A space of my own

When we bought this house, I got very excited about all of the exciting possibilities the front office held.  I thought maybe it could be a studio someday but I’m not a huge fan of studio work so scratched that.  We decided to leave it an office for the time being but I had visions dancing through my head of a craft room as well.  5 months later, it had become more of a storage room for boxes I didn’t feel like dealing with at the time.  Our computer desk and filing cabinet were in there as well as some cube shelving that I needed to organize but had yet to find the time or desire to do so.  This week, I decided it was time for me to begin scrapbooking photos from our Disney World trip.  I began to rummage through boxes looking for paper, stickers, and trimmers but I soon became overwhelmed with the disorganization of it all.  I decided it was time to whip this space into shape once and for all.  So my friends, I began a 3 day extensive overhaul of this small room  to turn it into something fun and colorful yet inspirational and functional at the same time.  If you know me at all, you know I would rather spend a fortune on designer shoes, handbags, and children’s clothing than expensive home decor.  I get bored easily and I like knowing I can change the look of something on a whim and not worry about how much I spent on it.  Welcome to my new office and craft space.  Come on in and have a look around!

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I wasn’t even sure where to begin with this huge project but I knew I needed a craft desk to be the heart of the room.  A place where I could spread out whatever crafty project I was working on at the time and not worry about having to move it out of the way to eat or something like my current workspace (the kitchen table).  Years ago, before I married Dave, I did cakes out of my tiny apartment.  I needed more counter top space and so I built some using cube shelves and plywood.  I had seen this done on a larger scale many times on pinterest so figured it was probably my best bet.  This way I could make it the perfect size for my space and store craft supplies in the sides.  I moseyed on over to my friendly local Target and picked up two 9 cube shelving units.  These are super affordable normally but I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 on clearance for only $25.88 each!  They were easily enough assembled with detailed instructions and I probably only spent about 30 mins on both of them using only a screwdriver and a hammer!  I spaced them apart accordingly and then measured for the top.  At home depot I decided on a smooth piece of plywood for around $25 as well and had them cut it to a 3×5 tabletop for me.  I had to purchase the whole sheet so still have leftover wood for a future project!  I purchased black paint for the top to match the shelves but haven’t yet completed that task!

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I also knew I wanted easy access to my stickers, pens, ribbons, and other craft supplies and I thought pegboard would be a great option.  Craft stores sell pegboard and accessories specifically made for craft supplies but I wasn’t fond of the price tag on those!  Instead, while at Home Depot, I snagged 3 sheets of plain pegboard at $7.97 each.  I asked an employee to cut one of the sheets in half for me to fit a thinner space and they did so at no extra charge.  I also stocked up on pegboard accessories while there.  Each long peg was about 90 cents and then I purchased a package of baskets (2) for $9.99, and 2 packages of mixed hooks (probably about 15 per pkg) for under $4.  The assorted hooks and pegs also came with screws to mount the pegboards to the wall!  I swiped some colored paint samples from the paint section for under $2 each while I was there because who likes boring ole white pegboards?  I painted them with a small roller brush made for trim without incident.

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Then came the fun part of filling the pegs and organized my goodies!

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The little pails I actually stole from my children’s playroom closet.  They were from Easter or other holidays mostly purchased in the dollar spot at Target.  We later found some others at Michael’s as well for more storage fun!  I used the thinner cut pegboard to designate a special “kids section” of crafty supplies and goodies they’re actually allowed to touch.  I used the other half as a gift wrapping area with ribbon, tape, scissors, and gift bags.  I’ve been using this old upside down $2 garage sale stool as a wrapping paper caddy for years so it went perfectly over in the gift wrap corner!

Now it was time for some Wall decor.  I had this big ole black frame sitting in the garage.  My mother gave it to me a few years back.  It had a really old fashioned flower print in it originally but I saw potential in that frame.  I spray painted it lime green and then grabbed some rainbow ribbon trim, nails, and tiny clothespins to create a fun way to display my instagram photos.  Did you know Walgreens will print your instagram photos in an hour?!?!?  I don’t normally advocate supermarket photo printing services but they’re just insta photos not fine portraiture so I made an exception.  I nailed the ribbon trim to each side of the frame and then clothes pinned the photos across it.  I need to lift that bottom string a little but for now it’s fine.

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I found the giant buttons on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $4.  They were green and pink originally but it was nothing a coat of spray paint couldn’t fix!  The canvas my oldest daughter painted and I just used a paint pen to add the word “create” to it because I love the colors so much!

I found the turquoise bulletin board at goodwill for $1  brand new in the package and pinned some pages I cut out of an Anne Taintor coffee table book to it.   I looooooooove Anne Taintor!  I found this fabulous magnetic frame and the magnetic ransom letters at Tuesday morning and the little magnetic containers at Michael’s.  The frame was on clearance for $3, the letters were $3.99 per package, and the little containers were $1.50 each.

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I needed somewhere to keep myself organized with to do projects, calendars, etc.  I picked up these pizza pans at dollar tree for $1 each and spray painted them bright colors.  I secured a strip of ribbon to the back of each using E6000 and then nailed them to the wall.  I used sticky back magnetic paper to create some fun magnets of funny ecards and photos as well as some sticky notes and slapped them up there too.

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I had originally gone into goodwill looking for an old filing cabinet.  I saw one on pinterest somewhere that had been painted in chalkboard paint and I thought that would be a fun addition to the room.  I didn’t find one but I found something even better!  This large commercial type scrapbook organizer is structurally in great shape.  It was only $5.50!!!!!  So excited!  It needed a good cleaning and has a few chips in the top and bottom but they will easily be filled with wood filler later and then the whole thing will likely be painted.  I put the kids to work color coding my papers.  Solids on one side and the corresponding print on the other!  So in love with this!!!

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I found these 2 fun colorful artwork prints at Garden Ridge.  Each one was under $12 and I love them!

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I used this shutter by my garage door in the old house to store the girls backpacks and hang onto the many many party and event invitations that came our way.  Now that we have a hall closet for backpacks, I moved it into my office to hang my many many cameras.  The shutter was originally purchased for $4 at a thrift store and I added the hooks to the bottom and spray painted it.  The hooks were under $4 each.  The peacock I painted at a painting party with friends.  Artist I am not but it’s a fun little piece anyway.

On top of my scrapbook paper organizer, I have a plastic drawer system to catch still useable paper scraps and I added some fun things to the top.  LOVE these cameras and the pink lightbulb!  Got the camera on the black stand at Home Goods last year and that huge new metal camera at Ross yesterday for $10!  The pink glass lightbulb came from Michael’s as did the giant green clothespin.  Can’t wait to pin something on it!  The dream bigger block also came from Michael’s for only $3.  Last year I helped my mother’s friend with some computer work and she made me this cute little cross stitched “God is Love” sign as a thank you.  I switched it to a pink glittery frame and it’s perfect!

