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When Bad Days are Blessed Days

Posted by on 6:28 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Bad Days are Blessed Days

This morning was awful. We had Zoë’s parent/teacher conference which commenced at 7:30 a.m.! It meant that EVERYBODY had to be dressed and fed at the same time…including me. It meant pulling on the “nice” leggings and a proper fitting sweater to make up for all of the hasty school pick-up’s and drop off’s where I cloak my Pj’s with a coat and don a hat on my head. While the conference about Zoë’s progress garnered cheers and pats on the back from Papa Nevels and I, my attempt to whoo Phil to breakfast to “discuss” our daughter’s success was met with big fat disappointment. He had things to do and people to see. So in an effort to re-shape my day, I opted to check out a local breakfast/coffee spot I’ve been meaning to try with 2-year-old Sydney in tow. Now its important to note that Sydney had been spewing a river of “no’s” at me since 6:00 a.m. this morning (NO! NO, I don’t want to go potty! NO, I don’t want to put shoes on! No, I won’t give you kisses! NO! NO! NO!). But I pushed through. We landed at the breakfast/coffee shop only to learn that a coffee shop should not double as a legitimate breakfast establishment. Both the coffee AND the omelet were awful! Meanwhile, Sydney had unleashed the floodgate of “no’s” again and was not complying in any way to my instructions and gentle reminders. Needless to say, breakfast didn’t go as planned. I paid the bill, grabbed my things (the Toddler too. Though I was tempted to leave her behind with all of the other bad tasting things I’d just experienced), and we headed for home. I was determined to shuttle toss her to bed despite it being 2 hours earlier than her regular nap time. BUT, as we trudged up the stairs of the house, the warm breeze hit me and it occurred to me to read a few stories to her on our porch swing (before the official shuttle toss commenced). So, I grabbed a few books and we settled in to read.   It was the most glorious 2 hours I’ve spent in a long time! She listened and pointed out the images she recognized in the book and afterwards she nestled in so close to me that it prompted me to sing. I hadn’t realized just how long it had been since I’d sung aloud! My most prized and favorite songs flowed out like that river of no’s that just 20 minutes earlier had me on the verge of tears. In fact, by the end of it, I was in tears and Sydney was sound asleep. Both of us peaceful, grateful…blessed. You know, I had big plans for how I wanted to spend my day, but it quickly became hectic and disappointing. Yet, in the midst of that disappointment I can now see that God was gently tapping my shoulder and reminding me to let go. He sees me, is with me, and knows exactly what I need at any given moment. That two-hour stretch filled me with so much joy! It was just what I needed. Can you recall a time when you let go of those “perfect plans” and found that God’s unexpected plans were just what you needed? Share this:ShareClick to email this...

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Women’s March on Chicago – January 21, 2017

Posted by on 9:04 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Women’s March on Chicago – January 21, 2017

On Saturday, January 21, 2017 I had the honor of joining over 250,000 women, men and children in a march for civil, disability, healthcare, LGBTQ rights and racial equality. It was humbling to see people of diverse backgrounds willing to stand, to march, and cry out against injustices everywhere. The marchers were peaceful, the speakers were eloquent and I left inspired and hopeful about unified change. I was moved when seeing a white man toting a “Black Lives Matter” sign or seeing a young boy wearing his Mexican sombrero and poncho. Seniors and infants were sprinkled throughout the march because everyone can be a apart of change, and everyone is affected by change. It was a beautiful day to be American. Enough said…check out a few photos (or see more at this link: Women’s March on Chicago Photos) Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Our Family Mission Trip to Grey Mountain Arizona

Posted by on 3:42 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our Family Mission Trip to Grey Mountain Arizona

