MOMbassadors Interview: Mary of Hope Handmade

Good morning, y’all! I have another fabulous interview with a lovely mama for you today, but first, the moment that you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s announce the winners to our big celebration week of giveaways, shall we?

{Drum roll, please}

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The winner of the Lisa Leonard $75 Shop Credit is:

Anne Marie who said: “I am a black thumb because I have managed to kill things that require VERY LITTLE to keep alive…like ferns and ivy. Yes, I have killed ivy. :)

The winner of the the African Sunset Necklace from Noonday is:

Haleigh Forrest who said: “When I take my jewelry off, it usually ends up on the bathroom sink!

The winner of The Pleated Poppy $75 shop credit is:

Rachel Vacco who said: “I lug all my stuff around in a backpack/diaper bag. I’m close to NOT, but still not there! Sometimes, if I get to go out sans kids, I carry a red leather purse.”

The winner of the Jo Totes $100 shop credit is:

Chanta Harris who said: “Depending on what I need and where I am I usually improvise…or run to Wal-Mart ;-)

The winner of the MOMbassadors/Jones Design art bundle is:

Jessica who said: “The best advice I’ve received is to major in the majors and minor in the minors. AKA don’t make a huge deal out of something small :)

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A big ol’ CONGRATULATIONS to all of our winners! You’ll be hearing from our giveaway sponsors soon!

That was so. much. fun, y’all! I think we should do it again sometime.

Oh, hey, how about now?

Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to my friend and fellow MOMbassador:

marykrausemombassadors

Mary is so much fun. She’s a home school mama to four who also blogs occasionally  (and whenever she does, it’s good) over at Finding Healthy Hope. And she’s an instagram ninja (I LOOOOOOOVE her feed).

mary's family

Here she is with her adorable brood (did you see her little boy’s TIE??) and her husband, who, from all of Mary’s descriptions, is quite a catch.

I want to be half as hip and artsy as Mary when I grow up.

Speaking of artsy, Mary is graciously offering us $25 shop credit to Hope Handmade, her family’s Etsy shop where you can custom order all kinds of amazing hand-stamped jewelry and embroidery goodness. I’ll take two of each, please.

hopehandmadecredit

I asked Mary to stop by today and share her thoughts on motherhood because I am always so inspired by her obvious love for her family, her creativity, her commitment to her Lord, and her incredible words and pictures that she shares on a daily basis via instagram (it may sound a bit silly, but reading Mary’s instagram feed is kind of like attending an art gallery and church all at once…in the best way).

I also asked Mary to pick an item to give away to you that best represented her and something she loves, and she picked this natural wax Barr-co. candle in Grapefruit, about which she says: “It’s my FAVORITE candle and body product companies!  I’m officially addicted.”

candle

Which means you have a chance to win $50 worth of goodies (entry options at the end of the interview).

Let’s get to it, shall we? Mary is a wordsmith and a woman after my own heart (I ♥ words a lot in case you hadn’t noticed), and I love how thoughtful and detailed her answers are.

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Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, Mommy etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?

Hmmmmm…..it’s really hard for me to choose because my seven year old calls me mommy, my 2 girls call me mom, and my nine year old son, Jack, calls me mother(swoon).   I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that hearing the word ‘mother’ come from his sweet little lips doesn’t melt my heart every.single.time.  There’s just something so wonderful about each of the titles, though.  Some days all I hear is, “mom, mom, mom, mom, mooooooom, MOM!” and I think my head might just explode, but when I sit back and really ponder the task that I have been given, and the lives that I have been entrusted with, I can’t help but feel so grateful that they each call me their mom. 

What’s your take on our modern society’s view of motherhood? Is it given its due? Praised/criticized for the right reasons?

