Peppermint Mocha Bombs- my take on the popular hot chocolate bombs trend! 💕☕️💕

Recently a friend of mine shared a video of these delicious looking balls of magic called hot chocolate bombs and I was amazed!! So I decided to try and make some of my own. 👍🏻 Now normally, I’m not super handy in the kitchen when it comes to super fancy little treats. But these ones looked so fun and “not too hard” so I thought I’d give it a try. And BOY am I glad I did!!

Basically you melt some chocolate and spread it in a silicone ball mold. I used some mint chocolate melts and a mold I got at Hobby Lobby. I was hoping for a slightly smaller and all plain ball mold, but they didn’t have any, so I ended up with these really big super frilly flower molds, but they work. After you spread the melted chocolate around in the molds, place them in the freezer for 30 mins to harden.

Once they are hard, take them out of the mold. Fill the bottom half with your hot chocolate mix and mini marshmallows. I used Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix and a few crushed candy canes.

Then rub the rim of the top mold around on a hot plate to melt it slightly, and place it over the bottom. Run a hot spoon around the seam to melt them together completely. And PRESTO! You’ve just made a hot chocolate bomb!! 😮

Simply place a bomb in your mug and cover with steamed milk, or in my case COFFEE, and watch the chocolate shell melt and the marshmallow magic come popping out. 💕Stir well and enjoy!💕

You can see a more detailed recipe and video of the whole process here: Hot Chocolate Bombs

What are your favorite fancy treats or cold weather drinks?


Call to Mind to Calm Your Mind

Do you struggle with “shutting your mind off” at night? Do you have trouble getting to sleep because you are stressing out about things? Do you go to bed defeated and wake up already dreading the day?
What if I told you things could be different?

What if you could go to bed encouraged and feeling accomplished? What if you woke up every day determined and ready to tackle the day? And what if the solution was SUPER SIMPLE?

Guess what, IT IS!!! 😃

There is just one super SIMPLE and very real practice that I have done over the years that makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. When I do it, I feel better, sleep better, and get more done. When I don’t do it, well, it’s not a pretty picture. So now I’m going to share with you how to do it so you can reap the benefits too.

It’s as simple as answering 3 simple journaling prompts!! Yes, really! It’s a daily discipline of “calling to mind” the goodness from the day and making a record of it. If you are anything like me, it’s really easy to beat yourself up about all the things you didn’t do, or the things you didn’t do well. It’s a LOT harder to think of your wins. But if you only focus on the negative, you will feel negative. If you put effort into recalling the positive, more positive will come to mind. It’s what you train your brain to focus on.

Of course everyone makes mistakes. That’s part of being human. But as a friend once told me “the only real mistake is one you don’t learn from”. So one way of reframing your mistakes is looking for the lesson. Does your toddler spend all morning being grumpy? Maybe earlier breakfast or more protein might help. Did you grab take out because you forgot to defrost meat for dinner? Maybe meal planning can help. So instead of grumbling and complaining about how everybody is whining all the time and you are total screw up in the cooking department, tell yourself what needs to be different. Speak life into those frustrating areas. Sometimes, the lesson or the solution isn’t easy to see. Sometimes you just know something is off. That’s okay. The lesson could be “I will figure out better morning routine” instead of a detailed plan. That’s enough. And it’s a great place to start.

Did you know it’s physically impossible to be angry and grateful at the same time? I’ll save you the boring biology lesson, but because of the way God designed our brains, those two emotions can not happen at the same time. Now, you can toggle between them quickly, but not at the same time. So if you are trying to get yourself out of a grumpy mood, gratitude is the BEST place to start. Maybe you had a terrible-no-good-very-bad-day. But is there one thing you can be thankful for? Can you push yourself to find two? It’s all part of training your brain to find the good, to be thankful. And the more things you can find to be thankful for, the greater your satisfaction at the end of the day will be.

So here it is- the simple 3 step solution for calming your mind and ending the day on a satisfied note. Make a list of three things:

  • WINS– what did you do right today?
  • LESSONS- what can you learn from today?
  • GRATITUDE- what are you thankful for today?

This doesn’t need to be super fancy or difficult. Just a plain notebook or journal to write them down is totally fine. I have created a sheet that I use in my planner for recording these things and I would be happy to share it with you, if you want something more concrete. You can see it (and others) in my Etsy shop! Click here! Even just a little list on your phone works. But someway of recording it makes a difference. I’ve been tempted in the past to skip the writing it down step and just mentally go through my list while trying to go to bed. However, it’s really great to have a record of it to review. Having a hard time, feeling down on yourself? Look back at the good things from the past. It follows the principle in Lamentations 3:21-23 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness!”

Try it tonight and see what a difference it makes!


Time Targets- How to Create Your Ideal Week

Well, it’s almost February JUNE 😮. How are you doing on your goals? Or have you even set any yet? Or are your resolutions already dead and gone?