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I took my computer desk out of the room to use as an accent table in the front living area and decided I only needed a small area for my computer along the back wall.  I found this black unit at goodwill about 2 years ago in perfect condition for only $20.  It was a shelving originally but I found that if I removed the middle shelf it worked out perfectly as a small desk!  Got the small lamp and lampshade at Garden Ridge.  Under $15 for the lamp and the shade when it was all said and done.  Found the bronze camera at Ross yesterday for $7 and my sister bought me this cute little notepad at Pier1 years ago.  I found the porcelain paint buckets for 50% off at Michael’s yesterday and thought they would be great on my craft table to store brushes and pens.  I used a plastic storage basket that I already had to display 12×12 scrapbooks for easy access since they don’t fit in the cubes.

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I still need a fun colorful rug, a few finishing touches, and to paint the desktop and scrapbook organizer but this little room has come a loooooooooong way in the last 3 days.  Indeed I think I will be spending a lot of time in here!  When it was all said and done, I spent around $300 to transform this space.  Not to shabby at all!  It’s fun and it’s functional and I’m in love!  In conclusion, you don’t need a ton of money or anything fancy to create a cool place of your own.  You can do a lot with a little when you use some vision to step out of the box and sometimes a little goodwill hunting luck!  I may not be changing the world anytime soon but I’ve rocked my own space with a little spray paint, pegboard, and cube shelves!

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Diary of a zoo keeper errr… uh… stay at home mom.

Last week while at the gym, I met a lovely older gentleman on the elliptical machine next to me.  He offered up some banter on how he had just recently found himself back at the gym after being very inactive for many years.  He asked if I worked out often and I truthfully admitted that I didn’t go near as often as I intended to.  He asked if my work schedule was demanding and thus kept me from keeping my desired gym schedule.  I sort of chuckled to myself and said, “you could say that”.  He asked what I did for a living and when I informed him that I was a stay at home Mom he looked taken aback.  “What does your husband do that he can afford to keep you at home all to himself” he playfully asked me.  “He’s in oil”  I vaguely replied.  “Well, it’s nice you get to spend so much time at home with your kids” he stated.  I hesitated a moment and then said half way convincingly “it is.  I’m very fortunate.”  He smiled sweetly and then said, what many, many, MANY a dumb male before him after have said “Well, if you don’t have to work, you should have plenty of time to go to the gym, see your friends, and get your nails done.”  I briefly glanced down at my mangled, dry, unmanicured nails and tried to imagine the last time I had lunch with a friend and I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to smack this sweet old man or break into tears.  Now ladies and gentleman, I’m not often stunned to silence.  In fact, I can almost always find something to say but I had absolutely, positively nothing to say in response to such an ignorant comment.  So I smiled sweetly, nodded politely, and ran like hell to the leg press.  It occurred to me that to someone who has never actually stayed home full time with small children, it might look like quite a luxurious job but to those of us who know the truth, it is nothing short of exhausting.  Rewarding?  Yes.  Fulfilling?  Mostly.  Boring?  Never.  Relaxing?  Hahaha Easy?  HELL NO!  Truth is, most days, I don’t sit down much at all.  Some days I don’t get to shower until the kids are off in dreamland.  But even though I know that I work hard.  Brutally hard all day every day, I felt as though I had to prove it to myself.  So today, I woke up with the idea to log my day.  Every last minute of it and share it here with you.  Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you will just learn to appreciate the tough tough work that motherhood entails.  We may laugh, we may cry, who knows what the day will hold!

6:45 a.m-Woke up, brushed teeth, washed face, strapped on bra

7:00- Walked upstairs to wake P up for school and then returned to my room to make my bed

7:15-  Rounded up all the trash and set it outside on the curb for pickup then came inside and sat at the bar to begin the intro to this blog entry

7:25- Loaded children in the car to drop P off at school

7:35-arrived back home and unloaded children only to realize Sadie had escaped again

7:40- Re-loaded children in the car and perused the neighborhood looking for said rouge Yorkie-Poo.

7:50- Located Sadie.  She ran from me when she saw me get out of the car because she knew she was in trouble.  I bolted down the street after her in my pajamas while my children, still in the running vehicle, giggled loudly

8:00- A demanded Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and some milk.  I took this time to unload the dishwasher and then reload it with the remaining dirty dishes from last night’s dinner.  A hugged my leg and told me she loved me.

8:25-The girls said they were hungry.  I offered to make them scrambled eggs for breakfast but they wanted frozen waffles instead.  Winning!  I served them their breakfast.  T wants “pink bunny” to drink.  I explain why strawberry syrup in her milk is a bad choice given the syrup on her waffles.  She doesn’t necessarily agree but cooperative none the less.  Unfortunately, she’s now implanted the syrupy milk idea in A’s head.  She doesn’t give up the matter without a fight.

8:40- Coffee.  I need Coffee.

8:55-I gaze out the window longingly.  It would be nice to drink my coffee and read outside this morning.  The kids would want to come out too though.  It’s chilly out this morning and the ground is still rather wet from the rain.  My mother would not approve at all.  Visions of pneumonia dance through my head so I decide to drink my coffee on the sofa instead and have a gander at social media.  A thought this was a good time to use me as a jungle gym and climb on top of my head.  I disagreed.  She got mad and threw a fit.  I decided sitting was a bad idea.  It’s time to switch out the laundry anyway.

9:20- I wrapped up towel folding and distributed them amongst all 3 bathrooms.  I can’t find my coffee.  T helped me look and told me she loved me.

9:30- Found my coffee.  It was in the laundry room on top of the dryer.  It’s cold now.  I microwave it.  Now it is too hot to drink so I set it on the counter to cool.

9:40- Crap!  My friend keeps telling me I need to remember to eat 6 small meals a day to boost my metabolism.  I forgot to eat breakfast.  It’s time for my mid-morning snack though.  I grab a greek yogurt from the fridge and sit down on the sofa next to the girls watching Disney Jr.  A demands to have my yogurt.  “You already ate your waffles, this is Mommy’s breakfast” I explain to her.  “But I want it” she demanded.  “You don’t like this kind of yogurt” I tell her.  “Yes, I do!  I like it!  I really like it and I want it!” she exclaimed.  “Fine” I agree defeated and push a spoonful in her mouth.  She looks disgusted and begins to spit it out all over me and back into the container of yogurt.  Good thing I’m almost done.  I toss the remnants in the trash.

10:00- I need to go to the gym but I have several errands to run as well.  So, I’m debating whether or not to take a shower now or do it post errands and workout.  I’ve got yogurt in my hair and really I can’t wear gym shorts without shaving these legs anyway so shower time it is!

