Monday, March 3, 2014

Making Changes.....

It occurred to me over the weekend that I enjoy blogging, but I do it so sporadically because I just don't have one theme that I write about. I generally just write only when I feel like God has placed something specific on my heart.  
I would really like to make this blog something that I update every day, but I feel like I have a dozen different directions I could take it.  I mean, if you look at my crazy life, you would see that my brain goes a dozen directions each and every minute. 

Over the next few days and weeks, I will be spending time in prayer asking God to reveal to me what He would like me to do with this.  If you feel led to pray for me in this, I would really appreciate it.  But I would also really appreciate your feedback just as much.  

If you enjoy reading my blog, please leave me a comment below answering some of the following questions:

How regularly do you read my blog?

What topics are your favorite?  

What topics are your least favorite?

Have any of my posts made you ponder something in your own life?

Are there certain topics I post about that you resonate with the most?

Any general ideas you would like to share with me?

Please leave me some comments below so I know how to improve! 

And also, if you would like to see my blog become a daily update, please make sure you click on the link at the right hand side of the page to follow it and stay alert to when I have new blog posts!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chocolate for Breakfast! What kind of Mother am I???

How many "Hats" do you try to fit on your head in a day?  If you are anything like me, it's a pretty high number.

House Cleaner

The list could go on for days..... But you get the point!

By the way, I found this picture HERE.  I would recommend you click on it and read it because she has a lot of great points to make on this same topic!

On my best days, I feel like this lady! But on my worst days, the hats are laying on the floor around me in a chaotic mess, and I tripping over them constantly!

And what do we do when our hats get so high we can't fit through the door???

What is it that makes us feel like we have to be superwoman?  I don't know when it even started for me.  I feel like it was engrained in me even before I became a wife or a mother. For as far back as I remember, I have compared myself to those around me.
But why?? 

I really can't answer that...  I wish I could, because then maybe I could finally kick this nasty habit that keeps me from enjoying so much of life.

I often hear things like "If it weren't for Pinterest..." or "Social Media is just a place for people to try and make themselves look good". But I think the issue is far deeper than that!  If it was social media's fault, then generations past would have never dealt with this. And I can assure you that at some point in your grandmother's life, she looked at her friends' children or her friends' house and felt some form of envy at not being able to manage everything as well.

With each year that passes, we try to fit more things into our lives.  Many of us work full time jobs, are going to school, or own businesses.  Many of our husbands work overtime. We shuffle our kids from soccer to gymnastics to sleepovers. And we can't figure out why we aren't able to have a homemade dinner sitting on the table in our spotless dining room every single night.

There is one day in particular that I realized just how much of a mess I was! It was a few years ago and I had just started working a new job. I was putting in 50-60 hours per week and was always rushing.  I was driving my daughter to school. We were rushing around that morning (like usual) and I was afraid I was going to be late for work, again! But we made it out the door in time and I was on track to be at work on time! We were about 1/2 mile from school when she said "Mom, you never fed me breakfast and I'm really hungry!"  There were no stores or restaurants close to us, so I looked through my purse in hopes of finding a granola bar. But no such luck... I had a half eaten bag of Hershey's Nuggets in my purse... That's all!! (I wasn't doing very well at managing life at the time - so I gorged on chocolate and caffeine while I was at work!)  I gave her a few Hershey's nuggets to eat in the car and sent her off to school (She was going to a private school for preschool and there was no breakfast served there). 
All day long, it was all I could think about at work! I was a failure! I couldn't even remember to feed my child breakfast, so I gave my almost 3 year old chocolate nuggets!! 
SERIOUSLY?? What is wrong with me????
I don't remember any details about my work day because I spent all day trying not to cry! I had to be the absolute worst mom ever! None of my friends would ever feed their children chocolate for breakfast!
I got home that night and wanted to curl in a ball and cry! But something happened that changed my outlook!  I picked up that sweet little girl after work and on the way home I told her I was sorry for forgetting breakfast! She looked up at me with a huge smile and said "I don't mind! You can forget breakfast more often if you want!"  I realized that I hadn't ruined her! She thought it was cool and it made for a good memory!  And I learned something from it!  I learned to slow down and stop worrying about being a few minutes late, and I learned that if I have to feed her chocolate for breakfast every once in a while, it won't kill her!  I was still a great Mommy in her eyes!!!

