Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wife & Mother - The Inferior Choice?

It's a shame that some women feel the need to belittle other women for not having "bigger" goals than being a wife and mom...that they should feel bad for not doing "more" with their life.

Don't mistake where we're headed here, I am not about to tell you that all women should stay home with their children. I am fully aware that many, many women don't have that option. I am also aware that many women who could stay home, choose not to. I'm not here to argue about that. I have my opinions, but the only one that counts is The Lord's. His wisdom and direction for your life are what matter.

Last night I saw something that really struck a chord with me. It wasn't a personal attack on me, but it was a glimpse of the prevailing attitude in some circles of our culture and an excellent reminder of just how backwards our priorities are.

I was searching around on Pinterest of all places, and I came across a pin about desiring to be a wife and mom. Of course, I loved it! But when I went to repost it I noticed the comment of the last pinner. She wrote: "This is everything that's wrong with the world in one pin. #dreambigger." Followed by another winning comment, "Have we really not progressed in the last 50 years?"

I tried to let it go. Really I did. But it was just hanging on me. So I responded to their comments and through our discussion was told by the second young woman that there is "so much more out there" than just being a parent and that there are "bigger dreams." And the young woman who made the initial comment completely disregarded all of my legitimate points and responded only with a sarcastic remark about another pin she had posted comparing religion to a male body part. Way to defend your skewed logic.

Everything that's wrong with the world? There are a lot of things majorly wrong with the world we live in today, don't get me started. But the one I see most often, that has the capacity to destroy the most lives, is illustrated perfectly in her comment. The decline of the value of family.

Gone is the time when family was celebrated as something to fight & sacrifice for. Gone is the time when children were a cherished blessing, rather than a dutiful choice. Gone is the time when we valued the relationship with our spouse, no matter the hard work it took to keep it going, and we didn't quit when it got difficult. Gone is the time when staying at home to raise our children was a valuable choice. It pains me to write that, but the truth is that it just isn't anymore. The mother who stays at home to teach and rear her children is not valued by this society as a whole (although I contend that her value will be noticed more and more as there are less and less of her). These are generalizations, of course. Thankfully, I am surrounded by wonderful, Godly families who still value these things. But society as a whole? I'm not sure anymore.

Surely you've encountered the stigma before. SAHM's watch tv all day, are lazy, spend hours at the spa. Whatever it is you've heard about us, it probably isn't good. And now we have a new generation of women who not only believe these things, but they actually believe that SAHM's like myself are less valuable, less important than they are.

Choosing home over career is scoffed at, looked down upon, and dismissed.

Women pit themselves against other women because they truly believe they're better for making the "modern" choice.

I'm not here to say that moms should or shouldn't work. What I want to say is this: if a woman's goal is nothing more than to be a wife and mom, that is enough! Stay-At-Home-Mom---YOU are enough.

It can be a thankless job, in the normal sense. I don't have performance reviews, chances to shine in front of a boss, get accolades for completing a project well. No one sees the times I'm in tears of frustration, the times I'm scrubbing pee off of the floor or grape juice out of my carpet. The times when stress gets the best of me and I snap at my kiddos and instantly have regret that then taunts me for days. The times when I'm stressing over money and bills, dishes and dirty bathrooms, laundry piled to the top of our recliner. It can be a lonely world.

It is also miraculous. I have a real chance to shape and mold my children, to teach and train them, to show them unconditional love and support. I have the chance to change the world by teaching my children how to shine and love like Jesus. Not to mention, I get hugs and kisses, cuddles, the joy of watching my children learn new things, praise and encouragement from my husband, and unconditional love and wisdom from my Savior. The world of a SAHM is a blessed world.

Follow the path that God leads you down, make the choice that He guides you to. But don't try to tell me that your choice is superior to mine. Desiring to be a wife and mom is not an inferior choice. For me, there is nothing "bigger" than raising the next generation. And it is a true blessing and gift to be able to make that choice.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Better Mom

I don't want to be the mom who "looks" like she has it all.

I don't want to be the mom struggling because she's trying to have it all.

I want to be the mom who knows she's already got it all, the one content with who she is, where she is and what she has. And I want my children to grow up seeing that contentment.

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. You simply cannot have both on a regular basis.

Pressure is everywhere for us Mommas, and unfortunately, we are usually the ones hardest on ourselves. There are the Mommy Fashionistas, the Naturalist Mommies, Master Crafter Mommy, the Fitness Guru Mommies, the Queen of Organization Mommies, the Cook-Everything-From-Scratch-Mommies, the Never-Stressed, Easy-Going Mommies, and hundreds more categories we could put ourselves into.

