Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Title of Mother

Have there ever been times when you look at EVERYTHING that has to be done and just go. . NOPE! I can't do it. Anyone else could do it all, __________ seems to do it all, but not me. I just can't. And you start questioning your value and your worth. . . DON'T!! 

Truth is, we are never going to have it all together all the time. Now, if you have someone who cooks for you, cleans for you, raises your kids for you, and all you have to do is exist in your perfect little bubble, then this probably isn't the blog post for you. 
ANYWAY, back to what I was saying about having everything together all the time. .  .You just aren't. 

You are going to have company drop in on you when your hair is crazy and you might not even have regular clothes on or a bra. You are going to be getting down a plate to eat and realize the dishwasher didn't get it all the way clean, and YES, you were the dishwasher that day, or was it the night before(?). You are going to go put a load of dirty clothes in the washing machine just to find there is already a damp load in there, and you aren't going to remember when you washed that last load, so you will run it again. (Can I get an AMEN?!) 

Point being, we all have crazy, silly, and downright questionable moments as moms. But that is ok. It REALLY is, because we are not alone. And I am not going super spiritual here and saying God is with us all the time, because even though He is, sometimes it makes me feel better knowing that my friend, Sally, down the road is also stepping on legos, re-washing dishes, and telling her kids to not clean the toilets with toothbrushes. Misery loves company, am I right? (*and NO, I am not saying being a mom is miserable* quite the contrary. . .keep reading) 

I actually wrote this a couple of years ago, but when I start stressing out about the house, or the little things that seem to get to all us moms, this helps me breathe again! 

Leaky sinks and squeaky doors. 
Broken toys, and dirty floors. 

Dishes in the sink, no food in the pantry,
We can eat leftovers again can't we?

Loads of laundry are calling my name,
Keeping house is not fun and games. 

Scrubbing toilets with bubbles and soap, 
Somedays I'd rather just give up all hope.

Hope that my house will ever be clean,
Comfy, cozy, or even pristine. 

With life that is busy and schedules that are booming, 
Home keeping tasks can seem awfully looming. 

At the end of the day when I'm tired and worn, 
My hair is a mess, and I'm feeling forlorn. 

I sit back and listen and I close my eyes tight, 
That's when the blessings of the Lord shine bright. 

I hear laughter and playing and shrieks of pure joy, 
Playing with pieces of that little broken toy. 

The smiles on their faces make it all seem so small, 
I have been given the best job of them all. 

A mom is not perfect, but is full of grace. 
A mom makes their home a secure and safe place. 

A place of refuge, a place of love, 
A place where we train them to rise above. 

Above the idea that it has to be perfect, 
it has to be right, or it's simply not worth it. 

Yes, there are days that my house is all cluttered, 
My makeup is smeared, and my mind is befuddled.

But that is ok and I would want none other, 
Than to have my job and my title as 'Mother'.

I hope this leaves you with a smile and a feeling of refreshment.  You've got this, mama! No one can do your job, but you! 

Blessings and Joy, 

Friday, December 11, 2015

'Tis so sweet (and hard) to trust in Jesus

This is not the blog post I wanted to be posting today. . . I actually have one that is sweet and festive and will give you all the squishy feel goods that go along with Christmas. 
But that post, will have to come at a later date.

This is a blog post that I wrote last night, when my heart was troubled, my mind was racing, and I wasn't settled. Turns out, it was on point for my family in this new season of life for us. 

I was reading a news article, and I am just going to be honest. . . it scared me. It scared me for the future of my kids more than anything. The future and safety of my family. My mind is racing, and I mean, everyone in my family is asleep, but I am uneasy. My heart is racing, my mind is acting as if it is a car at the Daytona 500. 

What is it that has my hands shaking, my brow glistening with beads of sweat, and my heart pounding so hard you can hear it? 

