Saturday, November 15, 2014

Living Simply

One of the things that my mom and I spend a great deal of time talking about is the difference between the way we (my siblings and I) grew up and the rest of the world.

You see, when I was growing up we didn't have cable or satellite TV. We had a small television and a VCR for most of my childhood. We lived just up a hill from our small town movie rental shop. On Friday's if we did what we were supposed to do we got to rent a movie for the weekend. 4-5 of us, depending on who was home that weekend, would have to all agree on a movie or two. That was always interesting. That was the extent of our television watching, unless we were at our grandmother's house. Then we all had to agree on what show to watch, and when there are as many kids around as there were when we were growing up it was never easy for us all to make that decision.

So generally, when we got home from school, after snacks were eaten and homework was done we were all straight outside to play. If it was too cold, too wet, or too dark, then we just played together in our bedrooms or in the family room. We didn't have a ton of toys but what we had we played with. And we read! Books were my best friend.

If I was going to be punished for something I had done wrong it wasn't going to be the phone or TV privileges taken away (although that did happen too, more so when I got into high school, and more the phone than the TV) generally it would be my books.

That was just how we lived. And we enjoyed it. Things were simple and easy. We had fun outside, we got dirty, and we even got hurt a time or two! (Mostly my sister and one brother were on that end of the spectrum, but hurts still happened).

In today's society we are so driven my social media and the latest in technology we have forgotten what it means to just live simply and to just simply live.

We have 1st graders getting trouble for texting in class and kids "cyberbullying" more and more each day. Our kids don't know how to be kids.

But why is that? Maybe it's because they are seeing the example being set by their parents. I am just as guilty as the next person on this one. I know I spend more time than is necessary staring down at my phone instead of looking at them in the face. When we go out to dinner the first thing we do is turn on YouTube so that each kid can watch some silly show on their own while we wait for the food to come.

Are we teaching our children how to interact in a social setting? No, not really. We are more concerned with keeping them quiet and not embarrassing us out in public. What kind of example am I to my children?

Am I telling my children that I love Facebook more than them when I have my nose buried in the screen when all they want to do is tell me that they love me? When my son comes to me to ask a question and all I can say is "Not right now. Let me finish reading this status."

I think it is time that we take back our families. Does everyone really need to see you "check-in" to every place you go? Do we really need to see a new "selfie" every 10 minutes? Have you changed that much? Maybe, next time you get ready to go to the store or out to dinner at a restaurant with your family try a little experiment, leave your phone in the car! Or when you are all home for an evening together do the unthinkable! Turn you phone, your iPad, your computer, and yes, even your television off.

Take some time to live simply. And simply live with those that are closest to you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finding Direction

When I decided to begin my Master's degree it was mostly out of excitement. I love learning. I love being in the classroom. I was even more excited because the degree program I entered is centered around homemaking. Something I am obviously very interested.

However, I never really gave much thought to what I would do with this when I actually finished. But now that I have jumped in with both feet I realized I needed to find some type of direction for where my education was going to take me.

I sat down with the director of my program on Monday and we had a lovely conversation about just that. The question that she asked me was "What does Elizabeth Marshall want to be known for?"

As we talked we realized that women today are being given load of theology on why the Bible says it is their job to be "the keeper of the home." The problem is that they aren't being given the skills to do so.

When we decided to come to seminary it was because Dusty felt that the one thing sorely lacking in ministry and church is active and engaged men. He truly feels that once you get the men engaged in church, really enjoying being there participating and learning then the wives and children will follow suit. He also believes that with the more engaged me that become engaged in church the more they will they will be engaged in leading their homes and families.

The hope is that as men begin to actively lead their families and their homes they will be helping for their wives to see the value they hold as keepers of the home.

Providing the tools for those women is going to be the goal for my degree. Teaching them what I so love to learn.

Stay tuned as I continue on this journey.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding Time Again

I can't believe it has really been since June that I took the time to sit down and write on here. Looking back at the past few months I can't really be all that surprised. There have been A LOT of things that have taken place and, honestly, I don't know that I would have really been able to explain or put into words just what I was feeling through everything.

