These Are A Few of My Favorite Things (lately!)

October 21st, 2015

I’m happy to have a lighter post today…I’ve been pretty darn emo the past couple of months and I’d like nothing more than to post a few fun things and some food!  I’ve got to get back in the habit of blogging recipes…that was one of my favorite things to do here :)

Back, by popular demand (I’m looking at you Aunt Becky!) is a list of what I’m loving lately…

This FREE fall printable that I stuck inside one of my new IKEA frames.  Click HERE to print it for yourself!

free fall printable

Here it is on the shelf I just bought and hung the other day :)

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I’m also loving that cute little evergreen in the white pot (also IKEA)…it smells like Christmas!  That is until I kill it! #blackthumb

Fall sights are best accompanied by fall scents and I’m thrilled to have a safe way to make our home smell great now that I’m using essential oils!  I love a good vanilla or pumpkin spice candle as much as the next gal, but my asthma is really aggravated by fragrance, so I’ve either gone without or tried to use scented candles sparingly.  This year I can pump the house full of awesome fall scents and not be negatively affected at all.  Double bonus!

These two combos have been my favorites lately!

fall oil combos

L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation

loreal foundation

My sister has slowly been converting me into a makeup junkie! I’ve always had fun wearing a little makeup to spruce things up, but I never knew about high-end products or the latest and greatest drugstore items until she got me hooked on a few makeup YouTube channels.  Now I’m in and it’s been fun to discover new things that work for me.  I really love this foundation.  It has good coverage without being too heavy.  It’s very matte, so if you have really dry skin this probably wouldn’t be great for you.  In fact, I’m already bumming out that I might have to switch to something else over the winter when my face gets super dry!  This formula goes on very nicely, especially when I dot it around my face and tap it in with a damp Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to blend and cover everything.  This little sponge is awesome.  No cake face or harsh lines near your neckline when you use it to apply your foundation!

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That beings said, I also highly recommend this cleanser to keep the sponge in tip-top shape!  It’s incredible how it unlocks all the foundation built up in the sponge.  I wash mine about every 3rd day.

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This Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in Very Black.  Oh my goodness I love this mascara!  I know that mascara is one of those things that everyone seems to have their preferences about.  I really like lengthening mascara since my eyes are extremely hooded.  I just want my lashes to be able to peek out from under my hoods! That being said, I also like to have extra volume too.  This mascara delivers both for me and even adds a little curl from the shape of the wand.  It’s not waterproof but wears very well and has withstood some pretty serious tears!

lash sensational

These Gubbrora rubber spatulas from IKEA.  They are so awesome!  They don’t come apart, so you don’t get nasty build up in the rubber part from not drying properly.

rubber spatula

They are also heat resistant so you can use them to perfectly cook scrambled eggs without losing any egg to the edges of the pan or melting the tip of the spatula into a gooey mess!  That’s my #1 favorite use for them and I may have stocked up during my last trip to IKEA.  At $2.99 each, you can’t go wrong.

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I’ve mentioned before that I hoard cutting boards.  I also hoard rubber spatulas!  I’m forever scraping yogurt out of the tub or peanut butter from the bottom of the jar or my scrambled eggs out of the bowl or around the pan.  Ain’t nobody got time for washing between each use, so I just have a bunch on hand :)

This t shirt from Target.  You cannot tell from the photograph at all, but this shirt rocks.  It’s soft and drapey and the neckline is flattering without being too low, and the slouchy pocket adds a casual yet trendy flare.  It doesn’t cling to your midsection and it’s long enough to cover my booty so I can wear it with leggings.  I’m obsessed.  I have 2 right now (smoked plum and teal wave) and it’s taking everything in me not to order two more (probably oatmeal heather and dark gray).  I noticed that some of the colors have a v-neck, but I prefer the scoop neck!

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Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee

I was skeptical about this one, but the newsletter mentioned that it sold out every year so I was intrigued enough to grab a can!  Nothing like a little supply/demand drama to get a girl to run to the store.  LOL

It’s a medium bodied coffee ground with pumpkin spices and it’s really tasty.  Whole30 converted me to taking my coffee black, and this is a fun way to be seasonal without crap laden creamer!  Woo hoo!

97234-pumpkin-spice-coffee

While we were at TJ’s stocking up on pumpkin foods (thanks to the convincing seasonal newsletter and the absence of Dr. Gould who is not a fan of pumpkin foods) I also impulsively grabbed a jar of their Pumpkin Butter. As I grabbed the jar, I honestly thought it might be a total waste and end up dying in the fridge for 6 months before getting thrown away, but NO!

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It’s good!  Like really super yummy on top of the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread.  I like to make pumpkin bread from scratch, but the box was super easy and didn’t contain creepy ingredients AND came together in no time flat.  My girls LOVE having “special breakfasts” like pancakes or cinnamon rolls or sweet breads, so this was a big hit with them.  The bread on it’s own it fairly subtle and not overly sweet (which I appreciate) but a light slathering of this pumpkin butter takes it over the top!  YUM!  I imagine it would also be good on toast.

My fall porch decor…especially the new IKEA lanterns!

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This is not my porch, but I kind of wish it was my winter porch,  so I’m including the picture!  Also, to include both lantern sizes.

This is our last fall in this house ::insert overly emotional sobbing:: and as much as I ADORE fall, I’ve only decorated outside for it once or twice in the 9 years we’ve lived here.  Although we are well into October, I had to go for it this year and I’m so happy I did!

Photo Oct 19, 5 27 48 PM

The hay bale, pumpkins, mums, and gourds were purchased from a roadside tent.  The pewter lantern was hanging under our back patio all summer, and the two black lanterns are from IKEA.  Yes, I might have an IKEA problem…what’s it to you?! Lol

fall porch collage

I could honestly sit here all night long posting favorite things, but I’m gonna wrap it up here and post again soon :)  As always I’d love to hear your recent favorites in the comments!

Happy Fall, Y’all!


A Note From The Trenches

October 20th, 2015

This post is LITERALLY 5 days in the making.  OMG I don’t even know how to describe the last week.  I just kept sitting down to write then erased it all then sat down again then got interrupted then came back and started up again.  Everything you are about to read is from about 4 different days, so take words like “yesterday” with a grain of salt.  LOL  I just really wanted to update this space, so I’m posting the madness.

