Thank you for all you are giving to your families during these times. Emotions are high for some of you — worried about finances, health, and schooling. Others of you are seeing this slower reality as a gift of time with your kiddos. Most of us are recognizing how much of life is really not in our control, and it’s times like this that test the foundations of our faith. Wherever you are, God is there with you with NO judgement. We are, too. When the Courageous Girls movement was created, it came from a place of knowing how much we need each other and was built to create intentional community that withstands the storms. Prior to this pandemic, many of you may have felt like you were already living in the middle of an earthquake (some in the Utah area may have literally been living through an earthquake). Add this pandemic to that life and perhaps it feels more like a tsunami has hit. Though we are recommending you take a break from in-person meetings as we protect one another from exposure, we do need to stay connected. Here are some things that might help:
Try a group text between moms to send prayers, funny photos, or updates.
Have your daughters Facetime with each other or create a Zoom meeting for all of them to meet up at a designated time together.
Consider starting a group email with the girls and let them encourage one another in words.
Take time to focus on how you can serve the elderly or those in financial need right now.
If you want to continue with your scheduled lessons, try a virtual meeting. Applications like Zoom Meetings or Google Meet Up can help you facilitate this. Our CG coaches are willing to help you get this started if you are unfamiliar with these tools.
A courageous mama sees the long-range view ahead. Remember to keep your eyes up and to have faith in what you will know to be true, in hind-sight. We need each other right now. Lean in.
Because of Grace,
The Courageous Girls Leadership Team
Terra, Beth, Steph, Janelle & Jeff
Ideas While the Kids are Home
As a public school mom (who admires homeschool moms but is not quite as equipped), I texted my friend Steph and asked for her help. It actually sounded more like, “HELP! GIVE ME SOME TIPS!”
She replied with insightful wisdom: “Just enjoy the time with your kids.” Thankfully, I am equipped to do that. In fact, we all are!
This is a gift (whether it feels like it or not). We are all learning how to navigate UNPLANNED time. Being bored and unscheduled is similar to the “good ol’ days,” and this type of lifestyle can end up being better for souls, relationships, and brain development.
Here are just a couple tips (as we know everyone is offering you ideas right now):
Set a regular rhythm, but leave room for spontaneity, freedom, and grace.
Take your mornings at a slower pace; enjoy connecting over breakfast with dialogue. Have a regular question: “What did you notice the most yesterday? How are you feeling and why?”
Read a book as a family or listen to one on audio. Maybe check in with your CG group and get recommendations of any good reads.
End the day with some hope. We are revisiting the You Are Special series by Max Lucado. Perhaps you have a favorite family devotional? Finish up your day inspired and hopeful! This is especially important before bedtime.
We’ve recently learned that Oregon schools will not be asking us to maintain their traditional school curriculum at home. Other states might operate differently, as are several online and private schools. Steph reminded me of all the ways “life” is full of lessons we can take advantage of with our kids home: bake together, play games together, cuddle longer. All these things are a gift when most of us are used to going from one thing to the next.
Two of our favorite organizations have created fun doodle sheets for younger kiddos. Utilize these worksheets to bring TRUTH into your home. Coloring is also a very therapeutic way to lower stress levels and produce “happy hormones” instead.
For more integration, try using your CG journals to connect with your daughters in writing. Perhaps this is an integrated, daily time to write thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, prayers, or scriptures? Alternatively, maybe it works best for your family to do it more spontaneously and go back through past lessons you’ve already done and re-discover things you want to talk more about together. These can be rich tools full of encouragement and an active way to continue engaging with your daughter in meaningful ways.
As my dear mentor said when I was a new mom, “Lower your expectations and expand your timelines.” I might also add: "Take a deep breath here and there, too.” From one mom to another, our kids will remember the time they had with us more than they remember academics, social distancing, and other cultural norms learned during these next couple of months.
In this with you,
Founder of Courageous Girls
Author of Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace
Courageous Girls Blog: Pressing Into Conflict by Stephanie West
"Conflict is a necessary ingredient in the process of being known and building intimacy" (Terra Mattson, Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace).
As Moms, we expect conflict between our children, We expect it between our kiddos and friends they play with. When my kids were toddlers and preschoolers, I welcomed disagreements as they provided learning moments I could teach within. As they have gotten older, though, I catch myself uttering the words, "Can you please just get along?" Or, "Please stop disagreeing," negating the fact that my kids still need to learn how to move through conflict. Conflict allows depth to develop within relationship. Walking through conflict, owning one's mistakes and practicing the act of forgiveness are valuable learning moments for kids and adults, alike. Read more here.
We are grateful the InCourage Gathering has even been rescheduled for July 10 & 11, 2020 with such short notice. The overwhelming outpouring of support from registrants, speakers and volunteers has been a gift. If anyone cannot make the new dates, please email co-owner/co-founder of Living Wholehearted Jeff Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you with your options.