(Okay, full disclosure here. Yes, I started writing this post towards the end of January, but then life got crazy and I never got it posted. 🤷🏻‍♀️ And then Coronavirus shook everything up. BUT this was THE THING that got me back on track and out of survival mode during quarantine too! It’s still applicable even though our days looks very different now. Read on for more good news!) 👍🏻

Are you looking for a REAL and tangible way to be more purposeful with your time and actually get something done? Are you tired of feeling like you’re just extinguishing fires all day and never get to the stuff you WANT to do? I have a solution for you!

There is a very valuable tool called an Ideal Week. Now I know what you’re probably thinking “Ha! Ideal week! My weeks are anything BUT ideal! I don’t have time for fairy tales and ‘pie-in-the-sky’ silliness like coming up with a mythical ideal week.” At least, that’s what I thought when I first heard about this exercise. I first heard about creating an Ideal Week by Michael Hyatt, creator of my favorite planner. And I thought “Sure, if you spend most of your time in an office, you probably can arrange your time more like you want, but I’ve got kids and craziness, so nothing is ever going to fit into a beautiful little box. Thank you, next.” But then I heard about it again from Kendra Hennessy in her Homemaker-ish U course (which is fabulous BTW). And I avoided listening to the lesson forever. I thought, I don’t need to waste my time on Ideal, I need real and now. But then almost every other lesson I listened to of hers kept going back to the Ideal Week. And I thought, “Okay, fine. I’ll at least listen to it, so I can check it off and move on.” Great attitude, right? But hey, this is REAL LIFE, not some prettied up Pinterest post, remember? But what I heard when I listened to her module instantly made sense to me! It finally clicked!!

I’m getting ahead of myself though. What is an Ideal Week in the first place? Well, it’s a way of setting up your ideal schedule. Like if everything was running optimally, this is what it would look like. If you got to choose what things would help you, your household, and your family to run smoothly like a well oiled machine, this is what it would look like. See why I was skeptical? 🤨 It’s not a “perfect” schedule, because let’s be honest, if we were designing a perfect schedule it probably wouldn’t include laundry or dishes or carpooling, right? But just putting all those big rocks in your schedule down on paper really helps you see where you have time to do some other things and where you don’t.

So what was the secret sauce that made me suddenly think this was actually a good idea? It’s when Kendra explained that this isn’t meant to be an ACTUAL schedule. I’m not setting myself up to fail when I inevitably won’t be able to get it all done in the small time frame I allotted for it. It’s not a set-in-stone timetable, but more like a TIME TARGET. Something to shoot for. An idea (or ideal) to guide me through those slippery slopes of survival mode and perfectionism. **aaaahhhh** It’s what I needed but I didn’t even know it.

So I thought, “why not, I’ll give it a shot.” AND BOY WAS I GLAD I DID!!! What I found when I actually put the thought and effort into it was FREEDOM!! Not a rigid schedule that would restrict me and stress me out. But the freedom to bend and flex when life threw curveballs and then GET BACK ON TRACK. **Insert happy dance right here!!**

Convinced yet? Want to know how you can find this magical freedom formula too? I’m glad you asked!

So how do you even get started creating such a thing? The first step was the hardest for me, but it sounds like it should be the easiest. Ask yourself “What do you want to do?” Why is that so hard? Well, I think as mothers, we often times get conditioned into helping everyone else, and doing all the things they need help with that we simply put our needs on the back burner. But then we get so busy putting out fires 🔥 that by the end of the day when we have a little time to ourselves we’re too exhausted to do anything. Sound familiar? But what if I told you it didn’t need to be this way? That’s survival mode right there, and that is exactly what we are trying to get out of and avoid. But with the time target excercise you think of your time more like money in a budget. You tell your time where to go rather than wondering where it all went! Give yourself permission to dream and think a little!

Honestly, if you only get the first step done, you have accomplished a lot. If you never get the Ideal Week written down on paper, BUT you’ve thought out what you want to do and how to do it, you’re still winning! But don’t quit yet, the rest is good stuff too!

So after you’ve thought about how you actually want to spend your time and what actually needs to get done, now you simply start filling in the time slots. Now, for some of you, like me, there might need to be a middle step before writing things down. Call it step 1.5 if you will. Now that you know what needs to be done, you need to know how long it actually takes to do it. And you know what I found? Things don’t take near as long as I think they will, especially if you do them everyday! I could do a whole other blog post about the efficiency of routines, and maybe I will, but for right now, focus on the tasks you’ve already come up with. Switching the laundry over really only takes about 3-5 minutes, not the 10 I first thought. Emptying the dishwasher can be done while I wait for my coffee to brew. A lot of times we avoid doing things because we think they’ll take too much time, but when we actually do them, it doesn’t take much time at all. Before I figured this out, I probably spent more time stressing out about getting things done, than it actually takes to just do the thing. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Don’t know how much time a certain task takes? Time yourself! Just do the task 3 different times, time each attempt, and take the average. If you want to get crazy about it, try the task at 3 different times of the day! (Here’s a hint- basically everything goes faster if there aren’t little people underfoot 😉) But since I don’t want to get up at the buttcrack of dawn and get everything done before anyone wakes up, find the pockets of time that you can fit them in with minimal distractions. And who knows- you might be surprised (like I was) how excited your little people get about “helping” you do the things. And while yes, it takes longer, it sets the stage for later when they can actually be a help and do it FOR you! 😮 Competitive type? Set your timer for 5 minutes and see if you can get it done before the timer goes off!