I keep sitting down to blog and then I erase everything I’ve written because I’m not writing it for me.  I don’t know why it’s so hard to write for myself sometimes.

I sit down thinking I’m going to write to figure out what I’m thinking and then all of the sudden I’m explaining things to you.  That’s not inherently bad, but it’s not what I want this space to be about.

And it usually bores me.

Today I’m thankful that so far everything is better than it was yesterday.

Yesterday started out ok with the usual early wake up from Drew, followed by breakfast, homeschooling, and lunch.  We even did two kindergarten lessons to make up for our day off on Monday.  I arranged a meet-up at the playground with friends and we even had pumpkin spice tea and homemade apple bread as a little snack to warm us up after our cold park adventures.

Right after all that I started to get my afternoon twitch.  The one where I’m feeling irritable and impatient and desperately in need of an hour alone.  Even 30 minutes.

So, I got the little ones to lay down, let Grace do her own thing and I caught up on some emails before settling into some quiet time for myself.

Grace decided to do artwork at the table right next to me, so my email time was peppered with 101 questions, but I was pressing forward…I knew I could send her off to another room for another activity as soon as I was done with what I was working on.

Then Drew woke up.

Even suggesting that was upsetting makes me feel like the world’s crappiest mom because how could I not relish every minute with this adorably precious baby boy?

Photo Oct 13, 8 36 00 AM

But I’m just feeling weary.  He’s such a sweet boy, but he’s in a challenging phase right now, cutting a bunch of teeth, fighting a cold, wanting desperately to walk and explore.

He has a lot of needs and this mama feels all dried up.

The girls continue to struggle through learning how to share and be generous.  Making good strides and then appearing to forget everything they’ve ever been taught.  They are great playmates and fierce competitors.

The thing about 3 (or more I imagine!) is that someone always needs something.  Getting all 3 to overlap with anything is a challenge so it’s usually a relentless game of whack-a-mole.

I start each day ready.  I grab my figurative mallet, I give myself a pep talk about how strong and capable I am, and I hunch into my best whacking stance, ready to face the day.  Ready to whack every need that pops up, moving swiftly to prepare myself for the next one.

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Have you every played Whack-A-Mole?

whack a mole

It’s an uncanny metaphor for parenting.

Back to yesterday…I closed my laptop.  Prayed that God would have mercy on me.  Took a deep breath and scooped my boy from his crib.

Ironically he just woke up again early from his nap, so I’ve got to close the laptop again to get him.

Now I literally don’t even remember exactly what happened when I got him up from “nap” the other day, but I do remember that by about 4 o’clock I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Either that, or put all the kids to bed immediately and hide in the attic.  Seriously.

Instead, I piled us all into the car and made a trip to Salvation Army.  It’s nice to get out of the house and the girls love to play with all the random toys while I peruse the kids clothing racks.

Except that day.  They complained and whined and fussed.  They wanted me to buy them weird giant toys and they wouldn’t stop antagonizing each other.  Avery kept melting down about every.little.thing. and Drew squirmed in the cart the whole time.

I did score a pair of jeans for Aves, 2 winter coats for Drew (not sure whether he’ll keep growing like a weed so I grabbed a 12mo and 18mo…$3 each!) and a pair of gold high heels for Grace who is obsessed with all of my “glass slippers” and desperately needed a pair of her own.

You’d think everyone would be happy to get a little something new and get out of the store, but no.  More crying.  More fussing.

I pleaded with them to behave so we could get dinner at Coney (which they love) but they could not get it together.  They kept fighting and they wouldn’t listen to any of my instruction as we loaded back into the van.

And I lost it.

I’m so tired of parenting alone.  I’m so tired of them fighting all the time.  I’m so tired of the near constant whining and arguing with me.  I’m so tired of them not listening to what I’m saying to them.

So I yelled at them.  I told them we weren’t going to Coney for dinner and that it was all their fault.  I told them that I just wanted to have a fun Friday night, but that they ruined it.

Shameful, I know.

I shouldn’t have said anything.  I should have prayed and kept my mouth shut, but every single ounce of wisdom and self-control was nowhere to be found.

They all started crying hysterically.  The girls out of sadness and disappointment and Drew because the girls’ volume was freaking him out.

So I did what any wise and mature parent would do…I cranked the radio up to drown them out.

They got louder and complained about the loud music, so I turned it up louder.

I’m not proud of this.  I’m ashamed that 3 small and adorable people can turn me inside out and make me lose every shred of decency.

Photo Oct 17, 11 30 56 AM

I’m ashamed that I can’t just handle this better.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that I can normally handle the majority of the home and children responsibilities just fine, but now that Andy has been gone for nearly 2 months I feel like I can’t do it at all.

I struggle with weakness and dependence and these are both things I believe the Lord is nudging me about.

And by “nudging” I mean jabbing a hot poker into! Lol

We were nearly home from our loud and emotional car ride when I realized that ditching Coney meant I’d have to cook dinner.  I couldn’t handle that idea either, so I did what any health-conscious and nutrition-passionate mother would do…I drove through McDonald’s.

Two “chicken” nugget happy meals and a salad later, we were home again and eating together around the table.

I was still overwhelmed and feeling at capacity, but somehow the intensity had died down.

Bedtime routines were swift and effective and as I tucked the girls into bed, I spent a few minutes looking into each of their beautiful eyes and apologizing.  Telling them that I shouldn’t have yelled and made them feel bad.  Reminding them that we all make mistakes and that’s why we so desperately need Jesus.  Thanking Him, in front of them, for covering all of my yelling and anger and unkindness with his holy blood.  I asked for their forgiveness and I treasured their willingness to love me despite my many faults.

Avery just smiled and sucked her finger while picking fuzz on her blanket, but I could tell she felt better.  More peaceful and calm.

Grace told me that when things were going haywire in the van she, “prayed quietly in the back that Jesus would help all of us.”

With tears in my eyes I told her that’s the only thing that really helps when things get hard.  That God loves us SO MUCH and loves to hear our voices asking Him to help.

She wished aloud that she could see God and I told her I wished I could too.  I reminded her that He is all around her and always loving and watching over her.

