Saturday, October 20, 2012

Braggart Disclaimer

"I'll never again post on Facebook how great everything is!"

This is what I left my house saying one morning this week. You can guess that things were not so great that morning.  It was a bit of a rough week for me.

At another time, I found myself  mindlessly scrolling through FB on my phone, and said to Cecil, " If I see one more post about how much they accomplished in one day.........."

 At that point he kindly took my phone, and in his usual encouraging way, reassured me how great I am.  Trust me on that day, I wasn't great! Not. Even. Close.  He just encourages, it's what he does.

Facebook can make us feel so horrible about ourselves.   It's hard not to compare ourselves to the statuses that tout amazing feats that go something like this:

Laundry done, floors vacuumed, 25 freezer meals  ready to go in the freezer, cows milked, vegetables harvested, eggs gathered.  Now, coffee with my feet up having a little me time.  Then I'll wake the kids to begin our homeschooling lessons for the day.  

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not a huge stretch of some updates I see.

Then there are these:

Wonderful weekend with my spectacular family planned.  First, a stroll in the park, then a picnic.  A little sightseeing in the city, a hike in the mountains, and we'll watch the sunset on the beach.

Again a bit of a stretch.

The first thing that comes to mind is " How do you have time for all that?  When do you clean your house and prepare for the week ahead?"

Now, I will be the first to tell you that I believe that often when we consider people to be braggarts on Facebook, the problem, the bragging, is usually in the eye of the beholder.  And I realize that my response to these posts are purely my issues.  I'm not blaming the posters of these glowing statuses for trying to make one feel like a loser.

That being said, bragging posts can sometimes be very discouraging.  And I don't want my status updates to discourage anyone so here's my disclaimer:

If ever I post anything that remotely makes it seem that I have it all together, that I'm being crazy productive, or that I'm in the running for 'Mom of the Year', it's likely that the event that I'm posting about is the only thing I've gotten right so far that week.  

It's possible that I left late for work every day that week.
I may have had to stop at Wal-greens on one of said days to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste because one or more of my kids didn't brush their teeth.
I may have forgotten about Crazy Hat Day at my daughter's preschool.
I may have had an epic argument with one of my girls that may or may not have had to be mediated by my husband.
Maybe I didn't cook a single meal that week, and we ate out every. single. night.
It's possible that I said some really unkind things to my husband.

* All of the above hypothetical, of course.....maybe...I'm telling y'all it was a rough week.

Once I posted a picture of our family watching a movie outside with a projector and a make-shift screen set up.  The kids thought it was the coolest thing.  One commenter stated that she loved that I take time to do special things my kids.  Truth is, that was probably one special moment in a week of harried chaos.

Of course, we are going to write about the things we get right. Let's remember this: 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How a three-year old packs for vacation

Ava has been telling us for days that she has her bag packed and is ready to go to Great Wolf Lodge. She was so proud of herself.

I opened her bag this morning as I was packing to see what she had planned to bring. Cecil and I both cracked up when we saw what she packed.

She had all the necessities... A dress-up outfit, three outfits for her baby doll, one bathing suit, a set of pajamas and her toothbrush.
It was priceless!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Herb-roasted Chicken

One of my family's very favorite meals is a whole roasted chicken.  This meal used to be a weekend only meal since in the oven, it takes a good hour and a half to cook. I rarely have that much time to cook a meal during the week.  That was until I discovered that it's just as good in the slow-cooker.
Here's the recipe that I use to cook chicken that my husband brags about and that has been the main dish at Christmas and Thanksgiving get-togethers in our family.

Ingredient List:

1 whole chicken (3-4lbs.)
2 TBS butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper or black pepper

Mix all dry seasonings together.
Ball up three pieces of foil and put in the bottom of your slow cooker so your chicken isn't sitting in the juices all day.  This sort of acts as your roasting rack.
Rinse chicken inside and out. Dry well with paper towels.
Fold the wings down behind the back.

Drop chicken into the slowcooker.
Brush on melted butter.
Rub chicken with garlic and sprinkle with seasoning mix.
Here's a picture before it's cooked...sorry no cooked picture...
it never seems to last long enough to get a picture:)
I let my chicken cook for about 8 hours on low because that's about how long I'm away from the house.  You could try it on high for less time.