I hope you realize after reading my story that I can't remember a single thing I did right that day, instead I focused on the one thing I totally screwed up. 

And I'm sure I missed out on some great things that day by wallowing in my self pity! When we start to feel weighed down by the one thing we didn't do as well as we would have liked, we forget the things we TOTALLY ROCKED AT, and sometimes we even miss out on many other fabulous things!!  

If you look back at your day, I'm sure you can come up with at least a few things that you did that you didn't totally suck at:

  • You totally blew your boss away with your latest project!
  • You saved $50 at the grocery store by being a super savvy coupon lady!
  • Your kids went to school with matching outfits, winter coats, lunch, and their homework!
  • You made it to work on time, despite oversleeping by a few minutes!
  • Your whole family had clean underwear this morning!      (Hey - somedays thats a HUGE win!)
  • You remembered it was your best friends birthday and sent her a text telling her how much you appreciate her!
  • You were able to pay your mortgage this month!
  • You put on your jeans this morning and didn't look like the overstuffed bear your daughter won at the carnival! (Talk about a HUGE win!!)
  • You had enough milk in the house for your kids to eat breakfast before school (SCORE!!)
  • You remembered at the last minute that it was your turn to take snack to soccer practice! You were able to run through Walmart like a crazy person and still get there before a mob of hungry 8 year olds attacked you!

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But after all that, you didn't have time to make dinner, so you grabbed some take out and your kids shoveled in their faces in front of the tv at 8:00pm!

SO WHAT!!!!!

If you were able to do even one of these things today, you are AMAZING and worthy of some SERIOUS PRAISE!!!  And even if it was a horrible, rotten, no good kind of day and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING went right, I bet you did at least one thing right yesterday!

It's amazing to me that as soon as one thing doesn't go our way, we completely forget all of the things we ROCK AT!!!

And sometimes, we get so focused on our careers, our family, and our housework, that we completely forget about ourselves. I've had more than one occasion where I walk by a mirror and realize that I forgot to brush my hair, I only put eyeliner on one side of my face, or I forgot to zip my pants (I hate when that one happens!!) 

But regardless of how we feel, we have families who love us and most importantly, we have a FATHER who loves us unconditionally! He is just waiting for us to reach out and acknowledge that we can't do it all! That we are a complete mess without Him!  And when we let Him take some of the burden, we realize just how wonderful we are! We stop thinking about the few things we messed up today and we begin to see ourselves through His eyes!!

I saw this video a few months ago and it will never get old!  I think every woman in this world should be required to sit down and watch it! We should be forced to realize that we are all of these things!!

This video was made by Jon Jorgenson. You can check out more at

So remember my sweet friend that you are a TREASURE, you are a DAUGHTER OF THE KING, and you are AWESOME!!!

Let's make a difference and help spread the word to all of your tired, defeated girlfriends!!  Let's change the way we view ourselves forever!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Homemade Goodness for my Princess

Being healthy is about so much more than nutrition. Yet so many of us tend to ignore the truth that is right in front of us.  We rely on packaged foods that tell us they are "low fat", "low carb", or "made from whole grains". We rely on them because they are quick, easy, and don't require us to think very much. I don't claim to be perfect by any means. I can be caught purchasing packaged foods more often than I would like to admit.

But I think it's important to try to remove it from our lives as much a possible.  Not all of us are able to grow a full garden in our back yards to feed our family and lets face it, organic food is very expensive. 