10:15- Whhhhhhhhhhy can’t I shower alone or get dressed without an audience man?!?!??!  A stood outside my glass shower doors singing “I see your booooooty, I see your boooooooty” and dancing a little jig.  I lost my cool and yelled at her to please go away and let me shower alone.  “Whhhhhhhhhy?” she whined before throwing herself on the floor crying and then reluctantly leaving me in peace however short lived it may have been.

10:20-I just remembered I never drank my coffee.  It’s cold again.  I pour it out, it’s a lost cause.  T gave me a wonderful hug!

10:30-The girls are asking for a snack.  I slice apples and serve them with pretzels and PB for T and Nutella for A (She’s allergic to PB)

10:40-A was running (even though i’ve repeatedly told her not to) and face planted.  Big surprise.  It’s the end of the world you would think by the way she’s wailing.  I need a drink but it’s too early for booze so I settle for some Advocare Spark.

11:00 Frantically searched for T’s shot record for Kinder registration this afternoon.

11:25- Still haven’t found it.  Need to make some phone calls but it’s time to start thinking about what to feed these wild animals for lunch.  Taylor wants chick-fil-a.  Sounds delicious but I have GOT to make lunch here today.

11:30- Discovered crushed up pretzels in the rug so busted out the dyson.  Figured since I had it out I may as well cover all the downstairs rugs and carpeted areas.

11:50- Had such fun vacuuming the rugs I decided to continue the party with the broom and the swifter on the wood floors {insert sarcastic eye roll}.

12:15-A can’t find her milk.  Someone send a search party.  The kid.can’t.find.her.milk!!!!!!  She’s in full on panic mode which puts me in full on panic mode.  Find the milk.  FIND.THE.MILK!

12:30- New pediatrician’s office says they sent for shot records in January but never received them.  Old Pedi office says they never received the request.  Someone dropped the ball here and for once it wasn’t me!  Hooray!  Meanwhile, i still haven’t fed my children lunch.  Whhhhhhhhhhy did I stop buying bread and try to be all “low carb”?!?!?!  Now I can’t even make the kids a PB&J!  My shoulder devil is seductively whispering “chick-fil-a” in my ear.  Shoulder angel sweetly says “feed them something  home cooked and nutritious”.  Shoulder devil chimes in again “if you take them to chick-fil-a to eat, they can play and you can read for 20 mins.”  Sold!  Sorry shoulder angel, shoulder devil makes a compelling argument!

12:45- Start bath for children.  They have impossibly messy curly hair that must be tamed before public viewing.  I put them in my bathtub so I can put makeup on and do my hair while they splash and play.

12:50- Even though I told A to go potty before I got her in the bath and she insisted she didn’t need to go, about 5 mins into the bath she suddenly needed to go.  I scooped her out and ran her over to her princess potty chair with seconds to spare before we heard that magical reward chime.  Back into the bath to wash the shampoo out of her hair quickly and then up the stairs to get everyone dressed.  T insists on picking out her own outfit.  Greeeeeeeeeaaaaaat!

1:00- T emerges in something not spectacular but semi-cute and surprisingly coordinating so I don’t battle with her.  Meanwhile I’m debating if workout clothing is acceptable for kinder registration or if I should attempt to look “put together”.  I settled on changing out of my nike shorts and into yoga pants.  If I throw a dress on and look too nice, I’ll never venture to the gym today.

1:15- On the way to Chick-fil-a, Dave called to tell me he was bored.  I halfway wanted to smack him through the phone and tell him what a gift it was to have time to be bored today but I refrained.  I do feel sorry for him, I really do.  I know it’s tough and lonely to be away from your family so much.  I was just a little bitter in the moment that’s all.  3 different people complimented me on how cute and well behaved the girls are within minutes of us arriving so that made me feel pretty good.

1:30- The girls ate and ran into the play area excitedly.  I too was excited and dug my iPad out of my purse to read.  Super excited to get lost in my book for a bit.

1:55- I’ve managed to read like 3 pages of my book in the last 25 minutes.  I sat by the door to the play area thus find myself getting up approximately every 3.5 seconds to open the door for a child (often my own) to either enter or exit said play area.  I’m sort of the unofficial protector of tiny fingers at chick-fil-a today.  Reading is clearly a lost cause so I rally up the troops and load them in the car.

2:15- Pulled up to the school.  Sat in the car a few minutes trying to mentally prepare myself for this.  My baby.  My tiny baby girl is registering for Kindergarden!  Bittersweet for sure!  While holding my hand crossing the street, A looked at my hand and said “mama, you need paint yo nails”.  Sure kid, I will mentally file that away under things I need to do in my “spare time”.

3:00- Stood in line for 30 minutes but we still didn’t get to register.  Our electricity is automatically drafted out of our account.  A few months ago, Chase bank suspected fraudulent charges on Dave’s debit card, cancelled it, and re-issued a new one.  This caused lots of problems for our automatic bill pays.  Long story short, the electric company wasn’t able to process the payment like usual so issued a disconnect notice.  I was able to clear the whole sorted mess up and give them the new billing information long before the cut off date but wouldn’t you know the unopened bill I attempted to use for proof of residency happened to be the disconnect notice?!?!?!  “We can’t accept a disconnect notice as proof of residency” the lady told me when she opened the envelope.  “Disconnect notice?”  I questioned confused.  I have never had my utilities disconnected.  I am ridiculously meticulously responsible with bills.  I glanced over and indeed she was right.  Of course the one bill I happened to grab was this!  I wanted to die of embarrassment and immediately started stammering out the story of the debit card.  But too late.  All the people behind and in front of me heard the sorted story.  “We will be here till 6, you can go get a current bill and bring it back up to register her before then” she sort of scoffed at me.  I wanted to crawl into a hole.  Back to the car we go.  It’s time to pick up P anyway.

3:15- P gets in the car and I explain we need to run home and grab a new bill then return to the school with it to register T.  However when I pull into the garage, I glance back and A has fallen asleep.  I’m not waking her to go back to the school I’ll tell ya that right now!!!

3:30- I successfully transfered A from her car seat to the sofa and drew all the blinds so it’s nice and cozy.  I set P up with her homework and T on the computer to play on abcmouse.com.  I’m going to read until this kid wakes up!!!!!

4:15- Dear Lord she’s moving around an awful lot.  She’s restless.  She won’t sleep long.  Nooooooooo!  I’ve only been sitting long enough to read 5 pages!

4:25- The girls want a snack.  They’re also bored and would like to go out front to ride their scooters.

4:45-  Game over.  A is awake. She wants fruit and milk

5:00- Cleaning up and everyone is loading up to head back to the darn school.

5:20- Not so patiently waiting for Kinder registration part 2!  Ready to get this done!

