This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
How many times have we been asked, have we asked or have we wondered, how can/do/should we balance it all?
Marriage, motherhood, work, ministry, friendships, etc.
The older I get, I have begun to realize that it’s actually NOT about balance, it’s about priority.
You see, balance is holding two things, were the weight is equally distributed and you don’t lean one way or the other, BUT what two things are you holding at equal weight?
We can only balance two things at a time, right?
Unless we’re some kind of cirque du Soleil act, most of us can’t also use our toes to hold more things and keep our balance with our heels and/or our elbows. Lol
(And if you CAN do that, I wanna see, bc I love cirque du Soleil type things 😆)
If I’m balancing my marriage on one hand and my girls on the other, my relationship with my parents/brother/friends, will suffer. I won’t much have time for ministry, personal development, or other things either.
My marriage and my children are the things I hold closest to my heart, they are the most important persons in my life. However, only focusing on them, pushes Jesus to the side as well.
What good am I to my husband and my daughters, if my time with Jesus is scarce?
Because He’s the only one who can calm my crazy, fill me with peace and refresh my heart, mind and soul.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gone days without really spending time in God’s presence, it shows, and it shows big time!
My temper is short, I’m easily agitated, I feel exhausted, I’m stressed, I get a little selfish 🤦🏽♀️, my anxiety revs up to level 100, and the list goes on…
Anyway, having said all that, is what has brought me to the conclusion that it really is about priority.
The number one priority, above anyone and anything else in this life, should always be Jesus.
Number TWO priority, is my husband and our relationship.
Number THREE priority are my girls.
And then everything else, all other relationships, friendships, ministry, duties, etc., are what follows.
When I start my day, this is how my focus should be directed. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I do this consistently.
Truth is, I don’t and I then fall into the, well let me balance it all, trap.
I say trap because I have this mental note of EVERYTHING that needs to get done, only to find that I accomplished like 2 things. It leaves me feeling like a failure at the end of the day, and like, why do I even bother with anything?!
Am I the only one? I don’t know, I hope I’m not ha!
We cannot balance it all! It’s not possible, to balance all of our relationships, duties and responsibilities. There is always going to be one, two or three things that suffered today.
The trick is realizing that it’s OKAY.
Trust me, if I could make sure that everyone was happy and not have something to whine or complain about in this house,
have not one speck on the floor,
have spent time in personal development
have met up with my friend I haven’t seen in a couple weeks
have worn something other than the same workout pants I’ve been wearing for the last 3 days
Actually work out in said workout pants
At least put some concealer on,
Have ALL… ALL the laundry done, folded, hung and put away with no more left to wash,
have dinner made and ready to eat as soon as my husband comes home from work
AND, AND, AND!!!
I would share with you all, my secret!!
I’d probably make millions off the book I’d write about it.
But I don’t, sadly 😩
My point is, write a list of the priorities in your life.
Then, write out how much time you are going to set aside for each one on a daily basis.
Sometimes, they won’t always be the same priorities for that day or week. (Aside from Jesus and family, they are always or at least should always be a priority).
When you get down to things like social media, you realize how much time you’ve actually wasted there and can then set aside time specifically for it when you just want to veg out. Cuz there’s nothing wrong with that!
Right now, one of my biggest priorities, is getting our house in order. Switching out the girl’s clothes, and organizing it all. De-cluttering and making sure everything has its place.
It’s hard, stressful and so so time consuming, but once that’s out of the way, I can then prioritize other things.
Ah there’s nothing I want more right now, then to not have to hang or fold one mo thang!! But if doesn’t get done now, and become a priority now, it’ll be a thing lingering around for months!!
Anyway, this was as much an encouragement for me, as I hope it has been for you!
In summary, don’t try to find the balance, just prioritize, it’s so much simpler that way. It doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s just “a matter of fact,” in the present. I truly think, we are much happier when we realize that we cannot balance everything. We are human, and were not made to do everything alone or all at once because that would be kind of chaotic, right?
Lean on the Lord when you do find yourself overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Trust that you are not alone!
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-12 NLT
Meal prepping has begun! Who loves meal prepping?!
Not going to lie… I really don’t like it LOL I mean, it’s awesome after all is said and done. But in the moment, I’m kind of annoyed by it… am I the only one?