Let me start with a bit of an update and then we will go from there.

First of all both of the kiddos had a birthday (June 5 and June 18) and the hubs and I had an anniversary (June 28). This also marked the beginning of our 3rd year living in Fort Worth, Texas.

I think that we might finally be getting somewhat used to living here. We are getting more comfortable with the lay out of the city, knowing where most of the places we like to visit are at and how to get there with little use of the GPS system. I know it sounds silly but for me that is a HUGE accomplishment. Another HUGE accomplishment is that I have finally started doing more driving. It's not much really but I can say that I have been getting myself around. Again that is a silly thing to be excited about but its the little things that bring me joy. :)

At the end of June Dusty lost his job. It was a complete and sudden out of the blue firing and to this day we still don't really know what it was that he did to cause him to be fired. The only thing we can figure out is that his supervisor just really didn't like him. Since then Dusty worked as a door-to-door canvasser doing political surveying and had just recently started a new job as an appliance repair person. He seems to be enjoying this job but its still to early to tell.

With the loss of his job so close to the beginning of the semester and finances being very tricky, Dusty opted to take this semester off. I was already registered so at the end of August I jumped in to my first semester as a full time grad student. I am in class on Monday from 8-3 and on Thursday evenings from 6-9. This semester has been eating my lunch! I am realizing more and more each day just how much of a "surface Christian" have been. Never have I been challenged in my study this much. Ok, I'm not going to say never because I think there have been those in my life that have tried to challenge me to dig deeper. However, I tended to brush those people off. Now I don't have the option to just brush them off, unless of course I am looking to fail my classes (something that, if anyone really knows me can attest to, is not an option.)

To say that our financial situation has been hairy would be a bit of an understatement. In the last almost 10 years that I have been out on my own I haven't really every had to wonder how bill would be paid until these last few months. But, God always has a way of coming through in the end. I know I should really quit being so surprised each time that things just "seem to work out" because I know that things aren't that simple. And yet every time I go through the fear, and the tears, and the emotional break down only to have something happen that just makes it all better. I was told by a fellow seminary wife who had been doing this a lot longer than me that at some point you just have to go numb. I didn't really like that answer because I have been there with other issues and I'm not a fan but I am realizing that is probably going to be the only way to get through this time of being at seminary without leaving resentful or angry.

My Thirty One business has really been taking off. This month alone I will have submitted $1100 in sales! That is a personal best. I am hoping that I can keep this momentum up and even begin to grow my team. I really do love the product, and the company that I "work" for. Its great to find a company that has the same virtues that you have!

So there is the update of what has sorta been going on with us here lately. I know there so much more I could have said but I am still trying to figure out how to put everything into words. My hope is to try writing at least two times a week. I want to start sharing more of what I have been learning in school!

Until Next time!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Embracing the Adventure

Last month my sister invited me to a party. This wasn't a birthday party or a graduation party. It wasn't even a party that I had to leave my home to attend.

It was a Thirty-One Gifts Facebook Party.

Thirty-One Gifts is a direct sales, party planning company. They specialize in bags, purses, home and office organization, totes and thermals.

It is a Christian biblically based company. In fact, the name Thirty-One actually comes from Proverbs 31 where it talks about the virtuous woman.

Well, at this party (that I only half way participated in because I was in class for the beginning of it) I began to talk to the consultant about what her job was and how much she liked it. I also looked at a lot of the products that were being offered.

I have heard of and seen these products before, but I must confess I have never owned any. I actually had never even been to a Thirty One party until then. But I immediately fell IN LOVE with the usefulness of the product.

That is one thing about me. I want things to have a purpose. I want things (and people for that matter) to be useful. I come from a long line of work-aholics so its just something that is built into my DNA I guess.

After discussing it with Dusty and figuring out if we had the money for me to do so (which I did because my wonderful Mother-in-Law sent me some money for mother's day) I made the decision to become a Thirty One Independent Consultant myself.

I chose the turquoise kit!
I enrolled on May 15th

I got my enrollment kit on May 20th

And I held my first in home party on May 24th! It was a blast. I really enjoyed talking with everyone and showing of such an amazing product.

