My Goals for the school year

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Looking ahead, setting goals seems more like a chore than a plan. There has been so much that has hit my life this year and asking God to show me what Joy looks like through it has come alive in more ways than not. The need to breathe is certainly an understatement. Finally though I feel like I have the brain cells to sit down to write a post. No one told me a third child would shake the game and leave my idea of “superwoman” to crumble at the cracks. ha.

We have a third grader this year and a kindergartener. For my third grader I can already see that this will be a year that will thoroughly influence his outlook on life. He’s starting to pay more attention to what functional and dysfunctional looks like.

With that in mind I want to provide a better healthy platform for all of my children. For me this year, that means cleaning up some of the raw edges in our family life and organizing better. So here are a few things that I’d like to challenge myself to do better or give up better.

Organize- I think we can all use some extra help in this area raising children so I won’t even hark on my messy life. Chores, papers, meals, appointments…life. It all needs a big cup of organization.

Family talent shows- I forever want to be building my children up. If they never want to shine anywhere else, they should at home. My husband and I think that this is a great way to spend family time and draw out our gifts and talents leaving conversation for how we can use them.

Prepare ahead of time- Though I am a natural planner, I don’t do a great job at preparing ahead. In my head things will go over easy until I’m down to the wire and stressing out my entire family because I’m frantic.

Learn to say no- I’m a party girl! I love entertaining and extra curricular activities but sometimes I can get carried away and overload our schedule. My children don’t need to do everything and neither do I.

Volunteer twice a month at school- This may seem like nothing but at one point I volunteered once a week. Thinking ahead to future children, I think it is wise to cut back on being overly involved. The whole school knows who I am.

Live Simple- In America we are always needing more. More stuff, more time, more friends. I don’t want any more stuff. I want to better be content with what I have and not have a an attitude of entitlement. I want this for my children, to be good stewards over what we have first and know the importance and blessing of family, friends and community.

 

There is certainly nothing special about my goals. They are very real! I need so much help in these area.

 

Do you have any goals for the school year?

 

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How the Cross Changes Motherhood

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I write about being a mom here with the intentions of a fellow or expecting mother gaining from it.

I struggle with the in and outs of motherhood though. The need for my progress to be compared to the next and my lack thereof.

Motherhood is a redeeming road.

One that shows grace to us before we ever ask….through eyes that trust us no matter how many times we’ve lost it.

There is something amazing about those stubb little toes and flimsy ponytails creeping down to the basement door because the bad guys are lurking and they’ve named themselves ninja’s. Yet I can’t deny that there are bad days and down days that sometimes drain the life and emotion from me.

The one’s where depression sinks in because the duties kill the Joy. Constantly picking up after my children, telling them to be responsible, quoting family rules and the importance of togetherness. Dealing with strong wills day in and day out…it all becomes blurry and then I miss the beauty in my life.

This beauty…..

That the cross changes how I live my life everyday. And is ever sustaining and freeing me from the too high bar that I set for myself. And then God challenges me to see the brush that he’s painting with. The art in the life of this journey.

How do I serve well without letting the stresses of mother hood bring me down? How do I pull myself from that bottomless pit of mom blues and see this art-the cross and its ever-changing me power-to see the picture of-grace laced parenting.

The great part of this is that we have so many components to look at when we think of what Jesus dying on the cross symbolizes. It is not just a safety net to catch us when we fail but allows us freedom to embrace our weakness and Christ’s love for us and our children. To see through eyes of unfailing love and redemption. We can leave our failures and our hang ups at the cross and walk in the truth of it. That we are not perfect but Jesus is and is continuing his work in us so long as we allow him to. He gave us strength to combat the voices in our heads that say we are failures and our children are a burden. Strength to endure through the long hours and 24hrs on call. Joy to serve well. The cross brings us no condemnation and encourages us to forgive ourselves and stop comparing ourselves. Jesus and his cross brings us a new meaning to “waking up this morning”. He called us each to our own journey. No two look the same though similar. Our walks are all unique in his eyes for his glory.

Motherhood can quickly look like imprisonment if we don’t seek out the truth of it.

We must be committed to God and his word, repenting and reapplying daily. So that the cross-that Jesus carried and died on-symbolizes our newness and glorifying him purpose. Jesus foresaw our purpose that day-that we are not perfect for roles that he called us to and weak in them but because he is strong we can be too and choose persevere through the tough days with gladness. The cross foresaw that we are fearfully and wonderfully made to reflect Christ’s love for the church through our mothering and most importantly sinners in need of a saving Savior.

My husband heard something profound recently “that we have the same holy spirit that Jesus and Paul had….He has experience! He knows what he is doing!”

