Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mommies can dream too!

Have you ever daydreamed about being all alone, at home, for days with no one wanting anything from you??? I know you have......that hypothetical happy place where you clean something and it STAYS clean? You can watch a movie or piddle around on the computer with ZERO interruptions??? Maybe you dreamed something simple like going to the bathroom without a kid walking in on you??? I have been a mom for 12 years and I have had this dream many many times!! You see, I have gone on trips without my kids....or even my husband and have gotten that much needed down time. BUT....I have never EVER been alone, at home, with no hubby and no kids.....until this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep you read that right!!!!! I have been alone for about 48 hours without my family!!!!!! (My amazing husband took the three monkeys on a special trip with him. Yeah, he rocks!)

I am so excited about this new phenomenon that I had to share! The first half of my time I went on a retreat with some dear friends. It was a much needed time of encouragement, laughter and hashing out life. I loved every minute!! The second half of my time has been spent in my jammies (yes, the whole time) with cups of coffee, purging my house!!! I want to use this time so wisely since I'll probably never get it again. When my family comes home I want to bless them with a clean and slightly organized house! I have to pinch myself over and over because once I have cleaned something.....IT STAYS CLEAN!!!! It's seriously so strange to walk back through a room, glance in and think "Wow, it still looks great".....hehe! I know that as soon as the three monkeys come will all abruptly come to an end so I am treasuring it all right now.

As I thanked God this morning for my time alone.....and realizing what a gift this is.....I thought of how precious it is to be a Mom. We all know this already but it hit me hard this morning. For those of you that have never had this "dream" come true....I want to encourage you! It is pretty amazing to do what I want to do WHEN I want to do it. And being able to get my house in order with no distraction is great. BUT, and its a big but....nothing compares to the great joy and blessing it is to have our family. I miss them already. (Never thought I would say these following statements but....) I miss stepping on legos that are left mysteriously in the carpet. I miss the toothpaste smeared in the bathroom sink. I miss the socks that are left by the couch. I miss the hugs and kisses in the morning....and at night before bed. I just miss them. I have a new appreciation for the noise and the crazy that my kids bring into my life. My family is what makes life full and abundant!! Crazy, yes. But precious all the more.

Have you wondered what the house would be like without your monkeys running around demolishing it? It would be clean, organized and quiet. In other words....without your precious monkeys....your house and life would be way too perfect, boring, eerily quiet and not as much fun!!! So embrace the crazy!!!! Embrace the fact that as Mommies....we will be tired, overworked, underpaid but FULLY BLESSED!!!!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oh So Yummmay!


Read more about it at,1839,139161-235200,00.html
Content Copyright © 2012 - All rights reserved.
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can peas and carrots drained OR 1 can Veg-All
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 box Pillsbury pie crusts
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Sauté chicken and onions in a skillet with oil or butter until chicken is no longer pink inside. Prepare one pie crust in 9" deep pie pan. Add chicken and can of peas and carrots.
Sprinkle cheese on top. Mix soup and milk and pour on top. Top with second pie crust, seal and cut a slit in top to release steam.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Fork in the Road....

For the past ten years, my life hasn't had many surprises. It's been fairly predictable. We've been in the same town, the same house and the same church for twelve years! Coming to a fork in the road never  upset me. The decisions weren't life altering. I'd love to tell you that I'm so thoughtful and weigh out all my options....but NOPE....I'm spontaneous, impulsive and visual. Usually the best looking "road" WINS!! Up until this past year I was able to make decisions easily and without a lot of consequence.

This past Sunday, our "Girls Nite In" group met and we discussed toxic relationships. (This is a ministry to teen girls where we talk about real issues they face.) During my speaking time, I shared with the teens.....over 60 of them.....something HUGE that I felt God wanted them to know. This is the major lesson the Lord has taught me this past year:

When something major happens in our world (for me, it was my Mom dying).....when life is turned upside down....when we are hurt, frustrated and discouraged.....when people leave us or let us down.....we have TWO options. Only two......

We can give up. We can sit in the corner, with our head between our knees....rocking back and forth in utter despair....all alone. We can give into the emotion of the moments and let them eat away at us.(OR) We can run to God....with all our emotions, all our tears, all our muck....and cling on to Him for dear life. We don't have to understand the "whys" of what's going on. We don't even need to solve it....we just have to trust that God knew it would happen and He is holding us up!!! I shared with the teen girls that night, that the first option leaves us alone and empty. It might feel good to hide away somewhere and fall apart. It may satisfy something in us to remove ourselves from the world and the people around us. But this is only temporary because tomorrow will come and the situation will still be there. When we CHOOSE to follow option two....and draw near to God....that won't take away the pain and hurt. It doesn't make the situation go away. What it does is direct our footsteps to a loving God who desires to walk WITH US through the thick and thin. The muddied, messy life will come and God doesn't want us to be alone....HE wants to be WITH US!!! Are you letting Him be with you??

After my Mom died....I wasn't sure how to breathe. It was so sudden that I couldn't quite catch my breath. Each day of going through her things, cleaning out her house and going to the funeral home.....cut  my heart like a knife. I hated every moment of that process! I had "a fork in the road" moment and I needed to decide. I will be honest....I wanted so desperately to throw my hands up in the air and give up. To tell the Lord I was done. This game of life is not fun and I am not playing anymore. But I didn't. Through different people and situations, God kept walking alongside me putting one foot in front of the other. He breathed life in me everyday and because of HIM I am on the end of the grief journey. I don't regret choosing to draw near to Him because He has shown me the better way. He reminded me last Sunday....we have TWO choices and only TWO: Give up or Go to God. Choose wisely my sweet friends!!!!