5:51- DONE!  Finally!  It’s raining again and oddly cold.  I have zero motivation to go to the gym.  According to the pedometer on my watch, I’ve exceeded my 10,000 steps per day goal for an active life.  I feel like that entitles me to skip the gym.  No?  I haaaaaaate the gym at this hour.  It’s the most inconvenient time ever to haul 3 kids to a crowded gym.  Kicking myself for not going earlier this morning instead of cleaning floors!

6:00- Just pulled up to the gym.  Just as I suspected it is unbearably packed.  I drag myself upstairs but can’t seem to get into a workout so only halfway through,  I throw in the towel (literally) and head down to get the kids.

6:45- Just got home.  Need to make dinner.  Don’t feel motivated to make dinner.  Feel motivated to sit on sofa and watch anything but Disney Jr.  But alas these children will not feed themselves.  Whipped up some quick spaghetti for the girls with “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) for me.

7:15- Just got invited to have a few drinks with some friends.  Text our sitter, she can come.  Hooray!  Social interaction.  The girls want me to play a card game with them.  I already feel guilty that I’m venturing out tonight and I haven’t even left yet.  I set up the card game and we play but I feel distracted battling with myself on wether or not going out is a good idea.  I’m not leaving until their bedtime anyway I decide and finally let myself have fun with my pretty princesses.  T won the first round but was disappointed to lose the second.  These kids are insanely competitive like their daddy!

8:00- Help the girls have a “fashion show” of princess dresses.  They want to play with my shoes.  I let them.  Trying to find something to wear.  I don’t have any jeans that fit.  There is literally no medium ground between athletic clothing and dresses in my closet!  I get A’s PJs laid out for her and then do my makeup quickly.

8:45- Ashley has arrived to watch the girls.  I try to straighten up the kitchen while we chat and wait for friends to arrive to drop off their girls and pick me up.

9:00- A needs to go potty so I escort her to my bathroom where her princess potty awaits.  She goes “tee tee” in the potty and I tell her to hang tight for a second while I grab some toilet paper to wipe her.  I emerge to see her picking the potty up (full of tee tee mind you) and attempting to carry it into my bedroom.  I frantically grab it from her but it is too late, we are both covered in pee.  I take her princess dress off and call for Ashely to help me clean her up so I can clean myself up.  Friends are here waiting for me so we can leave.  I toss on another dress and some wedges and we head out.

9:20- Sweet relief.  Feels like I haven’t so much as spoken to another adult (besides Dave) in a week!  Feels nice to joke around and talk with someone about anything other than bowl movements, snacks, and school work.

12:20- We’ve found our way back to my house.  I pour the girls a glass of wine and we banter a little bit before they head off.  I crawl into bed and finally I am alone with my book and my thoughts.  I try and read but I can’t stop thinking about the billion things I didn’t get around to doing today.  The post office, home depot, the grocery store.  None of it got done.  There’s always tomorrow.  I get lost in my e-book until around 2 when I fell asleep.  I know it was around 2 because I was holding the iPad above my face reading and when I drifted off to dreamland mid sentence, I dropped the iPad on my face and awoke only to check the time, place the iPad beside me, and roll over.

*Disclaimer.  The day was absolute full disclosure.  I Kept a running log in my phone and kept notes throughout the day.  I was hesitant to even include the whole drinks with friends portion because that does NOT happen often but I wanted to be honest.  It was my only glimpse at sanity yesterday.*

There were a lot of hectic moments in my day.  There was a lot of frustration and rushing and work.  But there was a lot of laughter and happiness as well.  It’s an exhausting job but I wouldn’t want any other job.  I love these sweet girls of mine.  I’m so blessed to be their Mommy even if they often drive me bonkers!  The days are long but the years are short.

Marriage in the social media age

I don’t even know where to begin this post but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart for quite some time now.  I want to talk about marriage today.

Marriage has never been easy kids.  Historically, marriage has been hard work.  Adam and Eve even knew it was tough to be married.  Sin has always been a dividing factor in marriages.  The bible tells us stories of deceit, adultery, even murder in marriage so this is obviously not a new trend.  But now, thanks to technology, it seems marriages have a whole new set of hurdles to jump.

I’m going to start by telling you a little bit about myself and my own marriage so that you don’t feel like I’ve got a perfectly easy marriage and have NO idea what I’m talking about in this struggle.  Dave and I got married 6 years ago after a very brief courtship.  We moved rather quickly and both of us just kind of knew we were headed towards marriage from the get go.  I think we only dated a couple of months when he moved in with me and we began discussing marriage.  We toyed with a spring time beach wedding  and I sent off for an information packet from the travel agent about our wedding in St. Lucia.  We hadn’t yet set a date but were thinking sometime in March.  Life had other plans though.  In July (7 months before our planned beach wedding), I learned I was pregnant.  Dave’s reaction to that positive pregnancy test made me want to marry him even more.  Neither of us ever thought “oh no, what the hell have we done”.  Well, I didn’t anyway, and if that’s what he was thinking, he masked it well!  lol  Anyhow, we decided to bump the wedding up to August and kiss our barefoot beach wedding goodbye.  Our wedding was a simple but lovely (if I say so myself) lake front wedding.  Only our family and a small group of best friends were there to witness our vows.  I would like to tell you it’s been all rainbows and butterflies since but I would be lying.  We love each other fiercely so it always works out but we’ve had a lot of odds stacked against us.  In addition to not knowing each other fully well and a sudden unexpected pregnancy, we had a whole handful of differences to sort through.  I was raised in church while Dave was not.  I had been married before and had a small child from that marriage while Dave, an often drunk soldier in the Army, had never so much as had a serious relationship in his life.   Those were just the obvious obstacles.   I suffered from depression and had suitcases of trust issues, insecurities, and fear of being hit due to my first marriage.  Dave had his own baggage of course including some post traumatic stress from his time in war.  Moral of the story is, our marriage is not a walk in the park.  It is hard.  It’s work.  Every.day.of.our.lives! We love hard, we fight hard.  When it comes down to it though, there is no one else on the planet that can make me smile and laugh like this man can.  There is no one else on the planet I would rather fight for and fight with.   Yes, my eyes glazed over for a second and I got butterflies talking about him so I would say that’s a sign he’s a keeper still.

What was the point in me telling you our life story you’re probably wondering?  Well, the point is that people always tell me how happy and in love we look.  And we are 85% of the time.  The other 15% of the time, we often want to strangle each other.  lol  But when we fight, I don’t rush to social media to be my counselor.  I don’t air out our dirty laundry and the sacred details of our marriage and our disagreements to hundreds of mostly strangers.  Marriage is a sacred union and when I divulge the inner workings and problems within our marriage to the world, I give them a piece of my marriage that isn’t theirs to have.  Does this mean when we have a huge blowout and I need some guidance and advice that I don’t tell anyone at all?  Nope, I have a handful of people that I fully trust to be on the side of my marriage to consult with.  I consult God fearing friends who I feel will tell me when I’m being ridiculous and over reacting or pray with me and for us until we get it worked out.  I consult friends who do not pass judgement on either myself or my husband who won’t just take MY side because they’re my friend but will always take the side of my marriage and our children.  Social media sites like twitter, Facebook, and instagram can very easily harm your marriage.