A mind boggling, heart wrenching, thought provoking 5 letter word - - 


What is TRUST??? TRUST IS 
: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.
: an arrangement in which someone's property or money is legally held or managed by someone else or by an organization (such as a bank) for usually a set period of time
: an organization that results from the creation of a trust

We trust our parents growing up, implicitly. No doubt about it, we don't know any better than to trust them. . . don't get me wrong, now that I AM older, and I DO know more, I STILL trust my parents. But I choose to trust them now. (Makes it mean more) 
We trust our spouses. If we didn't, why marry them, right? If you are married to them and something happens, and you no longer feel like you can trust them, get help! A marriage won't survive if you don't have mutual respect, love, and trust. 
Thennnnnnnn, we have kids. 
We have little lives that depend on us, for safety, for security, for stability, for everything at first. . . 

I never knew how many trust issues, and even fear issues I had until I had kids. (True story!!) 

We always trust that the Lord is going to protect us. When we find out we are pregnant, we trust we will have a healthy baby. We trust that we will hold that baby. Well, that doesn't always happen. Sometimes, you have to bury your baby, sometimes you have to say goodbye to four babies, sometimes you never get pregnant, but that doesn't mean our trust for Him stops. 
Just because we are hurting, that doesn't mean we quit honoring God. In the storms of life, we give honor to the Lord, and to honor the Lord, we have to trust Him. 

His honor is more important than our feelings, than our emotions
Let me say that again and let it sink it - 

He knows what good and what bad circumstances we need to endure to bring us more into His presence, more into His holiness. 

That is a hard pill for me to swallow. 

I love to research things, trace things back to their origins, find out WHY they happened, and sometimes that can't happen. I can't tell you why I have four Moss babies in Heaven. I don't know why, and that is HARD. But by honoring the Lord and trusting Him, I don't have to know. I just trust. And it's important that through the pain of the losses, I don't harbor negative feelings about God. I don't think it is bad to question. I feel like we were created to be inquisitive, and ask, WHY? But just like we heard growing up, the answer, "Because I said so," has to be good enough. 

Trusting in the pain was hard, but for me, trusting in the journey of life, raising kids, having a family, and being all who we are called to be, is harder, for me personally. 

I found myself in tears last night, and rolling back and forth, and panicking. 
(Trust is easier said than done.) 

How do I know what we are doing is right?
How do I know that when they go off to college they will be safe?
How do I know that when they get married, it will be to the right person?
How do we know this choice is best for our family?
How can I keep them from getting hurt?
How can I keep them from pain?
From disappointment?
From heartbreak?

With all these question racing in my mind, I just had to cover my face and say, 

"Lord, trusting you doesn't mean it will all go my way, but I will trust you. Trusting you doesn't mean there won't be pain, but I will trust you. Trusting you doesn't mean I won't feel like I can't carry on anymore, but I will trust you. You never said, 'follow me and life will be perfect and easy.' You said, 'we would not be in darkness but have the light of life.' Being afraid is NOT TRUSTING YOU. I will not have misplaced trust in you. 
If and when the time comes and we are crying from heart aches, we will trust you. When we walk through fire, we will trust you. When life seems to be turned upside down, we will trust you. When money seems tight, we will trust you. When we are at a fork in the road, we will trust you. 
Because even in our cries you hear us, and you catch our tears. Even in our trials, you are always with us. You are constantly giving us what we need to be more and more in your holiness. Take me into your Holy of Holies. YOU have the perfect plan for my life, you have the agenda, you know the outcome, you know the details. . . if I am to truly trust you, I will live by your plans and your agenda for my life. I will live by the plans you have for my children's lives, for my husband's life. I can't control them, and for me to think so makes me foolish and speaks volumes on my trust. The word tells me that Your word is right and true in all you do. So even when I don't understand, and I won't, A LOT(!) I will trust you. When I think I don't know HOW to trust, I will trust you. I want a child's faith. So confident, so sure, so. . . trusting."

After my heart to heart with Jesus, I had to make a playlist, so if and when I have trust issues rise up again, I will have something that I can listen to and be calmed. You can find the songs on links below! 

I hope my revelation encourages you to keep trusting in Jesus, even when it seems you can't look up. If He is big enough to hold the whole world, you can bet all you have that He has your situation in the palms of His hands.

