6/27/12

The Light

I really don't like driving at night.
In fact, I might just hate it.

Besides the whole fact of being in a dark car all alone with the idea of ghosts about to pop up in the back seat, there is the factor of driving at night not being able to see much in front of me.

It doesn't help that I got into a wreck a year and a half ago in the middle of the night thus feeding my fear of night time driving.
Not too long ago I was driving at night and I was looking way out ahead of me, I was getting so nervous because I couldn't see anything way out in front of me. It was pitch black and for a person who is scared of the dark, pitch black brings in all sorts of fears.

I was looking out in front of me and all I saw was darkness and I started to have an internal panic attack.

Internal panic attack = remaining cool, calm and collective on the outside while thoughts of doom, fear and panic flood your mind at an impressively fast rate

I have become a master at internal panic attacks.

Or it could be that I just have myself fooled and I think it's internal while everybody else is fully aware that I am on the brink of MELTING DOWN.

Anyways, (whew I get on tangents easily) I was looking at the darkness in front of me and started to worry about how I couldn't see a thing. Then my eyes moved from way in front of me to right in front of me where my bright headlights were shining, and I realized I could see everything right there.

Of course I couldn't see way ahead of me, it was dark and I didn't need to focus way out there, instead I needed to keep my eyes right on the light right in front of me. What a simple concept, yet I was so flustered because I wouldn't see WAY ahead of me.

And on that night, when I was filled with anxiety and internal panic attacks I felt God whisper "this is what a relationship with me is like".

And that was it.

Sometimes, ok all the time, I wish He would speak a little more clearly and a little more specific. Enough with the analogies God, just spit it out, tell me my future and whatever it is you are trying to teach me.

But that isn't how He works.

I pondered that quiet thought that I had and how this pertained to my spiritual life. Almost always I try and look out WAY ahead of myself. What is going to happen? When will it happen? How will it happen? JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Instead of focusing right in front of me, where the light is shining and where I can see in this moment I try and see out way ahead into the darkness, where I'm not supossed to see. Soon enough I will be there, and the light will be shining to where I can see, but for now I'm supossed to focus on this moment.

If I was driving and focused on the dark road ahead of me instead of where my headlights where shining I might miss something right in front of me, possibly hitting something because I had my eyes too far out instead of where they were supossed to be.

And life is just that way, I don't want to miss what is right here, right now because I was focused on what is way ahead of me. The moment is too important to shift my focus from, I want to focus on the present and not what lies ahead.

I think about this often. Especially when I'm panicked about the future and what is going to happen. And then I remember that it is darkness up there, I'm not supsosed to see it right now. I'm supossed to focus on what I can see. What is right in front of me.

I will get up to the road ahead soon enough, and I want to get there safely, with my eyes focused on where they should have been the whole time. The light right in front of me.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. ~ Romans 8:38







6/25/12

Weekly Menu Board


Every Sunday afternoon I find myself at the kitchen table. Recipe binder in front of me, weekly menu with shopping list ready to be marked on and my laptop to the side for extra guidance if I need it.

Unfortunately I have come to dread this process, it's such a pain to sit down each week and go through the same ole process and I hate dragging out my big binder and then flipping through all the pages of paper.  I'm really just whining here, but sometimes whining is ok.

This is one of those times.

One day while perusing Pinterest I noticed a menu board. It wasn't something that I wanted so I didn't think much of it. Then weeks later as I was dreading the menu planning process I realized I could come up with my own version of the menu board. There were some great menu boards on Pinterest but I wanted to create my own to come up with something that would fit our family's lifestyle.

This is what I came up with:







It was really easy to do and didn't take much time at all!

First I knew for sure I wanted to make it a weekly menu board. We have found this is what works best for our budget. We tried to do bi-weekly menu planning and grocery shopping every two weeks and it was bad bad bad all around. We ended up making lots of "little" Target trips which resulted in lots of money being spent. Once a week grocery shopping works for us.