Okay- you know what you want to get done, you know how long it takes, now let’s PLAY! This is basically like Tetris for adults. #TimeTetris Get out a sheet of paper (or spreadsheet or graph or whatever floats your boat) and break it into 30 minute time slots from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Then add columns for each day of the week. Like this:

Start with what I call your “big rocks”. There are always things that have to get done at a certain time- getting kids to school, going to work, nap times, bedtimes, extracurricular activities, church, whatever it is. Put those things down first.

Next, simply “plug and chug”. Fit your tasks into the remaining time slots. 👍🏻 There is a word of caution here though. ⚠️ On paper, it can be really tempting to line all your tasks up back to back to back and fill in all the slots. I’m telling you from experience, that is doomed to fail. #bummer But if you jam pack your schedule with no wiggle room in between, you will either be exhausted and never want to do it again, or stressed out and give up. Allow time for life to happen. Give yourself some grace. Resist the urge to have all the little slots filled and accounted for. Don’t worry- they will get filled up LOL.

And if color makes you happy, like it does me, feel free to have a little fun with it. Pssst- you can even add stickers if you want to- I won’t tell… Here’s what mine currently looks like. (I say currently because it changes about every quarter.) Don’t be afraid of a lot of white space!

But how is this helpful? Isn’t this just another to-do list that never gets done and just taunts you from the sidelines? NO! This is your lifeline for when life happens. You’ve set up your targets, you know what you are aiming for, and when life throws you a curveball (which it always does), you simply look at what the next thing is, and like Anna just “do the next right thing”. Do I get all my things done every single day? Nope! Do I stress out about it? Nope! (Okay, sometimes, but then I remember it’s okay) BUT in those times that I start to feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know what to do and overwhelm is knocking at my door, I can simply look at the target, reach out for that lifeline, and GET BACK ON TRACK.

The beautiful thing about this is when you see your time budget, and you’ve thought about what you ACTUALLY WANT to do, you might be surprised to find a few little pockets of time to fit in some FUN activities too.

This was obviously my ideal week BEFORE COVID-19 changed our lives, but it’s just an example, so deal with it. 😉


My New Year Traditions

Every year around this time I get super excited. Sure, Christmas is over, and all that goes with it, but it also means that New Years is just right around the corner!!! I love all that Christmas celebrates, the traditions, and yes the sentimentality, but if I’m totally honest and REAL, I gotta admit that my most favorite holiday is New Years Day. Yes, really. I’m a total nerd about it. 🤓 I get all geeked out, and it’s super duper exciting to me! *If you’re trying to do a quick skim of this while in the bathroom and kids are knocking on the door, feel free to jump to the bottom where I give a brief synopsis. #reallife Otherwise, read on for all the geeky details LOL!*

Do I get all dressed up and go to swanky parties? Nope. Big no. Not my jam. Do I stay up all night and watch some glitzy ball drop? Nope. So how do I celebrate New Years? Well, I’m glad you asked! LOL! Actually, word has slowly gotten out that I get waaay to excited about New Years, so lately I’ve had more and more people asking me about it. So I thought I would just write it up for everyone! You see, for me, the real party is New Years DAY, not New Years EVE. 🥳

New Years Day is so full of possibilities, intentions, expectations, and fresh starts. A blank slate. A time to truly celebrate all that life has to offer and to craft it into anything you choose. AHHH I’m getting cheesed just thinking about it! 🥰 But you see, you can’t be full of dreams and craft clear paths to achieve them if you are still hungover or half asleep from a wild night before. No, I tend to actually go to bed early on New Years Eve, just so I can meet the New Year well rested and full of energy. I know, not super duper glitzy, or fun, but super practical. Woohoo!

The other BIG reason I get super excited about New Years is my fabulous husband gives me the day off! Yes ladies, it is possible. And it’s everything I dream it will be and more. He takes care of the girls all day while I go to the coffee shop or wherever else I want to go to get away from it all. And I have the whole time to pray, think, dream, and plan!! ❤️ NOW you see why I get excited, right? LOL! After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is the most soul-satisfying thing to just take a day off and dream. Quiet the noise and really listen. With no one asking for a snack, a show, or help on the toilet. Now for some of you, a whole day just isn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen for me until my kids were a little older. But you can chunk these steps out into different times and get SOMETHING done in whatever time you have available to you.

As beautiful and amazing as this day off sounds, there’s a trick here too. If I just escaped the house and spent the day dreaming, I would either waste the whole day thinking about grocery lists, to-dos, or looking at my phone. And soon the clock would strike, it would be time to hurry home, and I would have nothing to help me the other 364 days of the year. So I have learned that I need to be very strategic with my time. Free time is a precious resource that I don’t like to squander lightly. But I also hate feeling forced into a rigid schedule or agenda. It stifles the creative sparkles in me. 🤷🏻‍♀️ So what’s a girl to do? Well, I have a general outline of things I want to think about, do, and figure out. It’s fluid and it can flex, but it’s a guideline to keep me on track.

