Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

Filtering by Tag: parenting

{Five Minute Friday | Play}

It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {PLAY}.

Ready? Go.

It's the sweetest when my youngest girl runs up, eyes wide, and invites me to play. There's such anticipation in her voice, such joy on her face. She always flashes her best smile. It used to easier to play with her when she was a bit younger. She was much easier to entertain and a lot less bossy. 

These days it's not enough just to BE with her, half-heartedly playing. I have to be in all the way. And you guys, my best Barbie voice is, well, it's pretty lame. Sometimes, I just can't. One more Barbie conversation might send me right over the edge. But, then I remember how important it is to play. It encourages imagination. It stirs creativity. It's good for a laughing and smiling. You know, it helps with being not SO SERIOUS all the time. For her and me. When you're doing your best Barbie voice, you can't help but feel a bit lighter. But there's something else, too. There's a certain amount of vulnerability in our capacity for play. As adults, I mean. The same goes for our ability to rest. We have to know and believe that everything isn't going to fall apart because we disengage in the grown-up business of life and have a little laugh. When you play, it helps keep things in their proper place. All too often the things that keep me from playing can wait.

Yeah, I don't want to forget how to play. I want to make room for fun and laughter in our lives intentionally. Every day. 


{Letters to My Daughter No. 6}

Dear Sweet Girl,
I love you. I'm over the moon crazy about you. You are kind, beautiful, smart, creative, and quite funny. You are. And, you work hard. You. Are. Awesome. It makes my heart hurt when you get hurt. I am sorry it's been a hard week. You've demonstrated patience and grace in the most frustrating of situations! We are so proud of you. But, sometimes it feels hard, doesn't it? Sometimes, it feels like too much. Then, it's easy slip into a spot where you feel like nothing is quite going the way you want it to go. Goodness, I've been there. I get it. But, we don't get to skip the rough patch. We have to walk through it. So, can I remind you of a few things that may help as you navigate the next couple of week?

1. Even though there are things that are beyond our control, we always get to choose how we respond. I don't ever want to tell you that you aren't allowed to feel sad or mad because, well, that's just unrealistic and unreasonable. But, guard your heart and mind. Don't let those moments of anger or sadness or negativity settle in and hold you hostage. Don't let those negative feelings determine what you do next. One bad moment doesn't always ruin the big picture.

2. People sometimes label us incorrectly. People may unfairly assume things about us. But, listen. You don't have to let those labels and assumptions stick. There is only One who gets to define you. When you find yourself in a troublesome spot, worried way too much about what someone else says or thinks, ask God to help you with that. And, He will.

3. Making a mistake is ok. Perfection is never the goal. Instead, work to make progress, and be willing to accept instruction and correction along the way. Always.

4. Don't strive. Rest. See, God knows how to make you the best version of yourself. Invite Him to do that in this situation. It's His work to do, really. You'll wear yourself out if you try to figure it out on your own. I'm praying that you come to a place where you say, "God, I trust that you'll take care of me in this situation. Show me what to do, and help me do it."

Here's the thing, sweet girl: even though the past few days have been hard, there's still something you can learn or something you can work on that will make you even more awesome. You can ask God to help you with that too, you know. Ask Him to show you how all this is good for you. Ask Him what you're supposed to be learning about yourself and to help you make progress. I know. It's not easy. Maybe it seems a little silly. But, when you belong to God, you can be sure He's concerned with all the details of your life, so lean on Him. Pray. And, listen. Listen until His voice rises above all the other noise. He loves you so. And, He sees you.

Be brave. Be strong. Be determined. Keep going.


{Five Minute Friday | Present}

 It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {PRESENT}. 

Ready? GO. 

As a momma, this one is big. Watching your littles grow as fast as a weed, right before your eyes, teaches us a lot about being present. And besides, who doesn't savor those warm, fuzzy feelings that come when you are present, in the moment. I sure do! Sure, busy mom life is hard. But, I've learned something. Being present, fully present, is worth every bit of effort it takes. Here's why.

1. It teaches you to see. When you are present, things you otherwise overlook catch your attention. The details of the moment shift from ordinary to remarkable. Imagine putting on a new pair of glasses you never knew you needed. It's like that! You see more clearly and learn to appreciate your moments more deeply. You learn what's important and what's not so important. Sometimes, the remedy for a tired, overworked mind is wrapped up in the simplest of things.