We’re home from our Mission trip to Arizona. On Thursday (July 7th) our team traveled 3 hours on a flight to Phoenix Arizona and then drove 3 hours up and through the mountains to Grey Mountain Bible Church. Our overall mission was to support the Grey Mountain Bible church by sharing the gospel with the Navajo community through programing and fellowship, as well as to address the basic structural needs of the church facilities. Grey Mountain Arizona is tough! The extreme 106+ degree temperatures and winds were harsh and unforgiving. Our group slept in tents in the gym, which was not air- conditioned, and used bottled water for drinking and brushing our teeth. The doors to the gym were so ill –fit that a brigade of cockroaches (among other critters) would enter the building at night and scurry in and out of the kitchen. We shared one shower stall (1 for women and 1 for men) and 2 toilets each. The gym floor was carpeted and stained and upon arrival we could actually feel the desert sand circulating in the air with every step. I say this to iterate that the conditions were difficult, but yet our team rallied together to make it our temporary home. We cooked, we cleaned and we began preparation for the community outreach and the construction projects as planned. Some of the projects that were executed during our time at the church included the following: Repairing the air conditioner and the non-functioning toilets in the church, replacing the doors to the outdoor water pump room (which had been frequented by rats and other pests), repairing the hot water heater (our team became adept to showering in cold water), and replacing the ill fitting gym doors which left occupants exposed to the elements. There were also additional improvements to the facility such as replacing fixtures and exterminating in and around the buildings.   We also focused on evangelizing and socializing with the local Navajo community. We hosted a Fun Fair, Movie Night & Discussion, Sports Fest and multiple luncheons where we served food and spent time getting to know one another. The children played together easily and their favorite games included basketball and duck-duck-goose. We also strove to encourage the current pastor (Pastor Toby) and his wife, who has only held the position for 6 months. He’s a welder by trade and is unable to dedicate his full attention to his pastoral work because there is very little money going into the church. The church is dependent upon missionaries who come to serve the community and maintain the facilities. Much of the congregation is comprised of senior members who are unable to work or find employment locally. Please keep the pastor and his flock in your prayers. Phil spent much of his time commuting to and from Home Depot to purchase the equipment required to complete the repairs to the buildings. The lists were long and the commute was 45 minutes each way. It was certainly a test in patience. He also served as our lead basketball player on the courts to recruit young people to come to the sports fest the following day. Despite his training as a fencer, Phil still had a few smooth moves on the court! After prepping for and leading...

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What Time Is It? (Jord watch-product review)

Posted by on 5:31 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Time Is It? (Jord watch-product review)

When I became a mother I didn’t realize how much time I would spend on the go. Besides saying “I Love You” my next popular phrase has become “what time is it?” As I rush the girls off to preschool, playdates, museums, swim practices, piano lessons, doctor appointments, and (if I’m lucky) Grandma’s house, I feel as though I’m constantly on a deadline. It’s truly a race against time. There are no rules for Motherhood, well, at least none as glaring as rule #1: Keep the kids alive! But every other aspect of the job is totally impromptu. Even the most visionary of Moms who have mapped out their kids lives from conception to college are forced to improvise. And so, after a long day of cramming in all the activities that I think are required of me as a mother, like clockwork, I collapse on the bed and take my first full, deep breath. But the tide is slowly turning, it just took a super stylish and earthy time-piece to do it. When a representative from Jord Watch Co. asked me to review one of their watches, my initial excitement was due to the fact that it was simply a cool looking watch! When I received the Red Sandalwood & Maple time-piece from the Sully series it was truly love at first sight. Every Jord watch is hand-crafted, hand assembled and made of the most beautiful woods. They’re special, they’re unique, and I’m obsessed. But as I continued to wear it, each admiring glance at the oversized bubbled bezel began to serve as a reminder of just how quickly time was flying by…and my inability to hang-on to it! So I started to make a conscious choice to slow down, breathe deep and enjoy it. The tag-line for the Sully collection affirms that you’re “right where you need to be,” and I’m starting to believe it!” So to my fellow Momma’s out there (and you know who you are), the Momma’s in the grocery line frantically checking out before another kid needs to go potty, the Momma who is running a few minutes late for school drop-off and pick-up, and to the Momma that feels like she should be there already, my hope is that you too can slow down and take the time to just breathe. You really are “right where you need to be.” How do you remind yourself to slow down and breathe? Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly.   <a id=”woodwatches_com_widget_article”  title=”Wood Watch Review”>Wood Watch Review</a> <script src=”//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/mommamina/850/250”  type=”text/javascript”></script> Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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I’m A SAHM Because God Said So – UPDATE