Like I said, I am definitely not able to say that I eat 100% clean. But I try each day to eat a little cleaner than I did the day before!  And I hope to start a very small garden this year (in my 20' x 40' back yard). It's a lifestyle change and it requires time to master.

My daughter LOVES fruit snacks with a passion.... and I HATE feeding her a bag of chemicals and artificial sugar!  So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for homemade fruit snacks, I just had to try it.  They were surprisingly easy! And they turned out wonderful!!! 

I found the recipe HERE, so I definitely can't take any credit for the recipe!

Here are the steps to make it:

First, I diced up 6 strawberries (about 2/3 cup). You can use any type of fruit. I just used what I had on hand for my first batch. But I plan on making them again with a variety of fruits.

My sweet girl was very excited to help make her fruit snacks, so she juiced the lemons herself!  (You can also use fresh orange juice, but Miah loves sour things, so we decided to use lemons).

I love when she gets to be a part of making her own food!  (I'm trying to teach her the value of cooking your own meals instead of going the cheap, easy route.)

Next, I mixed the strawberries and lemon juice and boiled them on the stove (stirring often) until the strawberries were tender.

Then I added 2 Tbsp of Agave to the mixture and continued to mix together until most of the fruit had dissolved.

Next, I pureed them in my blender until it was well mixed.

Then let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down.
I added the gelatin next.  Make sure to add it very slowly and whisk it to make sure there are no clumps.  I used all 4 envelopes from the package.

In the original recipe, she mentions using gelatin from grass-fed cows. I just used what I had on hand this time, but I definitely plan on looking into it for next time!
I poured it into a pan (This one is a 7" x 11" baking dish") and put it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.
** This picture turned out orange for some reason, but it was actually more red!
Once it was cooled completely, I cut it into tiny pieces.
(I forgot and started to take some out before I remembered to take the picture. Sorry!)
You can store them however you would like, but I used these condiment cups so Miah would have an idea of portion control!  Lets face it, we could all use some help with portion control!

I can't wait to try them with all different flavors! Hopefully you have as much success with them at your house!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Living in a broken world...

So I watched the Grammy's last night (or at least the part I tolerated before giving up and going to bed). I realized something while they were on, as well as in the hours after I turned them off and tried to sleep. My mind raced all night with thoughts like:

"What is this world coming to?"
"How do I raise a God-fearing child in a world like this?"
"When did things get so messed up?"

You see in the past few weeks I feel like horrible news surrounds us - both locally and globally. Random "road rage" shootings happening in my small rural county, mall shootings, school shootings, parents murdering their children, multiple meth labs being found in my area, human trafficking is all over the news lately, and then there is the ever looming threat of terrorist attacks... The list could continue for a very long time.  

I feel disgust when I think about it, but also I feel heartbroken. I feel angry. I feel scared.

But as I was contemplating all of these emotions, I suddenly heard that voice of peace. (Not an audible voice that woke me like a scene from a horror movie), but the still small sense of peace I get when I know God is trying to get my attention!

Of course I am going to have feelings of disgust toward the things of this world. The bible even warned me I would.

But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
Galations 3:22 NLT

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
1 John 2:15-17 NLT

I am not trying to say that the Grammy's are something you should stay away from. It's not my job to decide that for you. As you continue to develop a relationship with God, He will convict you of certain things that He doesn't want you to participate in, or watch, or listen to.  These things can be different for each of us. God knows us completely. He knows what may cause each of us to struggle. And those things can be different for each of us. So I encourage you to listen and pay attention to how and where He is directing you. 

This world is a sinful place and I was made with a desire for more! We all were! We were created with a desire for heaven! If I wasn't feeling disgust for the things of this world, what would that say about me? 