These are the supplies I got for the menu board:



Picture frame (big or small dpending on how big you want your board)
M-E-N-U  wooden letters
Spray Paint
4 small chalk boxes
M-T-W-T-F wooden letters
Letter stickers
Fabric (enough to cover the glass of your picture frame)
Hot glue gun (not pictured)
Various colors of card stock

Menu Cards:
This was the first thing I started working on. Instead of pulling my binder out every week I wanted to get all our recipes on the cards for quick and easy access. I used Word to create a document with 2 columns and 4 rows. I then color-coded recipes the following way:

pink=chicken
yellow=Beef
green=crockpot meals
blue=sides

I printed the recipe names on the front and then wrote ingredients on the back of each card, and if I'm not familiar with the recipe I wore some basic directions.




I made my menu cards pretty big because I wanted to be able to write a lot on the back (and I have trouble writing small). But also made them small enough to be able to fit into the chalkboard boxes.

I will say it was tricky getting them the exact size I needed but I eventually got it. 

Letters:
I got wooden letters at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them with some spray paint I had in the garage. Also, I only chose enough letters for Monday-Friday. I've tried meal planning for Saturday and Sunday and it just doesn't work. Something will come up or we will end up just eating cereal or something. This works for us but you could do whatever works for your family. 

Chalk Boxes:
I tore the top off of these and spray painted them. Then I added the stickers on front for each "category" (chicken, beef, crock pot and sides). These chalk boxes were the perfect size. 

Fabric:
I bought the frame at Hobby Lobby and headed to the fabric section. This was one of the hardest parts; deciding what fabric to use! I ended up going with something a little loud, but anything would work. I took my fabric to the fabric woman (politically correct term I'm sure) and told her I wanted enough fabric to wrap around the glass. She got it just right. I then wrapped the fabric around the glass and hot glued it to the back. 

After I had the letters and boxes painted, the fabric wrapped around the glass and my recipe cards ready to go I started gluing everything on the fabric covered glass. And it was done! 

I am really excited about this and think that it will help so much with menu planning, now instead of pulling out my big binder of recipes I can pull out these cards and go through them easily.



I also created cards for Leftovers, Eating Out and New Recipes. I try and prepare a new recipe at least once a week and the "new recipe" card will be great for those nights. Then if we deem the recipe "rotation worthy" I can create a card for it and put it in the appropriate box. If we don't like it then I didn't waste a piece of paper by printing it out. (yes I'm an abusive paper printer, but I use reusable grocery sacks so it all evens out).




If you are a weekly menu planner this might work for you or you could even change it up and adapt it to fit your family's needs!


6/24/12

Weekend Fun


We had such a fun and low-key weekend, it was much needed!

Friday's have been fun this summer because Luke and I are usually both home so we get to have a full day together. Early Friday morning Luke woke up early to meet a friend for breakfast and all morning I anxiously anticipated what he was going to bring me home for breakfast.

Sadly he did not bring me anything, it seems we had a bit of a communication breakdown. The breakdown being the fact that I never communicated to him that I wanted him to bring me home breakfast, I just assumed he would know this. 

Alas, he is not a mind reader. I'm still learning this after almost four years of marriage. 

I spent a tiny bit of time pouting about the fact that he DIDN'T READ MY MIND and then we went on with our day. (he offered several times to go get me breakfast but I told him the moment had passed)

We spent the rest of the day pout free, hanging out. We had lunch at Eli's favorite Chick Fila (well it might be my favorite but I pretend it is Eli's). Luke deemed it as way too chaotic and he doesn't know why I go there so much. It made me laugh. 


                                        

We grilled burgers that night and enjoyed them with Doritos. I always crave Doritos in the summer. 

Weird.

Saturday we went to visit with my family. Eli spent some time coloring with his cousin. 


He also helped my Pop pick up apples, so sweet.




Luke and I had a wedding to go to Saturday night so Eli stayed with my family. It was fun to get dressed up and go on a little "date night" (is it sad when a wedding becomes a date night?)

I once loved going to weddings but now when I go all I can think about it how one day Eli will get married and leave me. 

Please help, I've become a crazy mom.

When I wasn't mentally crossing off the years until Eli leaves me in my mind Luke and I enjoyed the photo booth:



Sunday my day was all about C's

It started with Coffee. I stopped at Starbucks on the way to church. I always get SO NERVOUS at Starbucks. In fact nothing freaks me out more than going to Starbucks and going to the post office. Both places are extremely scary and have their own language. I'm afraid I'm going to say the wrong thing.