Posted by on 6:43 pm in Uncategorized | 1 comment

This past Sunday I was asked to share my previous testimony on how God instructed me (through the Holy Spirit) to relinquish a job opportunity so that I could fully focus on raising our 3 girls. I shared my testimony with my bible study group which is made up of new and seasoned husbands and wives, most of whom are parents. I couldn’t believe how many  women approached me after class to say how much they related to my experience. The decision to buck against a societal construct that invalidates mothers who choose to stay home with their children (in lieu of returning to the work force) has led many intelligent and competent women to second guess their self-worth. For 5 years I too struggled until God revealed to me my purpose in this current season. Here are 3 updates since my revelation: After realizing that being at SAHM was what God wanted me to do, I decided I wanted to be perfect at it. I attempted to manage all things domestic on my own, and in perfect time. I’m sure you can guess that I burnt out pretty quickly. I needed my husband’s help too. We’re a team! God didn’t call me to be perfect nor does he require me to be a one-woman show. Those were false expectations that I put upon myself.   My husband, Phil, is the most loving and supportive husband any wife could ask for. In fact, he’s so awesome, that I actually wrote a song about him. It’s true! I did write a song about him. From the moment I met him I knew he was heaven-sent. It might seem from my testimony that we were at odds with regard to my decision to work. The reality is that I wavered and he was decisive. But I think that the experience lead me to something more profound. I realized that for a long time I’d elevated my husband to god status (with a little g), by primarily deferring to him for wisdom, instruction and comfort (as needed). I now realize just how important it is for me to have an even more intimate relationship with the trinity outside of my husband. Even prior to my marriage, I looked to other people and circumstances for validation because I didn’t know the process by which God validates. Now I know it comes through the Holy Spirit.   Our girls are Happy! They aren’t perfect. They are naughty and ornery at times. Even to the point of being downright mean. But then there are times when they are sensitive and empathetic to one another …and even to me. They are little comedians who love to sing about Jesus’ sacrificial love and are inquisitive about everything. And sometimes, in the briefest of moments, I’m able to see a flicker of God’s light shining through them… and it brings me unspeakable joy. The time I spend with them affords me a real opportunity to develop and encourage them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’m bone-tired at the end of the day…and if you ask Phil he’ll probably say I’m even grumpy… but I’m happy. I’m happy because I finally know what it feels like to know that I’m walking in the Lord’s will. There’s not a ton of...

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my little Zoe… my little THIEF

Posted by on 3:39 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on my little Zoe… my little THIEF

Just before settling down to write this post I came across an article about Doris Payne, an 85-year-old International Jewel thief. Earlier this month she was nabbed for stealing from Saks, and was discovered to have a number of warrants for her arrest.  She’s gorgeous, poised and now behind bars. Which brings me to my little Zoe…my little thief. It’s hard for me to imagine anything bad about my girls. I birthed the little cherubs and I’ve watched them figure out this vast confusing world of do’s and don’ts. They are my little innocent creatures because they haven’t learned how to do bad things, right? Wrong! I learned recently that they too are inherently flawed creatures from birth (sinners if I might be so frank). I know…I know…not only does it sound harsh to label your own kid a “sinner,” but it’s also not a PC term either. But trust me, it simply translates to “someone who is willfully disobedient”. It’s this universal and innate nature that encouraged my Zoe to try her hand at thievery. A few Saturday’s ago,  Jada ran upstairs with what looked like play doctor tools. She held a plastic syringe and plastic reflex hammer tightly in the palm of her hand while she wildly gesticulated about some new revelation she had to make known. As she waved her hands (just shy of my nose), I realized that I, the gatekeeper of all toy purchases, had not purchased those toys. In fact, I’m pretty much aware of every toy item they own and when it was purchased or gifted. I asked Jada where she had gotten the toys and she disclosed that the toys were from Zoe. I turned to Zoe, who at this point was looking rather sheepish. It didn’t take much probing to uncover that the toys were taken from school the previous day. I launched into an entire discussion about why it is bad behavior to take things that not only don’t belong to her, but also denies other kids the opportunity to play with them. We also discussed how Mommy and Daddy work so hard to buy the things she likes (as evidenced by the room full of toys downstairs). She nodded with understanding and promised to return the toys to school. Phew! Crisis averted… …well, not really. I don’t know if my sweet-innocent- first-born- baby- girl, who could do no willful wrong, was testing me to see JUST how much I would actually notice her bouts of thievery, but on Sunday afternoon the bandit struck again! Upon returning from church I realized that she had a baby bottle stashed in her Sunday school bag, just underneath her bible stories and drawings of Jesus (how ironic)! I was so confused! Had I crafted the entire interaction that transpired the previous morning? Did she think thievery at school was off-limits, but church (of all places) was fair game! Did I botch the explanation? As I held the bottle in my hand she immediately began explaining that she would return the bottle next Sunday. I could see the guilt and remorse pulsing through her body and probably knotting up her little tummy. It’s painful to be exposed for wrongdoing. I wanted to keep it between the two of us, but I knew that...