"Consider it pure joy, whenever you have many kinds of troubles,
because you know that thes troubles test your faith and will give you
perseverance (endurance, patience).Let your perseverace show itself
perfectly in what you do. Then you  will be mature and complete and
will have everything you need." James 1:2-4

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dutch LOVE!

Our DUTCH BABY recipe!!!! The Kuypers are fully Dutch and so these are favorites of ours!!! I have done 4 of these this morning!!!! Yummo!!!

Dutch Baby Pancakes

Preheat oven 400:

Put 2 TB butter in a cast iron skillet and stick in the oven to melt the butter....just a couple minutes.

4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk this together.....take out skillet from oven with butter melted and pour this batter in. Put back in the oven for 16 minutes. It will PUFF up in a beautiful way and flatten on the plate. Serve with butter.....squeeze of lemon and topped with powdered sugar!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A square peg…and a round hole…

Is it possible? Can a square peg actually fit into a round hole? We have all heard this phrase and it makes perfect sense! It’s a no brainer really. What I’ve been learning, though, is when we follow the Lord nothing makes “perfect sense” anymore. It is comical because everything seems to twist and turn to where I can’t make sense of it. God does things in our lives that blow us away and the logic of life is thrown out the window. I have stopped trying to figure out what God is doing…..(can this square peg fit in that round hole?)….and just go with it. I am letting God be God and I just trust Him.

Almost three years ago, God nudged me to take my kids out of private school and homeschool them. We were struggling after the market crashed and the economy took a nose dive. There were only a few options financially we could see. I remember dismissing these thoughts over and over because I never ever wanted to homeschool!!! When I say “never ever” that is almost an understatement. I used to say to people, “You couldn’t pay me to homeschool my kids!! I want to leave that up to the professionals….that’s what we pay them for.” (For those of you that are teachers, I applaud you. It is not my gift and I am in awe of all my teacher friends.) I just couldn’t believe that GOD would want me to educate my own kids!!! Really Lord? I am unorganized and scatterbrained. I need lots of alone time to rejuvenate and being with my kids 24/7 would alter that. For someone who is not gifted as a teacher…..I would have started schooling my kids in Kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grades!!!! All these grades at once! Really Lord? Are you sure? Did I miss something? What about me getting a full time job to keep them at Grace? What about hiring someone else to teach them? Could my husband get a second job? So many questions were coming to mind. I wrestled with the Lord on this for three months! I prayed and prayed….I pleaded….I cried. It wasn’t that I was against homeschooling at all. It was all about ME. I feared messing up my kids. I feared failure. I feared what people would think of me….how would they respond….what would they say about my kids?

In my mind, God was trying to take this square peg and shove me into a round hole. Let me tell you, it was painful. I fought it every step. After three months of going back and forth with the Lord, I gave in. God brought so much truth to me….showing me that I needed to trust Him. He provided everything I needed to be successful. God gave me FREE curriculum which blew me away. He also gave me a sweet friend who had homeschooled for over 10 years! She was and still is a tremendous help and support. He showed me that if I leaned on Him, He would carry me through. God taught me that He made me with a purpose. I didn’t need to look like all the other homeschooling moms. I didn’t have to fit a mold. I needed to trust Him and He would use the gifts He has given me to best educate my kids. I can relax about it and enjoy the road of homeschooling with my God.

Whatever your circumstance in life are…..whatever place you are struggling….if you feel like you are a square peg being shoved into a round hole…..remember that WITH CHRIST ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. God may make you uncomfortable for a time. He may do some things in your life that are painful and hard to understand. But He has a great plan for your life and He will not ask you to do anything alone.

Proverbs 3:5,6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

If you are in that same process I was in of homeschooling your kids, let me encourage you with a couple things I have learned:

1.)  BE YOURSELF. School your kids with your own strengths and not someone else’s. For example, if you’re like me and NOT a morning person….start school later. We start at 10:30ish and it works for us. Some people start at 8am and that works for them.

2.) USE WHAT YOU KNOW. Everyone has gifts. Mine is art. Yours might be science or math. Use how God made you to teach and encourage your kids. I tend to be creative with every subject because that’s my bend. You might do labs and experiments more often. It’s all good no matter how you do it.

3.) PROTECT YOUR HOUSE. God has created us all different. He gave me my kids because He has a purpose for me and my husband raising them. He gave you your kids with that same purpose. You are not going to run your house the same way I do….and vice versa….because God made us different. So protect your house and the way you do things. Don’t let others thwart God’s plan for your family and your homeschool.

4.) GIVE YOURSELF FREEDOM. Homeschool will not look like “regular” school (as my 7 yr old calls it). It will look different. Give yourself the freedom to try new things….to take an afternoon off is your child needs it….to let yourself be imperfect…to ask for help when needed. Give yourself freedom to NOT BE SUPERWOMAN.

5.) LOVE YOUR KIDS. This is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned. Homeschooling your kids is such a special time between you and them. I have grown so close to my kids these past few years and I love it. I may not homeschool forever….so I am taking advantage of our time together.

Blessings to you! May the Lord move in such a way that you live life to your full potential!!!