Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Produce Section





I was standing by the frozen foods section at one of the larger chain grocery stores.  Our cart had filled up quickly with the things we needed and I was almost done.  I hadn't been very organized lately, I didn't have a list or even a good plan.  That's why I was there on one of the busiest shopping days.  Me and about a thousand other shoppers.  

So many things were going on around me.  My husband had gone to the other side of the store with our eight year old son to pick up prescriptions.  I was trying to figure out what was on sale, how I could prepare enough meals that week with the items in my cart and keeping a close watch on our almost four year (who likes to wander off).  There was a couple standing next to me verbally checking off their list, others pushing full carts past, and children screaming throughout the store.

"This is crazy!"  I thought.  "We're all here, spending tons of money and we'll just have to turn around to do it again."

I reminded myself...

I was in the store spending money, too.

We have to eat and for a busy, somewhat scattered mom, it was where I was.

Yet, it is not where I want to be.

I don't want to be one of the crowd.  

Doing what most people in our culture do.

How can I change?

Is it even possible to change?

Would one person changing even make a difference?

Then, I felt very insignificant, overwhelmed and close to having a panic attack.  Right there with the frozen dinners on one side and the frozen meats on the other.

So, I did what I do best.  I shoved all those thoughts to the back of my brain, grabbed the frozen french fries and my son and went to the produce section.











Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm Sorry My House Is Clean

Or maybe I should apologize if my house is messy.  I'm not sure which it is anymore.
It's confusing when I try to measure myself up to the ever changing standards I see, hear, or read.

What kind of person am I?
What kind of person would you think I am?

What if my house is messy?
What if my house is clean?

What if I take my children to the park instead of staying home to clean?
What if I wash dishes while my children play... without me?

What if I home school my children?
What if I send them to school?

What if I'm single?
What if I'm married?

What if I fully engage in every activity my children participate in?
What if I am on my phone while my children are with me?

What if I buy only organic and make all our meals from scratch?
What if I only eat processed food and frequently eat at McDonalds?

What if I live in a brand new home with all things shiny and new?
What if I live in a subsidized apartment filled with second hand items?

What if I work?
What if I'm a stay-at-home parent?




 I've included many of the areas where I have judged myself, found myself judging people or heard judgement and felt judgement from others.



It's time to S.T.O.P.

Not easy, I know.  Trust me when I say I know.

In a world where information, opinions, and pictures can be shared in less than a second,
we NEED to STOP building ourselves up by putting others down or putting ourselves down by building others up.




How can we stop?

Pray for more understanding, compassion, guidance and love.

Read your bible.

Practice.

Make a list of priorities and stick with them.

Allow yourself to make mistakes.

Allow others to make mistakes.

Never stop learning.

Ask for help, accept help, and help others.



You are doing the best you can.

They are doing the best they can.



Let us be a people that models kindness, empathy and grace.

Grace


Friday, June 13, 2014

Not By My Own Strength







Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of how perfect her life would be when she grew up.  She would get married and be the best wife her husband could possibly have.  They would have oodles of children and she would be patient, loving and kind to her children.  Their home would always be clean and organized and she would always have fresh baked goodies available to visitors who would stop by... to visit her spotless home and her well behaved children.


Fairy tale meet reality.



Life is messy.

My house is messy.

I can't keep fresh baked goods around because I will eat them.

Getting enough sleep doesn't happen very often.

Loved ones die.

Children have minds of their own and they make mistakes... often.

My marriage is made up of two imperfect people.

I often feel that I am not talented, funny, organized, smart, pretty, kind, patient, or wise enough.





Then, in those quiet moments (when I am not so tired) I feel at peace with where I am in life.


Far from done but farther than I ever was before.



Not by my own strength.


And I am thankful.







I started this blog over a year ago to document my life journey and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone along the way.



Here are just a few highlights from my life since I last posted...

We bought a house and moved.  (LOVE IT!!!)

My mother-in-law passed away.

We added a four legged family member to our home.

I gave my notice at my job and am officially a stay-at-home mom.

My husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.

My oldest son turned eight.

I competed in a local singing contest and made it to the third round.

My husband and our oldest son got baptized.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Letting Go Of Perfection. Pursuing my mission to be a submissive wife.

 "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord."
Colossians 3:18

Wow.  I just used the S word.  Submit.

It's scary to turn over the authority to my husband.  We spent the first nine years of marriage living our own lives.  There wasn't a lot of communication, discussion, or feedback.  As he struggled with depression, I made most of the decisions.