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Momma Got Paid!

Posted by on 7:50 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Momma Got Paid!

I got paid today in hugs and kisses! I know …I know, getting paid in hugs and kisses is like a running joke for us Momma Bears. But believe me when I tell you that this paycheck was different from the others. After a busy morning of grocery shopping (for the week) with 2 toddlers and a babe strapped to my chest like a koala, I was beat (a definite understatement)! Of course you know the job doesn’t end there. Upon arriving home I had to prepare lunch for toddlers and babe (who is still on a breast milk diet) and then put the groceries away. After lunch, I ushered the girls to bed for their afternoon nap, while I cleaned the refrigerator and put the groceries away. That’s when I got paid! Little Jada came running out the room first, followed by Zoe. “I want a hug and a kiss,” she said. But instead of doing my usual “half bend and let them hug my hips while I pat their back and kiss their foreheads,” I decided to kneel down for a full on hug. It was the best paycheck ever! They wrapped their skinny little arms around my neck (I think Zoe wrapped her arms around me twice), and I squeezed their little bodies so tightly. We gave each other big kisses (including Eskimo kisses) and they ran off saying, “you’re my best Mommy!” Sure I’m their only Mommy too, but I still felt like I’d just received a little bonus in my check this week. I think I’m going to slow down more regularly so I can really enjoy my paychecks. In fact, I think this might be the only scenario in which it’s okay to live paycheck to paycheck. Are you taking the time to really enjoy your paydays? Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly. Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom because God said so!

Posted by on 5:44 pm in Uncategorized | 4 comments

It hasn’t been easy for me to submit to being a stay-at-home-Mom. Prior to walking this path, I’d worked since the age of 14 and had spent my entire life believing that obtaining degrees and working were not just the only pathway toward financial stability, but that it would undoubtedly bring personal fulfillment. As a result, I approached every phase of my life as if it were a sacrifice leading me toward greater success. Unfortunately, I approached motherhood in much the same way. I intended to stay at home with our kids while they were small, while simultaneously holding down a job that would afford me the flexibility to remain abreast of the changing career landscape. Motherhood was just something to get through until I could get back to establishing a fulfilling career (of which I still hadn’t experienced). While my decision to be a stay-at-home Mom was a challenging one, I thought my husband supported it whole-heartedly. However, when I shared the difficulties of my day or whenever he witnessed just how worn out I’d become, he would say, “You don’t have to stay home with the kids because we can get a nanny so you can work. I just want you to be happy.” His words were meant to be supportive, but they always seemed to undermine the “sacrifice” that I felt I was making for our family. I knew that no one could care for our girls physically and emotionally like I do, but yet he seemed indifferent. I resolved that this chapter of motherhood would feel thankless, but that if I push through this difficult time until the girls start school, I could get back to rebuilding “me.” What I didn’t realize was that actively seeking God through prayer and biblical study would invoke a very different perspective. I thought I knew how to pray and what to pray for. But after digging into precepts class and understanding the role of the Holy Spirit, I began to pray that God would stir up the Holy Spirit in me. I knew the Spirit was there because I said I believed in the Gospel, but I wasn’t actually walking with God as if I believed the Gospel. I was a worrier and a planner. I wanted God to prove to me he was there. I wanted to be a devout witness to His miracles and wonders. I wanted to experience the crazy irrefutable signs of His hand all over my life like that of the Apostles. They were pierced by the gospel, but for me, it wasn’t totally real. I also prayed that God would show me what he had planned for my life. I knew I was supposed to be His witness, but how? Clearly being a mother of 3 kids, ages 4 and under, was not His ultimate will for my life. I prayed that “despite” my current season of motherhood, God would reveal his plan for me …just in case I needed to prepare for it beforehand. (wink, wink) A few days later I got an answer…I was offered a part-time job as a Grant Writer. It promised ultimate flexibility, I could work from home, get paid a solid hourly rate, and it would pave the way for future writing opportunities. Shazam! God works...