So the theme for the summer catalog is "Embrace the Adventure" and I have decided I am going to do just that. There are a lot of different directions that a person can go with a business like this and I plan to go straight to the top. Ok.....well....maybe not that far. At least not yet. But I do plan to succeed.

If you are interested in what this whole thing might be about go ahead and pop on over to my website and check it out:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't Worry About Tomorrow

It has been nearly 2 years since we moved our family to Fort Worth for Seminary. As I look back I remember questions and conversations that were had over and over again. Constantly we were asked how we would pay our bills? Where we would live? How would we survive? And every time we had those conversations we would give the same textbook answers.

 “We would be fine. If this is where God is leading us then He will provide for us. Isn’t that what the Bible says?

It sounded good and like things were completely under control. However, it was in the privacy of my own heart that I was worried. I was asking myself all those same questions over and over again. Night after night I would lay in bed wide awake wondering how we were going to get by. All those wonderful, positive answers I had given to people just hours before were long gone. Anxiety was quickly becoming my best friend.

Life is like that isn’t it? Full of anxieties and worries around every turn. Worrying, especially for women, is as natural as breathing on most days. Our focus is distorted.

Jesus, in Matthew chapter 6:25-34, tells us that we aren’t to be worrying about the day to day needs.
 25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

Next, Jesus paints a picture of nature and how well God takes care of his creation. He points out that the birds of the air are fed with no effort of their own. The flowers and the grass are clothed in brilliance without ever having to work for their beauty.

26 “Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?  27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height[a] by worrying?  28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread.  29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?”

Isn’t it amazing to see how much God really does provide? All throughout the Bible we see how God, even in the midst of our sin, is providing for our basic needs. Even when the Israelites were complaining in the desert God gave them food. Even after Adam and Eve made that first fateful decision to disobey God He took the time to hand stitch together clothing for them.

Up there in verse 25 Jesus says “Don’t worry about your life.” Verse 31- 32 follows that up with a reminder that God already knows what we need.
 31 “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

You see, those that don’t know Him find themselves seeking after the things that God already knows we need. Those that don’t have a relationship with Christ are trying to drive their own bus. They are trying to have control over something that isn’t theirs to control. God knows what we need if we will just let Him provide.

So, if we aren’t supposed to be worrying about these things, then what are we to be doing with our time?

 Verses 33 answer that question for us:

 33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Seek FIRST the kingdom of God.

 He doesn’t say to seek the kingdom when the “to do” list is finished, or when you grab a minute between status updates.

He wants us to seek him first. Right now.

 And ALL these things will be provided to you.

 The food, the shelter, the clothing. All the things that are necessities for daily life will be provided. If God provided for all of his creation, even the ones that don’t have the ability for personal relationship and communication, won’t He provide for you too?

This doesn’t mean we will have the biggest house, the nicest car, or be able to eat at every fine dining restaurant in the neighborhood. But it does mean that we will get by from day to day.

Jesus ends this section with this reminder:

34 “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Each day has its own problems. By worrying about what may or may not happen tomorrow our focus is taken off of God. Take the time to focus on Him. Seek His kingdom and all his righteousness and you just may see that things really aren’t as bad as we would like to make them out to be.

In the end God loves us. And he wants to provide for us. Just as a parent wants to provide for their children. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the wheel, but when you do, and allow Him to drive the blessings will be so much better than even you can imagine.

Are you caught up in worrying about your tomorrows instead of letting God be in control? If so, how can you strive to seek His kingdom first and allow God to provide the things you need?

photo credit

Friday, April 25, 2014

The End of Step One and Summer Plans

Five days after moving to Fort Worth I attended my very first student wives organization meeting. It was where I fist started meeting other women here on campus.

It was also there that I learned about the Seminary Studies for Student Wives classes that were offered. The first class is freely offered to all student wives. It covers a wide range of topics and serves as an introduction to life as a ministry wives. This class is worth three certificate level credit hours.

From there the wives are provided with an opportunity to continue taking classes for a reduced rate. These classes are more focused on individual topics. They range from Basic Old and New Testament surveys to spiritual development of children, and even ministry in the home. After completing 5 more of these classes, for a total of 13 credit hours the student wives can earn a Certificate in Education and Ministry.