Things made a dramatic turn for the better just over three years ago.  Although I'm not sure what the exact trigger was, I know I can give God the credit for taking us to that point and the progress we have both made since.


I want a great marriage.

 I want it for our children.  I want it for my husband.  I want it for myself.

Most of all, I know God wants it.  


So, how do I get a great marriage?

Here are some things I tried in the first nine years of marriage.


  1. Make a list of all the things we need to do to make our marriage stronger.  Provide my husband with a laminated copy.
  2. Drag my unwilling husband to a marriage retreat.  Have a miserable time and then be grumpy about it.
  3. Talk to anyone who will listen about how awful things are.  Ask for their advice.
  4. Read every single marriage book out there and "suggest" that my husband read them as well.
  5. Talk until I am blue in the face in the hopes that he will finally understand what I am saying.
Needless to say, these things did not improve our situation.  In fact, I'm positive they made things worse.





In order to journey towards a great marriage, I have to allow God to change me.


I pray for my husband as a man of God, as a husband and as a father.

I pray that I will be the wife that God wants me to be.  The wife my husband most needs.

I try to soften my spirit when it comes to our relationship.

I try to speak lovingly and respectfully about him at all times.

I try to speak respectfully to him and apologize when I realize I haven't.

I look for ways to serve him.

I attempt to be submissive.

I do not allow our children to speak ill of their father.

I watch my own words around my children when I am upset about something.

I seek forgiveness for my mistakes.

I ask for my husband's advice on things that I would normally not even think twice about.

I let my husband make some pretty big decisions.



I demand perfection from myself and it's hard to give myself grace as I stumble and fall.   As I challenge myself to be the woman, wife and mother that God wants me to be, I am learning to let go of this crazy notion that I can do it perfect.

I just need to let go, enjoy the journey and leave the rest to God.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Goals- March 2, 2014




Last months goals...

FEBRUARY 2014 GOALS

My prayer for the month of February...
God, help me to walk close to You, hear Your direction and be confident in You.

A LOVING FAMILY
Get up with husband on the days he works.
Date night with husband.
Have tea time with the boys.

A PEACEFUL HOME
Organize Bedroom and Laundry Room
Plan for spring garden.

A HEALTHIER PERSON
No eating after 7:00 p.m. and no fried foods.
Made it most of the month.
Read Psalms
Psalms 63-72
Pray for clarity in my choices and confidence in God's direction.
Pray for peace that I am where God wants me to be.
Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:23

ON TRACK WITH FINANCES
Track personal spending and any income I bring in.
Develop a pros and cons list regarding returning to work.

GIVING OF OURSELVES
Make muffins with the boys and take it to an elderly neighbor.
Invite a family to join us for a meal.


This month's goals...

MARCH 2014 Goals

We closed on our house this last week!  After 11 months of wondering what was going to happen and trying to put our trust in God's timing and grace, we now own a home.

My prayer for the month of March--
God, please help me to put love into each day, may they be filled with Your purpose and joy.





A Loving Family
This may be the hardest goal for me- Keep calm as we move.
(The world will not end if it doesn't get done when I think it needs to be done.)

A Peaceful Home
Organize, pack and move.
Clean new house.
Clean old house.
Paint 5 rooms in new house.

A Healthier Person
Limit extra sweets to 2x per week.
(My tablespoon of coffee creamer in the morning is NOT included in this.)
Try to start walking 30 min. 3x per week.
(Hard to do when the weather still gets below 0.  I'm a wimp when it comes to coldness.)
Continue Reading Psalms.

On Track with Finances
Work on building an emergency account.  AKA, don't spend everything we make.
Develop a budget for purchases for the new home.
Stay within budget.
Search for deals on things we need/want to buy.

Giving of Ourselves
Make and give thank you muffins to mortgage broker and realtor.
Take muffins to neighbor.

2014 Goals...

 http://seekhispurpose.blogspot.com/2013/12/2014-goals.html

February Marriage Goal, Day 22


From Friday- the last day of the February Marriage Goal.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Amish Chicken with Sauce

Very yummy and fairly simple recipe that was approved by the whole family!

Amish Chicken with Sauce




4 chicken breasts, in bone with skin
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of water

Combine dry ingredients.  Dip the chicken breasts into the flour mixture and place skin side up in a casserole dish.

Mix the heavy whipping cream and water.

Pour over the chicken breast.

Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Take the tin foil off and continue baking for 30 minutes until the skin is brown and the chicken is cooked through.

