Monday, January 31, 2011

Fight For Your Marriage?


Marriage is HARD!

Does this picture remind you of what you experience in your marriage?

I received a text from a friend (who I LOVE more than she knows) on Friday. Here is an excerpt: 

"I hate to share over text, but I am asking for prayer for my family. My husband and I filed for divorce yesterday. I need no coddling, as most of this rests upon my shoulders."

Enter.... TEARS.

I desperately prayed for this precious family and could not stop crying. I shared the text with Justin and we were both heart broken.

Heartbroken for our friends, for their kids and for the continued hurt everyone will endure through the divorce process and after the divorce is final.

I come from a divorced home. I've experienced the consequences and hurt that lay ahead for their precious children. 

This has been a long time coming and no surprise to anyone who knows them. We (her friends) have pleaded with her in the past not to do this, so this time I am persisting in prayer.

Thanks (not really) to social media (Facebook and Twitter), I also suspect that a couple I grew up with is separated after 30+ years of marriage.

This is a WAKE UP call for me. Justin is a GREAT husband and we have a good marriage. Through this, I am reminded that we (meaning everyone) are only a few decisions, reactions, etc. away from divorce.

I told Justin that I want to fight for our marriage. His response, "What exactly does that mean?" (I am the worst at using cliches and he is awesome at calling me out. I love him for that.) 

I didn't know how to answer him, but now I do.

It means I want to fight my selfishness, impatient attitude and tendency to withhold forgiveness. (There are a million other things I could add to this list!)

I want to somehow find joy (or the humor) and be thankful that I have the opportunity pick up his underwear and dirty clothes he leaves on the floor next to the hamper. (Oh the "joys" of marriage, queue my LAUGHTER :) 

I want to love him deeper than I did in this picture. 



I want to FIGHT against the "little foxes that ruin the vineyards", as Solomon puts it in Song of Solomon 2:15.

What do you think "Fight for Your Marriage" means?

Do you fight for your marriage?

What are some things you do "fight" against the little foxes?

Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear!





Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Song Randomly Brought Tears to My Eyes

Have you listened to a song over and over?

Has a song you know randomly pierce your heart, make you cry, etc?

That happened to me this morning and it was like a little reminder of what really matters:

God LOVES Me, no matter what.

This is nothing new to most of us "church" people.

Sadly, we rarely stop and think about it.. HE LOVES US!

"How He (God) Loves" by David Crowder Band pierced my heart this morning. The song is amazing, but the words alone are one of the best love poems of all time.

I wanted to share (I've made the emphasis on the lines that touch my heart).



He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the GRACE in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

How He LOVES us!



If you have never heard the song, here is the video:






Is there a song that makes you cry?

Is there is a certain line in a lyric that pierces your heart?

Please comment below, I'd love to hear.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

From the Mouth of my Child

I love how little kids talk. Their accents and lisps are cute. How they pronounce words are priceless.

My brother-in-law was telling us the other day that we need to make sure we video Kate talking because we will forget how cute her little voice is.

Our friend and the church's graphic designer brought over a sample of what visitors will get at the pastor's luncheon.

Isn't it cute? (I wish I was creative)


It is filled with teddy graham cookies, marshmallows and Hershey's bars.

Kate was so excited when she saw it this morning. She asked, "How did you do that?"

She then stated, "Can I have some mallowmarshes?" 

I remembered that I love how she says mallowmarshes (correctly said: marshmallows).  

I had to video..


video


Happy Saturday!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Have Plan. How Do I Stick To It?



“If you’re going to risk and maybe fail, fail at something that matters. 
Fail gloriously so that even in failure, lives change.” - Jon Acuff


Making a plan or goal is easy.

Sticking to the plan is HARD!

My schedule post seemed to resonate with women. I received several emails and comments regarding schedules. The overall theme of the messages confirm what is stated above (and below).

Following through on my schedule is HARD!

The problem: We want to be PERFECT and we FAIL.

When we don't stick to the schedule and our house looks like this for three days (Yes, this is what my couch looks like right now; hence, the motivation to make a schedule):



Perfection is lost and we give up. 

We all have patterns of this in our lives. This pattern can apply to diets, housework, relationships, etc.

Here is the key (something I am learning): You will fail. Pick yourself up and start again. If you get off your schedule, diet, ________. DON'T GIVE UP. Put the failure behind you and start over. 

Life is beyond INSANE. Everyday is different. Give yourself a realistic and flexible schedule. When you find yourself getting off your plan, there is probably a purpose in it. Find what God is teaching you, LEARN FROM IT and start again.