I feel like there is a real war and spiritual battle raging against the Biblical model of moms and families these days.  The root of the problem, in my opinion, is that our society has strayed SO far away from the fundamentals of family that are so clearly outlined in God’s Word.  He has set up a wonderful model for families that we can all follow.  When we start to govern ourselves outside of those parameters, we start to see the crumbling of all that is good around us.  The glamorization/insinuation of women needing a career, while having status, and making tons of money, to be successful, has really damaged families in general.  The world’s deceiving philosophy, for women, that we need to boost self esteem, focus on ourselves while following our hearts is a very dangerous path to trod.  In John 3:30, John says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”, which is the exact opposite of the world’s teaching.  These words definitely apply to my prideful, ugly, and praise seeking heart.  Being a homemaker is one of the most valuable, trying, and rewarding jobs there could ever be, but I know full well that not everyone has the option of this.  My husband often says that my life insurance policy should be more than his because He could not afford to pay everyone for all of the jobs that I do.  He’s a keeper.  :)

{I loved that line!}

You have four kids of varying ages (two boys and two girls), and you home school. What do you find to be the best (and then the most challenging) aspects of home schooling a range of ages/genders?

This year we added a high schooler to the mix over here.  YIKES!  When did that happen? (enter me in the fetal position rocking here)  I would have to say that the most challenging thing about teaching different ages in school is just that.  Having four different curriculum for each subject and child and keeping it all in order and graded.  WHEW!  I am very particular when it comes to organizing and having a ‘place’ for everything.  Being organized keeps my head clear, which leads to less stress and a happier home :)    The best thing about home schooling different ages would have to be watching my older children step up, as I give them opportunity(control freak!), and teach the younger ones.  It is awesome!  I am a firm believer in one room school houses, and for the most part, my kids are each learning varying degrees of the same things. I lost my oldest to high school and her own separate studies, but my second born daughter, Madelyn, is a born teacher/activity director.   She thrives on it!   When she grows up, she wants to be a missionary teacher and I envision her to be an excellent teacher to her own children one day as well.

mary's family laughing

Oh, and mamas!  Guard your hearts from the comparison monster that likes to creep up on us all.  We are all at different stages of life and I truly believe that one of the devil’s most deceptive tactics is comparison.  It truly is the death of contentment and the thief of joy.  When we focus on Him and earnestly seek His plan for us, and do it diligently, what other people are doing or think  doesn’t matter one bit! 

What did you want to be “when you grew up?” Where did motherhood factor into that?

All I ever wanted to do after high school was get married and have children.  Seven to be exact.  God has blessed me so immensely with the desires of my heart throughout the last 15 years.  I graduated high school, got married seven months later, and 13 months after that, our firstborn, Eleanor was born.  :)

mary's family playground

You are a healthy living devotee. How do you pass on this passion to your kids in a world full of junk/processed foods?

It’s one thing to tell my children to make wise choices, and it’s another thing to actually DO them.  If I don’t make wise choices and implement that into my children’s lives, they simply will not do it either.  I try to explain to them that what we put in and on our bodies really does matter and that we may not see/feel effects of that immediately, but in the long run we will feel and see the benefits.  In fact, we already do in some areas.  We aren’t striving for perfection, but we are striving for wisdom and the care of these temples that God has given us.  I like to say we are focusing on the prevention of disease and not the treatment of it.  Eating healthier now may cost a little more money and the reallocating of money in our budget, but I do believe that you will either pay now, with good food and supplementation, or you will pay later, with doctor bills and disease.  We do not eat perfectly, not even close.  We eat cookies and processed foods all the time, but we do try to balance and practice moderation.  I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, so it’s a tough juggle between wanting to eat whole, organic, unprocessed foods and the fact that our one income budget simply cannot afford it.  God is teaching me through this journey that we need to give thanks for what we have, ask Him to bless it, and use the wisdom that we know to implement as many positive, life giving choices as we can! 

What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest). 

Hands down, my best piece of advice for moms out there is to stay in the Word(Bible) DAILY and pray your hearts out!  This mama gig is no joke and you better believe that the devil preys on each and every one of us on a daily basis to deter us from doing what God has called us to do.  He is so good at making us feel inadequate, bringing out others strengths to make us jealous and defeated, and giving us these high and lofty expectations of others toward us, that when they don’t happen, we crumble.  Can you tell I’ve been there?  It’s a daily battle for me, but even if I only have a few minutes, I read my favorite devotionals found here and here followed by reading my Bible(even if it’s just an encouraging verse to cling to).  It’s a reset and recharge for your soul that you will find no where else.  

Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?

One of my very favorite verses is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

I recited this verse with my parents every single morning before loading the bus to school and while I hated it then, because I was a rebellious and unsubmissive teenager, that verse has literally stuck with me my whole life.  Thank you, dad!

Another verse that is particularly relevant and much needed in this crazy, stressful, and overwhelming season of my life is Galatians 6:9.  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This literally gets me through many days and replays in my head often.  My husband is so good to encourage me with scripture when I am struggling, and he quotes this to me when I am on stress overload.  It WILL be worth it all and I must persevere. God promises a bountiful harvest, but I MUST.NOT.FAINT.  Stay the course, mamas! Don’t.give.up.

I’ve entitled this series Mombassadors because I believe that we have the potential to be ambassadors for Jesus + examples of joy in a profession/calling that’s rife with opportunities for negativity if we let it be. But it takes a very conscious effort/choice on our parts. Because being a mama is hard! What kinds of things do you do to actively choose joy in motherhood?

Oh, boy.  I have to admit that I struggle with this daily.  I desperately don’t want to be an emotional wreck and find myself only happy when my circumstances are ‘just right’.  True and lasting JOY only comes from knowing Jesus as my Savior and seeking His face daily, trusting that He is working all things for good, even when nothing seems right.  Begging for peace, wisdom, guidance, and understanding through the highest of mountaintop experiences and the lowest valley trials.  I tend to be a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl, but lately, I have felt the Lord changing that in me.  It’s the coolest thing how HE can reset my gaze and there are some things that I have had to do to LET Him work in my heart.

1.  Read my Bible daily.  I cannot stress it enough.  I just can’t!  I need to be better at this.

2.  Pray and ask for help.  There are days when I just want to rail on my kids and have a freak out fit (and sometimes I do) for not listening, or breaking something, whatever!  But, I have found that pausing before speaking and asking God to guide my words and actions has helped me so much.  He always, ALWAYS answers.

3.  Focus on my blessings.  Cultivating a grateful heart is essential to living joyfully (I’m still trying to attain this.  I suspect I will be until the day I die).  It’s amazing what counting your blessings will do to change your attitude.  You should definitely do it.  Make a list!

4.  Look for ways to bless others in need….especially those who have less than you.  There is something so soul filling about random acts of kindness to those in greater need than yourself.  Giving is my favorite!

5.  Don’t compare with others, it will surely suck your joy in seconds flat.

6.  Put others before you (I am selfish and struggle with this often).

7.  Laugh more.  Just do it!  It’s like medicine for a downcast, dreary soul. 

8.. LOVE!  Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40

QUICK! Don’t think too hard if you can avoid it. What are the first three “M” words that pop into your head that describe you as a mom?

madness(it’s crazy around here!)

moody(eeek!)

mama-razzi(haha!  my friend calls me this because I LOVE instagram and am always looking for memorable photo ops). :)

mary's schoolroom

(I’d definitely call this an awesome photo op; isn’t her schoolroom the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?)

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I hope you loved reading Mary’s answers as much as I did. So much wisdom and encouragement there for mamas and women in general!

And now, it’s time for that awesome giveaway!

To enter, simply leave me a comment, completing the following sentences: “I’m a glass half full {or} half empty kind of person because…”

(OPTIONAL)

Fill out the easy rafflecopter form below for extra entries:

 

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37 thoughts on “MOMbassadors Interview: Mary of Hope Handmade

  1. I’d like to think that my glass is usually half full, but there are random days when I have to admit that my glass has been turned upsidedown, and so it seems like it’s half empty instead ( usually in a puddle on the floor… Where God has to scoop me up from!).
    Sheree

  2. I was always a glass completely full gal… Until I married a cop and started working in a prison. Seeing all the bad in this world and having little contact with the good makes me more of the glass is as full as it is and no one but you can change that. It is so important to pray and seek God in our every day life and to pray protection over our children. I am so thankful every day for Gods covering!