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

From Traveling Trepidations to Treasuring your Travels

Layovers, Traffic Jams, Potty Breaks - OH MY! 

Does the idea of a long car ride or a long flight with kids stress you out? Don’t let it! 
Traveling, in my opinion, is some of the best connect time you can have as a family. I mean, it’s just you all. . in a car or in the plane. 

As most of you all know, traveling is not a foreign concept for my family. Wether it be Florida, California, Washington DC, Arizona, Kentucky, or Hawaii, we get around. I honestly can’t remember a time when we haven’t been traveling. 
Tripp went on his first adventure when he was 5 weeks old, and he hasn’t stopped since. Forget playing like your Hot Wheels are racing. . . he plays traffic jams and toll roads. (No joke!) 

Our kids have been brought up to love traveling just as much as we do. Every time we get in the car or in the plane, we get excited, not just about the destination, but for the journey. 

How do we do it? 
Well, I could say, that because we have done it for so long, it is just natural for us. But it wasn’t always that way. 
Below are some of my favorite tips for making traveling a treasure for our family, and I hope it will for yours too! 

PREP - The more prep you do before hand, the better off it will be and chances of you forgetting are less likely to happen. When I say beforehand, I mean, start prepping for a Saturday departure on Tuesday. 

TALK - Talk to your kids about where you are going and what they will see, so they will have a better understanding. I like to do little lessons throughout the week before we leave about where we are going. Just some random basics: State and State Capitol, Where it is located, What it is known for, and if there is something significant about the history we will read about it. 

DON’T OVERPACK -One of the things we are super proud of in our family is the fact that we don’t pack a lot. In fact, IN MY OPINION, the more you bring, the worse you are making it for your kids….especially in the long run. It is much better to pack less and listen to your kids get creative. Their imaginations are incredible…if you allow them to have one. I believe over packing and making sure that for every hour of their trip they will be occupied is horrible for them. Have a loose plan, and DEVIATE. 

UNPLUG -  Keep electronics to a MINIMUM. Yes, my kids have iPad minis, HOWEVER they get a 30-50 minute window to PLAY games on it and can watch up to 2 hours of movies. (Obviously, these times will change depending on the length of the trip). We do have a rule, no electronics when it is dark outside, I don’t think it is good for their eyes, and the extra lights are a distraction. Play games with the kids, play "I SPY" or "Count the Cars" or do one of my favorites. . "Story Time", each of you go around a say one sentence and make up a story. Our stories typically are about a little bird or a caterpillar. Get creative. . WITH them. 

BE SILLY & BREAK IT DOWN - We typically start all of our trips (weather permitting) with the windows down and the music up!! We are loud and crazy and we dance. I am sure we get stared at, but that is ok. My kids laugh and laugh and sing at the top of their lungs. . .it is great fun! Every once in a while DURING our travel we will have music breaks where we roll windows down and do it again. We are a music fanatic family, but I want to encourage you, don’t just play music to have noise going to drown out your kids, be intentional with your music. Have worship time, do silly songs, do some COUNTRY (ha, yes, we jam out to some Rascal Flats, Brad Paisley, and some Tim McGraw) 

AUDIOBOOKS - We actually don’t have a ton of these, but Tripp’s favorite is the Jesus StoryBook Bible, and he is constantly wanting one of us to read to him while we travel, and sometimes, that just can’t happen. I found the audiobook of this particular bible, and he has been as happy as a lark. He has read through it so much that he gets the main idea of when to turn the page. And it is only 3 hours long. . .so we have had a couple of trips where he got to tell people, “I read the whole bible on the way down here. .  “ Then he proceeds to tell them stories from it. I love it!!  I would encourage you to get some audiobooks that your kids enjoy and even have so they can feel like they are reading it while they flip the pages. That has been a huge success in our travels. 