I did just that this week. Well...sort of.

I was recognized for completing the program on Wednesday during the Seminary's chapel time. However, I won't actually receive my certificate until I complete the last two weeks of the class. I also have to complete a few assignments.

From now on its just pushing toward finishing my graduate degree.

With the winding down of the semester, term papers being submitted, and finals approaching I have really been slacking on things here at the house. One of my goals for the summer is to get back into a routine of daily cleaning tasks and staying on top of the clutter. I am hoping to establish a workable routine that I will be able to fit my classes into next semester.

I am also wanting to get back into eating more healthy, home cooked meals. Don't get me wrong, based on our budget we have been eating at home. Its just a matter of how home cooked the meals have been, and how healthy those meals are.

So tonight I got back to the kitchen by making Manicotti for the first time.

It turned out lovely! Even the kids ate it. In my book that was a success.

I am working on putting together a list of all the things I want to get done during the summer. Cleaning, reorganizing, sorting, things of that nature.

I am also hoping to get me and the kids outside more, especially in the mornings before it gets too hot. Maybe with the sunshine and the physical movement I will be a happier me.

Its time I get myself back into the swing of life.

What are your plans for the summer? Anything exciting in the works?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A bit of an update

The last few months have been INSANE.

I finally had a minute today to sit down at my computer and do something other than research, type, or edit (although I do still have to do the latter) a paper, review, or assignment. With just over two weeks left of school for this semester I am managing to catch up on all the things I said I was going to do at the beginning of the year.

I started out 2014 with such good intentions.

I was going to work out regularly.
I was going to blog regularly.
I was going to keep my house in better condition.
I was going to spend more time with my kids.
I was going to pay better attention to my husband.
I was going to get better connected with other moms in my little seminary community.
I was going name it I had plans.

Then classes started. And all that went straight down hill. Quickly. In a big burning ball of fire.

Over the last few weeks the assignments that I have had to do have really started to over whelm me. I began to think that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew. And then I realized I am in control of my schedule. I am in control of my priorities. I can decided what is a major priority and what isn't. And I can be okay with the decisions that I make. I don't have to justify them to anyone.

It was kind of a refreshing feeling.

Would I love to have the spotless house? Sure.
Would I love to have lost that 20 pounds? ABSOLUTELY
Would I love to be the pinterest mom I really want to be? Of Course

But right now those things just aren't options. So for the next two and a half weeks those things will be on the back burner. I will continue to get done what I can, when I can, and the rest will fall into place some other time. Maybe...and if they don't that is ok too.

So there you go. That's where I am at and sorta what I have been up to the in the last two months since I posted.

Anyone else had to just learn to let go and just be ok with where you are in the moment? Or is that just me?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Will We Ever Catch A Break

When Dusty and I made the decision to move to Texas and go to school we knew that things were going to be tough. We knew that there would be very little time for us to spend together as a family, even less time to spend as a couple, and that money was going to be tight for the next few years.

Little did I know that when we talked about these things our concerns would be the understatements of the century. 

I had absolutely no idea that I would be having to figure out how to budget $80 a month for groceries for a family of 4. I had no idea that I would be constantly wondering how we were going to have gas money for Dusty to get to work each day. And I really didn't think that I would be having do make a judgment call each month on which utility bills actually go paid.

But that is the reality of my situation. That is the life I am living.

And it is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be.

My sister and I have been on this quest to see life in a more positive light each day. I spend my time, when I find myself in a hard situation, trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel. A silver lining to every dark cloud. But today I'm just not seeing it. If anything the tunnel is just getting darker. And the silver lining is so tarnished its starting to rust.

In the book of  Matthew chapter 6 it says:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I know that worrying about these things isn't going to help. I know these things. However, I also know that flowers die from season to season. And while they are pretty and clothed in the Spring and Summer, in the Winter they are dead.
Does that mean I am stuck in winter right now?
The birds have to migrate South for the winter. They have to follow the food. Do we need to be following the food? Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? Were we really called to leave our home a year and a half ago and come to this place where things are so much harder?
Is this the plan He has for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Why does this not feel like the good God has planned for us? Why do I struggle so much to see the hope and the future He has promised? Will I always feel this way? Will life always be this hard?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Growing Up...