  3. More times than not, I am a glass half full kind of girl because I know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. Prior to accepting Christ as my Savior, I was more often a glass almost empty kind of girl.

    On a side note, I was so excited to see that Mary is a Wisconsin gal and so close to my home town!

  4. My glass is half empty because I have just gone through a very difficult divorce and after that diagnosed and now disabled and having a child with special needs I have just began to live again! God willing I will continue to fill my glass every day and receiving the blessings He is giving me! Good luck to all that enter and remember YOU are the one who decides how to handle the lemons life gives you! With God all is possible and anything is possible!!!!

  5. I am a glass half empty kind of girl sometimes…other days, not so much. Trying harder to be glass half full, but sometimes…not so easy! Humor helps though…immensely. Even if it means laughing when I sure don’t feel like it.

  6. I am a glass half empty kind of person unfortunately. I have suffered with anxiety and depression most of my life and find it a daily struggle to find the positive in everything. I have been working more and more to let Christ lead me and not let the devil keep that foothold he seems to think he has.

  7. I am a glass half empty, even though I so want to be a half full. I struggle with not first focusing on the negatives and then come around to seeing the positive in a situation!

  8. I am a glass half full kind of girl, because God has shown me over and over again how He provides when my circumstances are less than ideal!!

  9. I am a half empty girl, unfortunately. Its something I am working on. I struggle very hard with depression & the devil tends to take full advantage of that.
    I loved this post & am so happy & proud that she was given a venue through a popular blog to speak about God & her heart. Great job ladies! The world needs more of you. <3

  10. I’m a glass half full kind of person because a good attitude just goes farther than a bad attitude! It’s super easy for me to get down but that just brings everyone around me down as well. Might as well look on the bright side…it makes even difficult situations easier to handle. :)

  11. I try to be a glass half full person all the time. I must say that I really needed this post though! Lately I’ve been having trouble seeing my glass as half full. I could list my “reasons” (really just excuses) why but really, I’ve got so much to thank God for! Thanks for this encouraging post!
    Tara H

  12. I know it’s silly, but I think I’m both :) I see the glass as half-empty because I’m quite literal and a realist, but at the same time, while seeing our condition, I know the Hope that I have that can change my perspective to half full :)

  13. I hope I’m a glass half full person, but I suspect I veer towards the half empty too often. I hear my own voice reflected in my children’s conversation and I am convicted.

  14. I try to be a glass half full person…it’s a struggle…when I start to be a glass half empty person my husband reminds me of how awesome our life is :)

  15. I am a glass half full person because I always hope for the best and build all kinds of amazing things up in my mind (maybe I never outgrew my princess dreaming days). Sometimes it ends in a broken heart but choosing joy makes it all worth it in the end!

  16. I am SOOO a glass half full type of girl because… life is a blessing & a beautiful one at that! At least after that first cup O’ Coffee! lol) xx

  17. I am a glass half empty kind of person because I naturally see the worst… but that’s why I need Jesus daily. ;)

  18. I’m a pretty half full person 99% of the time – I get really excited about the little things that absolutely make my day. I feel like Jesus is over all things in life, even the little details – how can we not just praise him for them?

  19. “I’m a glass half full kind of person because… I strive daily to see what all has been good, what I have been able to do with 5 kids running around, I find the little things God has given me and give him thanks. Its not easy, some days the devil gets into my mind and trys to plant a stronghold and I feel my cup has poured out and thats when I got to pray.

    1. I strive to be glass half full on the outside but honestly,many times I feel half full on the inside. I don’t want to appear weak or negative to others.

I love comments so much I'd actually consider making them my seventh kid if I could. Seriously. Love. And I read every single one and will do my darndest to respond, especially if you have a question. So, yeah. Comment away! I'm listening!