  • FIRST– I reflect and review the past year. You would be surprised at how much you tend to forget. Mom-brain is a real thing, y’hall. And I don’t know if it’s just me, and the way I’m wired, but my brain is TERRIBLE at actually remembering the good things. I can think of several times I’ve messed up, or missed the mark, or could have done better, but all the victories? They’re harder to come by. So I have a system of writing them down as they happen. I also review these quarterly so that when it comes to the annual review it’s a little easier, rather than trying to think back through the whole year, but that’s a blog post for another day. But I really force myself to use this review for wins not regrets. What went RIGHT this year?

    SECOND– after walking down memory lane and being reminded of all the good things, I go into my KISS review. No, not steamy romance stuff, but the acronym K.I.S.S. Now most of you might know it as Keep It Simple Stupid, and while that’s how I typically operate, what I actually use it as an acronym for is Keep Improve Stop Start. So after looking back on my whole year, what things do I want to Keep? What was working? Next, Improve. What things didn’t work? Or sorta worked, but could probably work better? And lastly Stop/Start. What things do I need to stop doing and start doing in order to improve? It’s really that simple. I don’t get too much into the nitty gritty here, but more big picture type of things.

    Having reviewed the victories and using my KISS strategy really gets me keyed up and excited about moving forward. The momentum from these two steps is really powerful. After you’ve seen how far you’ve already come, you get so jazzed about going just a little bit further! This is where the dreaming part starts to happen. And this is the part that a lot of people naturally do at New Years. They make “resolutions” to do better in the new year. But if I’m not at least a little organized, this is where things can kinda derail. Sure, it’s easy enough to say “WOW! I did great last year in these areas, I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing and it’ll be great 👍🏻”. Or even easier to say “Man, I didn’t get as far as I wanted to, but THIS year will be different. I’m totally going to do XYZ and really accomplish that this year…” And start chasing a thousand different rabbit trails of good intentions and end up lost and discouraged before February even starts.

    In order to avoid those pitfalls and the discouragement that follows, I don’t make resolutions. “What? But you just said you got so excited and dreamed and planned. What do you mean you don’t make resolutions?” Nope, I don’t make resolutions, because almost all resolutions fail. Instead I make GOALS. “What’s the difference?” Well resolutions tend to be pretty vague “I want to lose weight this year“. Okay, take off your shoes- boom- you just lost a little weight. Or “I want to be healthier this year“. Okay, well what does “healthier” mean to you? Is that drinking 6 sodas a week instead of 12, or running a marathon instead of a half-marathon? You need to really nail down what you want and how you’re going to get there, or you really haven’t helped yourself at all. If you haven’t identified how you’re going to measure something, how do you know if you’ve improved?

    The first few times I went through this process, I would often find myself overwhelmed. I wanted to improve everything! I would get so many big ideas or dreams that I didn’t really know where to start. Or I would make so many goals, that there was no way I was going to actually accomplish ALL of them in one year. Or I would tend to make goals for areas of my life that were already doing fairly well, but totally avoid trying to improve any of the areas where I was actually struggling in. This would feel good for a time, but by the time the next year rolled around I still felt stuck. That is, until I found the Life Assessment Score by Michael Hyatt. It’s a simple online survey that asks a series of questions based on 10 domains of life: physical, vocational, avocational, emotional, financial, spiritual, parental, marital, social, and intellectual. Then shows you the areas that are going well and those that need improvement. You can take the survey for free here: https://assessments.michaelhyatt.com/lifescore/

    So my THIRD step is to take this survey and see what it shows. Where could I put some effort and really improve my score? Our struggle areas are the most ripe for improvement. It’s where we can really get the most bang for our buck.

    FOURTH– this is the fun part- I set my GOALS! Yay! I could go on and on about goals, because I really do get very nerdy about them. But this post is already too long, so I will boil it down to this. Format your goals in a way that will actually get you somewhere. You want them to guide you towards goal-achievement, not just goal setting. Michael Hyatt recommends “SMARTER” goals.