I am addicted to reality TV shows. Not the crazy "Real World" or "Bachelor" type reality TV. I'm addicted to the food competition type shows.

Recently, I have locked on to The Taste. I love it. At the beginning of the season, when the contestants audition, they always talk about who they are, their age, and what they do for a living. As I watch the audition shows I see that a lot of the contestants are very close, if not exactly my age.

Its then that I start to think about how old I am. I mean I am going to be 28 next month. When do I begin to feel like I'm an adult?

I know it probably sounds silly but I honestly have times that I don't feel any different, or less confused about life I guess you could say, than I did when I was a sophomore in high school. I look back on my life and some days I wonder how I got to where I am. Not that where I am is a bad place I just don't remember growing up.

I always had this thought when I was a kid that when I became an adult I would just feel different, like I would have this confidence in myself. I thought that once I got married it would solidify my place in the adult world. And yet I still felt just as lost in my new role. Then I figured once I had my first child that the confidence would have to set in. How else was I going to raise this new little person in my life and keep him alive and well?    However, I find that I as I get older and my job titles continue to evolve I just get less and less confident in my life and my decisions. I find myself second guessing and questioning everything I do. I need someone around me to tell me that what I am doing is the right thing, no matter what it might be.

Every so often I will feel a surge of confidence and I take a step to get involved in something new or go out on a limb. And then as I begin to step out I feel as if what ever decision I make there is stepped over and undermined. So I find myself right back where I began, second guessing and feeling out of my element.

Will I ever begin to feel like I am not drowning in life? Will I ever feel like I can do things without someone holding my hand all the way through?  Is confidence in my decisions and actions always going to come with a twinge of doubt and second guesses?

I suppose only time will tell.

Anyone else ever feel this way? Please tell me I'm not alone out there.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My path is paved with good intentions....

It never fails. I spend hours and hours putting together schedules and charts and all that ridiculous pinterest-y type stuff in an effort to "get organized" and "make things a little easier."

I go at it for a week or so and yes, things do tend to go more smoothly and I even begin to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I begin to feel a spike in my energy. I begin to feel good about life again.

And then while I'm feeling good about life it has a way of sneaking up on me. Someone gets sick and throws off my perfectly organized schedule, a meeting runs long there goes the plans I made for later in the day, or classes begin again and the homework is a bit more than I bargained for causing me to feel overwhelmed.

And then it all goes down hill from there. I loose my drive. The consistency I was working so well with just the week before begins to falter. The schedule begins to collapse in on itself. And my world shuts down.

All my life I have been a planner. If I didn't (or don't) know what is going to happen next I tend to loose my mind. I am not good at spontaneity. I take days to make a decision, agonizing and stressing over it until I get sick. I like goals, and steps that need to be taken to get to those goals. And if that isn't an option then I freeze not knowing what to do first or where to go once I get there.

I think that is one of the reasons why being a wife, mom, and homemaker is such a life challenge for me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being home with my kids. I love being the one to teach them and train them and be part of their constant lives. However, it is the hardest job I have ever taken on in my life.

There is no real way of planning life. Sure I try to set a basic schedule for naps, meals, appropriate play time, and bed time but no matter how hard I try that schedule never seems to stay on track.  I don't have set sick days (ha! I don't have ANY sick days), and I can't schedule snuggle time. I have to take those things as they come. And for me that is a very hard thing to do.

As we continue down our road through Seminary I am realizing that the one thing I am going to have to learn more than probably anything else is going to have to be flexibility. No matter how well I can plan, and organize, and stress the importance of a situation thing are never going to be truly in my control. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah:
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
So with January coming quickly to a close my goal for February is to learn to let things be. I know God has His plans and when my plans to go, well, according to plan I am going to try and focus on what God may have planned for that moment of the day. When that staff meeting at church runs long and Dusty comes home later than I had scheduled I am going to trust that God was working through that meeting to make our church the best it could be and sometime that means things have to go a little long. And when I don't get everything done on my well thought out and well designed schedule for that day I am going to trust that those 30 extra minutes I spent playing with the kids or reading the same story for the 1000th time was exactly where I needed to be and the chores that go put off will not break my day.