I get so worked up when I log onto Facebook and see things like “I married such a useless A-hole”,  “He thinks he’s gonna cheat on me and get away with it”, “I’m so hurt by what my husband did…”, “My wife is such a B****h”,  “I wish my wife would do this…”, “Too bad my wife doesn’t look like this or dress like this…”.  You get the point, you’ve all seen these types of posts.  The problem with posting things like this about your spouse is that it is a full on public stoning.   You may as well line up all the townspeople with rocks in hand ready to throw them at your spouse.  This is an absolute blatant disregard for the sacred union that marriage is supposed to be.  The covenant of marriage was made between you, your spouse, and God and was NOT made to include 800 of your best Facebook “friends”!  When you trash talk and break your husband/wife down in a public forum, you are telling others that your marriage is not that strong.  That your spouse and your marriage is not that important to you.  You are publicly declaring that Satan is winning in your marriage.  No, no, no people!  Don’t declare that!  When you’re facing problems in your marriage no matter what the magnitude, you run like hell to get some counsel from someone who will be on the side of your marriage and not a bunch of random people to fuel the drama fire.  Go to God with your problems not the internet!

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. -Colossians 3:18-19

In addition to social media sites giving troubled marriages a forum to bash one another, it also opens the gates of sexual sin.  I repeatedly see married men (and sometimes women) “liking” pages that are one step away from pornographic.  Y’all, please don’t disrespect your wife by liking “big booty hoes” or “dirty housewives” on Facebook.  Wives, please do NOT participate in MCM (man crush monday) if you plan on posting a photo of some shirtless sweaty man that is NOT your husband.  Have some respect for each other for Pete’s sake!  I don’t want to see it in my newsfeed and no matter how “cool” and “secure” your spouse is, they don’t want to see it either!!!!!!!!  The problem is, we live in a society that makes objectifying women and men okay.  We’ve made things like topless bars acceptable.  We patron “sports bars” and “restaurants” that boast scantily clad, bikini top, booty short wearing waitresses and bartenders.  We are buying into sex.  We are buying into adultery.  We’ve got smartphones and portable devices that make viewing XXX videos and photos on demand easier than making a phone call!  Satan is invading our marriages and we just let him kids!  We’ve smeared a very black and white subject into a grey area with technology and these types of establishments but I will tell you God does not see this grey area we’ve created.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. -Matthew 5:28

The moral of the story kids?  Look to God and not the world to guide you through your marriage.  Social media does not have the answers but HIS word surely does!  Love one another kids.  Forgive one another.  Do NOT publicly humiliate and bash one another.  Use social media to build your spouse up not tear them down!

dance

I’ll leave you with this gushy picture of me dancing with my handsome husband on the dock on our wedding day.  I don’t always like you, but I’ll always love you.  Those dreamy eyes and contagious smile will forever put you at the top of my Man Crush Monday list!!!  <3

Someone got a big girl bed!

When we moved to our new home in December, we toyed with the idea of not moving A’s crib at all and moving her straight to a toddler bed since she had just turned 2.  I felt with the new surroundings and having stairs for the first time, I didn’t want her to experience a sensory overload so, we decided to wait until we were well settled in.  Over the last month or so I had been looking online   for the perfect bed and was really having commitment issues!  Surprise, surprise!  I found several on the ikea website that I liked but it was so hard to decide without seeing them in person.  Her room has an ice cream shop theme so I wanted a cute little bed that would work with that but be versatile in case I decided to change themes on a whim.  A friend who was also shopping for a toddler bed had told me that the Ikea beds were oddly shaped and thus normal bedding would not work, you would be restricted to their bedding so I had to see how big of a difference the sizing was and if it was a problem easily rectified.  I had finally decided on the OVERE bed with canopy so my mom and I decided to make the drive to Frisco to check it out in person last Saturday.  It was so super cute but we were going to have to change the colors of the flags for the canopy and in the end I thought we might like a bigger bed.

You can find the OVERE bed here:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S59012280/

The mattress size appeared to be that of a standard twin mattress if not a hair smaller.  I honestly think normal twin bedding would fit it alright but you’ll have to check the dimensions on the website and compare with another manufacturer if you’re considering it.

We fell in love with the Minnen bed which isn’t available online apparently but you can always google it!  It reminded us of an old fashioned wrought iron bed that was perfect for our ice cream shop theme!  We chose it in black but it’s also averrable in white. The frame itself is adjustable and so is the mattress.  I wondered how this would be accomplished initially but it’s a pretty neat little system!  The mattress is the width of a twin sized bed because the twin sheets fit perfectly that way.  At it’s smallest size, it is about the length of a crib mattress.  I used her crib mattress to show you the difference in size here:

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To extend the bed, you simply remove the bolts and slide the frame out and then replace the bolts.  The mattress has 2 extender pieces that almost look like pillows.  One for the head and one for the foot so when you’re ready to add on you just add one piece at a time.  I figure I will add on next year and then again the next.

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this is one of the the mattress extender pieces.  When all 3 pieces are assembled, it is about the size of an extra long twin.  Think your old dorm room bed!  lol

I bought regular twin size sheets rather than purchasing from ikea because their selection left something to be desired.  I found 2 fabulous sets at Ross for $10 each!  I was super excited because they matched the ice cream treat printed comforter that my mother had made her when she was born perfectly!  One was a polka dot print that reminded me of sprinkles and the other was a coordinating stripe print of the same brand.  My intentions were to alter the sheet to fit but it really only needed a little tucking at the foot and it worked well without moving so I decided to let them be.  I used the flat sheet to cover one of the mattress extenders to fit at the head of the bed so the little darling wouldn’t whack her head on the metal frame behind her.  Again, I intended to sew this to fit but I just wrapped it on snuggly and secured the edges with rubber bands.  Really, I just wanted to see what it would look like before I got to cutting but it looked so cute like a big piece of candy or something so Mom and i decided it should stay that way.  I’m going to tie some bows for extra cuteness.  Then when she gets older and no longer needs the bumper, she can still use the flat sheet as intended since it hasn’t been cut.

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I’ve tucked the other part of the mattress securely in a plastic bag for protection on the top of her closet.  Today, I’m going to go hunt for a fabulous tiny nightstand to put the ice cream lamp I ordered her on next to her bed.