She gets scared of the dark at bedtime, so I reminded her that the presence of the Lord hovered over her bed all night keeping her safe.  She had a joyful smile and reached her hand up into the air above her head…”Am I touching him, mom?”

Yes sweet girl, you are.

It was a holy moment.

What the enemy intended for evil and for division between me and my children and for wounds to strike their tender hearts, God turned to good.

When we open ourselves to God’s work in our hearts, our worst darkness becomes a place of mercy and grace.

That is precisely what happened that night and I’m so incredibly thankful and humbled by His goodness.

When I am weak, He is strong.

Hallelujah.


Are you there God? It’s me, Rebecca.

October 6th, 2015

Ok Lord. Here we are. Blank page. Full mind.

I’ve sent all the kids to the backyard for a little while because I just.can’t.deal.

I know YOU are the only thing that will satisfy and that you are all I need, but I’m struggling so hard to believe that today.

I feel like a hollow shell of a woman who just posted about Jesus Frosting and drinking deeply from your living water, and now has no idea what the hell to do with the near smothering anxiety and hopelessness I’m feeling.

You say you are faithful to complete your good work in me, but I cannot figure out how on earth that is going to happen. I’m so freaking dysfunctional.

I honestly feel like I may have a mental health issue. When do you know you need to be on meds?

Shamefully I’ve often looked at meds as a crutch. I’m such a judgmental wretch.

And here I sit at my kitchen table. It’s 2 oclock on a random Tuesday and I’ve already cried twice today. I know I need you but instead of laying prostrate on the floor with my bible, I ran to pita bread and feta cheese and a strong stout.

In a moment of wisdom, I put my phone and library book down and listened to Bethel’s Come To Me on repeat.

You are my anchor in the wind and the waves. You are my steadfast and I won’t be afraid. Though my heart and flesh fail me, you’re my faithful strength. You are with me wherever I go. So Jesus, I come to you because you’re all I need. I come to you for everything. I come to you cuz you’re all I need. I come to you for everything.

Through bites of cheese and bread and heaving sobs, I felt like I had a moment with you. As though maybe, just maybe, my doubt was unfounded. That you maybe are all I need. I begged you to help me. To do your work in me despite myself. To open me up and to dig deep inside and fix my brokenness. To help me to really know you not just know cool stuff about you and how you operate in other people’s lives.

A couple weeks ago at church they suggested God isn’t looking for perfection, just devotion and that’s freaking good news for me!

I’m terrifically imperfect. But I think I am devoted.

Even as frustrated as I got today, I felt myself clinging to you…even just by a skinny thread.

I even wanted to let go of you, but something inside wouldn’t let me.

Maybe it was devotion.

Definitely it was your tender mercy.

The kids all came inside and the littles went down for nap. I gave Grace the ipad, pushing aside the guilt of that maneuver the best I could, and I crawled into bed and burrowed under all of my heaviest covers. I read a little of my library book and then I just weakly called out to you and closed my eyes.

A little while later a random kid song from the ipad woke me up and I then I heard Drew stirring in his crib. We had to get outside. I had to brush my teeth and put on a bra and breathe some fresh air.

So we walked around the block. It wasn’t magical, but it was necessary.

We came home and the girls had fun pushing Drew around the backyard while I threw dinner into the oven. We all ate while Facetiming with Andy.

I always wish Facetime went better. That the kids could all be onscreen, that I would have only one chin and no bags under my eyes, that the connection wouldn’t fail right as I was spilling my guts. You know, complicated stuff like that.

At one point I just couldn’t take it anymore so I got up and crawled back into bed. They ended the call and Drew got stuck under the piano bench so I came to his rescue. We somehow managed to move through the bedtime process without me crawling back into bed or yelling at anyone. #victory

Once the girls were in bed I started on the dishes and collecting the trash and recycling to put out on the curb. Turns out Drew wasn’t so ready to go to bed yet so I fetched him from his crib and let him play in the living room. He was clearly tired and began bumping into things as he was crawling around. That poor little noggin is getting its share of hard knocks lately. I cradled him in my arms to comfort him, and in typical fashion he struggled to get away from me.

Why couldn’t I get ONE cuddly baby? Why?

I walked him into his room, cleared 101 toys from his rocking chair and cuddled him with his blankie, begging God to let me have a sweet moment with my boy. Begging God to settle Drew just enough for a few short cuddles and a little enjoyment instead of the constant movement and climbing and straining to get down.

But no.

No cuddles were to be had, and I felt all alone.

Like I was reaching out with my whole heart to God from the song time earlier to the dark bedroom with Drew and God wasn’t responding.

I know He cares and I know He’s not some genie in a lamp, but I was desperately wishing he’d just throw me a bone. Give me some little inkling that He saw me.

I finished up the dishes and got the trash out to the curb, and I puzzled in my mind how my Good Father could seem so freaking far away.

I figured it was my fault. That my faith was just weak today and maybe tomorrow would be better.

Earlier I’d posted an ugly picture of myself on Instagram. I felt compelled to show where I really was…a red-eyed mess of tears wearing a bathrobe and not a stitch of makeup in the middle of the day. This was in contrast to my normal M.O. which takes 14 selfies to get one that makes me look pretty. I included a Dietrich Bonheoffer quote and hit “share” before I could chicken out.

That post garnered an outpouring of love that really touched my heart. People letting me know I wasn’t alone and offering prayers and reminders of God’s grace. It was such a gracious response to a very raw portrait.

I wondered if maybe God was gently nudging me with their words.

Then a couple of dear women texted me, offering conversation and care and solutions to the many things stressing me out at the moment. They really wanted to help me. They truly cared and weren’t just doing a good deed.

As cheesy as it may sound, they made me want to be a better woman.

They made me want to stand up more often to help and encourage other people. To ask enough questions to find a need and then to joyfully meet it. To put hands and feet on the loving and kind God we serve.

I’m humbled to be His daughter. I’m humbled to be surrounded by so many sweet examples of His goodness.

He hasn’t forgotten about me. He cares. He sees me.


Jesus Frosting

October 4th, 2015

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been in a weird place lately.  I didn’t elaborate much because I wasn’t even sure what to say.

I’m probably still not totally sure, but I am committing myself to speaking out more.  To telling my story.  To sharing my perspective.  To contributing to the epic narrative by saying my lines.

