car by himself and sits in church, often without me by his side, because this God thing is not just my thing, but it’s his priority and he is passing it on to my family.

So next time you wonder where in the world my children are, they are not wandering the streets. They are with their dad and they are ok.

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Easy Tips to stop being a slob

So I am new to this mom game. I have two kids ages 2 and 10 months and they are both movin and grovin.  My son spilled his green smoothie (on purpose!) all of the floor the other day! I make these for him because he refuses to eat vegetables so he drinks them.  Baby girl is crawling now and the days of watching her play on a blanket have come and gone. She really is like blood hound, sniffing out every single little thing that may or may not be edible on the floor.

I have a husband ,who I love dearly of course. He gets upset when I leave dishes on the counter, yet he leaves just about everything everywhere! One time I found a piece of pop tart in the tub! Don’t ask don’t tell.

Then of course there is me…While I like to pretend that I am prim and proper. If left to my own devices I would more than likely not bathe for a couple of days, and watch Netflix in my unmentionables.

So when it comes to being sloppy its 4 against 1; the one being the faint hints of will power that over take me from time to time to actually do something about it.  In honor of my little sprinkles of will power I figured I would write about things I have learned along the way to challenge our sloppy trajectory and manage the clutter.

A place for everything and everything in its place 

Of course the house is sloppy when you don’t have room for what you have! When this occurs you have two options: get rid of stuff, or move to a bigger place. Gratefully my family did the later a couple of months ago. We went from a 600 square foot apartment to a 4 bedroom house and BAM! Presto Chango I am a better house keeper without even trying! More room means I have more places to put things away.

You must must must get rid of things you don’t use

If you haven’t  worn it, used it or played with it in a year it needs to go! We donate things all the time even things we may need down the road. For instance I am an avid donator of baby clothes. I keep the kids clothes stored away in diaper boxes (because lets face it, a mother of small children has no shortage of these) and I always keep a give away box handy. I’ve been asked, “but Christen what if you have another girl soon?” Time has taught me that what I release I typically get back. We have yet to buy our daughter one article of clothing in almost a year’s time because our friends and family have been so generous with new and gently used clothes.

Try not to keep ever single thing your child has ever done! 

I love my babies just as much as the next mom but if you intend to keep every single scribble they have ever done you may as well go ahead and purchase and off site storage unit for yourself. Choose the special things that have good memories attached and grab a special box or a folder to store it in.

Place clothes baskets everywhere! 

I cannot stress this enough. Really every square inch of our home should be covered in clothes baskets. If you ask any mom, aside from the toys, they will tell you that managing sloppy clothes pile ups is the number one problem. I recently asked a vet mom and wife WHEN WILL THE CLOTHES EVER STOP! Her response, NEVER!!!!! Now I am blessed to have a husband that does the majority of the laundry (More on that later), but I still have to manage the mess. I have noticed that clothes start to pile up in key areas: outside of the bathroom, at the foot of our bed, in the entry way to the family room and in the entry way to the house. So instead of beginning the painstaking process of behavior modification why not just place receptacles all over? If you are wondering how this would mess up your decor, ask yourself, Would you rather look at a t laundry basket or a pile of sweaty socks and old wash rags?

Involve your kiddos in the cleaning

My oldest loves to clean so I give him a towel and let him have at it! In fact he gets made when I try to clean his highchair because he wants to do it.

Buy a swiffer wet Jet!

 This thing is ahhhh-mazing!  We all know the wet jet is not for the deep cleans! But if you do it often enough you will never ever ever ever have to wring out an actual mop another day in your life! Also did you know they make a cartridge for Hard Wood Floors! I just swap out the fluid to do my wood floors and we are golden! (BTW I do use the pads twice to save money they are typically worn out of after two times)

Spray down your sink and shower daily!

I hate cleaning the bathroom like most other human beings. So I learned at camp when we had tons and tons of ladies taking multiple showers a day, that if you spray down your shower after every use you will not need to scrub it so often. I am reluctant to say never, but it will be a rare occasion that you have to get on your knees. I use 409 bathroom cleaner or any other non-bleach antibacterial spray. No need to by that supper awkward and expensive self cleaner for the shower, a couple of sprays and you are good to go.

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. 

I admit I can be a procrastinator, most slobs are. So I have to remind myself not to be a slacker. It is super embarrassing but I am the type of person who will walk by a piece of paper on the ground and keep going thinking, “I’ll just do it later.” If you are like me, later becomes never. So if you can do it, do it as soon as you can and you will find you have more time to rest later.

Don’t do a half “A” job

Ok I try not to cuss and reference cuss word in my writings lol but this one will stick with you as it did with me. My father, who also does not cuss (Had to clean that up dad), gave me a long talk about this after I swept the floor as a child. He told me that his father before him taught him this phrase lol. I got the lecture because like most children, I was more concerned with playing than cleaning and I had found ways to cut corners and do things halfheartedly. I have found that this terrible habit has followed me into adulthood. As I sweep the floor I may see a crumb tucked away in the corner and I think oh well the high traffic areas are clean! NO Christen don’t do a half “A” job do a full “A” job. I repeat this mantra to myself. In fact if I put in just a little more effort to get the job done right in the first place, I don’t have to address the mess later on.

The Final One, and this is a Doozie! Don’t expect your family members to automatically get with the program. 

Ladies you can spend your entire life trying to get your husband to properly clean his shaving clippings out of the sink or you can save yourself the hassle and frustration by simply cleaning it up yourself. Is this fair? NO OF COURSE but life is not fair and marriage is not fair. From one day to the next he may give more effort than you and then you turn around and do the same. There is no even steven in marriage. I have heard that once your family sees the benefit of these changes they typically fall in line. (The verdict is still out on this one.)

Please Note: This is a disclaimer mostly for my hubs that I am not perfect at this. He and I are both at fault in our mess so we do have to work together, however in cleaning and in marriage you get the best results when you focus on working on yourself then spreading the love!

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3 years and 2 babies later…. Happy Anniversary boo

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Oct 4th 2011 a couple of friends sitting around the table, Primanti Bros Sandwiches, and a bit of liquid courage and a young man decided to direct message a young maiden saying “I think your beautiful.”

August 24th 2015, a wedding, lots of fights, lots of laughter, lots of praying 3 years and 2 babies later here we are.

I lay next to him on a sleepy Saturday and propped my arm up over his chest. He snores.  My arm moved up and down with each long breath. I stared at his whispy beard, he is always threatening to grow out but he always cuts it off after a month. He has a fragrance about him. Not a bad one, not a particularly good one just a him one.

There was something about the concrete density of his body under my arm that reminded me that he is real. That we are real, that my life was real.

But Oct 4th 2011 friends, burgers, beer… and now you are mine and I am yours.