Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back to the Old Bump and Grind... Menu Plan Restart

After a couple weeks of sickness and getting our house together while being "quarantined", I am ready to get back to a good routine. For us, a good routine always starts with a menu plan and good home-cooked meals. (Check out my other blog... :) )

This week, we will be focusing on using up some cooked chicken. There will be quite a few chicken dishes but that won't kill us. :)

Sunday, June 30th
Treat of Tim Horton's
Cheesy beef and rice, salad

Monday, July 1st
Smoothies, fruit
Sandwiches and pretzels
MIL's birthday dinner

Tuesday, July 2nd
Yoghurt, fruit
Spaghetti, garlic biscuits
Chili, salad, corn bread

Wednesday, July 3rd
Breakfast cookies, fruit
Cheese, crackers, fruit
Three cheese garlic pasta, peas, salad

Thursday, July 4th
Easy breakfast casserole, yoghurt
4th of July festivities

Friday, July 5th
Toast, fruit
Hot dogs, chips
Chicken enchiladas, refried beans

Saturday, July 6th
Pancakes, breakfast meat
Chicken Divan, salad

Goodness! I feel so much better already! Who would have thought a simple menu plan would take the weight of the world (or at least a bit) off my shoulders?!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Peaches - Friend and Fruit

I have this friend. I have never met her. She is a rock star. Somehow, she always knows just what I need to hear.

Things have stunk around here lately. After weeks of a really sick boy, we finally found out Dylan has pertussis. He is miserable. I am tired and miserable. Miserable times.

Life must go on. I know this sounds silly but peaches had to go on. Peaches were on sale and needed preserved.

I am tired. I have the can't help its. I haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks but in my mind, I see a chance at saving money, being frugal, making healthy foods and stocking up for winter dancing through my mind.

So what did I do? I went and got peaches.

 Erg! What was I thinking?! Half way through, I was sitting here, resenting those stupid peaches. So MAD at those stupid peaches. Ridiculous, huh?

Enter Laura's post about her house. Laura has a house. Laura has an awesome house but sometimes, Laura doesn't like her house. Laura changes her thinking and sees it as a blessing. Laura recognizes and is thankful for her blessings and in turn, reminds me to look at my blessings and be thankful.

Peaches. I am so tired of peaches. However, let's break this down...

We had money to buy peaches. We have jars, pectin, lids, rings, lemon juice, sugar and all the kitchen tools needed to make the jam and put on the peaches. I am alive to make peaches. I have kids to eat peaches. I have a husband that makes such an approving taste of the peaches. In the winter, we will have fresh peaches.

I am blessed. Blessed by peaches. Not just the fruit peaches but the peach of a friend and sister of Christ. Thanks, Laura! <3 p="">
Coming soon, I will share how I preserved those peaches! :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And again...

Lately I have been reading a lot of Christian Living/Homemaking/Parenting books. And here I sit. Depressed as can be. I know the purpose is to show me that others are going through the same trials and can overcome it. Yet here I sit overwhelmed tired. Feeling like a failure. A big fat mommy failure.

Not enough patience.

Not enough energy.

Just plain tired.

I hate to say I need a break but I do. I know it's selfish... and again, the guilt continues.

I used to use this blog as an outlet. Now I avoid it. I yearn to be transparent but fear I will be seen as a negative Nelly.

Frustration again.

Where do I turn?

Anyone out there dealing with this as well?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Work in Progress

I have been up for hours.

I have been thinking for hours.

There have been many situations that presented themselves this weekend. Situations in which I made the wrong choices. Situations in which I let my insecurities and the devil interfere in what I should have done.

I have been beating myself up for hours about how I made choices in which I am not proud. But I know just as the insecurities that are flooding me right now, this unmerciful beating I am giving myself is not from the Lord.

I sought His forgiveness and once again, He delivered. It is I that cannot forgive myself. As I sit here and delve into His word, I am comforted that He knows me.

Yes there are many things I need to work on. I yearn to love others as He loves me and them. I yearn to show compassion and understanding. I yearn to reach out and comfort.

Though I am not prone to those feelings, with His help and guidance I can bring them to fruit. But the key is to not beat myself up when I fail. I will continue pressing ahead.

So.... Next time....

When a hurting heart is before me, instead of listening to the thoughts others have placed in my head, I will reach out.

When my kids are rowdy and not listening, I will choose grace and love.

When a mama reaches out and tries to get to know me, I will pull out a chair and welcome her instead of being scared.

When a friend isn't who I thought they were and hurts me, I will continue to love them and try to get to know them.

I will smile more.

I will look people in the eyes when they talk to me instead of being nervous and look away.

I will try to hug more.

I will be more patient with myself and my husband.