I think this is what God means when he warns us to be "in the world, but not of it!"  I have no choice but to live here. And I don't think God wants me to live in torment while I'm here. I can and should make a life for myself and I'm allowed to enjoy the things that God has placed into this world. But when ungodly things of this world become pleasurable to us, we need to take a step back and reevaluate our lives and our commitment to Christ! Because like the verse above states, "For when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you."  Friends, we cannot pick and choose which parts of the bible we live by.  If we really want to follow Christ, we need to strive daily to do as He has commanded us.

So ask yourself today, who are you truly desiring to serve?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bucket Lists, Dreams, and More

I have never sat down and made an actual pen to paper "Bucket List" because I don't want to become so focused on getting the selfish things in my life, that I forget to remain open to God changing my dreams and aligning them to his!  In fact, many of these dreams are completely different than they were 5 years ago, because He has already changed me so much!

But I think it's important to document our dreams so that, among other reasons, we can look back later and see if and how we have changed over the years.

I thought it would be fun to list some of the things that I would absolutely love to be able to do or achieve over my lifetime (In no particular order)!  Some are realistic, some are very far-fetched, but all are close to my heart!

#1 - Buy a vintage camper and remodel it

I have to really work on my skills first, but I know I have it in me somewhere! I have such wonderful memories of camping with my family when I was a child. Don't get me wrong, I love a nice cruise or a beachfront hotel, but just thinking about taking Miah camping makes me nostalgic! I would love to find a cheap airstream camper and spend the next several months (or years) updating it to make it fit my family perfectly!!! Imagine vacations in something like this!! I just can't think about it and not smile!!

#2) Spend some time in Missions

I'm not talking about committing to a year long (or more) mission field. I have the utmost respect for people who do that, but it is not something that I have been called to pursue. But I would love to be in a financial position someday where I can go and spend a few weeks a year in some third world countries ministering to the locals, helping at an orphanage, etc.

#3) Remodel a Farm House and become more self-sufficient

I am combining a few dreams into one here, so bear with me.  

I desperately (Probably more than any other dream I have) want to be able to buy a farm house on a few acres that is in desperate need of some love! I want it to be cozy, not too large (who wants to clean something huge!?).  But large enough to entertain because it is one of the things I love to do! This is a small sample of the vision I have for my "someday" house.

 I picture the exterior to look like this (but without the fence in the front yard)!

A stellar front porch is a MUST! I have such wonderful memories of going to visit my grandparents and swinging on the front porch swing!  I can just picture how wonderful it would be to sit on a porch and watch the sun rise and set over the mountains in the distance.

I have always swooned over long dining room tables, but my current house only holds a small round table for 4.  I would love to be able to have big dinner parties with family and friends!

And lastly, I really want a fireplace in my next house, mainly because I have never been privileged enough to live in a place that has one!  There is something so warm and cozy about them (especially on days like today when my car thermostat read 0 degrees)!!

The next part of this multi-level dream would be to become more self-sufficient. I would like a large garden area on my property where I could grow the majority of my own food.

A few years ago, Jere and I had the privilege of going to spend a few days in North Carolina with a man who is the reason I am so inspired to have a garden! I may have this completely wrong, but if I remember right, he had around an acre of ground covered completely in the most incredible garden I have ever seen! We walked outside and picked fresh kale for our dinner, and I before I left, he let me pick a bag of the sweetest, most incredible blackberries I've ever had in my life! 
(P.S. - I'm waiting to see if he reads this and notices that I swiped the picture of the tomatoes from his Facebook page!!)

I don't know if I will ever get to the point of being able to manage such a large garden, but it's a goal to work toward. I wish so badly that I could do more gardening now (not because I enjoy it, but because I want to reap the benefits). I hope that with time I will begin to enjoy it more.  But for now, that dream will have to wait, because I have to put up with my microscopic townhouse backyard in a development infested with rabbits who destroy absolutely everything I plant.