And we need to trust that. That God created the process and will has given us help to press through it. We are not alone. We have a helper.

But the helper, the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John 14:26 (nasb)

Jesus gave us purpose by modeling a perfect life on earth and perfect love on the cross. Through his death he gave hope that we can model that same love and life to our families. No matter how many times we mess up. We are raised to life in him.

He gave us freedom check and balance our lives by his word.

Your righteousness is and your law is true.

Psalm 119:142

Jesus gave us accountability through his death. The word of God, which he fulfilled that day, exposes our hearts in love and provides direction.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Hebrews 4:12

The cross gives hope- that Christ is perfecting us through this journey. That he is fulfilling his purpose and love through us and to us by making us holy- sanctifying our souls through the messes of daily life.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:1-5

The cross gives us joy in the fact that God is not finished with us yet. It is a reminder of the grand scheme of things.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.              2 Cor 4:7-10

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.             2 Cor 4:16-18

As mother’s we need to make a daily decision to allow the cross to impact us deeply. In essence the cross should influence how we think and act everyday because our lives were ransomed for purpose and change. We need to practice and pursue, repent and live again and let the Lord guide our lives through his word.

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119: 105

In truth the cross changed us by washing us clean and giving us grace to try again.

How will you choose to let the cross change you?

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Nursery Reveal

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I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now because I am so excited about it. What intrigues me about this space is that it compliments the style of my husband and I. My husband is creative and crafty, I cannot take credit for the workmanship. We are most like Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Very quirky, down to earth and fun. I give the idea to my hubby and he tells me how we can best execute it the way I want it.

One of the things we love to do together is thrift or antique. We are huge fans of old junk rusted stuff and things with character that tell a story. Each piece has a story of how we picked it and what it reminds us of.

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Our bedroom was small and I wasn’t exactly fond of my baby sleeping in another room; neither was my hubby. So we wanted to make this corner fit into our room without taking away from it. Essentially a room inside of our room.

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nurse6

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I am such a creature of habit. Earth tones are my friend! If I tell you how nervous I was to paint our changing table you might laugh. My heart raced at every minute with thoughts like, “what if it doesn’t come out the way I was hoping? What if we can’t fix it? What if I mess up?” Here is what it looked like when we picked it up from a thrift store. It was asking for a home.

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We had so much fun working on this little project!

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What I’m Reading Wednesday

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(I received this book via bloggingforbooks in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own)

My biggest goal for my sweet little girl since before she was born has always been to give her a more natural and healthy lifestyle. Up until now I’ve been super excited about feeding her solids and trying new menu choices that I didn’t do with my boys because let’s face it, I did what my mom told me to do-which is not a bad thing- now I have my own style to bring forth.

Feeding my baby has been a joy to watch. Seeing her pucker lips and twitch her nose to new textures and tastes assures me that she is growing up. She’s 5 1/2 months old now and so far we have tried ground oatmeal, avocado, bananas, sweet peas, sweet potato and apple sauce.

My hubby and I’s number one goal throughout this process has been to feed fresh. All of the foods that we’ve introduced to our baby girl have been fresh and locally grown/produced and prepared by me. We didn’t want any additives or things we couldn’t pronounce. Along with this we give a tri vitamin that includes iron.

When I got make ahead baby food by I was excited to review it. This book is a simple and easy guide that comes with practical tips on preparing foods fresh for your baby and freezing them for later serving. It includes guides on how to prepare as well as menu plans and tips on how and  when to introduce new foods. It also has a section on foods that compliment each other well.

This book was really helpful in my make ahead process in fact I’d go as far as saying it will make it to my recipe book section for reference. I most like how it breaks down why you need to go through certain steps and with the help of this book I’ve frozen things like avocado, mango, sweet pea blends etc in ice cube trays and my OXO baby food containers. All of these foods have frozen well.

I’m curious to know what others are feeding their baby’s and how. Would you let me know?

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Slow Day May 2015

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It’s been a while since I wrote a slow day post. We’ve had many but I’ve been less motivated to capture them on camera. It’s something about blogging that makes you never put a camera down and invade your family’s most precious moments all to capture a good photo-op for your blog. That has been less appealing to me. Because sometimes I miss those true special moments for “work mode”. Sometimes it’s nice to just put down the camera and seize the moment and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve worked hard at creating SLOW for my family and still do. It’s very easy to slip away from it especially with a busy family. I feel so accomplished when my husband can rest and my children can enjoy us. Slow days for us is on Sunday’s. We spend the week hammering away at life and working our very hardest and Sunday we do nothing. No cooking, no working, no thinking about next week, no cleaning, no nothing. We rest and enjoy each other. I try to get dinner ready on Saturday and hang up the apron until Monday. This has been so nice for us. Our tradition of the sorts on Slow day is Church, nap, walk, play and eat. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

We also have special times each week with our children where each child will spend a certain amount of time with one parent alone doing whatever they desire. So this particular Slow day captured my time with my Kid hero who loves cooking and baking. Here’s a look into our latest slow day.