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Action focused (avoid “Be more XYZ” and set the action)
    • Risky (yes, Risky, not “realistic”. Push yourself!)
    • Time-keyed
    • Exciting (this is your “why”)
    • Relevant (to your stage in life and too each other. If you have a newborn, starting an hour long morning routine is probably not too relevant. If you have one goal to save money, you probably don’t also want to set a goal to travel more etc.)
  • There’s a great article that covers all of these here: https://medium.com/the-ascent/how-to-make-your-smart-goals-smarter-fef02e332f76
  • There’s also a really great “How To” book called “Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt that goes into great detail about all of this. But for me, the real break through happened when I limited my number of goals. “What?! Aren’t you supposed to dream big?” Well, yes, and no. If I spread myself too thin and try to accomplish everything, I will get overwhelmed, burnt out, and not accomplish anything. SO I really try to narrow it down to 7-10 goals for the whole year. AND I make the deadline for those goals spread out throughout the whole year. Instead of starting on Jan. 2nd and trying to do all.the.things I pick 2-3 per quarter to really focus on and leave the rest for later. For example, I really wanted to get a better house keeping routine figured out this past year. But if I had tried to do that over the summer when my kids were home full time, it would not have been pretty. So that was more of a focus during quarter 4 when both of my kids went to school for the first time. I had the time and capacity to focus on it better then. And when the stress of a messy house would start to rise up and I would start to panic and think “Man! I’ve really gotta get this figured out!” I would remind myself that I have a plan to do that this fall and the stress would ease up a little. Sure, I still had to clean my house during the rest of the year, but that panic of “I’m failing” could get quieted down a little easier when I knew I had a plan in place.
  • Now let’s be clear, there were several years where goals were just not realistic for my season of life. If you have a newborn or aren’t sleeping well, perfectly crafted goals are probably not your priority, nor should they be. But to avoid survival mode I would at least set an intention. A word or phrase for the year that would help bring me back to center and keep me true to what I really wanted to do. Some examples were “LOVE WELL” or “JOY”. I even still like to set an word or intention for the year just because it’s simple but powerful. If you’re having a hard time coming up with a word, there’s a great little quiz you can take here: https://www.myintent.org/pages/whatsyourwordquiz. (And if you are local and would like to craft a tangible reminder of that word or intention- let me know- I’d LOVE ❤️ LOVE to make it with you- I’ve got all the tools) 😉
  • FIFTH- I write it down. I write down my goals on one page so I can review them everyday (yes, even the ones that aren’t due during that quarter). It keeps them fresh in my mind. I write them down in my planner (YAY!) and get all geeked out about it. I plan out my year based on projects and goals and then get it written down. This can be in a planner, a notebook, a spreadsheet, whatever works best for you. But get it written down! And don’t just write it down and then forget about it, keep it somewhere you can see it and check back in with it frequently. (And of course, this is where I get crazy crafty and bust out all the stickers, markers, and such to make it pretty and fun too!) I have even made vision boards and phone lock screens out of images that match my goals so I can have a constant visual reminder about them. But I’m more visual, so it works for me. But you do you.
  • Whew! Can you tell I get excited about it? And that I take all day to do it LOL? You can make this fit into whatever time slot you have. Do a mini-session during naptime, take a little longer lunch break, find a time. You won’t regret it! So as a recap, here are the 5 steps for your BEST YEAR EVER!
      1. Review: What were your biggest wins this year?
      1. Reflect: What are you going to Keep, Improve, Stop/Start this year? (KISS)
      1. Survey: I do the LifeAssessment Score by Michael Hyatt (see link above), but use whatever tool you like best to get an accurate assessment of how your life is going presently.
      1. GOALS: Get your goal on girl! Follow the SMARTER framework to set yourself up for the most success. Or, pick a word or intention to focus on. Or both! 😉 But be sure to spread your goals out over the year, don’t make everything due on Dec. 31st.
      1. Write it Down!: Have your goals or word written down and put somewhere you can easily review it everyday. Planners, notebooks, spreadsheets, stickies on the bathroom mirror, bracelets, whatever works best for you. But do it. Read it. Refer to it. And DO IT!

    Comment below or send me a message and let me know what your traditions are, what your goals are, or any questions you have! I’d love to hear from you.

    🥳 Happy New Year!!! 🥳

    accountability, Rest, scripture, Uncategorized

    Real Rest

    Thank you so much for all the love, support, and kindness you all have shown me after my last post.  It truly has meant a lot to me!  As I was reflecting on what really pulled me through and has kept me on level ground I was reminded over and over of the different scripture passages that really helped me.  And I have found a lot of strength and encouragement from online Bible Studies and accountability groups.  Then the light bulb went off- I could combine the two!! So I decided to write my own 31 day Scripture Challenge with all the verses that really helped me. You can check it out here!

    The idea is pretty simple, really.  Having a daily plan of what you are going to read helps build an ongoing habit of getting into the word, which is awesome. Having other friends do the same thing with you builds in some accountability to (hopefully) spur you on when the going gets rough. THAT’S where this 31 Day Scripture Challenge comes in! Simply download this study, and read the verses selected for each day. Each day also poses some questions for quiet reflection. You can then choose to share your insights in the accountability group, or simply go through the exercises independently. Who wants in?

    Who's ready to find some real rest for their soul? Join me on this 31 Day Scripture Challenge!

    It’s REAL simple! Here’s how:

    1. Simply click on this link: Rest For Your Souls
    2. Download the PDF
    3. Print it out or save it on your device so you can read it everyday.
    4. Let me know if you want to join the accountability group. We start on Mon. May 21st, 2018!
    5. Enjoy!


    Emotions, Feelings, Help, Life Hacks, Parenting, Post Partum Depression, Praise, Uncategorized

    My Most REAL Post Yet

    I know there haven’t been many posts on here lately. But it’s for a good reason, well several good reasons really.  One of which is because life is just busy sometimes, okay MOST of the time. But the biggest reason? It’s because God has been slowly, faithfully, changing my heart. Really.  You see, I started this blog out of a place of frustration, overwhelm, and needing a place to just sort my #crazymomlife thoughts out. And it has been great for that. But along the way, God has gently brought me to a place where the frustrations are fewer and the overwhelm is quieting down. Really. But before I get to the happy ending, let me get real with you, this road has had several bumps in it.