This is the original recipe but I thought the gravy was too thin.  The next time I make it, I will decrease the water to 1 cup and see if that makes a difference.

You can find the original recipe at food.com under Amish Chicken.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Smoother, Softer Legs

Are you looking for smoother, softer legs?  Do your legs have layers of dry, flaky skin from this harsh winter?  

One trip to the shower will leave your legs feeling like you went to a spa!  (It is really, really fabulous.)  Plus, you probably already have all the ingredients in your home.  No expensive spa trip here!



1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of baby oil
3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

Mix the ingredients in a jar.

At the start of your shower, scoop approximately 2 Tbl. out with your fingers and rub all over your legs.  Use more if needed.

Leave the exfoliating goop on your legs for 5 min.  Then, shave your legs with your favorite razor.  Rinse.

O.H.  M.Y.  G.O.O.D.N.E.S.S.

This stuff is amazing!

I was sharing my utter excitement with hubby (poor guy, see what he has to put up with?) and he said that his legs were really dry, too.  I offered to share, but he declined.  Something about loosing his man card.  I don't agree but whatever.  :-)

The mixture separated for me but I was able to mix it while scooping out what I needed.

You can find the original recipe, variations, and much prettier pictures here:  One Good Thing by Jillee

February Marriage Goal, Day 19

Don't let the clock fool you.  I just forgot to take a picture when I first woke up this morning.  Foggy morning brain.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

February Goals- February 23, 2014

FEBRUARY 2014 GOALS

My prayer for the month of February...
God, help me to walk close to You, hear Your direction and be confident in You.

A LOVING FAMILY
Get up with husband on the days he works.
It's going so well!
Date night with husband.
Have tea time with the boys.
Did this three times.




A PEACEFUL HOME
Organize Bedroom and Laundry Room
Plan for spring garden.

A HEALTHIER PERSON
No eating after 7:00 p.m. and no fried foods.
I ate 6 french fries yesterday.  (Being honest.)  Plus, I snacked twice after seven this week.  :-(
Read Psalms
Psalms 41-62
Pray for clarity in my choices and confidence in God's direction.
Pray for peace that I am where God wants me to be.
Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:23

ON TRACK WITH FINANCES
Track personal spending and any income I bring in.
Develop a pros and cons list regarding returning to work.

GIVING OF OURSELVES
Make muffins with the boys and take it to an elderly neighbor.
Invite a family to join us for a meal.




February Marriage Goal, Day 18

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Woman Who Fears the Lord #20

The Woman Who Fears the Lord
Study of Proverbs 31
Verse 29

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

This verse is a continuation of verse 28.  Our friend Mrs. Proverbs' hubby is telling her this.  He is telling her that out of all the women out there, she is the most awesome.

The most awesome woman ever?
I mean, she surpasses ALL of the many women who do noble things.

Before we all go start playing the comparison game, let's think about what the rest of the bible says about comparison.

"Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."   Galatians 6:4-5

"The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him."  Romans 14:3


Proverbs 31:29 is not telling us to try to surpass every woman out there.  Comparison is a slippery slope and it's been my experience that someone always loses.

Thoughts become habits and habits become character.


Here's what I believe this verse is telling me.

I am the best wife for my husband.





With God's love and guidance, I will continue to grow in character.

As my character grows stronger, I am able to bless those around me.

My community, my friends, my family, my children and my husband.


It doesn't really matter if my neighbor down the street keeps her house cleaner than mine and it doesn't really matter if I keep my house cleaner than yours.  Just like it doesn't matter who is the best cook, parent, employee, money manager, crafter, singer, dresser...

What matters is that I am doing my best to fill the roles I have been given.

Not the best, but my best.

I think our friend Mrs. Proverbs would agree.



A Woman Who Fears the Lord #19

A link to my study on Proverbs 31

February Marriage Goal, Day 14

was moving a little slow this morning. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Waiting

"I just can't wait!  I'm so excited!"





My seven year old son, Matthew, exclaimed this every 2 minutes one cold and snowy Saturday.  He was waiting for a friend to arrive and needless to say, he was a little excited.

This is when I had a magical mommy moment.  It's a moment where wise words pour from my lips.  Not too many words, not too little and with the exact meaning needed for the situation.

"Matthew, they will get here when they get here.  Since you have to wait anyway, let's find something to do to enjoy the time we must spend waiting."

"Okay, mom.  But, I'm just so excited!!!"