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There is so much beauty around us! I so love living where we are and this is not even a scenic route. All of this beauty reminds me how God provides rest and provision. How could we miss this? This for me details God’s love crashing over us wave after wave. There is nothing more humbling than seeing a glimpse of the God’s hand in everyday life.

How does your family slow?

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Meal Plan Monday #30

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 Welcome back guys! The warmer weather is here and spring is in our future. This time of year I’m pulling myself out of cabin fever and rushing to get outside to be welcomed by soft wind against my skin and peeping bulbs everywhere. I have to admit, I haven’t tried new recipe’s lately and the one’s I’ve indulged in haven’t quite made it to camera. Go ahead. Call me unreliable. Being stuck in the house with dreary weather has been so uninspiring. Rain rain go away. The addition of B12 deficiency anemia doesn’t help my case either. Well, enough with excuses. I’ll try not to be away so long this time. Some time a few weeks ago I tried this recipe. I used boneless pork chops and grilled them. You can hardly taste the cocoa and it adds a nice smokey flavor. I usually don’t try pork recipes very often because they can be overly flavorful, dry, or not flavorful enough. I pretty much stick to a basic lemon garlic baked dish. But oh man did we devour this! They were very juicy (without brine- but I did sit them in the fridge for 30 mins) and moist. I served this with buttered noodles and iceberg/strawberry salad. My hulk smash did complain that they were a bit spicy and I would agree the second day we had them but not too spicy, just a tiny kick. He’s 5 now and he slopped them up anyway. Try them please! I’m getting much better at indoor photography but I’m still working on the lighting situation. Here’s what’s coming up this week on our meal plan. Breakfast: Amish breakfast casserole (my way) Chocolate chip banana muffins and homemade strawberry yogurt Blueberry breakfast biscuits with sausage and honey Cereal (gasp) and leftover muffins Oatmeal and strawberries Dinner: Whole roasted chicken, broccoli casserole, sweet corn spoonbread with homemade muffin mix Zesty Italian Chicken bake Linguine Casserole Angel hair pasta Bbq burgers and dogs, with homemade cole slaw   How do you like your pork chops? howtotrainasuperhero.com

Linking Up With:  Living Proverbs 31, 

What I’m Reading Wednesday

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My favorite thing about springtime is the sights that you get to see. It feels like freedom after being pent-up in the house all winter. I tend to get into reading a lot when the warmer weather comes around. I’m just super unmotivated to peel open the pages of a book during the colder months.

Any way, We are back to our slow days after a lengthy hiatus from them with moving and holidays. One thing that really helps me to slow down is getting to relax outside amidst the green willows and the warmer air with a good cook book. Skimming the pages and the picturesque tutorials that make the pages come alive. Oh how that makes my heart-strings turn!

Ree Drummond is one of my favorite people. Her recipe’s are always to tastefully done yet simple. My Kid Hero loves curling up on the couch to watch an episode or two. We eat a more gourmet type of lifestyle and Ree always helps me bring that steakhouse charm to my little ole country life. I like to lighten things up a bit during the summer months and there are some good recipes not found online in Ree’s book.

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Another thing I love to do in my spare time is bake. My hubby would say baking is my thing. It’s most like a stress reliever of the sorts- because what bowl of warm, gooey, sweet goodness doesn’t make life better? Don’t answer that.

Cook books make me happy. And in this season of life they are my slow place. They allow me to take a breath where I sometimes can’t seem to find one. So this is what I’m up to lately in the book world.

How about you? Who’s your favorite food network cook?

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What I’m Reading Wednesday

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I am always so drawn to the artistry on the cover of a book. Most times judging a book by its cover is what gets me interested when choosing a book to read. “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo was a story just like that.

(I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.)

I was drawn to the image of the littlest girl in striped tights jumping on her mama’s couch and I wanted to know more about it. In this book Courtney Defeo writes out a devotional for families that engages every member. She walks through her chapters with titles like Joy and Hope with the intent to help families grow in these character traits. Courtney puts the serious stuff that keeps us grounded with the light things that we can’t seem to let go to happen. At the end of each section as well as throughout the book, she shares a practical and fun activity for families to expound upon. I was excited to receive this book because it supports my word for the year-Joy. I am most excited to dig more into it throughout the year and reshape our family life.

This book is a great book for families who want to be grounded in real life. I think it’s a remarkable tool to have to provide growth.

What are you reading today?