I will reach out.

I will worry less about what others think of me and if they like me and instead will be more concerned if He is seen in me.

I will focus on my relationship with the Lord, my marriage, raising little souls for Him and our haven before I concern myself with outside affairs.

I will do my best and let the rest go.

I will stop beating myself up.

I will see myself as the daughter of the Most High King.

I am His...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mind Swirling, Purging on you & IPKWs

What a title!!

Goodness. I am about to purge a whole bunch of thoughts and feelings and ramblings on you. I'm pretty sure that if you continue reading, you might have wished you had clicked the "x" at the top right corner. ..

Where to begin?

Let's just be completely transparent and dive in. Many of noticed my mood. My funk. My yuckiness. My lack of initiative. My lack of it all. All but the couch and the TV. I don't know if you can say that I have been battling the waves of depression or if I'm just tired and recovering.

I have been a hot mess. A hot mess I tell you.

Let's begin with the journey our family began at the beginning of the new year. We, after YEARS of prayer and God-searching, left the only church that any of us had ever known. We had researched, watched sermons and prayed over churches for months. We knew the one God was calling us to try. We have really enjoyed it but...

It has been a struggle.

Much more than I had ever thought. It has opened sores, past hurts, insecuities and questions in myself that I had never known existed. It's made me examine.

It has been extremely hard to go to a place where people have to get to know you. Where people aren't just family and where people like you to like you, not because you're related or they wiped your bottom.

It has been equally as hard to let people get to know you when you don't know you. I don't know who I am anymore. I don't know what's important to me. It's so hard to step out of your family's faith and stand on your own two faith feet. It's been painful. Painful especially when you see such disappointment in their eyes. It tears me up.

Let me take you back to the moment when I realized JUST how important this decision and many decisions I am making are...

December 14th, 2012 at 12:13 - I catch a quick glance of the news. Why is the news on? It's never on. I don't like my children to hear the news.

Wait. A school shooting?! What is going on?!

For the next hours, I hold my babies and glance out the window waiting for Dylan to get home from school. It had been hours of excruciation. I had been fighting the urge to go and grab him from the school and yell with all the hurt in my heart for those families... "I can't trust you! My child is safe NO WHERE but with me!". I didn't. It was hard. And honestly, it was only the Lord that kept me from making a fool of myself and upsetting my child.

Over the next few days my mind was a whirl with questions. How can I keep my babies safe?! How can I keep them from harm? Should I bring them back home to be schooled? Should I allow them to ride with anyone but me and Andy? Should I put bars on the windows of our home?

After days and days of the questions, only one answer resounded....

I couldn't.

There was nothing I could do to protect them against everything. Nothing.

Honestly, it was the scariest, most humbling realization. It hurt. A lot.

The only thing I could do was make sure they were being fed every spirititual fruit available. Make sure that no matter what happened here on Earth, their hearts and souls and lives were the Lord's.

Now, that task felt more daunting and overwhelming than protecting them frome everything.

I am a disappointment. I am a screw up. I mess up all the time. How could God give these little hearts to me?! WHAT was He thinking? He most not be perfect because that was a HUGE mistake. There was NO way I could prepare these precious hearts for eternity with Jesus. I cannot even seem to keep my own together.
For well over a month, I have been fighting these feelings and many others. I have been fighting the lack of love for myself and others. The mass disappointment I feel for myself. The questions for the Lord. I have been fighting.

I am tired.

I have been praying and searching.

This morning, I went to take a shower and next to the bath tub was my favorite book EVER. I picked up the book and began reading.

How good God is to have sent an angel to place that book right in my sight this morning!

As I read this book, I realized. I am NOT perfect but I am HIS. I will not be able to reach my children without Him. He knew just what He was doing when He gave me those beautiful blessings. Who am I to question?

Reading this book, I have come to see that it's OK if my mission field isn't in Haiti or down town Dayton. God has given me a mission field at my home. God has given me little souls to make His. I am blessed.

As I read on, the idea of IPKWs came to grow.

IPKW = Intentional, Purposeful Kingdom Work

In my home and in the lives of my children, I need to be intentional and purposeful in my pursuit to guide them to the Lord. It's OK if I am just finding my own two faith feet. We can learn together. God will guide me and what better teacher could I ask for?

I have begun to pray about my IPKWs and as the Lord guides, I will work on those Kingdom Works and once God has allowed them to come to full fruit, I will move to the next.

This is going to be hard. It's not going to be fun. Just like finding a church that is a better fit for your family, it might be met with looks of disappointment and tears BUT if you seek the Lord's guidance and yearn to walk with Him, it will be worth every minute. If we give our hearts, our lives and our homes over to the Lord, He WILL deliver.