A minute after finding something to keep my active child, well, active, I heard a small voice inside my head tell me to take my own advice.

See, I have no problem waiting for my friend to come over for our mommy play date (that's secretly disguised as a child's play date), I have no problem waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting at a traffic light, waiting for my children to fall asleep, or even waiting for the yummy casserole to finish cooking in the oven.  I've mastered the skill of short term waiting. It's the long term waiting that I'm not so good at.


So, here I am.

Waiting.

Waiting for Spring.

Waiting for home ownership.

Waiting for clear direction on what my role is as a wife and mom when it comes to finances.

Waiting on prayers that I feel need to be answered.


I need to follow my own advice.  I will find something to do and enjoy this season of waiting.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

February Marriage Goal, Day 13

No posts over the weekend... and I didn't loose track of my goal.  Hubby had to be at work late on Saturday which meant we both got to sleep in.  On Sunday, he came home from work as we were getting up.  I didn't think that counted, so I didn't take a picture.  

Starting a new week with early morning wake up!  Have a great week blessing your spouse!


February Goals- February 16, 2014

FEBRUARY 2014 GOALS

My prayer for the month of February...
God, help me to walk close to You, hear Your direction and be confident in You.

A LOVING FAMILY
Get up with husband on the days he works.
So far so good...
Date night with husband.
We actually went out on Valentine's Day.  The first time since having children.


Have tea time with the boys.
Only once this week.

A PEACEFUL HOME
Organize Bedroom and Laundry Room
Started on the bedroom.
Plan for spring garden.

A HEALTHIER PERSON
No eating after 7:00 p.m. and no fried foods.
No fried foods, but I ate after 7:00 three times this week.
Read Psalms
Psalms 28-40
Pray for clarity in my choices and confidence in God's direction.
Pray for peace that I am where God wants me to be,
Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:23

ON TRACK WITH FINANCES
Track personal spending and any income I bring in.
Develop a pros and cons list regarding returning to work.

GIVING OF OURSELVES
Make muffins with the boys and take it to an elderly neighbor.
Invite a family to join us for a meal.



I feel a little behind in my goals for this month.  February is half over and I'm not halfway done.  Getting up with hubby and staying up should allow for more time but it makes me super tired.
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it all...

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Marriage Goal, Day 12

(Yawn) Staying up late makes for a sleepy morning.  I've been awake since 5:20 but forgot to take a picture.  Happy Valentine's Day!



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Woman Who Fears the Lord #19

The Woman Who Fears the Lord
Study of Proverbs 31
Verse 28

"Her children arise and call her blessed; 
her husband also, and he praises her."



How wonderful for our friend Mrs. Proverbs!  Her children and husband wake up in the morning and tell her just how wonderfully awesome she is and how lucky they are to have her in their life.

After reading this verse, I felt jealous.

My children do not wake up in the morning and begin complimenting me and thanking me for everything I do.  There can be long periods of time, when everything goes completely unnoticed.

My husband?  He's not a verbal kind of guy.  In fact, when he does say something kind about me or something I have done, it's because I asked his opinion.

(I am a person whose receptive love language is words of affirmation and I married a non-affirming kind of guy.)



Let's take what I know about love languages and translate this verse.



My children get up in the morning and hug me.  They enjoy spending time with me, are helpful and they value my guidance... most of the time.  Both boys compliment me and thank me throughout the day.  My husband doesn't complain about dirty dishes, unmade beds, and failed recipes; his spirit is one of gratitude.  He shows his love and appreciation for me by working hard, sharing goals, wanting to spend time with me and respecting my opinion.

They would have never put this verse into the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs.  It is way too long.









I'm no longer feeling jealous of our friend, Mrs. Proverbs.



In what way does your family call you blessed?  How does your husband praise you?
If you are feeling discouraged in this area, pray that God will open your eyes to be able to see your family's love language.

You can read more about Love Languages at
http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.

February Marriage Goal, Day 10

It was a super quite morning today because we had guests who spent the night.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Overnight Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast





Here's a simple, delicious and healthy recipe for a breakfast that you can grab and go!

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast

1/4 cup of rolled oats
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons of chia seeds
2 teaspoons of honey or sugar
1/3 cup of blueberries

Place the first 5 ingredients into a  jar, screw the lid on and shake to mix.
Remove lid, add blueberries and stir with a spoon to combine.

Place in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy!

(This stays fresh up to four days.)








I modified the recipe based on the ingredients I had available.  You can find the original recipe and many more yummy versions at The Yummy Life.