*I hope I’m not* 😝
While chopping up these delicious veggies, I had an epiphany.
I must admit, I’m terrible at being creative when it comes to cooking meals. But give me a pancake recipe, and I’m whipping it up in no time!
Why are pancakes so delicious?! 😩
Baking is fun… cooking meals, not so much. Why? I really don’t know, it just feels like a chore to cook, only to have my girls give me a stank face and leave their plates full. Even with the hundreds of pins I’ve found on Pinterest, I can honestly say I’ve successfully made a handful of them (that everyone has eaten and enjoyed).
Are you too a victim of pinning meals in the hopes that your family really will enjoy it?! If so, give me a thumbs up in the comments
Anyway, back to my epiphany. Having just admitted at my lack of creativity for meals, maybe that’s a reason why my children do not enjoy their veggies anymore.
I mean, when they were old enough to start eating solids, I made them almost all the veggies under the sun! Even the ones I don’t and will probably never eat… 😬
Now, I can’t get them to eat an avocado (they’re gross to me, so can I really blame them?!) Broccoli, cauliflower(even with all the ways that you can “mask” it nowadays), zucchini and squash (I mean they don’t even have a taste, but I still eat them) TOMATOES! well the list can go on and on.
Also, I might add that I can barely get my husband to eat veggies 🤦🏽♀️ so can you really blame me for wanting to cook the simplest meal ever?! It’s hard to have a “colorful” plate with a house full of the pickiest eaters!
I’m so very guilty of buying veggies that go bad! And I honestly hate that! Like, I don’t feel like chopping veggies if I’m the only one who’ll eat them, making Mac n cheese is easier… ugh I sound terrible.
So, I take the blame, I guess? 🤷🏽♀️
While meal prepping is in full effect, in the hopes of eating healthier, maintaining my milk supply and losing the excess weight, MAYBE…HOPEFULLY, I can convince my girls to eat their veggies with me!
I mean it’s not like they eat junk food 24/7, because they do like a few of the yummier ones like carrots and corn. But one cannot live on those alone HA…HA!
Pray for me y’all!
I guess that’s my resolution, it doesn’t have to be January to make one. ☺️
If you have any ideas on easing veggies into my girls’ plates, and yummy family friendly dinners, share them with me!
I’ll add them to my Pinterest Food board 😂 except I really will try to make more than one recipe in a year!
This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.
“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane
I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.
My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.
I only gave them my full attention when they were doing the wrong thing.
What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!
That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.
As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.
How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.
I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.
Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…
Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance.
Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…
Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!
I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.
To give more grace.
To be more gentle with my words.
To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.
To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too.
One of my resolutions for this year, was to cook more at home and to involve the girls in making dinner… ideally, more homemade, from scratch type foods. Well, if you follow along with me, you know that I’m pregnant and the first few months of this pregnancy were very difficult!
morning all day sickness, was awful and well, I didn’t get the chance to cook much, until more recently. Though I’ve been making dinner a few nights a week again, I hadn’t done much to involve the girls.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the “nesting” phase now, but lately, I’ve been in the mood to bake/make things from scratch.
I’ve probably pinned hundreds of recipes, but they’ve just been sitting there in my “FOOD” board and haven’t gotten love from me till now.
ANYWAY… that was just a preface to why you’re really here… the part I mentioned about PIZZA! My girls are somewhat picky eaters, so part of my wanting to involve them in cooking with me, is to get them excited about eating the food they helped make!
I figured that starting with pizza, was a no brainer. So, the only truly from “scratch” part is the dough. I found this truly AWESOME recipe on Pinterest, here. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, I’ll post the recipe at the bottom of the page!
The girls were so excited to be helping out… from watching the yeast proof, to helping pour in the ingredients to form the dough.
I wish the pictures I took of them putting the pizza toppings on, came out well. They were all blurry 😒 So, just pretend that it’s here.
I don’t have a pizza pan, so I put it in a regular baking pan. I do suggest you cut the excess dough off a little more than I did, because it was a lot of crust. Although, we LOVE crust, so it didn’t bother us.
For the toppings, I used Whole Foods 365 brand Marinara sauce, 365 Mozzarella, 365 Italian mix and their pepperoni sliced from the deli.
