I Cannot be Available to Everyone, Every Minute of Every Day, and it’s OK 

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley
People expect our constant availability – phone, text, social media and email. Technology has birthed a culture grounded in a constant stream of endless obligatory chatter.

What happens when you seek quiet instead of IG, FB and Twitter feeds? Or if you decide you’re not interested in following the “behind- the-scenes look” at someone else’s life on Snapchat. You simply want to stand in your present moment, phone on the charger, or off all together for a while. Can we just be, y’all? Geez!

Apparently, this whole revolutionary non-available concept is irritating to some people. Last week I found myself in a back-and-forth exchange via Facebook which started because a new friend called me, and I didn’t answer the phone.

My momentary inaccessibility became interrupted as rude and callous, instead of an opportunity for them to pause and see it from another angle – maybe, just maybe, I was unavailable for numerous reasons. Nai and I were actually playing together in the backyard, bathing our cocoa brown skin in the emerging summer sunlight, lying in newly planted grass, our laughter overflowing, making a mundane weekday joyful.

I’m not a fan of distracted-parenting so I rarely engage in long convos with friends when homeschooling, reading or just hanging with our little Nai. Our moments together are precious.

The whole incident is causing me to reflect quite a bit on this rapid  “communication” evolution, and the impact it’s having on our personalities and ways of being with one another. Impatience is the new normal. And for far too many of us, instant gratification also means instant access to people. If we cannot have it,  we pout like toddlers insisting on their favorite snacks instead of dinner.

The concept of boundaries is somehow foreign to us, especially younger generations who have never known a world where you do not have multiple ways of reaching someone, any time of the day or night.

I am dating myself here, y’all, but I actually remember, as a kid, when very few people carried cell phones. If you weren’t home, you weren’t available. Folks connected with each other when it worked for both of them. You didn’t feel pressure to talk, and reply to incessant text messages and social media updates.

The act of cultivating genuine friendships is quickly being replaced with a vapid practice of familiarizing ourselves with people’s lives (an edited version of course) via social media, calling them friends, and then basing their value upon how often they comment, like or share our own thoughts. This isn’t friendship, it’s forced interaction and brazen selfishness.

I don’t know about you, but I am done with feeling bound by other people’s expectations of me, their pseudo ideas of friendship. If I don’t have another IG heart, or like on a post, I will survive. My soul is yearning for so much more these days, you know authentic and lasting connections based on understanding and love, not the thorny entanglement of ego. Our time is far too fleeting and miraculous to be squandered.

Talk to Me: 

Do you feel guilty if you’re not able to connect with someone right away? Why do you think so? How can you move beyond those feelings? 

Loving Our Kids Takes Courage and Vulnerability

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:
Photo Credit: Kaboom Pics

“We cannot opt out of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure that’s woven through our daily experiences. Life is vulnerable… These are the challenges of being alive, of being in a relationship, of being connected.” – Brene Brown

When our babies come to us after hours of excruciating pain, we immediately pronounce them as perfect – those symmetrical faces, joyous smiles and spontaneous squeals of delight bring boundless joy. Then, little by little, as the pint-sized stage, peppered with milestones, fades, we notice imperfections; once cute gestures are annoying, and we long for simpler days. I know I do, especially when Nai is consumed by a tantrum, and my patience is frayed.

All I want in that moment, Mamas, is perfection – instant calm and compliance. So unrealistic, and yet I crave the easier, predictable path. You know, like in a nanosecond, she will simply “get” how to control her emotions. Ludicrous, right?

But in this era of social media, where nearly everyone’s smiling at us through filtered photos, it’s hard to face anything remotely perceived as imperfection in ourselves, let alone our children. The reality, though, is our kids are mirrors, through their struggles and imperfections we see ourselves.

This is the vulnerability and courage of authentic love, it calls us to accept the range of humanity – the beauty of light and hope, and the struggle of impatience, anger, aggression, and selfishness. Each challenge we face, as parents, changes us and our children in profound ways. Gradually, I am learning to surrender to gentleness, and stop harsh self-criticism. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day.

The other morning, while reading through my daily devotional, How Deep A Mother’s Love…. A Mother’s Journey, I stumbled across a scripture passage (Isiah 43:18-19) which so deeply connects to this season of my life: “Do not remember past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the dessert.”

Love, I am learning, is not a place of rest and complacency, but of trust and conscious bravery.  And, you know what, it grows not during times of ease or comfort, but struggle – those moments when your child is melting down in the mall, and somehow, you find the empathy to talk through it, or with a little one who faces daily physical, emotional or learning challenges.

When loving in these ways, you come to understand the core of love – no illusions, expectations, or prerequisites (e.g. if you present this way, I will love you).

You simply see with your heart.

Inspired Reading: Daily Devotions for Christian Moms

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Photo credit:  Emelda De Coteau
Photo credit:
Emelda De Coteau
My Mom's beautiful note to me nearly 3 years ago.  Photo credit: Emelda De Coteau
My Mom’s beautiful note to me nearly 3 years ago.
Photo credit: Emelda De Coteau
I believe there are times when books find us, becoming vertible lights, guide posts through life’s challenges.  A few weeks ago I discovered a devotional collection my mother gave me for Naima’s first Christmas (she was only 4 months old), How Deep A Mother’s Love… A Devotional Journey.

As I opened it, exhausted from the night before, I read her note to me and these lines stood out, almost as if Mom knew my feelings in this moment: “There will be days of delight and deep struggle. Remember, through it all, your help, your strength, comes from the Lord.”

As I lay there in the stillness of morning, ingesting the weight of her words, I thought of how God uses adversity to draw us closer to him. These devotionals are my solace, an anchor through the chaos and joy of motherhood.

Before Naima, I rarely sat still. Life, it seemed, could not move fast enough. I relentlessly chased experiences, hungry for an end to the mundane – art gallery openings, lectures, book readings, and of course, parties, lots of parties.

Then one cold late November night, nearly three years ago, three words (you are pregnant) transformed my life in ways I still struggle to understand. I am this precious little girl’s Mom.

In this new season, my soul yearns for the fullness only faith in God gives us. And so, I often begin the day (especially when Nai sleeps a little longer) quieting my mind and exploring passages of the bible I learned long ago. Of course now those verses I once recited as a child in Sunday School connect in a concrete way. The complexity of life – the adversities and struggles – do that to us. God is guiding us towards him; little by little, he seems to say, rest your weariness in me.

Here are some of my favorite devotional passages and verses of scripture highlighted in this book: 

” In the demanding world in which we live, financial prosperity can be a good thing, but spiritual prosperity is profoundly more important.”  (pg. 98)

“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate times.” Galatians 6:9 (pg. 25)

“Sometimes patience is simply the price we pay for being responsible parents, and that’s exactly as it should be. After all, think how patient our Heavenly Father has been with us.” (pg. 143)

“But until God’s perfect plan is made known, we must walk in faith and never lose hope. And we must continue to trust Him. Always.” (pg. 134)

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 HCSB (pg. 21)

A Mother’s Prayer:

“Lord let me be a mother who celebrates life. Let me rejoice in the gift of this day, and let me praise You for the gift of Your Son. Let me a joyful Christian, Lord, as I share Your Good News with friends, with family, and with the world. Amen.”  (pg. 212)