And the last part of this dream is to be able to give my baby girl the farm she so strongly desires. My sweet (almost 5 year old) daughter does not walk anywhere... she gallops. She has to put her horse in the trailer hooked to the back of my car before we can go anywhere.  And there hasn't been a day that goes by in over a year that she hasn't asked me if we can move to a farm (And promised to clean all the horse poop)!  I am definitely not a farm girl... I do not like to get dirty or smell any of the smells that would come along with having a farm. But all of our visits to farms to let my little girl see the horses is slowly changing me. I will never own a big farm, but I would love to have a small mini horse or pony for her someday!

Look at these sweet things, who wouldn't love one of these!

The list of things I want to accomplish would go on forever (open my own real estate company, expand my business of refinishing furniture, expand our Alphamerican clothing line globally, etc etc etc) but instead of expanding on all of them, I'll stop there because I'm sure you are all tired of reading!!!

As much as I love dreaming, it is very important to make sure that my most important goal in life is to serve. That is what Christ has called me to do!  I having committed to living my life for the Lord and in doing so, I must give over control. But I still believe that having dreams and goals is a wonderful thing.  However, I must also remember that they cannot take over and become my main focus!  His plans always need to supersede mine!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,    so my ways are higher than your ways    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

I'd love to hear about some of your dreams and things on your "Bucket List"!! Please comment below....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Unexplainable

It's been a while, but I feel the need to blog today! Even as I start this, I don't have any idea what I am going to say. But I have learned that when the Spirit is nudging me to do something, I should do it! There are always blessings that we risk missing when we don't obey!

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Life is hard somedays, who am I kidding... Life is hard MOST days!! Things don't turn out like we hoped. We live in a world broken by sin. It causes sickness, heartache, disappointment, insecurity, death, bankruptcy, etc... the list is truly limitless!  So how can we thrive and succeed in a world like this? Actually, forget thriving, most days we wonder how we can manage to survive today? Our country seems to be headed in a direction that is far from God and it's scary! Our economy is horrible, and most of us are just one missed paycheck away from losing everything!  How do we get past all of that and live a fulfilling, thriving life?

The situations in my life have forced me to evaluate this over the past few months. God has stretched me in painful, yet beautiful ways! Wait, "Painful and beautiful"...... How can that be? Life is complicated and therefore cannot be viewed or comprehended in one dimension. So what may appear painful and ugly on the surface can be a beautiful blessing if viewed from another angle.  
If we refuse to wallow in our circumstances and we decide to keep our eyes focused on Christ, we will see life in a whole different perspective. 

Let me give an example of what I mean:
For years I have dreamed of a new house. There's nothing wrong with mine.  It has met all my needs wonderfully for the past 8 years and never caused us any problems.  But by all worldly standards, its a "starter home". My husband and I bought it when we were 20, engaged, child-free, and it was more than I could have dreamed of then. But now is a different story.... it so easy to forget all of the good things about it and just see that it is a townhouse with no garage (which I particularly hate when I have to start my car at 4am in the freezing cold), no yard for my daughter and dog to play in, absolutely no storage, etc....
Every year as I decorate for Christmas, I can't help but hope that it will be my last year decorating that house!  I dream that I will someday have a house with a front porch I can decorate to the nines, a big staircase with a banister that has beautiful garland and Christmas lights sprawling down it, and a HUGE Christmas tree in my large 2-story foyer!!  Then I look around at my reality - a messy, cluttered house that I never have time to clean and that feels like it's about to burst at the seams. I shed a few tears and get angry that Jere and I both work so hard, and have sacrificed so much to follow the dream God has given us, and yet my dreams of a new house (and the free time to actually clean it) aren't anywhere close to being my reality.  

Or are they.... How do I really know what God has in store for me??? Let's be honest, I don't even know what He has planned for this afternoon..... so why do I place Him in a box and say that my dreams can't be reality! Now, I am not trying to say that God gives us every dream if we want it badly enough.... that's ridiculous! But the bible clearly says in Psalm 37:4 that if we "Take delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart".  