I pray that my journey will be a light to you and that the Lord's goodness be shown...

Friday, January 25, 2013

He's Got the Whole World in His hands...

Today was tough. Maybe one of the toughest days I've had in a long time. Before getting to the hospital, I got a text from a friend who has been in Cleveland clinc undergoing surgery and procedure after procedure for cancer. She said that she was praying for me and to please text her how the surgery went so that when she woke up in a week she would know. Red flags went up! A week?!

Taryn is being placed into a medically induced coma. The doctors are baffled as to why they aren't able to treat some of the symptoms. All they can think to do is to induce the coma so that her body can rest.

I am so scared and anxious. To explain what kind of girl she is would not be possible. Words cannot express.

So for the next week, I will probably use my blog as a sounding board for my fears and someone to "listen" to as I am anxious to her from her.

I end this entry with an encounter I had today when I was getting being discharged from the hospital...

Today this little old lady walked Andy back to see me in recovery. As they walked up, I noticed that she
was holding Andy with both hands. I know that I am a bit groggy but ... she came over and whispered in my ear that she had been praying for me that morning and that I was in the palm of God's hands. She kissed me and walked away. I have joked about it today but it touched me in ways I cannot explain. Today, I know for sure that God sends angels to comfort those He loves.

As I pray for Taryn, I am sad and scared but I know how amazing she is... I cannot blame God for wanting to go another day without her by His side. So today, I pray for God's will and I pray that I have the strength and grace to accept it. Tonight I pray for the many people who love her. I pray for peace of mind and heart.

I am in love with a Savior who has the hold world - even Taryn and myself- in His hands.

Will you join me in praying for Taryn?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 12 - Replacing The Negative Stuff

Negative thoughts invade. I find that when I am alone with my thoughts they push their way in. Washing the dishes and humming a favorite song suddenly turns to the dark thought side.

How could I do that?

What's wrong with me?

I cannot believe I thought that. I am so stupid!

Then comes the comparing myself to others.

Today I urge you to dream big and rid yourself of all those negative thoughts and self-doubts the Devil is feeding you. While you're at it, take a minute and read an old post that I wrote. It rings just as true now as it did when I wrote it. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 11 - When Stuff Happens

Stuff happens... Goodness - it happens often.

I feel Satan attacking me. I feel him threatened. He is attacking me from every direction. He knows he's losing the battle with me - so he attacks more and harder.

Death, sickness, uncertainty and spiritual battles have been been one after another this new year.

What happens when we feel stuff continually happening?

An old hymn my grandpa used to sing proclaims...

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the Solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand!"

My answer is to give it all to Jesus. The good, the bad and the ugly. Give it ALL to Him.

Will you join me?

Lord Jesus - I give it all to you... My faith and in times, my lack of faith. My fear and my strength. My marriage. My children. My finances. My womb. My health. My possessions. It's Yours. Be glorified.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Organizing Your Stuff

I feel kind of like an imposter writing a post on organization.

Honestly quite often, I do the bare minimum. Enough to get by. But often times, it is not nearly enough and I find myself ready to pull my hair out.

This year and on, I want to be diligent in being good stewards of my blessings by organizing them.

My first step is my time. I have been allowing time to run me and not the other way around. I want to be intentional about a routine and putting events directly on the calendar.

There are also many different daily planners (also known as homemaking binders) that you can put together. (Click here to view mine... ) You can go to almost any homemaking blog and search and there homemaking binder will appear. The important thing is to mold it to what works for you and your home.

The next area to work on is organizing the material stuff. After I have decluttered, every will have a "home" or a place it belongs. This is vital when trying to teach little people to put away. If there is a specific home, they know the place it belongs and there is no question.

There are MANY organizational tools and products out there. Many homemakers and moms find that Organized Junkie is an awesome resource.

As soon as I have my home decluttered from the Christmas craze, I am going to begin finding homes for everything. I feel a long road ahead of me but one that I am sure will be worth every minute!

What are your organizing tips and secrets?!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day SIX of our Journey - Decluttering that STUFF

I think I have found the key to cleaning and decluttering. Almost anything that I HAVE to do but don't necessarily like to do...

Do it with a friend!

When I say, "Declutter with a friend...", it has to be a special friend. 

A friend that has stuck around through those bad monthly times. Those times of crazy hormonal pregnancies and crazy melt downs. A friend who will stick with you through the thick and thin. A friend that really loves you. 

The kind of friend who can say, " I love you but you don't need five popcorn poppers." 

The kind of friend who can handle it when you exclaim, "But we LOVE popcorn and one might BREAK!"