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It should arrive in the next day or so from one of my favorite websites of random home decor ever:

http://www.greatbigstuff.com/collections/food-drink/products/ice-cream-cone

The first night she got out of bed once and then slept soundly till morning and has slept in it without incident since.  She loves her big girl bed and I can’t wait to finally get her room finished in this house!  More pictures of her room to come once I get it all settled once and for all!  For now, I’ll leave you to enjoy her cute bed and her extra cute face!

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Overall, the bed was easily enough assembled (I think so anyway, I was more so supervising as my dad assembled it!  lol).  It is sturdy and adorable and my little sure enjoys it so far!  I like that it’ll last her a little longer too.  Don’t forget you need TWIN size slats if you are purchasing this bed at ikea.  I accidentally grabbed the wrong kind and dad have to have wood cut for the bottom for me!  Ooops.  Thanks Daddy!

Using your “doll eyes”

With 3 American Girl Doll obsessed little darlings under one roof, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of doll sized treasures over the years. People are always asking me where I have found such and such doll accessory and the answer is easy (or difficult depending on how you look at it!). I use my doll eyes everywhere I go. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means when I’m out and about at any old store I try and see things from a dolls eye view. If you look around you, I guarantee you can find an ordinary every day item that can be something extraordinary for your little darling’s doll collection. American Girl has some great products don’t get me wrong but they don’t have everything a doll could possibly need right? It’s pretty pricey too if we’re being honest. I’m going to show you a few inexpensive goodies that weren’t intended for dolls originally but work out pretty stinkin’ well anyway!

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We don’t have a problem or anything though, don’t worry. Really, we can quit any time we want! Hahaha

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Like baseball games? We sure do! Last summer at our hometown baseball stadium the girls asked for ice cream in the signature baseball helmet bowls. You know, every stadium has them, they’re a baseball staple snack! I saw it immediately, once the ice cream was gobbled up and the bowl was washed, it was a perfect dolly souvenir!

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Oh chuck-e-cheese, how every parent loathes thee. A necessary evil of parenthood! Several weeks ago, daddy decided to treat the girls to a special daddy daughter outting to indulge in nasty pizza and germ infested arcade games! The girls used some of their ticket winnings to score this perfectly functional doll sized whoopie cushion. They get a kick out of having their dolls play tricks on one another. I’m told party city sells these by the package and I’m sure other party supply stores do as well so no trip to see the giant rat is required!

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I’m sure you’ve figured out that jewelry boxes make terrific doll sized dressers and nightstands already but did you notice votive holders make great doll trashcans? Perfect size! Pretty sure I got this in the dollar spot at target last year!

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The fun finds section of michaels is ALWAYS a great place to look for doll goodies. They currently have these tiny tin my little pony lunch boxes. I don’t know what they are really for
but I know what were using them for! Lol

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While perusing Garden Ridge recently, I stumbled upon these little sugar/sweet n low caddies in the kitchen goods area and saw instant doll potential. They were around $3 each and my girls were so excited when I brought them home!

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Moseyed on over to dollar tree today to stock up on candy for our media room concession stand and the girls wanted to check out junky toys on out way out. We found these cute little mini tea sets that couldn’t be any more perfect for dolls! We grabbed a couple because for $1 each you can afford to buy spares!

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While at dollar tree, we also stumbled upon these doll sized glow in the dark lamps. No batteries or plugs required! Just let them absorb some light and they glow! I tried to capture a glowy picture but I’m not sure you can see it well enough…

The moral of the story kids is that there are doll sized goods at every turn, you’ve just gotta use your “doll eyes” to find them!>

Super scrumptious sangria

So a few months ago, I was a little grumpy cruising through HEB gathering food for the family when a really irritating voice came over the loud speaker. This woman was just too darn chipper about rotisserie chicken. You know how when you’re in a bad mood and people are extra happy you kinda want to slap them? No, am I the only one who feels that way? Hahahaha I digress. Anywho, a few moments later, I ran into said chipper rotisserie pusher and just when I was about to snack her she asked if I would like a sample. I like rotisserie chicken as much as the next guy but this my friends was not a rotisserie chicken day, this was a day for booze! So imagine my sheer glee when she holds up a tiny little shot glass type sample cup and said “I’ve got sangria”. I wanted to hug her! I took the tiny teaser cup and tasted the yummy sweet yet kinda tangy fruit juicy deliciousness and then quickly began to stockpile all the necessary supplies to go home and indulge in a full glass. Or two. Or 5 but whose counting?!?!? Of course I added a few twists from the original because well, have you
met me?!?!? I don’t do things the easy way! Needless to say I’ve been making it for family and visiting friends weekly since and it’s such a huge hit so I thought I should share it with you lovely people!
Gather the goods:
You’ll need:
– a bottle of moscato (or two or three if it’s been a rough week)
– frozen fruit of your choice. Heb lady used just a generic mixed fruit bag but I buy individual bags of pineapple, peaches, and strawberries because some of the fruit in the mixed fruit bag tasted dreadful when I ate it afterwards. I’m not saying my way is better, but well, it is! 😉
– lemon, lime, mandarin orange (like a cutie or halo). This is again an add on that heb lady did not use.
– 1 bottle of Italian soda in flavor of your choice. I actually use 2 different flavors for an extra kick of deliciousness but that’s me.

I like to wash my citrus fruits with soap and then slice them. I also cut up my frozen fruit into smaller bites but this is totally an un-necessary step if you want to skip it. I just find it easier to eat in the end.

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I then put it in ziplock bags and freeze it if I’m preparing in advance. I keep these babies on hand all the time in case I just want one glass.
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Meanwhile, grab your wine and soda and of course a fabulous diva-caliber wine glass!

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Put your fruit in then fill about halfway with wine. Fill the other half with soda or alternating sodas. I use this lovely berry kind as well as a blood orange. The original only called for the orange kind. I’ve also tried pomegranate which is pretty tasty too!
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Now enjoy! Cheers!>

3 cheese spinach lasagna wraps

Yummmm! Super quick post that I promised to a friend a month ago! 😁
Round up your ingredients:
-lasagna noodles (I used these lovely whole grain noodles)
-frozen spinach
-fresh grated mozzarella
-ricotta cheese
-cream cheese
-marinara sauce
-salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
-cherry tomatoes for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to about 425 and break your noodles in half to boil

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While your noodles cook, add your frozen spinach to a microwave safe bowl and warm until defrosted. Toss in your grated cheese, your ricotta, and your cream cheese and season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. The amount you use will obviously depend on how many roll ups you intend to make. You know me, I’m no good with exact measurements. You’ll have to eye ball it and use your own common sense and judgement. 😉 mix well until it’s a nice creamy paste. I will say you need plenty of seasonings as the mixture is creamy but not real flavorful without the garlic/onion/salt.

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Your noodles should be about done by this point so drain them and lay them out flat on a cutting board. Spoon in your cheesy spinach mixture starting at the bottom. Begin rolling towards the top and place in an oven safe pan (which you’ve sprayed with cooking spray).