    There was a time, okay more like a year, after my second child was born that I struggled. Like really struggled. Like wanting to “just-leave-it-all-behind” struggled. It was a dark time and the harsh effects of Post Partum Depression were real. Really real. So real that I didn’t really realize how bad it had gotten until one day the cloud started to lift a little and only then did I realize just how much I was struggling. Even now, when I look back on that time in my life, there are just big black holes in my memory that I can’t recall all the details of. When your brain is struggling to just survive, it has a harder time holding on to precious memories of little milestones along the way. It’s scary, and a little sad.

    But what is even scarier, and whole lot sadder, is that some of you who know me personally just found out about this right now.  You see I struggled and suffered mostly in silence. And it’s not because I didn’t have resources, I DID. I have a wonderful husband, Mom, family, and friends. I was part of several wonderful support circles at church and in the community. And YET, I never reached out to any of them. I never shared my struggle, until now.

    I wanted to keep up appearances. I didn’t want to admit that I was hurting as bad as I really was. I was trying so very very hard to maintain. Because in my clouded brain I thought that maybe if everyone else thought I was doing okay, then maybe I was. If I didn’t have to admit that I was failing maybe I really wasn’t failing that bad. Besides, wasn’t this just part of the deal, anyway? Sweet Momma, it doesn’t have to be.

    Even after starting this blog, I never really shared about this, well, until today. I thought I could just share about some of the hard times, because everyone has hard times sometime. People didn’t need to know how bad it was, just focus on the little hurdles and how I got over those. And it doesn’t really matter, in the big scheme of things, that I struggled with this because I’m not struggling like that anymore. 

    But really, that’s just another way of hiding.

    And hiding NEVER helps anything or anyone.

    And I truly want to help. Really. I’m not sharing this to have other people feel sorry for me. I’m not sharing this to have other people think I’m really strong for pulling myself out of the pit. Honestly, I’m not even really sharing this for anyone else. But I feel like God has been slowly nudging me to open up, honestly, about this part of my life that I tried so hard to hide. And I have to be honest before God, because after all, He knows what I’m thinking anyways, so I’m not really hiding anything anyway. (Psalm 139:2)

    God has been saving me from myself for as long as I’ve know Him.  He’s like that, you know. He’s in the saving business! But He has been showing me that He has really called me out of this darkness and into His marvelous light for a reason. 1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” And that, first and foremost, is what I want to do. Praise HIM! HE was the one that saved me. He gave me other tools and helps along the way, but it was HIM who held my life in His hands and kept my hands off it.


    Just as Psalm 116 says, when I was brought low, HE saved me. The LORD delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk in the land of the living. And it’s an every day sort of saving. I still have hurdles, I still have tears, I still stumble, BUT GOD. God helps me get back on the right path.

    But He doesn’t want to just save ME, He wants to save the whole world! I want this blog to be a vessel that HE can use to reach those of you who need His comfort.

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” ~2 Corinthians 1: 3-7

    So take heart, Momma. If He can save me, and He has, He will do the same for you, if you ask Him to. There will still be trying days, there always are, but they are easier. You are NOT alone. 

    I do want to give you resources.  There is help for you out there. Just reach out, even when you don’t really want to, because trust me, the other people in your life want you to.

    • PPD Moms: full information about postpartum depression
    • Suicide.org: a nonprofit specializing in prevention, awareness, and support
    • Crisis Text Line: You can even simply text HOME to 741741 any time 24/7 to get real live help, in the moment. Because we all know it’s impossible to talk on the phone.

    But really, the BEST resource I know of and have used, is simply JESUS. He’s available 24/7, you don’t even need to text or call or make an appointment. And the best part is, you don’t have to explain your struggles to Him, He already knows, and He’s been waiting for you to reach out. HE has the power to heal and to help. It’s all by HIS power, not our own, and HE will see you through it.

    Has this helped you? Let me know in the comments below! Do you still have questions, or need more resources? Let me know in the comments below! Do you have something that you too want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

    easter, Good Friday, Messiah, Priorities, Uncategorized

    “It Is Finished!”

    So many things in our lives are never finished.

    • Dishes get dirty, again
    • Laundry piles back up, again
    • Houses get messed up, again
    • Meals still need to be made, again
    • Alarm clocks continue to ring, again
    • Bills still need to be paid, again
    • Jobs come and go
    • Seasons change, again
    • We will sin, again.

    But our eternal redemption? THAT is FINISHED!! Let your soul rest in this eternal promise. It IS finished. Forever. Praise God!! If that doesn’t make a Good Friday, I don’t know what would.

    Emotions, Feelings, Focus, Life Hacks, Parenting, Priorities, Simplify, Toddlers

    Choose Your Focus

    Recently I had a rare moment of clarity. And that clarity came from choosing to blur out the background. Let me explain. There was a sweet, and rare, moment that my youngest daughter actually fell asleep in my arms. This is the girl that doesn’t like to be held too much. She prefers to do everything, including falling asleep, on her own terms and her own timeframe. So when she actually fell asleep while I held her I just HAD to take a picture! 