Are you good with spontaneity? Or do you like things lined out and planned?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Its official: I'm over it!

Warning: This could get a bit long and probably a bit whiney, but I just have to vent sometimes.

Let me begin by saying that I know that life probably isn't as bad as I am most likely going to make it sound. I know that. Rationally, I know all that. But that doesn't mean that things don't get a bit rough every now and then.

Here we go:
I'm tired.
I'm tired of counting every last cent praying they will multiply.
I'm tired of telling everyone in the family "No, we can't go do (insert fun thing here) because we can't afford it"
I'm tired of having to schedule every minute of my time to make sure that there is "family time"
I'm tired of constantly telling the kids that daddy is busy or that daddy has work to do and that he doesn't have time for playing right now.
I'm tired of being home by myself with 2 small children all the time with no hope of reprieve.
Long story short: I'm just tired.

I'm also tired of feeling alone. Like I'm living on the outside of everything. Like I'm watching life happen around me. Feeling like I don't really have any friends around me.

I remember when I was in school, mostly high school but some in college too, I had people to talk to all the time. I can't even count how many times the phone would get unplugged in the middle of the night because I was still talking to my friends when I should have been long asleep.

And in college I had roommates. And we would talk for hours. It was great having those kinds of relationships. The ones where I could call just to chat, not because I needed something or any nonsense like that.

I don't know if its because I got married, or graduated college and moved out (both of which happened with in a month of each other), or what the reason but I slowly became a "lone ranger".  I didn't have anyone to just call and chat with anymore. I found most of my conversations taking place between myself and an 18 month old. Most of the time the conversations were a bit one sided.

Then when we decided to move to Texas for Seminary I began to hear all kinds of stories about how I would be making life long friends that are in the same place in life as me. People who would believe the same things I believed and support me and my family in the decisions we were making for our lives. Relationships that would be exactly like what I have wanted since I left school.

However, I'm finding that it isn't as easy as that. I mean don't get me wrong I didn't expect these types of friendships to just happen over night but I was hoping for more than what I have this far. We have been here 18 months and I still feel so disconnected. Maybe its because I don't ever really get to get out of the house. And when I do I have the kids attached to me so I'm to busy keeping track of them to really have a conversation with anyone. I just don't have the time it takes to invest in anyone so why would they want to take the time to invest in me? I hear pieces of conversations between people around the campus and I realize that they have the friendships that I want. They are invested.

So I often wonder what it is about me that has made the type of person that can't be "lets just chat" type of friend. The kind of friend that you just want to hang around with, and have inside jokes with, and be able to call at the last minute just because. The kind of friend that you want to pour your life into. Why can't I be that person?

Anyone else out there ever feel disconnected? How do you handle it?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Huge Reality Check

Today while scanning facebook for the 1 billionth time I came across a link that a friend posted.

As I sat and read this story I began to cry like a baby. I am that yelling screaming mommy. I was yesterday and I have been already several times today.

And why am I that way? Well, probably because I am too lazy to get myself up off my behind and go see what the problem is when the kids are fighting.

Or I am too wrapped up in the T.V. show I am watching or scrolling through facebook to really take the time to focus on my children.

I get irritated with them when they "bug" me while I'm trying to follow the drama someone else has engaged in or if I miss the next line of dialogue in the show and then have no idea what is happening. When probably the most important line of dialogue that is being shared at that very moment is whatever it is that my kids are trying to tell me.

Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"

So I have to ask myself: "Am I raising up my children in the way they should go?" Am I teaching them to value the relationships they have or am I teaching them to love technology?

I have to admit I have probably made social media my idol. I spend more time during my day checking what is going on with social media than I do checking on what is going on with my kids. I have often heard my husband sigh then check out for the evening when he realized I have checked my phone for the 7th time since he got home 15 minutes ago.