2.  Being present cultivates gratitude. Y'all know how I feel about gratitude, right? Gratitude is a big deal. When you practice gratitude, you interact and engage with your world differently. You understand you have one shot at this moment, and you aren't guaranteed the next. When you get that,  you find the value in being present, and you don't want to waste a single moment.

So, go for it. Open your eyes wide, take in the remarkable details of your moment, and be thankful that it's yours.


{#RealLife | No. 3}

Happy Monday, sweet friends. Did anyone else have a long week? I did. Sometimes that happens. And I'm here to tell you it's ok. I used to think that it was the opposite of ok. I used to believe that it somehow meant I was bad at doing all the things I have to do, bad at being a wife and mom. Now, I know that's a lie. So go ahead and take five. Go ahead and call your friend for a coffee date. Go ahead and find a quiet place to sit alone. It really is ok to enjoy a little time to yourself. I think it's more than ok. I think it's necessary. That's what I did this weekend in the midst of a long list of things to do and places to go. I sat alone for 45 minutes. Then, I enjoyed a cup of coffee with a special friend. And I was all the better for it. 

You don't always have to be "on." Let that bring some immediate relief and rest. Be encouraged.  


{#RealLife | A New Blog Series}

Confession: I love social media. All of it. I do. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. And, oh the joy that is Pinterest. Social media can be good. It makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it reconnects me with people I'd otherwise be lost to. But sometimes, it's not so good. Some days if I see another picture of a perfectly baked dessert, a perfectly place Elf on the Shelf, a perfectly executed DIY project, or a mountain of beautifully wrapped presents, I want to retreat into the farthest corner of my closet, underneath all the dresses I never wear but refuse to get rid of (mostly because they don't fit, but maybe they will someday) and HIDE. It's too much. So it goes when you play the game. {Disclaimer: I post those kinds of things, enjoy seeing them most days, and will continue to do so. This isn't about that.} 

See there's something in me that drives me to compare + compete -- some days it's far worse than others. It's not that I want to make a wreath as expertly as the girl who lives half way across the country, it's just that I want to know that I'm doing okay. You know?  I want to know that if I want to make a burlap wreath with monogram, I can. The truth is some days I can barely get dinner on the table and you can forget about laundry. And where in the world is my vacuum? Oh yeah, plugged in upstairs where I left it three days ago when I meant to vacuum the hallway. On those days I find myself wondering how I ended up such a slacker.   But the truth is I'm not a slacker. Actually, most days I'm on it. Really. And when I compare my highlight reel (that's what social media has kind of become) to my #RealLife, it's quite nice actually. I have plenty of picture-perfect moments to share. But I also have LOTS of the other kind of moments. You know, the unedited, unposed, unfiltered messy moments, moments I wouldn't typically snap a picture of and post to my social media accounts. Because, who cares about laundry that's piled to the sky or dishes that are piled across the entire countertop? Who cares that sometimes my socks don't match or I forget to change out of my slippers before I leave the house? Who cares that I didn't have the will to argue with the three year old about her mismatched clothes? Maybe no one. But, maybe there is one who needs to know it's ok. You're doing ok. 

So, I'm taking to social media every Monday for the next several weeks with a #RealLife post. A new friend of mine was doing something similar earlier this month and it was SO refreshing. Here's the thing: I don't want to be the girl that everyone assumes has it all together because I don't. That's not real for anyone. See, I've figured something out. Even when I'm a mess and everything in the house is a mess or the car is a mess, or money is running low, my life is still quite good. Yes, it's good. I am not necessarily proud of the messes but I've figured out how to appreciate them because of what they've come to represent -- my life is FULL of people and things that I have been given to love and enjoy. 

Would you like to join me? Let's take to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with the hashtag #RealLife and encourage each other with proof that we aren't alone in our mess.  Make sure you tag me. ( Valerie Gibson Jones on Facebook@vdjones on Twitter | @valeriejones on Instagram

So, here we go. #RealLife No. 1

#RealLife No. 1 {Mount Laundry} 

#RealLife No. 1 {Mount Laundry} 

I think these clothes are clean, but I can't be sure. Oh, and when it was time for sleep these piles moved to the floor. Three days. That's how many days we shuffled these piles around the bedroom until it finally got cleaned up. Instead of putting away the laundry, we made fun desserts as an advent activity. I have pictures of that, too. But this, this is what it looked like in the room right above us. And can I tell you something? It didn't matter to any of us one tiny bit. We laughed and giggled and ate ridiculous amounts of candy sprinkles for Advent Day #14 choosing to ignore the mess for a little while and enjoy each other. 

See. It's ok. Your turn.