We need to be reminded of God's Plan:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

I think the apostle Paul so clearly encourages us by explaining he has not gained perfection, but is straining to live a God honoring life.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it." Phil. 3:12-13

Our ultimate goal:

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14

I am the queen of inconsistency. I have been struggling with it my whole life. I am learning not to focus on the poor character trait (inconsistency) I possess, but changing that trait in my life. 

Change is not easy. Change takes discipline. Change is a daily, hourly, minute by minute putting aside our natural tendencies in order to live a life that honors the Lord. We want to give him the glory for our change.

Do you have any tips for sticking to a schedule?

What "change" in your life are you working on?

Leave a comment, I'd love to hear. 




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Schedule (Plan) - Important For Adults

For some reason, having my kids on a schedule is easy.

Having myself on a schedule is HARD.

My kids have always been on a schedule. I read Babywise and it helped me plan a schedule for my kids. I could not function without my kid's schedule.

After talking to my husband, I realized how important it was (for my family) for me to be on a schedule. I love the Fly Lady website. I don't love the look or layout of it, but it has a lot of valuable information regarding house keeping and putting yourself on a schedule.

Success in anything requires a plan.

Below is an outline of my housekeeping plan. The Fly Lady's schedule can be too involved and it all doesn't really apply to me. I have "dumbed" it down to apply to my life. If your an "overwhelmed mama" like myself, I encourage you to do the same.

In life, it helps to have a plan, but it is crucial to stick to that plan and carry it out.

6:45am
     -Wake Up
     -Read Bible
     -Review Scripture Memory Verses
     -Pray
-I have a Bible ap (You Version) on my IPhone with different Bible reading plans. My church is doing the Chronological reading plan, so that is the one I follow. I realized the first thing I did in the morning was get my phone and check Twitter.  The Bible reading plan being right there on my phone helps me to stay disciplined and read each morning.

7:15am - Get Ready
7:30-7:45am - Kids up
7:45-8:30am
     -Breakfast
     -Empty Dishwasher
     -1 Load of Laundry
8:30-10:00am - Play, Flashcards, etc.
10:00am - John - Nap
10:00-12:00pm - Clean (Pick an area each day)
     -Monday (Downstairs - Kitchen, Living Room, Playroom, 1/2 Bathroom)
     -Tuesday (Upstairs - Bedrooms & Bathrooms)
     -Wednesday (Vacuum & Dust Downstairs)
     -Thursday (Finish cleaning all other areas)
     -Friday, Saturday, Sunday (Free Days)
12:00-1:00pm - Lunch
1:00-2:00pm - Play time
2:00pm - Nap time
2:00 - 3:30pm
     -Fold and put away laundry
     -Computer time
     -Get dinner ready
3:30 - 5:30pm
     -Snack time
     -Play time
     -Prepare Dinner
5:30pm - Dinner
6:00-7:00pm - Hang out
7:00pm - Bath time
7:45-8:00pm - Kids go to bed
8:00-9:00pm - Exercise (P90X)
9:00-10:00pm
     -Shower
     -Pick Up
     -Plan tomorrow with Justin
     -Load/Run Dishwasher
10:00-10:45pm
     -Read
     -Bed


Everyone's plan will be different, and that is okay.

Everyone (men, women, students, singles) can be on a schedule. We should all have goals in our life. Our schedule (or plan) should help us take daily steps to achieve those goals.

Life is crazy!  Be realistic when making your schedule. Realize, everyday will not go perfectly according to your plan.  Be flexible and keep your goals in mind.

I want to be the best wife and mother I can be. My schedule should reflect that goal.

Do you have a schedule?

What are your goals in life?

Does your schedule reflect those goals?

Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear.

My Husband was Impressed When...

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

Lately, I have been in a state of examination. I am currently examining every aspect of my life with the goal of making myself a better person. I realize, that it sounds deep but trust me, I am NOT DEEP. I just want to be the best Christ follower, wife, mother, friend, etc. that I can be.

Our pastor is currently preaching through the book of James and naturally James 1:22 hit home. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)" Hence, the reason I am examining my life. It is easy to "listen" to the Bible.  It is HARD to live out the Bible. I want to be one who lives out what the Bible says.

I am currently reading Love and Respect. (I am not finished, but I plan on posting a review soon.) I highly recommend it though. I seriously think the author has been in our home during some of our disagreements. (Makes me laugh).  

In light of reading Love and Respect and examining my life, I asked my husband what I could do to be a better wife. I know a million things I could do better, but I wanted to know from his perspective.  