I don't want to be that mom anymore. I don't want my family to look back on life and remember mommy being to busy on her phone or computer to spend anytime with them. I want to be engaged in their lives.

I also want to break away from the idol that is social media and technology in my life. I know that I could be spending that time reading my Bible, or praying, or teaching my children how to better know and love God.

I know that I can't completely break away from the social media all together. I actually do a lot of productive things with it. And I am also able to keep in contact with my family who is not anywhere near me. I am able to share with them the kids and our achievements through things like facebook, but that doesn't mean I have to be watching it every five minutes to see if something new happened.

So I am giving myself a limit. I will be allowing myself 5 minutes in the morning to check in and see what is going on. Then I will give myself 30 minutes on the computer while I am working on other things during the kids nap time. I will also give myself some time in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. I will not be checking my phone throughout the day.

I am hoping that with this I will be able to break away from some of the bad habits that I have created and become the peaceful loving mommy and wife that I really want to be. I don't want to be the yelling mommy or the wife that isn't present in my relationship anymore. I want to be 100% there all 100% of the time

What do you do to balance your time?

Have you ever been that screaming person that no one wanted to be around? If so, what did you do to change it?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

No Naps for Me

There is nothing a mother looks forward to more than nap time....well at least this mother. Every so often I even take some time to lay down and rest myself once the kids are down for their naps.

However, today I had to accept the horrible reality that I just can't take naps. No matter what happens when I lay down to nap I wake up feeling more tired than when I went down to rest. It's actually really sad. And kind of devastating.

So I guess from now on when the kids go down for a nap I will use that time to work out. Or clean. Or something other than sleep.

Do you have problems napping?

What do you do with your time in the middle of the day?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting Organized

One of my super serious goals for this year is to get organized in my home. Not only organized but I want to get rid of stuff. We have so much clutter it is just beyond ridiculous

Usually when I decide to declutter and clean I make the decision to take on an entire room in one day. What can I say, I'm an overachiever. Always have been. And I'm a perfectionist on top of that.

When I began to work on this task this time I decided to begin with my kitchen. There is a ton of storage in the little kitchen that I work in but I had basically just shoved stuff in cabinets and drawers and called it good. Then I get to deal with the frustration anytime I or anyone else would open up a door to look for something.

The first thing I knew I needed to do was to figure out how to take it in bite sized pieces.

My solution: One cabinet a day.

I started with what I call my "Craft Cabinet" It is the home of most of my crafting supplies as well as the sewing machine that needs to be repaired. From there I took everything out and sorted it. Let me tell you, A LOT went into the trash.

I seriously still had cards from my wedding shower. I'm sure at some point I told myself I would scrap book them or something like that but lets be serious here. When will I ever have time for that? And when I do have that time am I going to be scrapbooking cards or do I want to focus on pictures of my family?  Simple choice there, right?

Before I put things back into the cabinet I took the time to label the shelves. Now, much to the pleasure of my husband, everything has its place. With its own label.  Hopefully there won't be anymore random searching for things.

I did the same thing with the rest of the cabinets. Even the food pantry. Now I can know exactly what non-perishable items I have in the pantry when it comes time for me to make my weekly grocery list. To say that I should have done this a long time ago would be the understatement of the century!

Its amazing how a simple act such as adding a label to a shelf and putting things in an organized fashion can really simplify your life. I like being able to just see, at quick glance, what I have and where it all is.

Here is to hoping this organization sticks!

What about you? What kind of things have you done in your home to keep things easy and organized? Share your secrets, I'm always looking for new things to try out.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Foodie Friday

This year for Christmas, Dusty game me 2 wonderful new cookbooks for Christmas. The first one was a gourmet cookbook published in the 1950's and I have really enjoyed looking through it to see the differences the decades.

The other one was the Taste of Home Dinner on a Dime cookbook.
402 budget friendly recipes that pack the flavor without breaking the bank. Or at least that's the hope.

This week I tried one of the recipes out of the "Freezer Pleasers" Chapter. So here it is:

Pizza Pasta Casserole
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 jars (28 ounces each) spaghetti sauce
1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta, cooked and drained
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
8 ounces sliced pepperoni
1.) In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and pasta. (Make sure you actually cook the pasta first. I totally forgot to do that last night when making dinner. The hazards of trying to cook dinner with two small children screaming at you)

2.) Transfer to two greased 13-in x 9-in x 2-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange pepperoni over the top.