But don't you see the danger in that?

Comparison breeds discontentment, it tells you that you are not good enough. And it is a liar. Because, let's face it, you can't be the best at everything. And you don't have to be. Take a minute to let that sink in.

You are who God made you to be, you're the woman He picked to mother the children that He gave you.

A dear friend once told me that we tend to compare our worst attributes to someone else's best. Whoah. There's some serious truth in that. An honest evaluation of myself tells me that I am much better at some things than other things. And there are lots of Mommies who are really good at the things that I stink at. But that doesn't mean they're good at everything. And it doesn't make them a better Mom. Just because they are more fit than I am doesn't mean they have it all together. It simply means that fitness is one of their strong suits. Who knows...maybe they are totally unorganized and their house is a mess. Or maybe not. But whatever the case, we need to remember that while it is great to admire a Mom for something she does well, it is a terrible idea to then assume she's got it all together and life is just a breeze for her. But that's exactly what we do. We see a quality we admire in a Mom, then we assume that she's great at everything, got it all together, and we must be total failures. Comparison lies, ladies.

There isn't time enough in a day to be the best at everything. And thank God, we don't have to be. He created you and you are uniquely His. When you hate yourself, you're hating His precious creation. The Bible says that I am a child of God, a friend of Jesus, that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, that I was chosen by Him. Isn't it marvelous to know that you were created and chosen by the God of the universe?

The Bible also tells me that I am complete in Christ. No matter what the world tells me, no matter how many times the enemy roars in my ear to tell me otherwise, I am complete in Him. Colossians 2:9-10 says,"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." 

Take some time today to be who you are and stop trying to be who you're not. There is freedom in Christ and in being who you were made to be. Embrace it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

In the Shady Place

I was outside sitting under the tree watching my little ones play. Shade is scarce in our yard, so the big maple out front is one of very few options if you want a reprieve from the heat.

It's a beautiful day here, bright and sunny, warm with blue skies and a few wispy clouds. I looked up, admiring the vibrant blue sky, and saw the leaves from the long branches blocking the direct sunlight from my eyes. It occurred to me how much God is like that maple tree. Here I am, sitting outside and enjoying all the beauty around me, but I'm protected from the blazing sun. Yes, it's hot out and I can still feel the heat. But I'm not scorching. And isn't God just like that? There may be troubling circumstances around you, you may see them, you may even feel them...but they won't overtake you. His goodness wraps around you and protects you from being scorched.

You are safely tucked in the shady place of God's love and faithfulness.

His Word says He'll never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). And Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you."

In life on earth there will be times of flood and times of heat & fire, but we are not alone and not without hope. The One who overcame this world is sitting at the right hand of the Father. How awesome is that!?! Rest in the shady place with Him today.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 20:6-8:
Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
 They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm
Watch for more updates soon on our school year progress and more! Now that we have a new computer with a motherboard that isn't fried, and our family is over the stomach flu, I can finally get back to blogging!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nifty Thrifty & Fourth of July Fun!

One of my good friends recently helped me make curtains for the living room. Finally! And after only 2 1/2 years in this house, haha! But hey, they're done now and beautiful. And she made me a matching pillow case! I also repainted a wall to coordinate with the curtains, de-cluttered our built-in shelves and actually put some thought into arranging/decorating them.

I found a frame recently at a garage sale for 50 cents. I usually avoid buying new frames because I seem to always have some lying around the house. But this one was neat and I thought it had potential for that price. I brought it home and painted it with the leftover paint from the living room accent wall. Great remake of a brass frame if you ask me!

I also wanted to try something I saw on Pinterest. Imagine that! I asked around for an empty Crown Royal bottle and was able to get one from a friend for free. Everything else I used to make this project I had on hand, so it literally cost me nothing. Yay!

I spray painted the bottle with some metallic rustoleum spray paint we had leftover from the furniture remake I posted a few months ago. Then I painted the bottle with our living room accent wall color. After everything was good and dry, I grabbed some sandpaper and went to town. I loved the look of it, but decided it just needed something else. I have a Cricut machine, so I thought about cutting out an F (for our last name) and using mod podge to seal it on the bottle. After realizing that I didn't have any paper that I particularly liked for this project, I decided to just go ahead and print the F with my printer and sand it a little to make it look weathered. I just need to add a coat of mod podge to the top and we're good to go!