His response, "I was really impressed when you had that daily list and schedule." What he was referring to was a routine I had myself on in the past. It was a daily cleaning, organizing and cooking guide for me to follow so I could keep up with my housework. I was very surprised at his response because my husband is the most laid back person (and generally not clean). 

His answer has been on the forefront of my mind. 

From his response, I realize how important schedules and routines are at every age. I don't think it is the cleanliness that he cares about as much as knowing that everything is okay and taken care of at home.  

"Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave". ~ Martin Luther

Having a routine is easily something I can do to help my husband. I am working on my schedule and I'll post it in hopes that it might help those other overwhelmed mamas out there.  

I recommend you "kindly" ask your husband what you can do to be a better wife. (Don't get defensive about his response.. do what he says). 

Did you ask him?  What what his response? 



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Broke the #1 Rule in Child Discipline

"You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any." -Bill Cosby  

We are in the depths of discipline. Before I had kids, I was told the importance of discipline in my child's life. I heard that consistency is key. I know of one "no-no" in discipling. When discipling your child, NO LAUGHING!  Under no circumstance can you laugh. Laughing would ultimately thwart the purpose of the discipline.  

Confession: I broke this rule, big time.

We are having major listening problems in our house. We have been trying to teach Kate to say "Yes Ma'am" when someone asks her to do something. During bath time, Justin was reiterating this lesson.  

Here is how the conversation went down:

Justin: "Kate, when Mama asks you to do something, what do you say?"

Kate: Looked up, paused, thought and stated (very seriously): "bibbidi bobbidi boo".

I immediately started laughing! I am sorry, I just couldn't help it. 

Justin chuckled, rolled his eyes and said she bleeds princess.

Oh, yes she does!

I always tell her she is my first baby and will always be my baby. She quickly replies, "I not a baby Mama, I'm a princess."  Yes... yes she is!

She is all princess!


Do you have any discipling tips or funny stories?  Leave a comment below... I'd love to hear them!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Too early to teach a baby to catch?

My husband is a hard core sports guy. This morning he decided to start working with John (our 10 month old). I think he is a natural athlete. :)

video



Friday, January 21, 2011

Kate's Snow Cream.. The Experience

We (meaning Kate and I) experienced snow cream for the first time today.  I am from Florida, so my opportunity to make snow cream has been limited by 60 degree lows and... well, no snow.  Justin said this type of snow was the best for making snow cream.  So, we gathered up some snow and here is the recipe / experience.  It actually tasted delicious!  (I was skeptical.)

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon snow (please, top layer of snow only)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tablespoon Vanilla
1 cup Half and Half (or milk)


Dump snow into a large bowl.


Pour in Half and Half.


Add Vanilla.  (Justin doesn't measure, but it came out delicious).


Add Sugar.



Stir.

Enjoy!



Justin had the day off today, so while John took a nap.. we played in the snow.  (We meaning, I stayed on the porch and took pictures while Justin and Kate played in the snow).


That little mound of snow is their snow man.  (A little pitiful)


She had to wear her favorite princess hat and her favorite scarf.




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Confession: I'm an ADDICT


What is one word to describe yourself? I have been contemplating this question and unfortunately my answer is, addict.

I am addicted to:

-Having Stuff
-Name Brands
-Being Liked
-Trying to be perfect (always fail at this)
-Scents (currently Tyler "celebrity")
-Hugging and kissing my kids
-Food
-Twitter / Facebook
-IPhone (to make matters worse, I want an IPad)
-Beating my husband at Words With Friends (I've even resorted to cheating)

I want to be addicted to:

-God's Word/Bible (reading)
-Memorizing God's Word
-Reading
-Changing (to become like Christ)

Several bloggers (here and here) wrote about "One Word 2011". Instead of making a list of resolutions, you choose one word to guide how you live in 2011. I am the most indecisive person and over think everything.

It has taken me almost a month to figure out my "one word", but here it is:

LOVE

I want love to direct everything I do.  My verse for the year:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35

I want the word that describes me to change.  I want my life to be a synonym for LOVE.

What is one word to describe yourself?  Do you have "One Word" for 2011?  Do you have a verse for the year?




My Favorite Family Recipe- Sausage Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

My mom found this recipe in a magazine. It quickly became my favorite dish she cooked. I made it the other night and remembered why I love it so much.  It is a little time consuming, so plan on about 45 minutes to put it together.  It also freezes really well.  I made two small pans.  I cooked both of them, and put one in the freezer.  All you have to do it let thaw and reheat for 30 -45 min.


Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. Hot Italian Sausage (in casings)
4 large cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Medium Size Onion, chopped
1 (12 oz) jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained & chopped
1/2 cup White Wine (or chicken stock or chicken broth) - I used chicken broth
1 (10oz) package Frozen Chopped Spinach
1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
2 (15 oz) Jars Alfredo Sauce (I used Bertolli Garlic Alfredo)
12 Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
2 (6 oz) packages Sliced Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Grated or finely shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Remove and discard sausage casings. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to crumble sausage as it cooks.
-Drain sausage, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.
-Cook garlic and onion in reserved drippings over medium-high heat until onion is tender.
-Stir in sausage, chopped red pepper and wine (or chicken stock). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
-Meanwhile, cook spinach according to package directions; drain and squeeze between paper towels to remove excess liquid.  (Squeeze Spinach in paper towels to remove all the liquid)
-Combine spinach, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and egg; stir well.
-Spread 1 cup Alfredo sauce in a greased 13"x9"x2" baking dish.
-Top with 4 uncooked noodles.
-Top with half of spinach mixture and half of sausage mixture.
-Place sliced mozzarella over sausage mixture.
-Repeat layers, using 1 cup sauce, 4 noodles, remaining spinach mixture and remaining sausage mixture.
-Top with remaining 4 noodles and mozzarella slices.
-Spread remaining Alfredo sauce over mozzarella cheese.
-Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
-(If desired, cover and chill overnight.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.)
-Cover and back at 350 degrees for 1 hour, uncovering during the last 15 minutes of baking.
-Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with garlic bread and enjoy!



Monday, January 10, 2011

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe + Snow = Perfect Combination

Our neighborhood and city is covered in snow.  While I would never drive in snow (I'm from Florida and a terrible driver - bad combination in snow), the beauty of it blows my mind.
I love how David uses snow to give us a vivid picture of what Jesus has done for us as he offers up this prayer of confession and restoration in Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:7-12
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than
snow
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 

9 Hide your face from my sins
   and blot out all my iniquity.

 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

11 Do not cast me from your presence
   or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


Homemade Hot Chocolate is the perfect drink on a cold day.  Since most of the country (except my friends and family in Florida) is experiencing snow, I thought I would post an easy Hot Chocolate recipe.  I adapted this from a recipe I found on All Recipes.  I usually have all the ingredients on hand.
Rich and Creamy Hot Chocolate (4 servings)
Ingredients
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups half-and-half cream (if you don't have this on hand, just use milk)
Whipped Cream Topping
Mini Marshmallows
Directions
Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Blend in the boiling water.  Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir.  Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes.  Watch that it doesn't scorch.  Stir in 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of half and half and heat until very hot, but do not boil!  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Divide between 4 mugs.  Top with marshmallows and whipped cream.  
Here are some pictures from today for your enjoyment because snow and hot chocolate make the perfect combination.




Yes, this is what Kate has on.. if it makes you feel better about my parenting skills, I have the heat on 76 degrees, so it is warm in our house.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Catching Up - Twitter Style

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year!  My only new years resolution is to not make any.. I NEVER keep them!  I do want to try to keep this blog up to date though.

So, in my attempt to catch you up (especially my family and friends) I am going to do this post- Twitter style.  If I were being strict (I'm so not a strict person) I would anally make sure that each section only had 140 characters.. but I am not going to do that.  My Twitter style post is to keep each event update short!


John's first Thanksgiving.. He is the happiest baby!  I am hoping this continues through his entire life.. maybe one of them can be like their daddy!




A sweet woman from our church invited some kids over to make gingerbread houses.  Here is Kate with the house she decorated.  Yes, I helped.. but I promise the perfectionist in me didn't take over.  I had to tell myself.. it is only a gingerbread house.. let Kate do it by her ownself (in her words).



John turned 9 months in December and weighs 22 pounds. Here is his picture with Mickey.


Christmas Eve 2010 - We had a party at our house.. It was such a blessing to have some of my family here with Justin's family.  I think this year was the best Christmas I've ever had.  Warning.. I tried to pick three pictures, but I just couldn't...

My Dad dressed up as Santa on Christmas Eve..




Our Family...


Justin's Grandma (Ma) with her great-grandchildren


With my dad...


Kate and my aunt Sharon


Justin's Mom and Dad with their grandchildren


Beth's (Justin's sister) family


Christmas morning.. Justin is helping John open Justin's favorite gift (money for John's college fund)


Justin helping Kate open gifts.  Justin is wearing his favorite gift Kate received (a princess Snuggie).


Kate with her gifts..


Here is a link to our little performer playing a song for you on her new guitar... http://yfrog.com/f1a8uz

John's first Christmas...


Our princess.. there are no other words....