There’s no bravery in shrinking back and staying quiet and hiding out on the sidelines with a million things on your mind and no balls to say them.

So here I am.

It’s embarrassing for me to even start like that.  I’ve written multiple posts about how I have so much to say and how I feel my words are trapped inside me and I’m going to let them out.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

It’s always the same thing after that….maybe one or two heartfelt posts and then radio silence.  Still putting words to my thoughts every single day, but shrinking back from posting any of them.

After finishing Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, I had a revelation…

I enjoy writing enough that I feel it’s worth doing even if no one ever cares and even if people think it’s crap or that I’m a narcissist.  Writing is one of the few things that brings me to tears.  I cannot get my hands on enough writing about writing and I’m moved deep inside when I think or dream about writing and much of the time when I sit down to write.  So I’m just going to do it.  For real this time.

Why am I even telling you this???

I have consciously decided not to care what you think.  This is nearly impossible for me, but I’m making the decision.

In fact, much of the odd place I’ve been in lately is a little prison of my own making.  The prison of worrying about what I should be doing or how I should be living or how I am living looks to the world at large.

The best part is…no one even cares!

Ha!

I’ve heard the quote a million times, but I’m finally starting to believe it.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

you wouldnt worry

Thank you Eleanor.

I’m convinced I also wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of me if I realized what God really does.

That He fully knows me and deeply loves me.

THAT is what life is made of.

I’m so grateful for my church.  Grateful that I somehow managed to get myself and the 3 kids there at 9am despite the fact we all got out of bed at 8:27am.

That right there was a straight miracle.

And there was even room for Drew in the nursery, which is not always the case.

The Lord must have known I needed a little uninterrupted time to hear from Him.  That I needed to be reminded of the truth.

Life is to be found in Christ.  Not anywhere else.

The most interesting thing about this idea is, I thought I knew it.

I thought my heart knew it, not just my mind.

But it turns out I had forgotten.

Maybe not even so much that I’d forgotten, but I thought I was going to Him for life.

I thought because I knew life was only to be truly found in Him I was doing it.  I didn’t think I was going to lesser things to satisfy me.

But I was deeply unsatisfied.

Granted I’m in an intense phase of life raising 3 kids, homeschooling one of them, and holding down the fort while my husband is gone for months at a time.

That is draining and it won’t always feel satisfying.

I should probably accept that truth and allow myself to acknowledge the hard thing I’m doing.

BUT.

I was living a life lacking joy.  I was battling anxiety and dread all day long.

Little things were setting me into a panic.  I felt overwhelmed from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until the moment I closed them at night.

I was daydreaming about what I thought might make me happier.  I was thinking about how my life would be different (happier?) if I wasn’t a stay at home mom to what feels like a gaggle of children.

What if Andy and I didn’t have kids?  What if I worked full time?  What if I was the writer I dream of being?  What if I was doing a better job parenting and it was therefore easier? (myth)

Lots of what ifs.  Lots of trying hard to just be happy.  To be content.  To be satisfied.

I even would go so far as to tell God, “Ok, I’m here.  I’m not going to food or wine or tv or whatever to fill myself up, so what do you have for me?”

::waits two minutes::

“Nothing?  Ok then.  I guess you just feel like being quiet. I guess I’m just not positioning myself properly to get what you have for me.  Fine.”

I figured I’d just wait it out.  I’d just keep moving forward, probably edging God out a little until He was ready to get to me.  I was feeling pretty hopeless too.  Feeling like I must have the answer to the problem and that it just wasn’t working.

But this morning at church I realized what I was doing.

Jesus frosting.

Follow me for a minute…

I’m pretty sentimental and very nostalgic.  Fall tends to bring this out in me more than most other times of year.  Certain meals, smells, sights, activities, family time, decor, have made impressions on my memory and I feel like I’m always trying to make sure this fall is as sweet as those in my past.

Adding more decorations to the living room, pumping fall scents throughout the house (cannot wait for my cinnamon, clove and nutmeg oils to arrive!) and making cozy dinners like roasted chicken and spicy chili with corn bread are all attempts at creating a reality that makes me feel warm, fuzzy, and happy.

I’ve daydreamed about how fun it would be to homeschool my children one day.  I pictured us smiling at the kitchen table, working on handwriting, phonics and math with smiles on our faces.  I imagined me being the best teacher ever and them being so thankful that I was taking the time to be their teacher.

I used to fantasize about being a mother.  Staying home with my children and loving every minute of it.  Meal time, bath time, play time.  All of it was idyllic.  They were obedient and grateful.  I was patient and compassionate.

I think it goes without saying that my reality is different than those rose-colored imaginations.  That has left me a bit disillusioned and frustrated.

I just have to try harder.  I have to do more and be better.  Then it will all work out.

LIES.  ALL LIES.

I have fallen into looking for life in:

  • my home and it’s cleanliness and cuteness
  • my homeschooling experience
  • my children’s behavior and attitudes
  • and as a dear woman at church put it, the experiences of my 5 senses

True life, abundant life, is only to be found in Christ.

In what He has done for me.  In how fully He knows me and how deeply He loves me.

I’ve been looking for life in all the things I’ve mentioned and then I’ve slathered a layer of Jesus on the top and I’ve wondered why I’m not feeling connected to Him.  Wondered why I don’t feel rest and peace and freedom.

It’s not about Jesus frosting.

I cannot just layer Him on top of all the things I’m really going to to make me feel happy.  They are rotten wells with salty water that just makes me thirstier.

He is living water.

Today I drank deeply from Him and have felt more peace and joy that I have in a long time.

Thank you Father for your grace and mercy.

Thank you that you are truly all I need.

no jesus frosting

 


Travel the World with Netflix

September 30th, 2015

I’m in a strange place lately you guys.

Andy being gone, my sister getting married, continuing to operate within my dysfunctional infrastructure….all of it has done a number on me.

Finally today, after MUCH stubbornness, I sat down and wrote a bunch of it out.  It didn’t make a ton of sense and was all over the place and was peppered with profanity, but it helped me feel so much better.  Like a release valve was loosened and a bunch of pent up pressure was released.