Gotta love some new living room decor for under $1.00!

Pictures from our 4th of July fun! Celebrated with some great friends this year!


Yes, my husband is awesome. He has also become more familiar with pink, Minnie Mouse and princesses than he ever dreamed he would. So the other day when our little princess got a big, bleeding scratch on her leg and couldn't even bare to walk (seriously, she wouldn't stop crying because she was too freaked out to look at the Band-Aid!), hubby did what any super Daddy would do. He got out the princesses favorite color of nail polish and painted a pink heart on her Band-Aid. She was in love! And magically, she was also able to suddenly walk again. :)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happenings Around the House

My little has been quickly progressing lately with her fine motor skills. She is now able to draw cirlces, squares, spirals, squiggly lines and the number 1. Sometimes she even makes letters (I think by accident, but she's super proud either way). She still uses her left and right hands to draw and color so I have no idea where we'll end up with that.

Here is a sampling of her "work" lately:

She said, "I made a P, puh, puh!"

One of the more peaceful moments of our homeschool day...don't let it fool you!
 Lots of patience and hard work, but wow is it worth it - such a blessing!

We have also been busy in the garden lately and the kids are loving it, especially my oldest. He is excited every morning to go and see what is ready for harvest! We have picked lots of peppers, sugar snap peas and our first tomato and zucchini so far. He is beyond thrilled. It is even affecting his extreme pickiness. He is all of the sudden loving the produce department at the grocery, asking me to buy things so he can try them (crazy, I know!), and he is excited to at least try what we're growing. What a praise to the Lord!

And yesterday he was literally cracking me up with his antics...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Canning Peppers

We picked these beauties out of our garden recently...

We most often use jalapeno and banana peppers in cooking (i.e. nachos and pizza!), so I wanted to pickle and can small batches of these for us to use over the winter. The instructions below are assuming you know some basics about canning, such as cleaning jars and keeping them warm, wiping rims clean, etc. If you need more specific instructions about this, please comment below.

For the jalapenos:

Place one small clove of garlic in the bottom of a half-pint jar. On top of the garlic I squeezed in 4 sliced jalapeno peppers, it was a tight fit so you really have to pack them in. Heat 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup water on stove until simmering. Pour liquid over peppers, leaving 1/2in headspace. You will have some liquid leftover if you are only doing one half-pint at a time. Add 1/8t. pickling salt and follow the instructions for adding Ball Pickle Crisp Granules to help keep your peppers crunchy. Process for 10 minutes in waterbath canner.

For the banana peppers:

Place one small clove of garlic in the bottom of a half-pint jar. On top of the garlic I was able to fit in 2 sliced banana peppers. Heat 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1/8 cup sugar to a boil. Pour liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4in headspace. Add 1/2t. pickling salt and follow the instructions for adding Ball Pickle Crisp Granules to help keep your peppers crunchy. Process for 10 minutes in waterbath canner.  *Note: You can add turmeric for color, but it is not necessary for flavor.

My husband taste tested both peppers last night, after they had sat for over a week to let the flavors come together. He loved them both!

Last night we also had the chance to play outside in the rain! It was warm and sunny, but we had a rain shower with big, heavy rain drops that made it perfect for play!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Drawing Near Amidst the Chaos

I woke up in a house of cranky monkeys today. We are all tired from celebrating the 4th last night. My oldest has been whining pretty much all day. He is clearly exhausted. We finally made it out of the house to the store by the time they should've been taking their naps.
As soon as we got home, I carried them up the stairs (an hour past nap time). They were crying and trying to convince me that they didn't need a nap when I rounded the corner in the hallway and felt something wet and cold on my foot. Great, the dog has pooped on my carpet. Again. And I stepped in it. Gross. We have been forgetting to give her her thyroid medication off and on lately and this is what happens when we mess it up. So now I'm cleaning up poop and scrubbing carpets. And nap time is delayed yet again.
I finally got my littlest down and was rocking my oldest, contemplating getting rid of my beloved dog, when I remembered that I want to strive to do everything as unto Him. That He sees me frantically scrubbing my carpets and feeling more than overwhelmed today, even though no one else does. My eyes filled with warm tears as I realized that He loves me, even today, and He knows my heart. He knows the stresses I've had this week, the mistakes I've made, the times I could've done so much better. He sees all the things I do in a day, that no one else sees, to keep our household functioning smoothly.  He knows that even on the most stressful of days, I am more than grateful to be home with my children. I don't have to tell Him that because He knows my every thought. I don't have to explain that just because I feel a little overwhelmed today, doesn't mean I would change anything about my life. He knows my heart is full of gratitude. He sees me screw up all the time, but He knows I'm trying. He knows me. He loves me still. How comforting.  
Today He met me right where I was, in the rocking chair with my little boy. His peace washed over me and I felt His love & warmth surround me like a reassuring hug. 
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Love of Wreaths

If you know me at all, you know I have this thing for wreaths...