3.) Cover and freeze once casserole for up to 3 months. Bake the second casserole, uncovered, at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

4.) To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake casserole at 305* for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
The kids loved this one.

I halved the recipe and only made one casserole and I also used ground turkey instead of the ground beef.

If you happen to slip up and not cook the pasta before dumping it into the sauce/meat mixture then just add a can of tomato sauce and cook it together on the stove for a bit then leave it in the oven for a bit longer. It will all work out great!

I hope you enjoy!

Have you tried this recipe or one like it before? Did your family like it?

Have you ever messed up a recipe and still manage to save it? Please tell me I'm not the only one who has done something like that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Wrap up and the problem with January 2nd

If I could attribute one word to the year 2013 it would probably have to be "challenging." I don't say that in the negative way that many people might see it in. I don't mind challenging actually. Challenge is what keeps life interesting.

2013 marked Dusty's second and third semesters here at Southwestern. It also marked my second and third semesters in the Seminary Studies for Student Wives certificate program, however, along with that it marked the first semester for me as a full fledged grad student.  With that came the challenge of finding time for all the homework, classes, and my household tasks that take up my day. The kids tend to remind me that they need to eat more than once a week so I also have to fit shopping and meal prep in there every so often.

2013 brought on a 1st birthday and a 3rd birthday, a 5th wedding, and the 1 year anniversary of us moving to Texas. Dusty also "celebrated" his first year working for the medical equipment supply company. That brought on a small raise as well as a full time position with benefits. With the added hours the challenge came in finding time for the family, and his homework, as well as eating and sleeping sometime in there. 

While we did have our fair share of good challenges we also had a few not so good challenges. However, through all those challenges we were able to hold ourselves together and become stronger as a family unit. While the year wasn't 100% rainbows and sunshine I like to think that it was a pretty great year all together.

That leads me to the problem with January 2nd. Here is the thing, for at least a week, maybe even longer, goals are made (often in the term of "resolution") for the coming year. With the rise of Pinterest there are now boards dedicated to all the things that a person plans to do to change their lives in the new year. From organization and scheduling to the classic weight loss and healthy eating all the well intentioned goals are set to be put into place on the first day of January.

Then January first hits and the gyms are full, budget guides are watched closely for the day, the grocery store runs out of produce do to the huge amounts of salads being eaten for lunch and dinner that day, and storage bins are out with shiny new labels on them ready to become a tidy organizational system. Everyone is excited to start out on their new life changing journey, when they wake up around noon after staying up entirely too late the night before ringing in the new year.

Then January 2nd rolls around. Everyone is back to the daily grind. Many are back to work, or for those like me who stay home with the children, its time to get them back to some type of regular schedule.  The new of the Christmas gifts are starting to wear off and the bickering is back.

Then suddenly the reality that January 1st doesn't really hold magical powers sets in. Looking at the well out lined calendars and to-do lists begin to become overwhelming. You start to wonder if you might have bitten off a bit more than you can chew.

That was my morning. The house was a disaster, the kids were fighting over everything, and I felt like I had been hit by several large trucks all at the same time. After disciplining my son for no reason (then immediately apologizing for messing up) I sat at the table, called Dusty and had a huge emotional melt down. It was at that moment I realized I had, and probably always have, put way to much stock in "The New Year."

I have spent to much time, especially from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, saying things like "When the holidays are over I will___________" or "Next year will be better, I'll start in January"

The problem with that is I expect that it will all just happen over night. The dedication, the motivation, the habits that took forever to form, all of it will just change once midnight strikes on January 1 and I will wake up a completely new person. It's not that easy.

So, my number one goal is to change my mind set and to be ok with the fact that things aren't going to change over night. I may not get my organizational plans and cleaning schedule put completely into place until December. I will have good days and I will have bad days but if I can forgive myself and I can be patient with my family we will get through this year just fine. Happy New Year EVERYONE!