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I Lost 5 LBS in 5 Days By Following These 5 Principles

Posted by on 6:34 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I Lost 5 LBS in 5 Days By Following These 5 Principles

Most people think that losing weight means that you have to deprive yourself of not only yummy food, but food…period. But last week I learned that depriving oneself of good food is a myth. In fact, the key to losing weight is in what you eat, how frequently you eat it, and your water intake. I lost weight by eating! I actively try to be a healthy eater, but after birthing my 3rd baby in 4 years I felt it was high time to call in the professionals. Not just for the sake of weight-loss, but for the sake of giving my family a strong healthy relationship with food. So this past week I decided to embark on a Clean Eating Challenge lead by a personal trainer and dietitian. My coach defined clean eating for me (nothing out of a box, bag or can…besides tuna) and gave me the flexibility to take the lead on my own meal planning while offering suggestions along the way. So what did I eliminate? I eliminated breads, pastas and rice (even brown). I cooked and prepared my own food everyday and I ate frequently instead of waiting until I felt famished. My meals included all kinds of meats (YES…even BACON) and a host of yummy fruits and veggies. I drank 1/2 my body weight in fluid ounces of water, and I was rarely hungry. I ate a total of 5 complete small meals a day composed of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Now I’m still working on portion control…but here’s a sampling of the meals that I prepared and enjoyed!. I lost 5 pounds in 5 days by staying hydrated and EATING regularly. I didn’t have any major cravings until the hubby brought home my favorite treat TWIZZLERS! But instead of reaching for them I pulled out a bowl of sweet sweet watermelon. It wasn’t easy…but I stuck to it. And you can to. Below are the 5 principles that helped me surpass my goals: 1. Find a Coach or an Accountability Friend Accountability is HUGE! The good thing about my Awesome Coach was that she encouraged me to eat frequently and educated me on why. She checked in with the group (via FB) and shared reminders and tips as needed. Sometimes it helps just to have someone go through the journey with you. If I didn’t have a coach or a group of determined women to hold me accountable, I certainly would have opted for Twizzlers over Watermelon! 2. Plan Ahead The weekend before the big Clean Eating Challenge the group was instructed to purchase all groceries (for the week) over the weekend. This wasn’t a totally new concept for me, but it was a kick in the butt to make it a conscious priority over the weekend. I mapped out my meals for the week, crafted a grocery list and went to the store without the kids to minimize distraction. Everything was within reach when it came time to prep a meal. 3. Set your goals – Goals should be realistic and achievable Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this challenge with regard to weight. So my goals were to learn how to eat healthier, actually eat healthier and resist artificial sweets. The weight loss was just an awesome by-product...

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Why You Should Never Agree to be Photographed on a Whim!

Posted by on 9:36 pm in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Do you recognize this meme of Jamie Foxx? It has been floating around the internet serving as a reminder to my fellow Average Joes to be selective about who captures our image. Now I’ve taken absolutely wretched photos in the past, but an impromptu “photo shoot” on Father’s Day proved to be hands-down one of my worst! It was the perfect day for a picnic by the lake; great weather, great food and even better company. But as we laid out on the grass basking in our contentment we were interrupted by a gentleman lingering nearby with a camera. Now I’d been nursing Sydney at the time (wearing my breastfeeding cover of course), and was a bit alarmed to see him inching closer and closer to our picnic locale. Was he a perv? A peeping Tom? A Chester? Who knew! So I whispered to Phil about our lurking stranger when suddenly he breached the silence and asked if he could take a photo of our picnic scene for the Hyde Park Herald Newspaper in honor of  Father’s Day. We hesitated but ultimately agreed. I mean… could this be any more random?!?! He immediately began taking a few shots, which I assumed were test shots because clearly we weren’t “ready” and I was still breastfeeding our baby. But before I knew it, he was proudly shoving the camera in our faces to show the image he’d captured in pixels. In my haste to unlatch baby and re-latch bra I nodded in approval. Bad idea! Fast forward to Thursday morning and my shower is interrupted by Phil remarking that the photo that we’d taken at the lake had actually made it into the Herald… and that unfortunately I wouldn’t like it. Of course I demanded that he show me the photo and to my horror… YUP! That actually happened…   Are you bold enough to poke fun of and post one of your worst photos?                           Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly. Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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