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Top with marinara sauce and a quick sprinkle of cheese and bake that bad boy until your noodles have a slight crisp to them and the cheese is nicely melted. Use as much sauce as you would like. I’m not a huge sauce fan so did just a dab.

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Dice up some cherry tomatoes for garnish, serve, and enjoy!

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Dorito salad

Last summer while visiting my cousin, the girls and I were introduced to our favorite salad. I’ve been making my own variation ever since and it’s as big a hit as ever! Thanks for the idea Becky, I took that sweet baby and made it my own and it’s pretty life changing!!! Hope you don’t mind me sharing, the world needs to know! Lol

You know the drill, gather your ingredients: you’ll need:
-bag of Doritos (Becky used regular Doritos, I typically prefer baked unless they’re nowhere to be found.
-1 lb lean ground beef
-garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and ground red pepper (cayenne)
-shredded cheese
-plain Greek yogurt (Becky used sour cream but I always substitute yogurt for sour cream)
-salsa (I used pace because it’s what Dave had laying around already but you pick your own brand and heat)
-iceburg lettuce
-tomato
-1 can black beans (optional-they weren’t used in the original but I like them)
-corn (I use frozen sweet corn. Again this is optional, Becky didn’t use it)
-black olives (once again an optional add on)

Step 1: brown your ground beef and add seasonings (just a pinch of everything really or you could even use pre mixed taco seasoning I’m sure)

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Take your corn and black beans and heat them in a small pot. While that’s simmering, take your Greek yogurt and salsa and combine them in a blender until it’s a lovely pinky peach color. You’ll want to use equal parts salsa/yogurt.

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Grab your Doritos and crush them up with your hands or a fork in the bottom of your bowl and then add a nice solid layer of lettuce followed by a layer of ground beef. Add your corn/bean mixture, and drizzle your yogurt/salsa sauce over the top. Add some shredded cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and olives and enjoy!

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Easy, quick, delicious! Yummmm!

Lies Christians tell themselves (and sometimes others too)

Those of us who were raised in the church or even found our way there as adults, know that there are certain character traits that Christians are “supposed” to possess.  Good Christians should be honest, fair, kind, and generous right?  So, I’m gonna start by being super honest with myself (and you).  Here goes, ready for it?  I am NOT always honest, fair, kind, and generous!  In fact, I.AM.A.LIAR!  Yikes!  Felt good to get that off my chest!  Yep, you read that correctly, I lie to myself (and sometimes others) pretty often actually.  What on earth do I mean you might be asking?  Let me give you an example as to lies I often tell myself (and others).  Brace yourself, you may just discover that YOU are a liar too!  Yikes!

Lie #1:  “I’ll pray for you.”  Relax.  I’m not saying this is always a lie.  In fact, a good 97% of the times that I say I will pray for you, I REALLY do!  But the bottom line is, I’m forgetful.  Reaaaaaaaalllly forgetful.  There are some days that I get so caught up in my super hectic life that I actually forget that 3% of specific prayer requests if I haven’t written them down or stopped that very second to pray.  Eeeeeesh.  Most of the time, I’ll see a post on Facebook or hear someone talk about the request later and want to slap myself in the face because I know I wasn’t a strong prayer warrior for that particular need. 

My commitment to future honesty: When I hear or read a prayer request I will immediately stop what I am doing and pray for that need if possible.

Lie #2:  “I don’t have any cash to give.”  We’ve all been approached by a homeless man on the streets, a group of children asking for donations for their school or sport, or some other need.  Sometimes I question the sincerity of the need and rather than opening my wallet, I just politely apologize with a generic “I’m sorry, I would, but I don’t have any cash on me”.  This isn’t always a lie.  In fact, I very rarely do carry cash on me but if I’m being super honest, there’s an atm on every corner and most stores have a cash back option when you’re paying with a card.  More than the lack of cash though, I wonder if the person is really in need.  I double even triple guess the need and if I don’t deem the person truly needy I use the no cash cop out.  Last week, the girls and I were grocery shopping and a young mom approached me with her young toddler on her hip.  She told me she was from a nearby town and needed some gas money to get back.  I sweetly smiled and said yep, you guessed it, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any cash”.  She politely said “that’s okay, thank you anyway” and disappeared down the aisle.  The truth is, I had cash.  I had lots of cash actually.  I had a neat little row of $100 dollar bills I had been meaning to take to the bank to deposit.  If I had a $5, $10, or $20 I would have gladly handed it over but, I didn’t want to give her a whole $100!  I blow $100 on stupid stuff all the time so what was wrong with giving it to someone who could have used it.  But no, I questioned her motives.  I asked myself if her story was true or was she planning to use the money for drugs or alcohol and even, who knows if that was even her baby.   hahaha yes, I gotta laugh at myself on that last one because that’s just how paranoid and critical I have become.

My commitment to future honesty:  I will carry around several $20’s for instances just like this and I will attempt to calm my over analytical thoughts about people’s stories of need.  I will just open my heart and my purse and GIVE and not worry about what happens with that money once it leaves my hands.  

Lie #3:  “When God clearly speaks to me, I will obey.”  Sometimes we pray and pray for God to reveal things to us and we swear up and down that we will do whatever it is he is asking of us without question because really, who questions GOD?  Sometimes I’m guilty of hearing God’s voice loud and clear and ignoring him because I don’t like what he’s got to say.  A few weeks ago, I prayed that God would show me places that he could use me.  Specifically I was praying for a new church home where he might use me with the youth or on a praise team because those are the areas that have my heart to serve.  But I wasn’t just praying for those things, I was praying that he would show me ways that I could better show his love to the needy and broken people I encountered on a daily basis.  So first the stranded young lady at HEB then yesterday he placed another need before me and I just ignored him!  I went to city hall to get a proof of residency form because I didn’t yet have a utility bill with our new address on it and needed one.  As I was walking in, 3 kids in tow, a man and his son (probably about 10) held the door open for the girls and I.  I took note of how polite the little boy was because in this society it’s so rare to find youth who have been taught manners and chivalry.  They let us go ahead of them in line very politely even.  I got the form I needed quickly and then paused to the side to read a text message while Payton tied her shoe and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the man and the city employee.  He was asking for an extension on his water bill because it was about to be turned off.  He said his wife had a new baby and he had been laid off work and he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill at this time.  The employee said she could extend it until the following friday but that was the best she could do.  The man looked defeated but took what he could get.  At that very moment, God told me to pay the man’s water bill anonymously.  I looked him over and decided that I didn’t know enough about this tattoo covered man to do such a thing.  The girls and I slipped out to the parking lot and headed to the gym.  Throughout my workout I couldn’t get this family out of my head.  I remembered the feeling of desperation I had when T was born, just weeks old and Dave was laid off when oil crashed in 2009.  I imagined what his wife must feel like.  I pictured her sitting on the sofa, nursing that baby, crying, and wondering how they would provide for their children with her husband out of work.  I tried to push the image out of my mind and move on about my day but it plagued me and quite obviously is still bothering me.  Why didn’t I do what God told me to do?  Well, I don’t have a good answer other than I questioned the circumstances.  I made myself the jury and the judge and decided I needed to know why the man had lost his job, why he hadn’t yet found another, and why he couldn’t afford to pay that water bill.  I wondered if he had failed a drug test and gotten fired or if he was irresponsible and couldn’t show up on time.  When Dave lost his job, they tried everything in their power to keep him on.  He was one of the last people from that department they laid off in fact and his layoff had nothing to do with his very strong work ethic and everything to do with there just not being enough work at the time to justify paying him.  So why should it have mattered to me what this family’s circumstances were.  The bottom line was, they were in need, and I am so incredibly blessed to be in a place financially that I could have helped meet their need but didn’t.