TOYS, TRINKETS, BASKETS, AND BUSY BINDERS - Before we leave, while we are prepping, I talk to the kids about what kind of trip we are going on (work or vacation - airplane or car - long or short) and I ask them to grab their backpacks and pick 4-5 toys (no small pieces or toys with lots of parts) to put in there to be their toys for the ride down and for the week. And I remind them that they need to think about each other while they pack because chances are, they will trade during the journey. They seem to enjoy picking out their toys and packing their backpacks. They do a great job keeping up with their stuff this way as I believe, it is because they got to choose the toys themselves, and they feel more responsible.
I also have a small basket of board books, animals, and blankets that I sit between them so they can very easily reach whatever they need, yet it keeps everything contained so the car doesn't become a big toy box. (We drive a Honda Civic, so it's not like we have a big van or lots of space or anything.)
BUSY BINDERS, are you curious? Well, wonder no more. Busy binders are just little binders I got for each
kid (plain 3 ring binders from Walmart) that has a picture of the state we are traveling to, coloring pencils in a pencil carrier, coloring pages from online and some of their coloring books, blank paper, and a spiral notebook to work on handwriting (who says you can’t have school WHILE you travel) 

        Even after it is full - it isn't bad! 

 You can find the dot Alphabet here : 
   Do-A-Dot Letters        

You can find these Alphabet coloring pages here: 

These mess free coloring packets are LIFESAVERS. I typically pack coloring pencils, especially after our melted crayon incident, but anyway, kids like variety, and they love these. . .You can find them at any Walmart. 

 My last tip is this . . . 

ENJOY & CHERISH - At the end of the day just enjoy these traveling moments with your kids. To this DAY I still love doing road trips with my mom. :) We sing, play, and talk. Which is what I would like to encourage you to do. Enjoy trips with them now so they will enjoy them with you later. It will be all too soon when they can just plug up their headphones and ride in silence. My heart is that my kids will want to and desire to talk with us and be silly even when they are all grown up. 

I hope this is somewhat helpful!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DIY Bug Spray

I don't know about you, but mosquitos LOVE me. Seriously, they see me, call all their friends, and have a major feast on my legs and arms. It is ridiculous.

Donnie and I went on a 17 mile bike ride and I came back with not 20, not 40, but 97 bites.


To say I was itchy would be a huge understatement. 

Typical bug sprays didn't always work and frankly, I never cared for the way they would send me into coughing fits after I put them on. 

So, I did some research and made some bug spray last year, and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT.

What you will need:

  • 4oz. of Distilled Water
  • 4oz. of Witch Hazel
  • 10 drops of Thieves
  • 10 drops of Peppermint
  • 10 drops of Purification 
  • 16oz Spray Bottle (I found this gem here

I doubled this recipe and it was PERFECT! It filled this bottle just right!

This last week, I kid you not, bites on my legs EVERYDAY!!  But that all stopped YESTERDAY! No bites! This was one happy mama, and I love that I can put it on my kids as well! It is an added bonus that it smells like thieves and peppermint!)

Finished Filled Bottle

With this, and the DIY Sunscreen, we are all set for a fun filled summer in the beautiful outdoors! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

DIY Sunscreen

Well, it is that time of year again. . . sunshine, water, fun, family, friends, picnics, and lots of hours outside.

My children are very allergic to sunscreen, and I have tried every kind I could think of trying! Nothing would work...maybe for one day, but if they had to wear the same kind of sunscreen 2-3 days in a row the breakout would come, and they were absolutely pitiful.

Broke my heart!

So, like any mom would do, I just vowed my kids would stay inside forever and always.
I found an all natural sunscreen that I could make and just PRAY that it would work. And much to my surprise and relief, IT DID! That was a very happy day, because my kids, sunshine and water, just go together!

We went all summer last year and never got burnt. I applied it to the kids every 3 hours or so. The only thing that I have to complain about this sunscreen is that it does make the kids slippery the first 20-30 minutes, but then they are fine! :) Yes, A child might have slid through my hands while holding them in the water.....they were so slippery, but hey, it makes for some laughter! haha

Here we go: All Natural - DIY Sunscreen

What you will need: 

  • 1 TBS of Avocado Oil
  • 3 capsules of Vitamin E Oil (just poke a hole in the pill and squeeze the oil out) 
  • 5 drops of Lavender Oil
  • 5 TBS of Organic Coconut Oil
  • 20 drops of Raspberry Seed Oil 
  • 1/2 cups of Organic Aloe

Just mix it all together and BAM, you are done!

