I’m Positive, Honey.

I would’ve paid good money to watch a video of myself walking through the Target parking lot yesterday – one arm holding a poosploded baby under the armpits, trying not to make the mess bigger than it already was, the other arm struggling to push the tractor-trailer they market as a tri-seater shopping cart, stopping every few seconds to either pull up the preschoolers too-big shorts that kept pantsing themselves or to bend down and retrieve the toddler’s marker tops that kept falling off his fingers and rolling under vehicles. (Tops, by the way, not markers. Just the tops. Perfect “finger hats” for a 2 year old.)

I also would’ve paid good money to have a free hand to video other people’s reactions as we scrambled in towards the bathroom. Poop shooting up the baby’s back, mom yelling “DO NOT DROP THAT FINGER HAT AGAIN” and “I KNOW THEY’RE TOO BIG BUT YES YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR PANTS ON IN PUBLIC”.

It was kind of the perfect capper to our already funny morning.

A few hours earlier, running 40 minutes late to the final class of my women’s Bible study of the semester, I arrived in the classroom of 100+ fellow mothers and found my seat, only to be greeted by a handheld microphone a few seconds later.

“Sarah, what do you think?”

Come again?

“What’s your answer? Or you can share an answer from the discussion at your table.”

Oh, um, I actually just got here. I don’t even know what the question is.

“That’s ok. It’s ‘What is a victory in motherhood you have experienced this semester?'”

Huh. Give me a second to switch gears from a very unvictorious mindset seeing as one of the last scenes with my angel baby before we left the house this morning was me pounding on the bathroom door saying, “We are SO LATE. If you don’t wrap it up in there right now I will leave you.”

They laughed. I laughed. The story was used as an example at least 3 more times throughout the morning. “We all have those days we just need extra grace…days we need a do-over. Amiright, Sarah? *wink*” (You’re welcome, world.)

But I also went on to share a small victory. Because there is always a victory. Some days we just have to look a little harder than others.

That’s life, isn’t it? Beauty mixed in to chaos. Victories tangled up with defeats.

Parenting, especially. It’s like the rainbow marbles from Inside Out: a little bit frustrated, a little bit happy, a little bit funny, a little bit covered in peanut butter.

Our victory this semester has been an effort in parenting from the positive.

I don’t know what it is about us that makes it so easy to parent from the negative. (Well, yes I do. They’re irritating. We’re irritating. Everyone is tired and a little emotionally unstable.)

It’s so easy to parent from a don’t/quit/stop/no position.

Don’t touch that.

Quit hitting him.

Stop throwing your food on the ground.

No. Just no.

I don’t want to be that way. I want to give yeses well and freely. I want to do an obnoxious amount of encouraging and be known more for my problem-solving than my shame-giving. For my gentle words instead of my sarcastic, slightly elevated ones.

Insert positive affirmation experiment #1: the “kind words” jar.


If we hear our boys using kind words towards each other, saying “please” and “thank you” without being reminded, or being the first to apologize after a brotherly fist fight, they get to pick a honey stick.

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
proverbs 16:24

So simple. Yet so profound.

I hear our oldest catch and correct his words often. It used to happen loudly and over his shoulder so I would hear and bestow a tube of nectar upon him, but – upon learning that the honey may not be a) requested or b) given for insincerity – has actually morphed into something he does for himself.

The best part? Kindness is contagious.

He randomly offered me one the other day.

“Mom, I think you should have a honey stick. You helped us clean up the playroom when you didn’t have to, and that was using kind words.”

(Analogy needs a little work, but YASSS. A victory.)

Parenting with scripture, you guys. Apparently it works.

Novel idea, I know.

2 things:

1. You know those Instagram accounts that showcase inanimate objects in beautiful ways? Yeah. I’m embarrassed of how many pictures and scenarios I just tried to create of a mason jar filled with honey sticks. Turns out I do not have whatever gift those ‘grammers possess.

kind words are like honey
(Honestly. I’m ashamed.)

2. My first attempt with purchasing honey sticks happened in the Sprouts checkout line where I asked if they sold the whole jar of honey sticks anywhere in the store, or just the single sticks at the checkout for $0.35/piece. They informed me I could buy the jar for around $40. I politely declined, paid for my $84 gluten-free shampoo, and ordered a bulk pack of 100 sticks for $14 from Amazon instead.

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