My commitment to future honesty:  I’m a work in progress and it is human nature to be slightly selfish and apprehensive of giving your finances.  After all, you work hard and should get a say in where that money goes right?  But I will try and remember that it is not my money but God’s money and by his grace, we are so very blessed.  I will listen for his voice and even when it puts me out of my comfort zone I will try my hardest to be obedient.  I’m not saying I will never disobey but I’m going to make a conscious effort to practice obedience when he tells me to do something or give to someone.

Lie #4: “I’m not judging her/him/them at all, it’s not my place to judge.” Ha!  Who exactly do I think I’m kidding?   I’m judging ALL day long.  I’m judging those Facebook posts, that language he/she used, that parent with the ill behaved child at the playground, that mom giving her baby dr. pepper,  the elderly woman waiting tables, the mom who lets her little girl wear booty shorts or heels, the list goes on and on but you get the point.  I’m judging all the darn time and all the while telling myself I’m not a judgmental person!  

My commitment to future honesty:  I’m not saying I will never judge again because I think it is in our nature to judge others when their lifestyle and choices are different than ours.  But, I will say that I will stop telling myself that I’m NOT judging.  I will try and recognize when I am being judgmental and remind myself that different strokes are okay for different folks.  God made us all different and that’s okay.  I’ll try to remember that I don’t like the feeling I get when I know someone is judging me and try my hardest not to make other people feel that way.

I lie to myself all the time and sometimes others too but I can’t lie to God.  He sees my heart and he knows my actions.  What lies have you been telling yourself?

The F word

We’ve all heard the expression fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!  Most of us try and live our life to that standard.  We’ve got this idea that if someone does something to hurt us physically, emotionally, verbally, whatever, we should out of the kindness of our hearts give them the benefit of the doubt and extend some forgiveness but just once.  If the screw up again then too bad for them because we’ve already forgiven them once right?  Hate to burst your bubble kids {and my own} but WRONG!

Let’s get real honest with ourselves for a second.  Have you ever sinned?  Have you ever sinned more than once?  Twice?  More times than you can possibly count?  The answer is YES, YES, YES, and YES!  Often we go with our tails between our legs crying out to the Lord begging for forgiveness but other times, we just take his mercy and forgiveness for granted.  We just expect him to forgive us because we know he does.  We just know he extends grace and mercy repeatedly even when we don’t deserve it.  Why do we know that?  Because the word tells us he does!  But, in classic human nature, we take the word and we twist it to meet our needs.  We pick the parts we find beneficial to us out and use those but sort of paraphrase the rest.  We find the “loopholes” if you will.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I often joke saying I have a “black thumb”.  Seriously, I could kill a cactus and pretty sure I have.  Horticulturist I am not but last year, I thought I would try my hand at an herb garden.  Nothing makes me happier than cooking with fresh herbs and it never fails I’m out of basil or rosemary in the middle of making a fabulous from scratch pasta sauce.  So, I moseyed on down to my friendly local Home Depot and snagged some potted herbs and a large window planter.  I didn’t do much research on the subject because the little biodegradable pots were just to be planted directly into the soil so I figured it was fool proof.  I planted Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, and Sweet Mint.  I watered and cared for them for several months and they seemed to be thriving.  They made delicious additions to soups, pastas, chicken, and even mojitos!  Nom…nom…nom… mouth watering just thinking of it!  After several months, I noticed the mint seemed to be thriving a little too well if ya know what I mean!   It’s super easy to grow and maintain so it easily takes over some of the weaker herbs.  After several more months,  it was becoming difficult to get to my cilantro.  The leaves of the mint had become intertwined with the leaves of the cilantro and it just became a lot of work to try and keep the leaves apart.  Eventually the cilantro died.  R.I.P Cilantro-you were my favorite herb child.  When I went to remove the cilantro plant, parts of the mint started to come up as well.  The mint roots were so strong that they intertwined with the roots of the cilantro plant and began to take over and defeat them!  What is the moral of this little gardening tale you probably are asking?  You may even be throwing your hands up yelling at your computer screen “get to the point already you dysfunctional domestic diva!!!”  The point my friends is when we don’t extend forgiveness to others, it plants a seed of bitterness that only grows and thrives inside of us.  It takes root and if we let it, this bitterness will thrive and take over our life and it can sometimes defeat the roots of kindness that dwell in the same place.  We need to remember that we are only human and we will ALWAYS fall short of the humans that we SHOULD be.  Some transgressions are easier to forgive than others but that doesn’t mean those transgressions are unforgivable.

All of that being said, there is a fine line between forgiveness and foolishness and I think we often confuse the two.  The act of forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to be foolish and constantly subject ourselves to hurt.  I’m not saying if your husband is repeatedly hitting you or betraying your trust that you should just say “oh no problem honey, I forgive you again” and stick around for more.  Get yourself OUT of that toxic situation but don’t let the hurt become your crutch.  It could be your spouse, a friend, a co-worker, an ex, a sibling or other family member, a stranger on the streets even!  You say “I forgive you” and truly mean it, then move on with your merry little life!  Here’s the kicker.  People don’t always ask for forgiveness.  They may not think they’ve even done anything wrong at all and it isn’t our job to pass judgement on their sins but it IS our job to forgive them.  We must show them the exact kindness, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that our heavenly father repeatedly extends to us.  If we don’t, that original hurt, that original sin committed against us by someone else can quickly morph into our own sin and become bitterness!  Don’t be bitter kids.  Forgive, move on, and please be kind to one another.  Forgive but please don’t be foolish especially when it comes to the safety and security of yourself or your children!  Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye and allow hurtful behavior repeatedly.  There are consequences for everyone’s actions whether that be on earth or on judgement day.  The good news is, we aren’t responsible for that big ole judgement burden, just the forgiveness part.

xoxo