It is important to remember a few things when you find a cleaning/decluttering buddy and dive into it - 
  1. Make a plan before you jump in. Think about it rationally. If you are a new declutterer, don't resolve to get rid of everything. You will go into shock and regret it and get bitter after.
  2. Think of where you want the stuff to go. I know for myself, thinking of giving the excess stuff to people who will need it or turn it into cash to put towards debt excites me. This helps me push through.
  3. Find a friend that is patient and will continue to plow through all the stuff even with your nasty comments about how she just doesn't understand. You need that large tote of wire hangers! 
  4. Find a friend that you can tell your goal and they will hold you accountable. For me, I know that my husband is not a good fit. We both are hoarders (we like to call it frugal!) by nature and we always find some kind of reason to keep everything. Also, I often get very offended when he wants me to get rid of my treasures. (He just doesn't understand. I NEED 73 pair of flip flops!)
  5. Carry out your plan. It will hurt but if you made a realistic plan, it will feel better - not worse.
  6. Remember! Remember that you are going to help your friend in turn go through their clutter. Make sure you treated them how you want to be treated because its their turn to be nasty about their plastic plate collection to you! (We NEED 27 plastic plates. We might have GUESTS!)

All the "conversations" above are just a couple of the crazy pack-rat comments that I come up with. All have been said by me at one time or another. This summer, we decided to get serious about getting rid of our clutter. We get rid of about 30% of our stuff in the downstairs. People have walked into our house and asked if we've been robbed. 

We still have a lot of stuff but we have drastically cut down. 

If I can do it, anyone can do it. It was painful. I wanted to cry. However, it was so worth it. I can clean my house faster and there are many less toys to fight with my children to pick up. We can find and LOVE the things we have even more. 

When I think of clutter and STUFF, I think of a zap to me. It zaps my energy, I have to clean. It zaps my joy because I am continually harping for people to clean up. It zaps my time. I have more time to spend loving on my children and doing fun things with them. 

Getting rid of the clutter has really brought more peace and joy into my life. Have I "arrived"? No way. I am still on the journey to rid our house of unnecessary things but I am trying and making progress. 

How about you? Do you struggle with the clutter and stuff that is all around you? Or do you have a good system to rid your home of clutter?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day FIVE of our Journey - Hmmm....

Yesterday I wrote about how I wanted to start a series on stuff. I began the series and was sure to continue it today... but I'm not going to. 

Today I am going to write about letting my self be still and silent. Listening to His small voice. Our 2013 has started out on a sad note. I am in the midst of what some would consider a spiritual battle and I just need to be still. I yearn for His voice. 

So today, I am putting down the stuff and waiting patiently for His voice and guidance. 

 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. 
I will be exalted in the earth"
- Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day Four of our Journey - Stuff

I am going to be starting a series on stuff. Just that stuff. Could I get more specific? Eh. Maybe but probably not. I will narrow it down a bit ... Here is a list of what I intend on covering.

  • Stewardship of the material stuff we have been given. 
  • Decluttering the material stuff.
  • Organizing the material stuff.
  • Getting rid of that negative stuff in our minds and replacing it with positive.
  • When "stuff" happens...

Stewardship of Stuff - 

It's a new year. A new beginning. I know in my family we were so blessed to receive more stuff. Our family and friends were so gracious and gave us not only what we wanted but a lot of what we needed. This year I was pleased with how intentional and thoughtful people were. I truly know they were thinking and praying for us as they browsed for our gifts.

I really feel the need to be more intentional about the stewardship of the stuff we have been given. I need to take better care of and maintain it better. If it is broke, fix it. If it out, put it away. If it is dirty, clean it. 

So often I leave it for tomorrow an it becomes a bigger mess than if I would have just taken care of it today. Beginning today, I am going to be more intentional about taking care of all the material possessions we have been blessed with. 

What about you? Are you a good steward over your material possessions? Do you work a little harder to keep them nice and maintained?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Days two and three of our Journey - Contentment

Philippians 4:11-12
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Being content. I struggle with being content. I always want to move on to the next thing. I never sit and rejoice in the moment. 
That needs to change. I need to be happy where I am. I need to be content. Enjoy this season of life. Enjoy where the Lord has me. Be a witness in the day in which I am living. 
My next step in making all the changes from 'Burb Girl to Cowgirl is to find contentment where I am. Even if it's in the middle of this stinkin' suburb where the neighbors are drunk and rude. Where my soul and spirit feel dampened. I will lean on God. He knows the plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). He is guiding me. He has blessed me.  He does good for all those who love Him. He knows my heart and I must trust in His timing.
It's OK to make plans and work towards the future (Proverbs 6:6 - 8) but I should not get so wrapped up in them that I miss out on today. 
How about you? Do you struggle with rejoicing right where you are in life? Do you long for the next thing?