The juices from the chicken make a terrific gravy.  Note:  The gravy recipe is not's one of those eyeball-it recipes for me.  But here's what I do:

Just pour the juices from the slow cooker into a skillet and let them come to a boil, add about 1/2 cup flour and stir for a few minutes, about 3 I guess..  It will be thick at this point but you want to let it cook for a few minutes or your gravy will taste like flour.  Add a large container of chicken broth and maybe some cracked pepper.  Whisk as you add the broth and continue to whisk as it comes to a boil.   You may add more water if it seems to thick for your liking.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Does God Care About Football?

It's hard not to hear about Tim Tebow and his clutch wins these days.  I don't watch sports a whole lot, and I certainly don't sit down to watch the commentaries or analyses of the games of the week.  But I still hear the sports personalities commenting on Tim Tebow and wondering how he pulled off the win this week.  He wasn't a first-round draft pick...he didn't even go to the draft ceremony, you know, like all the really great players do.  But from before the draft, when some of his story was coming to light, he has been my new favorite player-aside from Drew Brees, who is also a man of God. (See a great interview with him here.)

Tebow has made it clear, every chance he gets that he is a Christian and loves the Lord.  From the pro-life commercial that he and his mom made, to his thanking his Savior during and after each game, to the way he handles the ridicule he received from those in the media and his fellow players.  He is living out what he believes on a very big stage and has, thus far, remained faithful.

A question that I hear over and over is, "Does God really care about football? Does God really care whether Tim Tebow wins his game on Sunday?" 


Is it because He's a Broncos fan and wants nothing more than to see the Broncos take home the Lombardi? Nope.  It's because Tim Tebow is His child, His obedient, faithful child.  He is faithfully allowing himself to be used by God to further His kingdom.  Not that God needs a platform, but Tebow is in a position to reach a lot of people for Christ.  And people are noticing, talking and wondering...about God, and what it is that Tim Tebow has that they don't.  And isn't that what we are all called to do.  Very few of us will ever be on Tim's mission field, but we are all called to be witnesses for Him, to be obedient, to be used for the glory of GOD.

Furthermore, I wake up in the morning, knowing that my God cares about every mundane detail of my life.  He loves me that much!  I am not unimportant to Him!  So why, why would I presume that just because another of God's precious children happens to be a quarterback, that God doesn't care about his life, or his career?  You see, it's not that God is a football fan, or a Broncos fan....He's a Tim Tebow fan. Just like He's my biggest fan and He's your biggest fan.  He LOVES us.  He wants us to include Him in all the details of life.  But more than that, He wants to be the center of our lives.  God has a perfect plan for all of our lives.  He has laid out every day, every detail of our lives.  And I believe that he has laid out the path that Tim Tebow's career and, in effect, his life will take.  That means that his wins/losses, yards gained, fumbles and interceptions are not out of God's grip or outside of God's interest.  With that said, does it mean that if Tim Tebow does not win the Super Bowl, that God has stopped caring? No, it's just another piece of the intricate puzzle of Tebow's life that God is perfectly weaving together.  I think Tim would agree.

Whatever you do, do it for His glory.  Whether you are a minister, a janitor, a teacher, or an NFL quarterback.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Striving for Proverbs 31

I've just finished reading My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn.  From the beginning I really identified with Sara, as our husbands are both military.  And I've also been pondering the passage for a while now, asking God, praying about how to apply these instructions to my life and my daily journey.  Because I truly believe that in that passage lies the keys of a godly, quiet-spirited, productive, successful wife and mother.  But if I'm being honest here, I thought,

 "This is probably another woman telling me that I'm not doing right by my family because I'm working outside the home.  That I couldn't possibly be fulfilling God's plan for my family, if I'm not home 24 hours a day caring for our home and family.  That there's no way my focus could be my family when I spend 8 hours out of our home."

But there were 4 words on the cover of her book that intrigued me and they were...

"....and Its Surprising Results".  I wanted to know what her surprising results were!

As Sara chronicled her journey, it was encouraging to see the growth in her obedience to God and her love for her family.  I've been asking God to help me to love my family more selflessly and to put that love into action.  This is one of the most important things that Sara had to to put her family before herself. And what that looks like practically.  It's easy to think about or talk about ways to put our family first.  But that will look differently for every family.  And I'm learning that true selflessness doesn't come when you can put one's needs in front of your own, but when you can put their desires ahead of your desires.  I mean, it's easy, as mothers, to fix dinner for your children when you are sick and legitimately need rest because, obviously our children "need" to eat.  But what about when a family member merely wants to have something, or to do something that would conflict with something you want to have or do?  That takes a new level of selflessness. 

