This week for group night we welcomed Karie Gerke. She is a licensed physical therapist who is certified in infant massage. We had an awesome time with her as she showed us how mothers can bond with their little ones as young as one month old. Since we have no babies with us at this time, we used dolls that she brought with her. Shawna got to use “Miranda,” a very lifelike doll.
The most important rule to follow when starting massages with a baby is to get his or her permission. Obviously young infants cannot yet speak but there are several physical cues to look for. These include giving nice eye contact, a smile, or simply a certain way that he or she turns their head. To turn massages or anything else into a routine, words and actions help the baby understand what is going to happen next. The baby should be in his or her alert stage but also calm. The massager should also be in a calm state and be ready to take her time. Babies can be massaged on a wide variety of surfaces, such as the floor, a table, a lap, or against a shoulder. Younger babies tend to feel more secure on the lap.
Even though it is an optional activity for caregivers to participate with their babies, infant massage has a wide range of benefits. Infants take a while to gain sensory awareness. With the help of massages, they gain a greater understanding of where their body parts are and how to use them. It sometimes takes a little bit of time for some babies to know they have feet! Massages can reduce stress and anxiety for the babies. It also helps to relieve tense muscles, especially if a baby spends a lot of time in one place such as a carrier or bouncy seat. The more a mother is in tune with her baby, the better she can determine if her baby is sick or has another ailment. Tummy strokes specifically help digestion for a fussy baby. Lastly, massages create a special bond between the mother and the baby. They are an excellent way for some one-on-one time and a fun activity.
Is spring finally here? Only God knows but now is a great time to shake off the dust from winter and pull up your sleeves. Here is a simple guide to get started:
Out with the old
Get rid of clutter. Sort items you don’t want into three piles: throw away, donate, and sell. Many possessions like toys and clothes can go a long way if donated. Money earned from selling other items can go towards a little pocket money or be donated to your favorite charity.
Having a hard time getting started? Start small. Do a drawer a day. Divide up tasks. Give yourself a reward for everything you check off your list.
Reorganize your wardrobe. While you’re shifting out your heavier clothes for your summer line, why not go through your wardrobe to get rid of articles you never wear anymore? If your closet looks appealing, you’ll look appealing!
Organize books and dishes so they are easier to find and look more presentable.
Top to bottom
Clean your residence from top to bottom! Clean light and ceiling fixtures. Fans can be dusted with long cleaning tools or get on top of a ladder and brush the dust into a pillowcase.
Don’t forget the walls; even though they are a flat, sheer surface dust still collects on them. Windows can be cleaned simply with a rag and soapy water. Other a good glass solution can be made with water, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of peppermint extract. Use a squeegee to get that extra sparkle.
Lastly, buff your wood floors. A D.I.Y. solution can be made with olive oil, white vinegar, hot water, and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Tough tile stains can be removed with baking soda and water. Just make sure to use a non-abrasive scrubber so you won’t scratch your floors.
Here is a list of furniture and appliances to make sure you cover: dishwasher, countertops, cabinets, stove, refrigerator, sink and faucets, bathtub and shower, bedding and mattress, washing machine, silverware, bookshelves, patio furniture, couches, tables, chairs, and other upholstery.
Use salt and soda water to clean inside refrigerators. This is also an excellent time to go through your entire fridge and get rid of all expired food. Also when you’re finished don’t forget to place an open box baking soda in both your freezer and fridge. Move your fridge away from the wall and clean all the dust built up behind it. This way you can clean the condenser coil to keep your fridge fully functioning and reunite yourself with anything you or your cat have kicked behind it.
Even if blankets and pillows don’t need to be cleaned, air them out to get rid of any winter drab.
Finally, don’t forget to disinfect your cleaning tools like brooms, vacuums, and sponges.
Spring is a beautiful time. It’s the season where everything starts fresh. Why not get rid of the clutter in our hearts? Let bygones be bygones. Let go of old grudges and stressors. We are in the Easter season; Christ has washed away all our transgressions! Take this time to start anew and blossom like the beautiful human being that God created.
As I child, I understood the concept of respect but didn’t know the actual word for word meaning. I thought that everybody understood what respect meant but, since working at New Beginnings, I realize how wrong I was! Some of the mothers who come into New Beginnings, view respect as, “You aren’t giving me what I want, and therefore, you are not respecting me!” My favorite false idea of respect is “I will respect you as long as you respect me and do as I want.” The two play hand in hand. I then realized just how blessed I was to have the strong Christian upbringing that I had along with the guidance of my parents who taught me to respect others.
So, what is respect? In the dictionary it has a few different meanings but I found two that really seem to nail down the definition.
This is the love and respect we give the mothers who come to us looking for a new beginning. We strive to help them accomplish their goals and grow closer to God through His Word. We help teach them what God has to say about respect for not only others but for themselves. I quickly found out that not everybody grew up being respected by others and therefore don’t know how to respect themselves as an adult. Through daily instruction in God’s Word, we learn together the love that He has for us, and how He sent His Son to die for us. What a blessed message to share with the mothers and their little ones!
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them.
– Luke 1:6
One other way your donation dollars create real, long-term change is by allowing mothers to go back to school. Mothers who get an education can get well-paying jobs to support themselves and their children. This ultimately stops the cycle of poverty and government assistance use. Many of our moms start off by working toward earning their GED which is necessary for college and most job opportunities. If they’ve already obtained a high school diploma, they’re able to start college right away to work toward a degree that will allow them to achieve self-sufficiency. Our moms have dreams like becoming an accountant, opening up their own non-profit, becoming a nurse, and more. By donating to New Beginnings, you empower our moms to work hard and make their dreams come true.
THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to or supported New Beginnings in some way. You are making a true difference in the lives of the mothers and babies who come into our program.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Taleya Williamson is the Operations Manager at New Beginnings. She was born and raised in Puyallup, Washington and attended Evergreen Lutheran High School. Taleya recently graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a Bachelors of Science in psychology with a minor in anthropology. In her free time, Taleya enjoys spending time with her husband, David.