I love to make them, give them away as gifts, hang them on my front door, I just love them! And I get pretty bored with the same wreath after awhile, so I'm always looking for a new one to make. Thank you, Pinterest!


The above are all Pinterest inspired wreaths that I have made for myself and/or others. And below is my latest creation, which can currently be seen hanging on my front door.
I was surprised by how inexpensive it was to make. I bought the grapevine wreath at Hobby Lobby for only 4.99 and I bought the flowers at Hobby Lobby, too (they were 50% off!). The burlap roll I also bought at Hobby Lobby, and I didn't use much at all to make the bow, which means I get to find something else fun to make out of it! The numbers were a bit harder to find, every craft store has wooden numbers, but most were either too big or too small. I found these at Wal-Mart with the mailboxes. They are lightweight and the perfect size. They are also self-adhesive! (I did add some craft glue, though)
All you need to make a wreath like this:
Grapevine wreath
Assorted flowers
Ribbon of your choice or burlap
Inexpensive, easy, and looks cute on a front door! This would make a great wedding or housewarming gift!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Adventures, Part 1

This is the first of our "summer adventure" series, hehe. I know, it wasn't really summer yet when we went camping. But we don't mind...we'll take adventure when we find it!

We took our first camping trip in early May, it was my first time tent camping since childhood. We stayed in Hocking Hills State Park because we love to hike in Hocking Hills, our kiddos think it is awesome!


My oldest's favorite place this year (and last fall when we took a day trip) was Ash Cave. A huge cave (he likes everything to be big), a waterfall, and endless sand. What more could a 4 1/2yr old boy want!?! My youngest's favorite was Old Man's Cave, she said. She loved the tunnels we had to walk through!

He left off the waterfall, but I think this looks great for a 4yr old who hates to draw/color. This pic was all his own doing!


The kids really enjoyed their time with the grands...


We had a blast and I'm looking forward to more camping adventures this summer!

This is what you call exhaustion, folks!

Canning Season Is Upon Us!

A few weekends ago, I had one of those moments. My husband and I looked down at our breakfast plates and then looked at each other. "You're turning into your Nona," he said. Yep, there we were eating homemade biscuits, bacon, homemade sausage gravy, and some of my canned applesauce that I had heated up on the stove. It was a Nona breakfast for sure. What can I say? I learned from the best!

Where did that strawberry jam come from, you ask? That's more to my "turning into Nona" story. I've been making jam with her since I was young and for the first time, I decided to try it without her help this year to see if I could do it. Much to my surprise...success!

One of my besties and I picked berries in the morning. They have the BEST berries at Fulton Farms! So sweet and delicious, and reasonably priced if you pick them yourself. Then we came back to my house to try our hand at jam making. Did I mention we listened to some good ole Emmy Lou Harris, just like I always have with Nona?

Well, we were far from perfect and it took a loooong time for the canner to get hot enough (novice mistake, lol), but in the end, our jam is seriously delish! If I remember correctly, I think we got roughly 20 pints to a gallon of berries (with a little leftover to eat!), or about 40-45 of the smaller 8oz jars.

Pure goodness in a jar! Strawberries (picked and canned the same day), sugar and some pectin.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homemade Scarf Hanger

We had some wood leftover from the awesome swingset my hubby recently built...
Can't remember if I put a picture in the post about this massive undertaking, so here it is in case I didn't!
And when I was in Cincinnati for my birthday (thanks mom, sis and hubby!) I saw a towel hanger at my sister's that I really liked. Hers was beach themed and oh so cute. So I decided to make something like it for all of my scarves. I stained a leftover section of wood and bought some half-off knobs from Hobby-Lobby. My hubby drilled several holes in the wood once the stain was dry and we screwed in the knobs, then had added a hanger to the back.
Simple and cheap, but super cute. Just what a thrifty Momma wants, right!?!
I think you could take this concept and use it in a million different ways, so let's get crafting!