When I've read Proverbs 31 before, it has seemed like a list of daunting tasks to be checked off my to-do list.  But I thought, "I can do this.  I'm a task oriented person.  I like lists.  If this is what it takes to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I so got this." But I have found that whenever I am focused on lists, chores, or tasks to complete, I always come up a complete failure.  I always run out of time, out of energy, or out of will  The Proverbs 31 wife or "Martha 31" as Sara calls her, is doing what it takes to take care of her family and as a result she is honoring her husband, and her children "call her blessed".  I think we get caught up in the to-do's of the Proverbs 31 wife and forget to try and see her heart.  Her heart is focused completely on her family, her checklist is purely for the betterment of her home and her family.  I, for one, am tremendously grateful that  our Savior doesn't look at our to-do lists to see how many chores we were able to check off for the day.  But He instead looks at our hearts.  So, friends, instead of striving to complete checklist after checklist and seeking affirmation in the number of chores or assignments you complete, seek affirmation from your Creator and ask Him to work in your heart. 

As Sara says in her book,

"I want to be the wife who is a blessing to her family, who is praised and remembered, not for the activities or projects I checked off, but for the smiles I wore, the peace I shared, and the deep love of God I hope I instilled wherever I went.  That's my prayer."

And that, I think, is the essence of what a Proverbs 31 wife should try to be.  

iHome Management Part 2

One of the most helpful and very practical apps that I have used is called HomeRoutine. I used to have a Control Journal. If you have ever heard of Flylady, you know what this is. It’s a method of breaking your home down into zones, assigning each zone a certain week and keeping track of the chores that need to be completed for that zone. It also includes all the routines that make up your day—morning routines, before bed routines, etc. Your weekly cleaning tasks , vacuuming, tubs, dusting, etc. are also managed in your control journal.

 The problem for me was not creating this household survival guide of sorts; I’m good at planning and outlining routines and assigning chores. The problem for me was actually putting it all into action and being consistent with it.This is where the HomeRoutine app comes in handy. I no longer have my control journal in my clunky binder, everything I just mentioned is put into the app…every routine you have,

the tasks associated with that routine,

Each Zone of your home, which you customize.

every chore that needs to be done for every zone.

Then it REMINDS you to actually do it. You can set reminders when certain things are to be done or certain routines are supposed to begin, it will sound an alarm. As you do each task, you click the star, which then turns yellow, indicating that you have completed it…nice little motivating factor when you look back over the day and see how much you have accomplished.  
There's a built in timer function that's very useful if you're like me and have a hard time stopping once you get involved in a certain task.  Set it for 15,20,30 minutes....make it work for you....then just stop when you are out of time.  

There's also a ToDo List with options to list things that need to get done today, this week and things that aren't immediately necessary but will be coming up soon.

It takes some time to set it all up, but the ability to edit it online and then sync with your phone makes it much easier.   This app currently has 4.5 stars on App Store. It’s not free, but worth the few bucks in my opinion.

I'm linking up with Tidy Mom today.

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

iHome Management Part 1

Family calendar, household cleaning routines, chore management for the kids, menu planning, grocery lists, important contact information, important papers that I needed to keep for future reference....all this used to be kept in my Household Notebook.  

Here is what it looked like:

A cute, but clunky binder.  It housed everything I needed but was large and cumbersome since I had to have it with me everywhere I went.  My Type A, OCD personality said that I needed it, just in case.  It wasn't the type of thing that could just sit on my counter at home, because, well, we are not home much.   And I do a lot of planning when I'm out and about, waiting at piano lessons or doctor appointments, during dance practices, etc.  So it really was necessary for me to have it with me at all times.  

Then I discovered this world that is the iPhone and all the amazingly practical and helpful apps that go along with it.  
Now everything I need is right here at my fingertips.  And this is what my Household Notebook looks like!

I'm always downloading and trying out new apps.  You will almost never see me playing a gamey (sure, that's a word) app on my phone, but grocery shopping, or meal planning apps....sign me up!!
Over the next week, I'm going to share with you the apps that make up my Household Notebook,the ones that make my life a little more organized, explaining what they do and how I use them practically in my busy life.

I'll be linking up with Courtney at Women Living Well.

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Peace or Happiness?

My life lately seems to work around themes.  Last year, around this time, the theme was to "simplify".  Practically, this meant to declutter, and streamline routines, and let unnecessary tasks go.  It was what I felt God was telling me in answer to my prayers for peace, calmness, and less anxiety.  I began to notice a huge difference in the atmosphere in our home and my attitude.