Today I ordered a Tall Mocha with Hazelnut, which I guess was supposed to be a Tall Hazelnut Mocha? Who knew?

Then we went to Church where Eli SCREAMED when I dropped him off at the nursery. Breaks my heart.

We came home where I  did some Cleaning and Crafting. More Cleaning than Crafting. I wish it was the other way around.

I also did a little Cuddling with Eli. He took a late name and was still asleep around 5:30 so I went to wake him up so that he could eat dinner but instead I spent about 20 minutes just holding my sleeping baby.


Then I remembered that one day he will get married and leave me. And I whispered "can I keep you forever?" into his ear.

And immediately entered the contest for the world's creepiest mom.

Minus the creepy mom stuff it was a wonderful weekend! Now time to get this week started!

6/21/12

Random Thoughts for the Week

1. We still have the Super Bowl on our DVR. I won't tell you how many times Luke has watched it since that day in February. It makes me sad for him. And me.

2. What is the deal with all the new Oreo's with flavored cream in the middle? I'm not complaining by any means, I enjoy a good Oreo, it's just so random to me.

3. I have been an ORGANIZING FOOL again today. My closet looks spectacular.

4. I found this pic on Luke's computer and now I want to color my hair dark again.


5. If the day ever comes when we have extra money I will hire a house cleaner in a LICKETY SPLIT. I can only imagine that is the best money ever spent.

6. I have been working with Jenn at Munchkin Land Designs to come up with a new blog design for this ole blog. It's time for an update. I'm SO excited to see it. It will be sometime in the next month when it is revealed!!

7. Are you a past Scentsy customer of mine? If so I now offer a Refer a Friend program. If you send a friend to my website and they order something you will BOTH get a free gift. I can't give details here but email me for all the details!

8. Also....ALL scentsy orders on my website receive a free gift this month.

9. Caillou might be THE most annoying kid's show ever. I would rather be trapped on an island with Barney than watch one minute of Caillou.

10. We are SO nervous for the Thunder/Heat game tonight. THUNDER UP.

11. Eli is 15 months old and I STILL have that gross black line on my tummy. I guess it is here forever.

12. I'm so excited about my new blog design coming soon!

13.  Luke and I have started watching Mad Men. We are now in season 3. It's no Friday Night Lights (nothing will EVER compare) but it's good.

14. I think this is enough random for one day. Or one week.

Organization

It all started with this box.


I was at Target and I noticed it was on sale for 97 cent.

NINETY SEVEN CENTS?!?! That is better than you can get at the dollar tree! (see I can be good at math sometimes)

I decided that I couldn't pass up plastic bins for 97 cents. I didn't know what I would do with them, but I'm always up for an organizing project so I snatched them up.

I made sure to quiet that voice in the back of my head. It wasn't the holy spirit but instead it was the voice of Luke reminding me that while I was gone he didn't spend any money at Target yet I seem to spend money there everyday.

Different strokes for different folks.

I brought the 97 cent tubs home and set them aside for the moment when the organization bug hit me.

I was sitting in the living room when the moment struck me. The credenza in our living room needed to be organized. It came to me like a vision.

Good thing I had those handy dandy tubs to fulfill my vision.

The credenza had become my "catch-all" and was in need of some special attention.

After spending about 30 seconds fulfilling my vision I quickly realized I was going to need more plastic tubs.

Again, I quieted the Luke voice in my mind and made a plan to go to Target and buy tubs and ONLY tubs.

Several 97 cent tubs later (followed by coco puffs, Gouda cheese, lemonade and other necessities) I headed home to please my organization yearning heart.

I'm happy to say that I got the credenza organized.

I'm not so happy to say that I got a little over zealous and started organizing various areas in the house all at the same time.

I emptied every drawer of my desk. I dumped out the drawers on our bookshelf, and I cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen.

Please tell me everyone has a junk drawer in their kitchen. Or just lie to me.

So now I have an organized credenza, an organized junk drawer and piles of CRAP all throughout my house.

The Credenza before (of course I had to include a pic of my sidekick)



Credenza after:







And the junk drawer. I SO wish I had a before picture because it was bad bad bad. Full of papers and coupons and just nonsense:






These two areas in my house look so good I've almost forgotten about the rest of the "stuff" laying around that needs an organized home.

Where is that vision when I need it? 