    I find that pictures help me grab moments. Moments my scattered brain will soon forget, moments I don’t want to forget, moments that take my breath away, moments I want to share with someone who’s not there, moments that I want to hold on to and pass on. (This is why all my digital storage is FULL of photos and the sheer weight of all my printed albums could easily match a herd of elephants.) But photos are funny. No camera can capture a scene the same way our brain sees it. 

    I’ll save you the full neuroscience disclosure of why this is true, but I can sum it up fairly simply. Our brains do us a favor (sometimes) by helping focus on details that it seems important or remarkable. Our eyes take in LOTS of information. Much like a camera lens. But our brain helps us sort through it. While you may be staring at your screen right now, your eyes are seeing everything around the screen and in the periphery too. But your brain focuses in on just the screen. The information is there, we just don’t pay attention to it. 

       But a camera just captures the information. And when we look at a picture our brains do a little better job of paying attention to more of the details because it’s focusing on the picture and not all the other things going on around you. And that’s precisely why I like to look at pictures, sometimes. Sometimes it captures little details, like the way my daughter’s hair curls “just so”, or that little twinkle in their eye, or the facial expression of an onlooker in the background. But sometimes it captures details I would rather blur out- like the messy house in the background, piles of laundry laying around, or the facial expression of an onlooker in the background. 

       And that’s what it did this time. I took a picture of my sweet sleepy baby in my arms, but then when I looked at the picture later I immediately noticed the piles of laundry in the background. And I had to make a choice. I had to *choose my focus*. I wasn’t about to let some *thing* distract my focus from some *one*. And luckily due to advances in photo editing software I could actually physically blur those distractions away so the picture would better capture my experience of the moment. 👍🏻

          Don’t you wish we could do the same thing in real life as simply as pushing a button? We CAN do it, our brains are actually pretty good at it, but we have to choose. We have to tell it what’s important (and what’s not) and then *choose* to focus on *those* things. 

          When I started writing this post, the words of the chorus of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” kept coming up in my mind. 

          Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
          Look full in His wonderful face,
          And the things of earth will grow         strangely dim,
          In the light of His glory and grace.

    It was that experience of choosing to look to Jesus and letting “the things of earth” grow strangely dim that I was experiencing. I don’t know of any better picture of faith, trust, love, and peace than a sweet sleeping baby in your arms. And isn’t that what Jesus calls us to? 

         But when I looked up the lyrics of the song, I was struck more by the words of the verses that I had forgotten. They contain a promise of a life more abundant and free, a reminder that we are more than conquerors, instruction to seek the scriptures for his faithful promises, and a charge to reach others with this message of hope!! But the part that really struck me was that it wasn’t being sung to the Perfectly Perfect Pewsitters. You know- those people that are always perfect, always happy, and always (seem) to have it all together. No, this song was for the soul that was weary and tired. Sweet Momma, is your soul weary and tired today? 🙋🏻 If so, let the words of this sweet song encourage you today. And if not, save the post because it will be sooner or later (am I right?). 

    O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free.

      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
       In the light of His glory and grace.

      Through death into life everlasting
      He passed, and we follow Him there;
      O’er us sin no more hath dominion
      For more than conqu’rors we are!

      His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
      Believe Him and all will be well;
      Then go to a world that is dying,
      His perfect salvation to tell!

      But now I better get back to that laundry….

      Anger, Carpet, Emotions, Feelings, Good Friday, Parenting, Potty Training, Toddlers

      I know Jesus’ blood can wash our sins as white as snow, but how good is He with carpets?

      It was the third “accident” today. In this same spot. Four overall if you count the time she peed outside on our patio steps. Plus the cat joined in the fun and vomited on the carpet too. I had gone through an entire roll of paper towels already-just today- and this was the final straw.  
      As I was angrily trying to sop up the mess on the floor, I was having just as much trouble sopping up the mess in my heart. I was angry. Again. I was trying not to be angry. Again. I was trying to not take it personally. But I was Failing. Again… 

      Take every thought captive” I urged myself. “Slow to anger” I reminded myself. “Be kind and compassionate“, “humble yourself“, and a whole slew of other scriptures tried to break through my cold hearted self. But none of it was sinking in. I just kept getting lost in my grumbling. “Why is she doing this?” “She’s been doing so good!” “Why can’t she just take 10 more steps and make it to the potty?” “All she has to do is ask for help” 

      And then one little thought cracked through. “This is what your sin is like to me.” 

      Wait, what? Really? 

      And then I put my mirror glasses on. Why do I keep sinning? Why can’t I get my act together? Why haven’t I just asked God for help, when I need it, rather than waiting and causing an accident? 
      But then I was reminded of His promise to wash us “as white as snow”. And I was thankful for His forgiveness, but I still had a real life mess to clean up too. (I told you, this is REAL life, not the ‘suddenly everything’s perfect’ crap you see everywhere else.) So I just asked Him. I let it all out. 