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Linking Up With: Titus Tuesdays, Joy Dare

Waiting

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I haven’t had the chance to sit and write stuff like this often. Mostly because it requires me to be still and think through my thoughts. I struggle sometimes to write an unorganized version of a post though most of my writing is not structured at all. But today was an exception to that.

One morning this week I was graced with quiet time. I mean a real one. One where I had time to be intentional about the time I spent. I so often spend these moments doing one last thing before I spend time with God and then when the time comes I’m rushed or hurried and missing the time to be still before him. Resting isn’t easy and realizing that some things aren’t that necessary isn’t either. With young kids moms are apt to thing that a lot is necessary.

However, this particular morning I wanted to be intentional about working from a state of rest. So I took my mind off of what the day needed to get started and how my kids needed to be up for school at 7 and I took advantage of the quiet indulging in God. And I found myself struggling….to put yesterday behind me and get on with today. Why do we do that? We have a Savior who says give me all your burdens and worries and fears but yet our need to be in control warrants that.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5

This verse stood out most. Especially the all that I am. This made me think of making myself available to God-because I can’t give all that I am if half of me is there. With my whole being I need to submit to God and wait for him. In quiet. In hope. Allowing him to search the deepest parts of me and find that I’m all in.

And it went perfectly with my morning because God doesn’t want me to leave him at the back burner. He wants to be first. He desires intimacy with me in the sense that I am before him waiting, listening, speaking. I was so determined to put him first here and wait. Even if the words didn’t come quickly.

The Greek word for wait is perimeno with peri meaning all around and meno meaning to remain or abide.

-Regardless of what’s happening around me my soul will remain steady steadfast all in before God.

Waiting is hard especially when suffering is evident but trusting that God created this process called life, family and motherhood and that his plans for us are for sanctification through the process can keep us from the temptation of guilt and heaviness. When we remind ourselves that our roles are important because HE called us to them and that we are raising image bearers we can kick Satan and his talons to the curb. Be encouraged to wait on God in whatever season you are in. I encourage you to fall in love with God and his word for your soul and for the souls around you.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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Linking Up With: Titus Tuesdays, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #29

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The week is on!

We are down to our last days of packing to move so this weeks meal plan and next weeks will be about survival…isn’t it always? Oh yes, but I’m that mom. The one that needs to say it out loud to process it. Because I’m that mom that does the extra and will continue to do that when there needs to be a break. Being that mom is okay, we just have to recognize when a little is enough. I’m in therapy. I promise.

I’m also trying to defunk my house from two perspective sickies and one sick 2 month old. Sick kids are no fun. Sick babies are no fun..please guys wash your hands and stay away from babies! Seriously. No. Fun. Sickness happens but there are measures that help us help them stay healthy. Rant over. I digress.

I didn’t realize we have so much stuff. A craft room is definitely on my list of must haves for the next place. I’ve dedicated these next few weeks to slow. Since we will be settling in I need to find what slow looks like when it’s picked up and moved to another place. That is why slow is not mostly outward living but inward as well. Our hearts need to be set already at slow. Our work and lifestyles need to be motivated by rest in God. This way we aren’t finding rest but building a life of rest and working from that. Isn’t that amazing!??

Anyways, here’s what’s on our meal plan for the coming weeks:

Breakfast:

Banana Breakfast Bar

Mini Pancake Muffins and sausage

Cereal (gasp)

Applesauce pancakes and fruit

Blueberry muffins and yogurt

German Pancakes and egg casserole

Cinnamon raisin baked french toast

Bagels with fruit preserves and creamed cheese

Crockpot Quiche

Eggs in the hole toast bacon

Dinner:

Lasagna Soup (my own recipe)

1 lb beef ground

6 cups chicken broth

2 tsp garlic

1/4 cup chopped dry onion

1/2 cup each rotini, campanelle and penne

1 quart pasta sauce (my own canned it already has green peppers and seasonings, can use marinara)

1 tsp each oregano and basil

Sautee garlic and onion in 3 tbsp grapeseed oil then add beef and brown. Add broth, pasta, seasonings and pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow pasta to come to al dente. Topp with ricotta mix of 15 oz ricotta, 1 cup of shredded mozarella, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with cornbread. Done!

Creamy chicken and noodles

Fish sticks and sweet potato fries

Hot ham, turkey and swiss sliders with potato soup

Pizza muffins and orange salad

Crockpot Pork ribs

Hamburger gravy with peas and mashed potatoes

Tuna casserole

So here’s a look into our coming weeks. Berar with me guys. It’s only Monday! Oh, we had this cake for dessert after the lasagna soup with peanut butter frosting. Oh. My. Gosh! so good.

How do you meal plan?

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Linking Up With: Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31, Joy Dare