Yes, as amazing as it looks, is as amazing as it tasted! Let me just say, that deli pepperoni was life!
After following the baking time instructions, in order to get that slight burn, I broiled it for about 5 minutes… it depends on how your oven’s broiler works, so make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t char and burn down your kitchen!!
The dough yields a lot! This was only half of the dough, so there’s plenty to go around if you’re a bigger family, especially if you make a smaller crust!
Overall, the girls and I really enjoyed making this deliciousness! They always want to help me out in the kitchen and were excited when they were finally able to actually get their hands on this! I can’t wait to keep finding more recipes where I can include them and create beautiful memories with my girls in the kitchen!
*Here’s the dough recipe:
*Again, this is not my own recipe, I linked it at the top from it’s original source.
Just wanted to share with you all, what baby 3 will be! A little gender reveal, with just the four of us! It was fun to do it this way. Feel free to watch us find out below!
We began building our home in early 2016 and that October, we moved in. It was so hard to make decision after decision after decision. From light fixtures, to door knobs… who knew it could get so frustrating?! This is what my husband does for a living… he builds other people’s houses, but being on the deciding end for EVERY LITTLE THING, was aggravating for him too!
By the time it came to pick out our furniture, we were done. SO DONE. We had been looking and looking and looking and none of it spoke to us. We finally found the right furniture store and before we walked in, we told ourselves, this had to be it. We HAD to find what we wanted here, or we were just two crazies who were super duper picky, apparently.
So, we did. After hours of deciding what color, cloth or leather, metal or wood, ottoman or no ottoman, what kind of rug, table finish… we finally did it. It was done and all there was left to do, was send off our request and have it made and ready in about 8-10 weeks! That was perfect, it’d all be done by the time we were ready to move in.
The day came, the furniture arrived and man did it look so beautiful! It fit so well, we were happy. Lots of people gave us the eye when we said it was a white/creamy couch. Our response? It’ll be fine! We will “train” the girls not to put their dirty hands or shoes anywhere near the furniture.
That lasted for ALMOST, if I’m being generous, a year! Maybe more like 6-8 months. Now, it’s got that worn look to it… it’s still a beautiful couch, but why didn’t we punch ourselves in the face when we thought that the white would actually work?! WITH KIDS!
Did we get the protection plan? YES. YES WE DID!
Did we call them to come clean it? YES. YES WE DID!
Did they do a good job like they said they would?! NO. NO THEY DID NOT 😒
Seriously, what were we thinking?!
Anyway, now we’ve got our eyes set on the most comfortable couch our bodies ever did feel… and it’s LEATHER. Oh we learned our lesson. We’re just playing the waiting game and being patient before we bite the bullet and pay the price for it.
We do love our two little leather chairs on the side, and those have held up to our wild daughters, just fine.
*note to self* leather=kid friendly
I’m not at all mad at my girls for just living their life and being, KIDS. I don’t want them to grow up resenting me for not allowing them to be children in their own home. You live and you learn. You let kids be little. Teach them obedience and discipline of course, but let them have fun! They’re only this little ONCE.
I want them to be wild, young and free. Use their imagination, be creative and keep on pretending like our couch is their fortress… in a few months, it’ll be leather, so it’s going to hold up to their hands and feet crawling everywhere anyway.
Moral of the story?
Don’t get a white couch when your kids are toddlers.
Life is an oxymoron. It’s rough, tough, crazy, wild, sad, lonely, discouraging. At the same time, it’s easy, fun, chill, happy, full of love, family, friends and laughter, encouraging and hopeful.
However, lately I have been feeling discouraged. I hate discouragement!
I know that success doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, it takes hard work and it takes perseverance. The perseverance is the part that gets me.
I wrote a post not too long ago entitled “Don’t Be Cheap,” and while the particular example I spoke on was about fitness, it also applies to other areas of my life as well. Over the last few years, I’ve started out on a couple of ventures, only to give up half-way through, out of discouragement and feeling like I wasn’t any good at it; so why keep going?
Regardless of what it is, Sam was and always is in my corner. He told me recently that I keep starting things but never get anywhere with them. He didn’t say it in a mean or discouraging way, rather he wanted to encourage me to really stick to one and go after it. I gave a million excuses as to why I dropped it and moved on to another subject. That was maybe two or three months ago, yet it has been replaying in my head.