Recently, I began again to pray for peace, for clarity.  This time as I listen for God's gentle guidance, the theme seems to be "contentment and thankfulness".  I just love when God puts answers right smack in your face at every turn. Lovingly, of course.

God reminds me all the time that I am right where He wants me to be with my job as a teacher in a Christian school, which I also consider a ministry. I have seen, first hand, fruits of this ministry.  But it never fails, some circumstance throws me off, makes me doubt, makes me think that I should be the one educating my own children, making me jealous or envious of those who are at home with their children.

It is at this time that I have to stop and compare these feelings, the doubts, the emotions against the Word of God.  Is it ever okay to be envious, jealous, or covetous of something that someone else has? God's Word says it's not okay and that it is sin. But that's exactly what I'm doing when I look at other families and compare or want our family to look like theirs.  Then the flip side of the question is whether it is a sin to work outside the home and let others educate your children.  Nope, not specifically.  Could it be? Sure, if you're not seeking God's guidance.  Or going against your husband's wishes for the family.

Given the option of being thankful and content with where you are and what you have or being envious of what someone else has or is doing, you can never go wrong with thanking God in ALL circumstances.

I think that sometimes, as Christians we decide whether something is in God's will for our life based on the way we feel about it.  Whether we feel "at peace" with that situation.  This is a common phrase that I hear thrown around when Christians are faced with a decision to make.  They mean well. They likely legitimately want to do God's will.  But too many times, we confuse "peace" with "happiness".  No choice that you make, no path that you choose will make you "happy" all the time.  Even if you are smack in the middle of God's will, we still live in an imperfect world and will face uncomfortable situations, difficult people and things that just make us angry.  There will be times that you are exhausted, overwhelmed, and feel like you'll never catch up.  As moms that's pretty much our state of being for the first years of motherhood, no matter what.
God in His infinite wisdom and love for you has mapped out every step of your life, and He wants to make that plan known to you.  But to be sure that you are in His will, you have to be in His Word.  When you know that He has revealed what He wants for your life, and it has been backed up by the Word of God, that plan doesn't change based on earthly circumstances or a "feeling".  Don't let circumstances steal your joy, or determine what you feel is God's will.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wonderful Beginning!

I'm a fickle blogger, a bit indecisive and inconsistent.  I've changed my name back to what  I originally started with.  It's the name I most identify with and I love it.
I had changed it because I started to think that it made me sound like I was working with drudgery and that I coveted the name SAH mom.  And that is not the case at all.  I absolutely LOVE my job.  I love the education that my kids are getting.  I love the time that I get to spend with other grown-ups and all the other stuff that goes along with my having a career.  I am TRULY blessed to be doing what I am doing where I am doing it. Nevertheless, as my blog name suggests, my heart and my priorities lie here in my home with my family.  I may not do both perfectly, but who does.  I give both all I have and God's grace fills in the gaps.

School is in full swing around here and I absolutely adore my students this year.  I prayed for a week before school started that God would help me to love these kids the way He does.  That I could see them the way their parents see them.  And I have already fallen in love with them.  I've prayed with them, I've laughed with them, there have even been a couple that I've wanted to cry with.  I'm just so grateful for them.  And I'm so, so thankful that God hears my prayers.

My kids are doing great in school.  Alyssa is still adjusting to middle school, more studying, less spoon-feeding.  What I really mean is I'm still adjusting.  Geez, middle school is a whole new world. Although, I'm struggling more than my little social butterfly is.  She just flutters around without a care in the world.  Anyone who knows me knows that isn't how I roll.  And quite frankly, I've never understood people who are like this.  *sigh* She's got so much of her daddy in her.

Have a blessed evening friends!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pick Up Your Mess, Jesus Said So

Yesterday in church, my pastor spoke about the man who couldn't walk and his friends lowered him into the house that Jesus was in so that he would be healed.  As he was reading through the passage of Scripture that he was preaching from (Luke 5:17-26), he got to the part of the story when Jesus said, "Arise take up your bed, and go to your house."  I'm a little embarrassed and a little amused that what caught my attention was that Jesus told him to "pick up his bed".  I thought,"See, even Jesus doesn't like a mess". 

Later as my pastor talked more in depth about the different points in the passage, he suggested that Jesus commanded the man to pick up his bed because he wanted him to have a reminder of the miracle that Jesus performed in his life.  When he said that, I couldn't help but chuckle, I'm sure someone on the side of me or in front of me heard me and wondered what was so funny. 

Oh, to be inside this crazy mind of mine!