      I know I shouldn’t let something as stupid and as shallow as the appearance of my carpets be reflection of my self worth, but it was sure hard not to. I knew God loved me, still loves me, will always love me, but I was still pushing Him away. The more I tried to not get upset and to calm down, the madder I’d get and the harder the tears would fall. And then the baby started crying… And then the toddler started crying… And my poor unsuspecting husband was going to be coming home through those doors any minute…

      So I just stopped and stood up. I called out to God, out loud, through my clinched teeth, and asked for peace and joy. It was all I could figure out to do. Yes, the toddler just looked at me like I was crazy (which was fair) but it did quiet everybody down. For a second. The joy didn’t come until later, but the small breath of peace did come. Just like I needed it to. Just when I needed it to. 

      As far as resources for this post (in keeping with the R.E.A.L. mentality) I don’t have many. I mean, Brawny paper towels are pretty good, and these pet carpet cleaners work great. But the best resource I have is to just encourage you to call out to God. Exactly where you are, exactly when you need Him. Even out loud when you need to
      Because HE is all we need. Really

      •  Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. 
      • Sin had left a crimson stain,
      • He washed it white as snow.

      Now back to my poor carpet…

      Anger, Emotions, Feelings, Messiah, Not nice, Parenting, Proverbs, Toddlers

      Cutting off the Messiah

      There we were. In the middle of a hot mess. Alright, several messes. We had just returned home from the grocery store which ended in a “lovely” toddler tantrum and a shrieking hungry infant. To say I was rattled would be an understatement. As we were nearing our garage, my toddler expectantly asked me if she could finish her song we were listening to before I shut the car off. “Yes! I’ve already told you ‘Yes’ 5 times now. Stop asking or I’ll change my mind!” I barked out. And then soon after, in my impatience, I took the opportunity to shut the song off in between verses thinking that she would never notice and I had already heard enough singing vegetables for one night and we were already home and it’s was already past bedtime and and and. (I can rationalize with the best of them when I’m angry).

      Once inside the tantrums picked up again, the baby was crying again, and I was still rattled. As I hurriedly tried to get the bottles ready, while trying to put groceries away, I let my frustrations boil to the top and asked my toddler “What is your deal anyway? Can’t you hold it together for 5 minutes? Why are you so upset?” (After all, I was doing such a good job of modeling “holding it together” myself. NOT!) 

           And that’s when she said it. She was just answering my question, but her words took on a much deeper meaning as God was gently using her to speak to my mad momma heart. Hanging her head, she managed to mumble “You cut off the Messiah Momma, and that’s not nice. You shouldn’t do that.” 

           “What are you even talking about sweetheart?”

           “In the song Momma.” Now she was looking me straight in the eyes. “I asked if I could finish my song. You said yes. But then you shut if off before we got to the ‘Mighty Messiah that manifests miracles’ part. I love that part.” Her eyes dropped to the floor. “I just really wanted to hear it again Momma.” 

           And then it hit me. We were singing “Down in My Heart” in the car. And in my haste, I stopped it before it got to the “I’ve got the Mighty Messiah that manifests miracles down in the depths of my heart” verse. Cue the floodgates of Momma guilt and the pangs of regret! 

           I apologized quickly, let her hear the whole song once more before bed, and then rushed on to the rest of the nighttime routines. My mind was filled with the familiar voices of self-doubt and condemnation. “What went wrong? Shortly before we were having a great time singing and dancing and enjoying the evening as a family. How did it get derailed so quickly?” But when I really had a chance to calm down and breathe for a minute (holding a sleeping baby will do that to ya), her words kept ringing in my ears. “You cut off the Mighty Messiah Momma“. 

          She was right. But it was more than just abbreviating the song. I was rushing. I was getting flustered. I was trying harder. I was losing my patience. I was doing everything in MY power and MY strength. There was no reliance on God. I wasn’t “leaning on the everlasting arms” to carry me through. I wasn’t surrendering my will, my plans, my heart, or my thoughts. I was cutting Him off. I was running ahead. And as my three year old so aptly pointed out “that’s not nice”. 

          Zachariah 4:6 says ““So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”” I can’t do this in my power. I NEED His Spirit. HIS leading. HIS guidance. I need to surrender to HIS ways and let go of my agenda and my way. 

          Later that night the Lord gently brought me back to Proverbs 3. It’s well worn, highlighted, dog-eared, and written on in my Bible because I KEEP having to return to this lesson again and again. It starts out in verses 6-8 ““Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” I don’t know about you, but I could sure use some health in my body and nourishment in my bones. I don’t need to be clever or have it all figured out (wise in my own eyes), I “just” need to fear the Lord. 

           And just as I started to beat myself up over having to relearn this lesson for the billionth time, my eyes continued down the page to verses 11-20. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.” Phew. It’s okay. He’s got this. And He’s much better at it than me. And things will be MUCH better off when I listen to His wisdom. 

            And thankfully He wrapped this gentle correction up with verse 24, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” No more tossing and turning while I replay all my mistakes in my head. No more crying myself to sleep over my disappointments and mistakes. Just sweet sleep! Oh how I need that. I *might* even be able to listen to more singing vegetables in the morning without losing my cool…