I’m still wrestling with how I’m living my life and what God is inviting me into, but I’m feeling a little lighter.

Thankfully.

What does this all have to do with Netflix, you might ask?

Well, I’m trying to awaken to the things that excite me.  Things that spark joy, awe, wonder, and excitement in my heart and soul.

Emo, I know.

There are so many things that do that actually.  I spent about 300 words jotting a few of them down when I was writing earlier.

Much of it could fall under the categories: music, food, stories, people.

That’s where Netflix comes in…

For the past few nights Andy and I have been watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

And I seriously cannot get enough of it.

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Bourdain is a chef, author and tv personality who travels the world to explore the food, culture, and people who live in places off the beaten path.

We’ve only watched 4 episodes and I’m hooked.  I’m totally captivated by his style and laid back appreciation and reverence for the places he visits and the stories he hears.

The episode we watched last night (about Libya) was sobering and eye-opening.

It’s about so much more than the food.

When I watch this show, I imagine I feel the way people who love musicals feel….the story is progressing and BAM! everyone bursts into song.

Instead of that (which usually annoys me – sorry musical lovers!) the story progresses and BAM! they are suddenly sharing a delicious indigenous meal.

I physically ache when I watch shows like this and also Chef’s Table that I mentioned last time, because they move me.  They make me want to GO and SEE and TASTE and LISTEN to the whole wide world.

I have no idea how to make that happen, but you better believe I’m near constantly trying to figure out a way.

Until then, thank you Netflix for allowing me to travel the world through your incredible original shows, numerous documentaries, and programs like Parts Unknown.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Round These Parts Lately

September 22nd, 2015

PREFACE: I wrote this post one week ago today.  It’s all still as true as it was that day, but MAN OH MAN that evening was tough!  I didn’t publish the post immediately after writing it because I wanted to check for typos and by the time I had time to post this, all hell broke loose.  I had a crazy evening, planned wrong and missed a meeting, felt completely overwhelmed by the upcoming wedding, everything I was trying to control, and handling the kids completely on my own.  I’d love to say I turned it all over to God, but instead I had a pity party and watched Mad Men on Netflix while drinking wine and eating pretzels and cheese dip. #SoHuman

God in his ever abundant mercy loved me as much then as He does when I think I’m rockin’ it.  Today I’m neither here nor there.  Just kind of in the middle and still feeling all of the stuff in this post…

We’re on our 16th day with Andy being gone.  Boy we miss him!  We’re trying to FaceTime most days, but unless it happens in the delicate window between dinner and bed time, it’s not worth it.

FaceTime with young children is a special form of torture!  The lighting is always off, the kids never stop moving, someone is always shoving their face into the camera or hitting the kid who’s doing that and the baby pretty much just wants to crawl away.  Meanwhile, I’m constantly trying to angle the phone or iPad to show only one of my chins.

Yeah, no thank you.

But we want to see Andy everyday and keep him up to speed on what’s happening and make sure Drew doesn’t forget who is dad is. LOL

So we press on.  In that little post-dinner/pre-bedtime window.

Managing things by myself has actually been going better than I expected.  The regular feeding/changing/wiping/bathing/nail-clipping/story reading/fight breaking up/homeschooling of these three sweet blessings has a tendency to be exhausting.  When Andy is around, we try to tag team a lot of the evening and weekend stuff, and it sometimes still feels a little overwhelming, so I thought for sure I’d be swamped when I was doing it by myself.

By the grace of God I haven’t been swamped.  He’s poured out an extra measure of patience and perseverance upon me that I honestly can take no credit for.  I tend to have a prickly, no-nonsense, compassionless knee-jerk response to challenges, so this is ALL. GOD.

I’m so grateful.

We’ve been finding new rhythms and rituals that have structured our days so nicely.  The kids so well when we’re consistent with our routines and they know what to expect.

Right now that means we wake up and have breakfast, the kids play for a while, Drew goes down for his morning nap, Grace and I do kindergarten at the kitchen table and Avery is thrilled to participate in everything with us, the girls go outside for “recess” (which they LOVE and which CRACKS ME UP since they’ve been “recessing” outside all summer and it hasn’t felt so novel!) while I make lunch and get Drew up and fed.  A little more playtime and sometimes and errand or two, then nap time for Drew and Avery (and sometimes “rest time” for Grace) then back outside for a walk or bike ride before dinner, then reading and bedtime for the kids.  That’s when I clean up dinner, work on laundry, straighten up the house, plan school lessons for the next day, shower, and read blogs on my phone before hitting the hay.

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Day in and day out, it’s pretty much the exact same thing.

This is what is working for us right now and as long as it does we will continue.  I’ve been resistant to routines much of my life (Just ask my mom!  I’m always picking on her for all of hers) but there is something comforting and peaceful about them.  I always want to leave room for promptings from the Holy Spirit or helping someone in need or abandoning the entire plan for fun and adventure, but on the very quiet and ordinary days, I often smile as I’m coming full circle on one of our daily rituals.  I find gratitude in those moments.

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It’s like my heart and mind aren’t cluttered from worrying about what’s next or getting the kids on board for whatever needs to happen, so I have space to think and be thankful for this life I have.  For God’s mercy on me and all of my shortcomings.  For the way I get to stay home and do this work day after day.  For each of my beautiful and healthy children.

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We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life, except God’s goodness and his presence and the promise that He will make all things right in the next life.

There’s no promise that things will be easy or people will stay healthy or tragedy will be avoided.  Those things happen and they’re no respecter of persons.  I want to be thankful every minute for these beautiful things in my life that I don’t deserve.

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On the flip side, I want to grow in intimacy with God so that I will continue to be thankful when the hard times do happen, knowing He is good no matter what the circumstances of my life are screaming at me.

Part of growing toward Him is maintaining margins in my life.  Not overcrowding every day, but rather leaving room between the kindling so that His spirit can circulate and feed the flame of my relationship with Him.

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I find that lately I’m obsessed with how I’m spending my time.  Anxious about what to say yes to and what to turn down.  Worrying about not spending enough time with friends and worrying about how to make time to spend with them.  Worrying about not texting or calling people, worrying about what to be involved in at church, worried about missing things God has for me.

I knowcan’t miss the good works He has prepared in advance for me to walk in, but, practically speaking, I must believe I can miss them.