I keep mine in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge so it is nice and cool when I put it on the kids. Because of the coconut oil that I use the sunscreen goes from solid to liquid depending on the temperature it's in, but it works the same either way, just giving you a heads up!

Hope you enjoy this sunscreen, especially knowing that you aren't putting all those chemicals on you or your babies.

Have fun and go play in that sunshine!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Dream

From early years we all try to mother,
Baby dolls, pets, sisters and brothers. 

It does not matter if it's real or if it's not
Being a mother, is in us from the start. 

As we grow older the dream gets bigger,
Stuffing pillows in shirts to see our "pregnant" figure. 

We waddle and sway and pretend that it's real. 
This is what it will look like, this is how I'll feel. 

Then we get married and the dream gets bigger,
And everyone else has started the ticker. 

The ticker that ticks until you share the news,
The news that someone is inside of you! 

Can it be real, no way, are you sure?
A second test, a third, and seven to ensure. 

A baby, a child, a being that's in me. 
Filled with excitement, terror, and glee. 

A couple weeks later, the baby is gone, 
But our love is still constant, just like the dawn. 

Our dream has happened and we are still a mother. 
We now have a piece of heaven, like none other. 

A new day is coming where we will see,
The child that reached heaven far before me. 

But here back on earth, we've been blessed with another, 
A child with love and kisses to smother. 

A desire answered and the dream more real. 
This kind of love, no one can steal. 

We try and protect, help and control,
The way in which their path shall go. 

But that is not the way that God has intended,
He wants us to mother them, open handed.

Yes, we will guide them, and lead the way. 
But our job is to be active, our job is to pray. 

Pray that grace is our portion, and His peace they'll know. 
Pray that they follow Jesus, wherever they go. 

Becoming a mom is all about heart. 
A heart that's instilled in us from the start.

From toddler years, to high school, to marriage and now this. 

This is the dream, that I always have wished. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

No Do Overs for the Childhood Years

 I'm guilty....of a lot of things, actually, but what I am openly admitting in this post is, that I am guilty of wanting to grow my children up faster than I should. There are often times I sit and go, "if they were older we could......", "if they were older then.....", but I realized that when they get older, I will then say, "man, if they could just be younger again...." I don't want to spend my life or my children's lives wishing they were anything other than the age they are. There are no do overs for the childhood years. 

They won't always scream when they see dandelions in an open field because they want to pick them and wish. Wishes will one day fade in their imaginations.
I pray that I can help cultivate those wishes into aspirations and dreams.

They won't always want to run to wherever they are going - at warp speed.
Soon enough time will be short and they will rushing to/through things, not for he joy of it but because they feel they need to hurry.
I pray my countenance hushes their hurry.

They won't always FREEZE in fear and SCREAM for their mom when they get scared of falling or failing.

I pray they grow and have confidence, courage, and strength to accomplish their goals!

I say all this to say, "Moms out there --- slow down!"

Our babies grow fast. Too fast. Tripp now passes by me, "hey mom." And sometimes I ignore it because it doesn't SOUND like my baby boy and I am not expecting to hear an 11 year old boy in my home.
He's officially too big for mommy to carry, I just trip now because his legs are so long, I am thankful that he will never too big for mommy's lap.

I have often wondered how many times I've squelched their excitement or loud noises or imagination. Or hurried them along when in reality, time goes way too fast to be hurrying. 

So moms, take a breath this weekend. Do something silly with your kids - see who can hold out a scream the longest in the car, put those couch cushions on the floor and jump from cushion to cushion, build a tent and sleep in it. Do whatever it takes to harvest and cherish that child like faith and imagination. You will feel better because of it.

My encouragement to you moms out there is to take pictures of your kiddos this weekend doing something that you KNOW they won't do in a couple years. I find my pictures are a lot sweeter that way!

Hope you are enjoying your kick-off to your Mother's Day weekend!