For much of my life, I’ve struggled with insecurity. Over the years, the insecurities have morphed and changed from one thing to another, and lately I’m insecure in my talents and abilities. One of them is, I fear that I’m not good enough in my writing and that’s why I hardly get any readers, and the book that I’m working on, won’t get picked up because it’ll suck…with thoughts and feelings like that, it’s easy to feel discouraged, right?
Oh, but then, I remember that there is a liar and he goes by the name of devil. The father of lies, and he’s been whispering in my ear telling me all these things. You’ll never be a good writer. Your blog sucks. Your book will suck. No one will read it, etc., etc. But no, not today Satan! NOT TODAY!
When we don’t give our worries/fears/anxieties to the Lord, it leaves room for the devil to stick his nose in our life and release feelings of insecurity, fear and doubt. He loves discouraging us and stopping us from reaching our full potential in whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish.
BUT, God wants us to be successful! He wants to see us flourish and go after our goals. He wants us to use our talents, our voices, our abilities to go out and do whatever it is we have set out to do. Sometimes we will fail, but we get back up and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try something new. Fail and change our approach. Fail and then finally succeed. Sometimes we succeed after the first try. The point is no matter how many times we fail or how long the journey takes, we will succeed.
I cannot allow the devil to have any wiggle room, and Jesus tells us that DAILY we must give Him ALL of our worries. I don’t do it daily and that’s when I feel the most discouraged, on the days when my hope and my trust hasn’t been put in the Lord.
So, I guess, what I’m trying to get at is that life truly is like a rollercoaster. BUT when we set our focus on allowing God to take full control, putting our faith and trust that He wants and knows what’s best for us, we will be more encouraged than discouraged to persevere. Honestly, there are always going to be people that are better at what we do than us, but we can’t let that stop us. I can’t let that stop me, because there is always room and time to grow and get better.
My friend, or anyone who is reading this, be encouraged. Persevere and trust that God’s got your back! He’ll always see us through as we keep pressing on, but if we give up we’ll never get anywhere and we’ll always have a cloud of discouragement over our heads.
“Tell the devil NO, NOT TODAY!”
For the next 18 years, we will have first days of schools; and I can’t wait to capture that smile every time, yes even when she goes off to her first day of college! She just started in Pre-K 3, and although she’s only going three days a week, there’s so much excitement in that little girl, with the big heart, big smile and out of this world personality! I absolutely love her enthusiasm for learning; she started asking about school when she was only two years old, seriously! It reminds me of the excitement I felt every year for my first days of school.
I vividly remember waking up super early, getting dressed and sitting on the couch, waiting for my mom to wake up and bring me to school. She has that same excitement, maybe even a little more and I love it!
She just finished her first week and today started her second week. Already, she has made friends and talks my ears off with how much fun she had at school! I want to remember these conversations. I want to engrain them forever in my mind to replay over and over. I want to remember the sound of her voice as she tells me everything she’s learned, because time doesn’t stop.
Sometimes, I wish I had the super power to stop it, rewind and replay these tender moments with not just Ava, but with all four of us! Oh, if only I could! I feel like just yesterday, Sam and I were bringing home these two little tiny humans, and just like that, they’re growing into fierce, bubbly, sweet and sometimes sour girls!
Our days go by so fast, some days are tougher and rougher than others, and there are days when I let the frustrations of the day get the best of me. While they’re throwing a tantrum, sometimes I boil up and yell in anger…and I forget that my girls are still little. They’re still learning and growing. They’re still discovering their emotions, and I need to be there for them. I need to help them work through THEIR frustrations, and not get frustrated at them.
Some days I want to give myself a high five, because I calmly corrected them and successfully disciplined them without being angry. Other days I do it all wrong! However, in those times, I quickly feel conviction and bring myself back down to Earth. I remember:
“…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.” James 1:19
My daughters are watching me, observing me, hearing me and copying the things I say and do. I want to set the right example for them and love them tenderly and reflect Jesus on them. They are young, and so are Sam and I in our parenting. We are all growing and learning together and I want to make the most out of the time that we have. Time is fleeting, and they’ll never be this little again. I don’t want to take anymore moments for granted and soak in the things they do and who they are!
