September is kind of a crazy month for us Hoelsemas. We have a couple of birthdays, a week-long summer vacation, and I usually start school with the kiddos at some point in the month. This year I happened to realize something that got my mind spinning in many directions.

Back in 2007 (well, technically very end of 2006), my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were delighted as we really didn’t know if it would happen for us. (I’ve shared parts of my story here, as well as on Facebook. I’ve even written a book on infertility because we faced that disease head on. You can find it HERE!)

Unfortunately, however, that child wasn’t meant to be. God called that angel home in February 2007. My due date was in September 2007, though. Another reason September is just a tad *crazier* around here.

So this is what I realized this year. If my husband and I had never miscarried that child, we would have a 10 year old!! That makes my jaw drop, people! I mean, it’s already hard enough that my oldest is going to be seven in November, and my baby is already four, but a 10 year old!!?!?!? I’m not that old, am I? It’s just really hard to believe.

Time really does fly the older you get. I feel like every time I blink my children are just that much older. So then I got to thinking about parenting. I pray almost every day that my children will grow up making wise choices, having the right people surrounding them, and turning out to be successful, smart, hard-working, honest, loving, et cetera.

I believe heavily that Proverbs 22:6 holds true. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Thus, I try to train my boys in the way of the Lord. I don’t always do what’s right, but I hope I’m doing good enough. I hope I’m a good mom.

Then I came across something that spoke volumes to me. The following post is from 21st Century SAHM on Facebook. You can see their page HERE!

Girlfriends, I got to get something off my chest.

My house is never clean. Like ever. I have friends (with kids) whose houses are spotless. Are they better mothers than me? Nope. Am I a better mother than them? Nope.

I work out every day. I have mom friends who don’t exercise. (I mean other than running around like crazy people after their kids). Does that make either of us a better mom? Nope.

I have a friend who gave birth in a pool in her living room. I pushed mine out in a hospital bed after receiving a gift from the epidural fairy. Both of us are good moms.

I drink a beer or glass of wine (sometimes in front of my kids!) on occasion. I’m a good mom. My neighbor and good friend doesn’t drink. Also a good mom.

I’m a yeller. I have a good friend who is quiet and extremely patient. I envy her. But we are both good moms.

I have friends who are super organic, chemical free, and dye free. My kids sometimes eat popsicles for breakfast. The cheap kind that are 50 for $2.00. Are either of us better than the other? Nope.

I swear, but not in front of my kids. Are you a bad mom if you do? Hell no.

I’m involved with my kids’ school but I don’t volunteer and live there every day. Are the moms who volunteer daily any better than those who never do? No. Am I incredibly grateful for the moms who volunteer every day and help the teachers? YES.

Are stay-at-home moms better than working moms? NO.

Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms? NO.

Are married moms better than single moms? NO.

Are you a better mom if you take your kids on exotic vacations? NO.

Can you be a good mom if you the closest thing you get to a vacation is the park? YES.

Can you be a good mom and have a super scheduled summer with lots of planned activities? Yep.

What about if your summer is lazy with no plans? Yep.

Do good moms let their kids watch TV? Yes.

Play video games? Yes.

What about if you say no? Also fine. Your choice. You’re the mom. And a good one.

I’m a Christian. My friend and neighbor is Muslim. Another friend practices no religion at all. WE ARE ALL GOOD MOTHERS.

My other friend is gay. Her kids have TWO mothers. They are both good moms.

I breastfed. My kids barely had any formula. Am I better than moms who give their kids formula? NO.

So how about this? Can we all climb down off judgmental mountain for a second? And just support one another? And just say, Hey, motherhood is hard. You’re doing a good job. Raising kids can knock the wind out of a person. You got this.

How awesome would that be? Just a thought.

There is a lot of judgment going around, and I know at times it seems easy to think we’re doing better than or worse than other parents just based on situations, appearances, provisions, et cetera. But really I think we’re all just doing the best we can.

So in a day and age where there are a lot of paths to take (vaccines, schooling, foods, technology, chemicals, and the list goes on), the best we can do is research and decide what’s best for our family and/or just choose what fits our budget, morals, conscience, lifestyle, et cetera.

And then pray. Pray it all goes well. Pray our children grow up right. Just pray. Let God take care of the rest.

And, finally, don’t worry about what others think (yes, easier said then done). Just rest in the knowledge that you’re doing the best you can do, and that no one will love your kids better than you do.

So this September, I will take all these words to heart, and continue to be the best mom I can to these two precious boys (and one angel in heaven).

How can a book be big and small at the same time? Big and small are opposites of one another so it surely can’t be real, can it? I’m so glad you asked these questions because I am willing to explain what I mean in this book review.

Yes, this book is big and small at the same time. When I say small, I mean that it’s technically a short story. I was able to read it within 20 minutes. This would be a perfect read for those on break, waiting in line, and/or just short on time.

Now, when I say big, I mean that even though it’s such a short story, it packs a big message. Actually, there are two big themes present in this book that are relevant to today’s day and age, making for an excellent read.

What is this book, you ask? Here it is!

It’s called Faith is the Victory, and it’s by Faith Blum. That name shows up a lot within my blog posts, mostly because she orchestrates blog tours that I participate in.

This, however, is the first time I got a taste of her writing. I was not disappointed! And for FREE, you can also get a taste of her writing! This short story is permanently FREE – you can find it HERE!

To give you an idea of what makes this book pack such a big punch, here is the blurb, and then following that will be my own little remarks that share what I rated it and why.

BLURB

I don’t like change. I know most people get used to it, but I have never been able to. When Dad announced their move and I couldn’t go with them, I didn’t handle it well. Would I ever find the faith to be victorious?

REVIEW

That’s not a lot information to know if you want to read it or not, is it? Let me give you a little bit more. This short story is about a teen who is going through a rough time in life. What makes it so much worse is the constant bullying he gets from school. We all know that bullying is a huge problem in today’s schools, right? Totally not cool.

The second big topic discussed in this short story is suicide. The main character, with all his struggles and bullying, feels he isn’t worth going on. He takes it upon himself to end his life, or at least try to. Attempted suicide and successful suicide is no laughing matter. But it’s very real. It affects many, and not just those actually trying to go through it.

In comes faith. Just at the brink of committing suicide, memory verses flood the teen’s mind, reminding him God is there. Slowly, but surely, he decides to live and becomes victorious over his life situations.

I gave this short read four stars. Here’s why. I love the reality behind it. I love how faith was the victor here. I love how memory verses popped up, and I love how it was written in first person point of view. It was excellently written. It held my attention.

I think the issue of why I didn’t give it all five stars, though, is two-fold. First, I don’t have a lot of experience with suicide. I do have experience with being bullied, though. Never fun. But it was a different type of bullying so with not fully connecting on those two big topics, I felt overall my connection to the story was not as deep. And these two topics can be a little tough to read in general. And second, being as short as it is, there’s just not much of a chance to get much out of it. And really I don’t mean any of this negatively. I’d recommend the book for sure. And who doesn’t like a book where faith reigns?!? That message is crucial!

For FREE, you can’t go wrong. So give it a try! Maybe it’ll be the type of book that can help you or someone you love!

And as a side note, if you or someone you know is dealing with bullying or suicide, please seek the appropriate help you need!