I keep reaching my heart to Him, asking for wisdom, remembering how much He loves me just as I am, over-extended or hermitting at home.

He loves me.

What good news!


2015 South Carolina Pilgrimage

September 9th, 2015

 

There are about a million pictures in this post, but you know what they say…

A picture speaks a thousand words.  So maybe, just MAYBE, I’ll let the pictures do all the talking and spare you my 1000 words ;)

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Until next year…


Soul Food with Netflix

August 31st, 2015

In June I mentioned the Netflix programs I wanted to check out over the summer.  And between the long days outside and the fun vacations we’ve taken, I’ve almost watched everything on my summer Netflix bucket list!

Hands down, my favorite thing all summer has been the Netflix Original Series Chef’s Table.

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I cannot even express how inspired I’ve been by this show.  There are currently only 6 episodes and I haven’t even allowed myself to watch them all because I cannot bear the idea that they’d all be viewed.  I’m currently hoarding the last 2 episodes.

I can tell you that I was emotional, to the point of tears, for the first 4 episodes.  Featuring chefs from Japan, Patagonia, Italy, and the all-American farm, each episode has been drenched in beauty and passion.

They have made me want to travel the country and the world to experience the creations of each chef featured.  I’ve been inspired to continue loving and pursuing food in new and exciting ways.

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Some simple manifestations of this have been buying purple potatoes at the market instead of the usual white or sweet potatoes I buy.  In fact, the sack of baby purple potatoes I bought at Whole Foods traveled all the way from Michigan to South Carolina where I roasted them with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary leaves and plenty of garlic.  Paired with roasted carrots, steamed broccoli and filet mignon smothered in blue cheese butter, they weren’t too far a departure from our normal weekly fare, but there was just enough variety and adventure for me to credit the Netflix Chef’s Table for the inspiration to branch out and try new things :)

It doesn’t take much of a nudge to get me to try new foods, but it’s also easy to get stuck in the same rut week after week.  I love Food & Wine magazine and after watching several episodes of Chef’s Table, I feel that much more likely to try recipes that call for new ingredients like White Balsamic Vinegar and fresh figs.

With Andy being out of town for the next couple of months I feel even more adventurous to experiment with meals that may not be crowd pleasers (I can always fix oatmeal or random chicken & veggie dinners for the girls) so I’m tearing pages out of magazines and remembering the joy and passion that each of the featured Chef’s Table chefs cook with.

Whether it be over an open flame in Patagonia or my GE range in Michigan, I know that good food is medicine to a weary soul and the catalyst to all kinds of friendship and community.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet on Netflix, I highly recommend it and would love to hear what you think about each episode!

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Vacation Reset

August 30th, 2015

There’s just something about being on vacation that gives me a total reset.  I see the world differently.  The wheat in my life separates from the chaff and I have clarity about what’s important and what I’ve gotten caught up in that is draining the life out of me.

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The ocean is some of the best therapy I’ve found.  When I walked onto the beach the other morning just as the sun was rising, it felt as though God himself was saying good morning to me.  I saw the giant orange sun coming up over the horizon and my heart smiled and instinctively I said out loud, “Good morning, Lord!”

The waves crashing onto the shore and nothing to see ahead but the sky and water brings a sense of peace and calm to my heart.  My mind is always going 100 miles an hour and I struggle to quiet and be still.  When I’m facing the ocean it’s different.  The sound of the water, the salt air blowing on my face, the tapestry of seashells along the shore, the seagulls and sand pipers flitting and flying around are all a symphony of God’s creation and I wish I could bottle up the effect they have on me and take it home.

I’d love a sip of that around 2:00 on a random Tuesday afternoon when I’m home, worn out by the activities of the day and my ever mounting to-do list.  What a pleasure that would be!

Reading and watching the kids play has also been so peaceful.  It’s easy to become exasperated by all of the normal kid antics, but if I stop and just watch them…memorize their sweet little faces as they play or dance along the shore, I’m completely overwhelmed with gratitude for them.

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In Tattoos on the Heart, one of the guys says, “The duty to delight is to stare at your family as they eat, anchored in the surest kind of gratitude – the sort that erases sacrifice and hardship and absorbs everything else.”

Not having any of my regular household stuff or social obligations has provided me much time to just sit and stare at the kids.  It really does provoke a sense of gratitude for them that erases any sacrifices I make to take care of them and it absorbs everything that normally seems challenging.

I want to take more time at home to say “NO” to other things and YES to staring at my children and feeling gratitude.

I also need to slow down.  I cannot keep saying yes to everything that comes along.  It’s robbing me of important things.  It makes me edgy and irritable with the people I’ve been called to care for and it doesn’t allow enough margin for things that feed my soul.  Things like seeing the morning sun and having my heart cry out “Good Morning!” to my father in heaven.

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Vacation helps me see things.  It awakens possibility inside me.  Challenges the way I normally operate.  I tend to get a million and one random thoughts and I always want to write them down…try to harness them like wild horses, but I almost always talk myself out of it.  While journaling on the beach last week I wrote:

The control freak in me wants a smooth transition to the next journal topic.  She wants neat handwriting and even rows of text.  But that’s not me.  I’m a hurried scribble.  I always have been.  Will I ever be ok with that?  When I am, will it mean that I write more?  Can I blog like that?  Stream of conscious?

I would love to read that.  It would comfort my messy aching soul.  No catchy openers.  No tidy wrap ups.  Just raw words.  Emotion.  Dreams.  Passion.

Have I blogged for 10 years, no…11 years, just to get to the place where I finally find my stride?  I love the raw and even cryptic writing of Flower Patch Farmgirl.  It awakens something in me.  It comforts me.  I need to pursue this.  Without warning.  Without preamble.  Without disclaimer.

Adoption has gripped my heart.  I’m consumed.  I’m terrified and thrilled at the same time.  I’m so comforted and reassured by Jaclyn’s story.  Thank you God for this vacation.  For the two cold Miller Lights that give me an exhale as I sit here on the beach. For the sand on my heel and the waves crashing in my ear.  Choose my babies for me.  Start now.  I’m ready.