My prayer is that we will be the parents that they need us to be. That we would show them how to walk with the Lord and how to love not just each other, but everyone else around them.
I pray that while Ava is in school, she is a light and is showing love to her classmates and my prayer will be the same for Addi when her time comes. As kids, we learn and are molded into the adults we are, by watching our parents and I don’t want to let them down. I know at times I will, because we’re not perfect, however, I’m trying my darn hardest!
Every day, my prayer is: “Jesus, be my portion!” I can only be successful if He is the source of my strength and the focus of my heart and life! I can only be the mother my girls need if He is my number ONE. With that said, I feel so blessed He chose me and has entrusted ME to raise these two beauties! So I want to do it right, and enjoy each and every moment!
There’s a fine line as parents, that we teeter when it comes to giving our kids the things we wish we had as children. At least, my husband and I have that struggle. Growing up, my parents worked hard just to provide the basic things for my siblings and I, and while we weren’t on government assistance like my husband and his siblings, it was still a struggle for my parents to make sure a meal wasn’t missed.
I still remember the different places we lived, starting when I was five years old, and back then in my innocence, I didn’t know that we were “poor” in US standards. You don’t know you’re “poor” until you’re old enough to understand why you need a job and how money works… at least not back when we were kids. I think kids today know way too much, way too young but that’s a story for another day!
While I wished to have all the Barbie’s and the accessories that come along with them, my parents would simply say, “maybe one day, but not today.” My parents were stern and strict parents, however, I know that they really did wish to give my siblings and me certain things that we’d ask for; be it for our birthdays or holidays, and there were times that we would get one special wish list item and it’d light up our year!
I remember one year my mom told us that we could start a savings jar for a trip to Disney one day, and for years we’d put any and all spare change into that jar. However, every time it filled up, something needed fixing and there went that dream. We’d start over and over and over. In the meantime, we’d go on weekend trips to the beach and that made us so happy, it still does lol. I love the beach and I hold lots of great memories of vacations there as a kid! (I just wish Sam loved it as much as me and we’d be there more than just 2 days a year! lol)
Finally, when I was 15 years old, my parents surprised me with a trip to Disney World (at this point my brother had gone off to the Navy), so it was a special birthday trip for me. I know how much hard work and saving up my parents had to do to take me and for that I am so thankful!
Fast forward 13 years and my husband and I have taken our girls to Disney World since they were infants. We will be there in a month from now and I just can’t help but think that they won’t feel the same excitement that I felt when they’re 15 years old… or maybe they will, who knows? time will tell…When what felt like my whole life, that was one of the things I wanted the most… of course what so many kids dream of, meeting those two cute big-eared mice!
That’s our struggle, we want them to know and appreciate what hard work looks like and that they are blessed to have the life they have. The fact that they won’t know the struggle we knew; I am so thankful for that! I’m thankful that they will not grow up in a house with financial struggle, not very many people get to see that or know that. I’m thankful that God blesses us day after day, year after year and I know that we are only where we are by His grace, love and mercy over us!
My prayer is that we teach our girls to be thankful for everything. To not be spoiled, though I want to spoil them. I put into practice telling them “no” already when they ask for things. I tell them that they can’t always get what they want, but will always have what they need…even at their little ages of 3 and 1. I don’t want to give them everything just because we can spare the extra expense, it’s a struggle, but important.
One of the things that God constantly reminds me of is being a good steward. A good steward financially, spiritually, physically and a good steward of the two most precious little lives He’s entrusted us with! Oh, they are my heart and even through the ups and downs of parenting, I know that God’s purpose and plan for their lives is something out of this world! I know that they will be world changers and a light. They’re forces to be reckoned with and He’s given us the task to make sure that they’re led through the right path.
I’m constantly praying for God to give me the wisdom and knowledge to be the mother that they need me to be and I don’t want to let Him down and I don’t want to let them down. I know that at times I will, however, through God and with God we can move mountains!
Daily, I pray for Him to be my portion, to give me patience, to give me wisdom in disciplining them, in teaching them and loving them. Parenting isn’t easy, it isn’t always fun, but in teaching them we also learn and grow along with them. Hopefully, that line becomes easier to balance as we continue in the journey of parenthood!