I now have more objects that need organization than I have organization tubs and also organization ideas.

I have no idea what to do with all my sentimental cards, instructions manuals that need to be saved, old bible studies that I don't want to get rid of and so on and so on.

I feel like that was the opening scene to an episode of Hoarders.


Some of my piles that need a home, is this the beginning stages of hoarding?



Now I just need to figure out how to convince Luke that a trip to Target tomorrow is necessary. Until then please excuse the piles of random papers scattered throughout our house.

Maybe I don't need to go to Target everyday, if this is the result.


6/19/12

Hidden Words

Lately I've let my guard down.

The worst kind of guard. I've allowed lies, insecurities and fears to slowly creep into my mind and heart.

The sad thing is I know how it happens. It always happens when I quit spending consistent quiet time with the Lord. When I quit exhibiting the self control that I know I have in my life and instead allow negative thoughts to creep into my mind.

Insecurity has been plaguing me lately. And for me its not insecurity about how I look or what material things I have, yes I love some nice material things, but I also don't put my hope and happiness in material objects.

Instead for me, insecurity comes in the form of comparison, comparing myself to others personalities. I've always had a complex with my personality. I feel like everybody is more likable, less awkward, more outgoing, less abrupt. Basically just a better person all around.

I've also been a little aggravated with God lately and I've started to let bitterness take root.

Let it be said that lack of time with God plus comparing yourself to others and dwelling on bitterness can not and will not equal anything good.

Last night while lying in bed I was having one heck of a pity party. I was entertaining every lie and negative thought that was coming my way. The bitterness had taken full control and the negativity came soon after.

Nothing was safe from attack I was evaluating and tearing apart pretty much every area of my life.

After some pretty extensive partying going on in the pity department, a verse from the bible popped into my head. It wasn't word for word but it was good enough to give me a minute to reevaluate was I was doing and what was going on in my mind and remember what I NEEDED to do.

The verse was one about staying alert and watching for attacks from the enemy who prowls around looking for someone to devour.

And then other verses started going through my mind:

Stand Firm.

Take every thought captive.

The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.

I had a choice at that moment to entertain the negative, or entertain the positive. Both could be life changing words which direction did I want to go?

As I sat there, seriously contemplating whether I wanted to continue with my pity party or move forward with these words of life I decided to look at my life devotional for the day. I was already in bed with the lights out, with Luke asleep next to me, but I decided to turn on the lights and read the short devotional.

And sure enough, there in front of me was the very verse that was brought to my mind when I wanted to do nothing but entertain negative thoughts. The same exact verse. The date was June 19th and this was the verse for June 19th. Ok God, I catch your drift....



Part of my pity party was thinking about how God doesn't listen to me anymore and how lately it feels like I'm talking to a brick wall rather than the close relationship with the Lord that I have experienced in the past.

And then just like that He shows me that He is still there, still listening, still teaching me. One (of many) lessons learned.

Last night, after a record breaking pity party I was reminded just how important it is to memorize God's truth. In the moments when you least expect it and probably most need it those words that you once memorized are brought to life.

I'm not the best at scripture memory, but I want to get better and this was definitely the encouragement I needed.

.....take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

6/18/12

Trip Recap

The theme for today was definitely "back to reality". It's always so hard to come home from a week long trip and back to everything that needs to be done; laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, work. It's all a FAR CRY from sitting on the beach, book in hand, not a worry or care in the world. 

So I'm going to travel back in time and recap my week at the beach. 

Monday morning my mom and I were dropped off at the airport bright and early to catch our 6am flight. 

We loaded our special Scentsy charter flight and I started to get into vacation mode!


We had a morning full of traveling and finally arrived in the Dominican Republic in mid-afternoon. We got out of the plane at the airport - which is a relative term since this was sort of a hut in the middle of a parking lot, went through customs and then boarded a charter bus to head to paradise!

Me at the DR airport waiting on luggage: (note: when you travel with your mom she takes lots of pictures of you. Alone.)


The first night there Scentsy had a little event to welcome everyone. My mom and I went and hung out and ate some food. I was so glad to have her there with me!


The next morning we had a breakfast to go to where leaders from Scentsy spoke. I got a fun gift for it being my first incentive trip with Scentsy (again with the solo pics).