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Comfort-Seeking Missile

August 4th, 2015

Last night Andy and I sat on the patio with plans to discuss the next couple of months.  Specifically he wanted to run a few travel questions by me and I was all too happy to hang out with him under the patio lights in the cool summer evening air. I think we may have gotten more use out of the patio this year than any year before, but it still never feels like we’re using it enough.  I’m such a nut about seasonal experiences…have I done enough summer stuff?  Grilled out enough?  Gone swimming enough? Have I done enough fall stuff?  Eaten enough pumpkin stuff? Enjoyed the colorful fall leaves enough?

Never.  I never seem to do any of it enough.

But I digress…

We sat outside enjoying the evening and tossing dates and travel options back and forth.  Which residency interview will be a phone call?  Which will be an in-person visit?  When will you fly?  Drive?  How will that fit in?  Where are the residency spots for that specialty?  How many are there?  How does that work?  What’s a GMO tour?  How likely is that to happen?

You guys.

There are soooo many decisions to make right now.

My head swirls with the thought of it all.  For the most part I just offer feedback in the way of, “Whatever you think will be best, babe.  I’m totally on board with anything.  I trust your choices.”

That usually is my gut feeling.  Plus, I can tell myself what a good and supportive wife I am.

If I slow down and really think about it all though, I get nervous.

Not so much about Andy’s upcoming travel and interviews and rotations.  But about our life.  The trajectory it is going to take.

I may convince myself that I’m ok with whatever and I’m totally up for the adventure of it all and I completely trust God to lead us and keep us as we move forward.

But once in a while, like last night, it all really hits me.

We are moving away.

It’s not pretend.  It’s not just a long vacation.  It’s not even far away anymore.

It’s right around the corner and it’s happening and we aren’t coming back.

Even typing those words gives me a lump in my throat.

Even if we do come back when Andy has fulfilled his obligation to the Navy, we are looking at like 10 years from now.

A decade.

I’ll be 45.

Grace will be 15!  Avery will be 12!  Drew will be 10!

Lord have mercy.

That’s forever and no time at all.

When we decided to join the Navy 3 years ago, we prayed and thought long and hard about it.  It was the option that made sense to us.  Andy felt proud to serve his country.  I felt hope at not having to be the primary bread winner throughout Andy’s school tenure.  We felt relief that there was some way for us to move forward with our family and his career.

I still feel that way.  I’m beyond grateful for all the Navy has provided us over the past 3 years.

But back then things were different.  I was working full time and I was stressed out.  I was striving for, yet failing at, work-life balance.  I was disconnected with many of my friends.  My family had just been divided by my parent’s divorce.  I was living out my faith in more of a token way and I wasn’t plugged into my church.  I felt like I was an island.

Back then moving away didn’t sound so bad.  In fact, it sounded like relief.  An escape.

In theory I knew, “Everywhere you go, there you are” and that my issues wouldn’t go away even if I did, but the cost of having the Navy decide our whereabouts seemed like a bargain for what we were getting.  Plus, it was 4 years away and that felt like a lifetime.

It’s not a lifetime.

I’m staring down this final year and last night, under the patio lights, it all felt very real and very close.

Friends have recently moved away.  It was real.

Family is moving away this week.  It is real.

The lump formed in my throat as we were talking.  My eyes became wet with tears.

We sorted out various dates and travel ideas for the fall and then we prayed.  Just as we have every night for the past couple of weeks.  Andy has been really torn about which specialty to pursue, so we decided to pray together consistently for 30 days to seek God.  Ultimately we say our lives belong to Him, so we wanted to discipline ourselves to hear from Him about the next chapter.

As we prayed I listened to Andy’s words.  I heard Him thanking God for going before us and walking beside us and being all around us.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

I’ve heard this verse before.  I’ve belted it out as I drive my car around my familiar neighborhood, to and from all the same places week after week.

I know it to be true and it comforted me last night.

But I still felt anxious and afraid.

I asked myself why.  Why, if I know He will be with me wherever I go, am I still afraid and anxious and uncertain?

COMFORT.

I’m comfortable here.  I know the area.  I have friends and family who love me.  I’m plugged into a church.  I’m living in community with people around me.  I know this place and these people.  I’m comfortable.

And, as much as it pains me to admit it, I value my comfort more than I trust God.

say I want to follow wherever He leads me and that I’ll trust whatever He has for me, but when the rubber is meeting the road, I’m scared.

The things I’ve been learning and mulling around in my heart and mind have been powerful.  I’ve convinced myself the truths God has been illuminating for me are rooted deep in my heart.  I’ve imagined various scenarios that might test my faith and I’ve imagined myself clinging to God and not freaking out.

But once again, the minute I feel confident that I’ve “arrived” somewhere in my faith is the minute something happens to shake me up.

To remind me of my humanity.  My selfishness.  My weakness.

Before that prayer time last night, I honestly didn’t see this comfort idol.  It was a total blind spot for me.

As much as I examine and re-examine myself, my thoughts, and my motives, it always catches me by surprise when the Lord reveals a blind spot to me.

Last summer it was pride.  This summer it’s the way I idolize comfort.

Ouch.

I’m so grateful for these words…

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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How We’ve Been Enjoying Netflix This Summer

July 31st, 2015

Tomorrow is August.

AUGUST, PEOPLE.

In my mind that means 30 more days of Summer.  The minute September hits I’m all, “Bouquets of sharpened pencils, come hither!”

To me, September = Fall.

Here in Michigan it will likely be hot and humid, our mitten not having received the memo that brisk red and gold days are in and muggy hot nights are out.

I’ve got 30 days to cram in as many twinkle light patio nights, barbecue dinners, chlorine scented afternoons, and after dinner family walks as possible.

When I’m not sucking the marrow out of summer, I’ve been checking out some of the movies from my last Netflix post.

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I had a chance to watch Chef and while the language was intense, I really enjoyed the story line.  Food, friends, family, and a happy ending.  I was all about it.

I also watched the documentary Fed Up.  Oh my goodness.  I used to be a sugar nazi, but I’ve really upped my game!  The film focuses on the childhood obesity epidemic and how so much of the problem is related to sugar consumption.  It’s everywhere.  Not just foods you think of as being sweet.  We’re talking crackers, condiments, marinara sauce, bread, everywhere.  You know how nutrition labels tell you how much fat, protein, calories, sugar, etc is in an item?  You know how they also tell you what percentage that is of your daily recommended intake?  Well they don’t give you the percentage for sugar.  You know why?  Because you’d be shocked at how your innocent looking yogurt is like 200% of your daily allowance of sugar.  Yeah.  It’s cray.  Check it out!

