You are not your worst parenting day.

Last week, I had a terrible morning with my kids. It was only a few minutes, but it added up to a terrible morning, full of regret and withheld grace.  That's where it often starts isn't it? A rude comment, a thoughtless action, a hurried resolution, if there was one at all.

Instead of coaching my child out of their tantrum (which in itself was filled with pride, anger, and lack of respect), I engaged and entered into those same sins in the name of "parenting". Sometimes we just get it so wrong as parents. As a mother who loves and follows Jesus, I know I need to extend grace and forgiveness to my children. Showing them Him is the crux of my job, and sometimes I fail at it. I can so easily correct them, but I am often too blind to see my own sins, even as they pertain to the sins of my children. Are they disrespectful? How have I modeled similar attitudes to them? Are they impatient? How patiently am I listening to their rant? Are they easily angered and frustrated? Is my voice rising as I tell them to "CALM DOWN!"?

The point is, I know I need to give my children grace as I teach them to love and follow Jesus, but I sometimes forget to give it to myself as well on this journey. I felt horrible for hours after I dropped my child off at school. Thoughts of condemnation swirling through my head all day.  I should have been more patient. I could have avoided the whole debacle by not choosing that moment to dig my heals in. Their character needed to be addressed, but why didn't I just wait until after school instead of sending forcing a lecture when we were already late for school? My pride kept the argument alive. How could I stoop to the level of a child in a stupid argument and not expect the results to be horrible? I failed my child this morning. 

Thankfully God used my husband to deliver the good news I needed to remember. I am not my worst parenting day. My identity is not in my best parenting moments, or my worst parenting failures. My identity is hidden in Jesus, and his perfect identity as God's son. I'm free from boasting or feeling above others when I'm getting this parenting thing right, and I'm free from despair when, like that morning, I get it all woefully wrong. I need grace just as much as my children, and I need to remember that the same God who motivates me to train up my children in love, kindness, and respect, died to wipe my slate clean, when I'm loveless, harsh, and rude.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  
Ephesians 2:7-9


Advent 2017

This year, Advent starts on November 26! I can't believe it's in just a few weeks. Last year was the first year we celebrated Advent with the kids in a rhythmic, nightly, organized way. It was nothing too intense and didn't require much prep at all, but it was so meaningful! The kids still talk about last year's Advent and they still know the big chunk of scripture that we memorized during those four sweet weeks. You can read about last year's plan here, and read here for an honest reflection half way through the four weeks.


This year, I'm planning to do a lot of the same things as last year - scripture memory, nightly gathering to light the candle, read scripture, and pray, and reading some Christmas story books. What's new this time is that I've bought the Kids Read Truth Advent table cards and Jennifer Naraki's Slow and Sacred Advent. I'm planning to intertwine both resources into our traditions. Personally, I'm going to be reading Tim Keller's Hidden Christmas. Has anyone read it?


If this will be your first year doing Advent with your kids, let me encourage you, it's so worth it, and not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. The key is just to start your tradition, to open up the Word of God with your kids, and to learn as you go. There's no one way to practice Advent, and if you're pointing their hearts towards Jesus and being consistent, you can't go wrong. And if you get off track, or miss a few nights, don't worry! There's grace! Just start where you left off, and continue on the road. Christmas was more meaningful last year than ever before, and I know it's because our hearts were truly ready to "prepare Him room".


re-thinking my beauty "indulgence"

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the day with a team from ATTITUDE, talking minimalism, natural households, healthy families, and beauty (read all about it here).  It was such a great day! 

ATTITUDE is running a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangerous ingredients in basically all beauty products, particularly haircare. If you post a picture of the ingredients on your current shampoo bottle on Instagram and use the hashtag #whatsinmyshampoo (or #dansmonshampoing), ATTITUDE's team of scientists will look at the ingredients and give you the percentage of ingredients of concern. How cool is that?  Another tool I always recommend is ewg.org's skin deep app, which lists many (but not all) beauty products and their ingredients, rating them on a safety scale. 

One reason I love ATTITUDE, and why I've used their products long before I started collaborating with them, is that they score in the lowest possible category on EWG's scale (low is good!), and they're EWG certified. Most products with these safer ingredients tend to cost two times the price, if not higher, that conventional brands, which deters a lot of people. But ATTITUDE products usually cost less than the products I was using before I made the change to safer beauty. Yes, less. But back to my beauty "indulgence" that's left me super torn...

Years after switching to safer shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap, I've clung to my dry shampoo. As a busy mom, I love that it lets me look great even on day three after washing. I don't have the time to shower in the morning before getting my three kids to school, so I shower at night, which means even on Day 1, my hair has already had all night to collect natural oils, leaving it a bit limp. I asked ATTITUDE to analyze my dry shampoo and I was straight up horrified. 100% of the ingredients registered as allergens, cancer-causing and toxic. !!!!!

The main ingredients (tip: the ingredients are listed in order of amount used, so the first ingredients are what your products have the most of) are Isobutane, Propane, Alcohol Denat and Silica. I don't want to be spraying these things on my head every day! Dry shampoo is definitely the worst offender in my beauty regimen, and I've often likened it to a little indulgence (you know, like that extra glass of wine, or croissant - not hurting anyone, but obviously not the best option), but now I'm re-thinking it altogether. Especially for something I put on my head  - the home of my brain! - and so near my mouth - the main access point to the rest of my body - I can't believe I've been so careless. 

The ingredients in my old shampoo were similarly scary, and I was so relieved to know that it's been over a year since I've slathered those ingredients on my head! But still, I can't switch to all safe products for my entire life, and you probably can't either. Something I've learned on this journey towards safer living is that you don't have to change everything to make a change. Start small - maybe sunscreen or shampoo. Grow from there as your lifestyle and budget allow. Find DIY recipes (like my deodorant!) and affordable companies (like ATTITUDE!) to get started. The important thing is to educate yourselves about what's in your products and then make the decision that's right for your family. For me, it means using safe shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap, and finally tossing my dry shampoo. Not every product in my home will rate as low as ATTITUDE on EWG, but I'm doing what I can for our family and that feels good :)

 This post was in collaboration with ATTITUDE
a company I've loved for years. All opinions are my own. 
Photography by Rachel Cheng Photography for ATTITUDE.


50% off English Muffin Shop!

One of my favourite graphic art print companies, English Muffin, is sadly closing their doors, but not before offering a huge 50% off sale for the next few days! (code BYEBYE50)
English Muffin prints are modern and clean and bright and I just love them. We have the Montreal print in our kitchen and we're complimented on it literally every time someone comes into our kitchen for the first time. The Montreal print seems to be sold out, but the Toronto one is still there in the shop. I just bought the map of Montreal for our kid's bedroom. Any kid who goes gaga for trucks would also love any of the truck prints.
The maps are my favourite (I love the Europe map, the Africa one, and of course, the Canada one, but they have whole world maps as well as one of the USA, too). Check out this great brand and sale while you can!
 This post isn't sponsored, I just wanted to share the love of one of my favourite one-local to Montreal shops, and make sure everyone benefited from the 50% off sale! It ends on November 17!