Me and the momma:


We then spent the next 4 days doing nothing but sitting in the sun, looking for shade, going back to the sun, dipping feet in the water and deciding it was too cold, reading, eating, nursing sunburns, eating and watching Thunder basketball in the middle of the Dominican Republic.

I would say it was a great week!!



Thunder Up!!




The last night Scentsy had a big dinner for all the consultants and their guests. We were encouraged to wear white for a white night on the beach. It was so neat looking, like a giant sea of white!


With my mom:


With my amazing Super Star Director Amy. She is so sweet and has helped me so much!


 My mom and I attempting to take a beach picture jumping in the air. This is as good as it gets:


Scentsy friends:



Fellow blogger and Scentsy Super Star Allie


The next morning we woke up and started our journey back home. It's always a little sad to leave a vacation but I was very ready to see my two boys waiting for me at home.

We had a long day of traveling and got home around 10:00. Luke picked us up at the airport and Eli greeted me with a giant sleepy smile. I sat with him in the back and he just kept looking at me and smiling. I think he missed his mama!

As great as the beach was it is also nice to be home, even if the cleaning fairy didn't come while I was gone..... I was praying hard she would show up!

Thanks Scentsy for an amazing trip!

6/17/12

Rockin the Republic


Two years ago Luke and I moved into our very first home.

As a housewarming gift Luke's mom brought me a Scentsy warmer with some scents. We plugged it in and the smell of blueberry cheesecake quickly began to fill our home. It was heavenly.

After looking into the product and Scentsy company and then spending MANY conversations with Luke and MANY moments in prayer I finally decided to take the plunge and sign up to become a consultant for Scentsy.

Two years later, because of that decision, followed by hard work, setting goals, new customers, devoted customers and a growing team under me, I was able to enjoy a completely free vacation.

I'm talking absolutely free. Air fare? Free. Luggage fees? Free? Food? FREE.

Get it? FREE.

I spent $11 on a shirt for Eli but that was all I spent while enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic.









I got to spend my amazing and relaxing week with my mom who joined me for the fun. It was such a special week.



I started my journey as a Scentsy consultant just to make a little bit of extra money and since then it has far exceeded my expectations. And I'm not even talking about it in a monetary sort of way. I have challenged myself, developed friendships, and set goals for myself that are WAY out of my comfort zone.

When I first joined Scentsy I never for a second considered that earning a free trip could be something that was attainable for me. I figured it was for everybody else, but definitely not me.

And then one day something clicked in my mind and I decided that I COULD do it, and I would TRY my hardest to earn the trip this year. And I did it! It's amazing what setting some goals and writing them out can do for you.

I can't wait to grow as a consultant and hopefully enjoy many more trips! I am so thankful that I decided to join this company. It was a good decision.

6/12/12

A Boy and the Great Outdoors


Eli is a boy who loves to go outside.

I'm sure we all started out this way, and then somewhere along the lines, the distraction of electronics and discomfort of weather clouds our minds and we end up spending more time indoors than we do exploring the great outdoors.

I absolutely love this stage of Eli's life. I love watching Eli go outside and observe everything around him. From ant hills, to piles of dirt, and even the air conditioning unit he wants to check everything out.

Whenever we open a door to the outside he stops whatever he is doing, runs to find one of his balls and then runs to the door. This is really sad when we aren't going outside to play, but rather going outside to get in the car. We then spend the next few minutes in the car with a heartbroken baby boy clinging to his ball. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

Sometimes while sitting in the living room he will bring either Luke or myself his shoes, indicating that he is ready to go outside and play. This is hard because as it gets hotter there are times I would MUCH rather stay inside with my nice cooling system, but I know how important it is for Eli to go outside.

Plus he runs a lot and burns a lot of energy which is good for sleeping long hours at night!

Luke wants to make sure that he knows how to hold and throw a football the correct way so he bought him an "Eli-size" football to practice with.



 Eli has a little bike that my grandpa got him for his birthday but he's not yet big enough for it - but do you think that stops him from wanting to ride it?? No. So everyday he points to it and does his "I WANT TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW" whine and Luke puts him on it and pushes him around until I'm scared he's going to pass out.

Having a child is a lot of exercise

Checking out the AC unit


Who doesn't love to play in the mud in your PJ'S??