Dig a little deeper that doesn't say God always gives us the desires of our heart, but if we "Take Delight in Him"... align our heart with His... desire to see His will done. If we are able to do that then the desires of our heart will be the same as the desires of His heart! Instead of focusing on how we can achieve our dreams, we should focus on how we can change our dreams to match the dreams God has for us! 

I recently watched this video published by LCBC Church. (It's long, but I encourage you to watch it when you are done reading this.) It's a story of an incredible miracle in the life of a young family. It is truly amazing and even though their story may seem completely unrelated to what I'm talking about, the one thing they said stood out so significantly to me. While being faced with an incredibly difficult situation, they chose to stay faithful to God and pray for the UNEXPLAINABLE!!! That is so powerful! They chose not to wallow in their horrific circumstances, but to focus on God's limitless power! 

I was so inspired by this and I realized that my situations are soooo petty compared to what they were facing. And that I am so ungrateful for the countless blessing I have because I am so focused on the one that I don't have! I have decided to pray each and every day for God to do the UNEXPLAINABLE in my life! Regardless of what He decides to do with my life, whether I ever get that dream house or not, I want the circumstances of my life to be "Unexplainable" - that No One can take credit for it except God! 

So if I really believe God can do the Unexplainable, then I need to have faith that He will do amazing things in and through my life! I need to remember that truly thriving in this life means dedicating my life to Him! It has nothing to do with a house, a car, or anything else that society tries to tell us we should have. We need to spend each and every day trying to live as Christ did!

I won't always make the right choices, and I'm sure I still have a few pity parties to come! But I will never give up the fight, because Christ will NEVER give up on me!!! And His plans are so much more beautiful and amazing than we can ever comprehend!! So whatever your dream is, whatever causes you to want to throw a pity party for yourself, remember that God knows the desires of your heart! Trust in Him!!! When we align ourselves with Him, His desires become our desires and we begin to recognize the immeasurable amount of UNEXPLAINABLE blessings He has placed in front of us!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Do you have that one burning desire in your heart? Or maybe it's more than one....

Society tells us that we "Make our own path" or to "Go get our dreams"! The problem with this is that when we take our future into our own hands we are putting control into our imperfect and clumsy hands. We try to take the control from the one who already has it figured out. He already has our future worked out exactly as He sees best! And when I look around at the beauty of nature and the wonderful things He is capable of, I want to get nothing short of His best!!!

I know sometimes (for me anyway) my dreams seem to be burning a whole in my heart and it's sooo painful to just wait on His timing! But we have to realize that He already has it figured out and He desires for me to have what is best for me!  His word tells us that He will not hold back and He will never give me less than His best for me!

psalm 84:11

It's so easy to miss the good things that are going on in our life right now when we are too concerned with getting to where our dream is! 

I am living this right now! We just opened a business and you would think that I would be living the dream. But this business was a result of God telling us to trust Him and follow blindly! It is not in any way my passion or my dream. Please don't get me wrong, I am so grateful for the opportunity God has given me to spread His word through our new business. But it is my husband's passion and he is so good at it.  Unfortunately, we still have to pay our bills, which means he has to keep his teaching job for now. So I am left to run the business most of the time. There are many aspects of the "business side" of it that I love. But there are so many areas of it that cause me to feel inadequate and unworthy of being there. It is a constant battle and when I focus on it gets me down or it can draw me so much closer to my Saviour, if I choose to let it!

God has given me a very different passion and for now, I don't know what He has planned.  He may bring it to be later in life, or He may slowly change my dreams to be in line with His. But one thing I do know is when I focus on all of the things I want to be doing, that aren't happening right now, I miss the blessings He has given me right now!

I pray He opens each of your eyes to see the great things He has placed in your life at the present time! Regardless of what your circumstances are, He has a reason for you to be exactly where you are! Trust Him and He will reveal His purpose and His ultimate plan in His timing!!!