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I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the other items on my list, but Andy and I did stumble across a really cute movie.  Over the weekend we popped some popcorn and watched a fun romantic comedy starring Michael Keaton (who has somehow gotten old…like really old) and Diane Keaton (who continues to look fabulous).  I loved the setting, the storyline, the humor and the warm fuzzy family feelings.  We went in with low expectations and really enjoyed this one.  Check it out :)

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Grace and Avery have their regular favorites and a few newer ones like these….

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I can’t exactly figure out what makes them like a show.  Each thing they get really into is different from the next and some of them I just don’t understand.  But I’m happy that the Netflix kid profiles really are full of decent programming.  I still closely monitor what they watch, but so far there hasn’t been anything sketchy.  Thank you Netflix!

Have you been watching anything good on Netflix lately??  I’m always looking for recommendations, so leave them in the comments! :)

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

 

 


Summer Lovin’ (Happened So Fast)

July 20th, 2015

More than halfway through July.

Makes me want to cry.

Hey! I’m a poet and didn’t even know it ;)

But seriously.  Summer is my absolute favorite and I feel it slipping away.  I want to hold on tight and never let it go.  I want to slow down and say no to every single thing but lazy mornings and afternoons outside and dinners on the grill.  I want to memorize every drop of perspiration falling from my girls’ foreheads.  I want to mentally snapshot Drew sitting in the grass trying his hardest to munch on a single blade of green.

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Over the weekend I bought a citronella lantern and new string lights for the patio.  I’m sitting outside right now and want to spend every night out here knowing colder temps and darker evenings are on the horizon.

It’s been a cooler than normal summer and while part of me has appreciated the milder temperatures, there’s another part of me….the summer lovin’ little girl who wanted to swim every day and stay out till after dark every night.

That girl wants to recreate those memories with her daughters rather than spending time inside.  I’d love to wake up every day and eat breakfast fast so we can all head outside.  The girls would run around, climb the playscape, ride their bikes, play in the sand and splash in the baby pool.  The boy would wear his sunhat and bounce in his Johnny Jumper while I sipped my coffee and wrote in my journal.

We’ve had a stretch of hot days that have been more conducive to that dream, but my kids haven’t gotten the memo ;)  They’d rather talk me into a few shows while I doze on the couch.  They’d rather putz during breakfast and insist they aren’t full after 2 helpings.  So I get a third and refill water cups and finally get around to cooking up my own breakfast.

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By this point I’ve accumulated enough dishes that it’s time to tackle them before they get unruly.  By this time Drew is up from his morning nap and ready to eat again.  Diaper changes abound.  Poopy bottoms in triplicate.  Bickering and unkind tones arise from the girls room.

I want to yell up the stairs to make it stop.  I’m working at taking a breath.  Uttering a prayer of surrender to my Father.  Asking for grace and mercy that it might flow through me to the girls in all of the many arguments that will inevitably occur throughout the day.  I’m reminded that the Lord desires transformation and restoration more than punishment.  Am I seeking to restore them or just dole out punishment after punishment?  It’s often the latter, but I’m asking God to give me wisdom as to how to restore two small girls who are steeped in sibling rivalry.

I have 18 years to raise these children.  My perspective on those years recently changed.  It occurred to me that I could become frustrated when it’s necessary to teach each lesson over and over and over again, sometimes without any apparent progress.  OR I can understand that it may take 18 years, give or take, to learn some of these basic virtues and each time I teach the lesson, each time I ask God to help me restore them, is another drop in the bucket of them becoming men and women of good character.

I know I’ve only just started to fully embrace the character and virtue I always wanted to look like I had.  Seems to me these sweet little sinful humans ought to be given grace as they navigate these rough waters.

All that and so much more has been swirling in my mind these summer days.  I’ve been waging war against the anxiety that threatens to gain footing every day.  Prayer and journaling have helped.  Vetiver oil has also helped, despite my skepticism that it would.  I also happen to adore its woodsy scent.

It feels like I’m climbing great mountains in my mind each day while I am going about all the regular things.  Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking.

I’ve been working on my grilling skills and also trying to come up with healthy, Whole30 compliant, summery dinners.

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Grilled veggies and organic rotisserie chicken fit the bill the other night and made the most scrumptious lunch today. (Throwing the chicken carcass into my crockpot and covering it with water on low for 24 hours makes the easiest bone broth!)

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LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!  I made this comment to Andy the other day when I got the crockpot set up to make the broth…it cracked me up then and even more now that I made the meme!  HAHAHAHA!

This shrimp, zucchini and pesto zoodle dinner was also very tasty.  I’ll be making it again for sure!

We had our first date night in far too long about 2 weeks ago.  We dined at Green Dot Stables and loved everything that crossed our mouths.  I chose four different delicious sliders with a tiny wedge salad and ridiculously good truffle and herb fries.

Photo Jul 10, 7 53 31 PM

Photo Jul 10, 7 23 34 PM

We loved the restaurant music and atmosphere and had a great time talking and getting really caught up with each other, free of interruptions from our little minions :)

Just this past weekend we enjoyed sushi and a boat ride with friends we haven’t hung out with in over 4 years.  Where on earth does the time go?

Photo Jul 17, 7 46 24 PM

Photo Jul 17, 9 24 06 PM

It was an absolutely gorgeous night and we loved being out on the water filling our bellies and our hearts in good company.  Too bad it takes us 4 years to get around to hanging out with people.  I know life isn’t going to slow down so lately I’m consumed with trying to figure out how to spend time with everyone we love without being constantly on the go because these years with little ones are no joke.  My kids do very well with predictable routines and plenty of time at home with both parents.  I cannot seem to find balance lately and I so wish I could.

It’s time for bed and although I could keep writing and writing about our summer so far, I’m going to head to bed for a little reading before it gets too late.  And before I break 1000 words.

I’m in the running for the ultimate verbal processor.  The competition’s got nothing on this wordy woman! LOL

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