Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oh Be Careful Little Hands What You Do



At least some point in my day, almost everyday, I pick my laptop (well, my husband's old one) and look for, type up, or print something. I flip up that computer screen, click on an icon, and away I go.

We probably all do it - whether it be on our phones, ipads, or computer.

Our little hands start going into spaz mode, either flipping through a screen or typing. But how often do we REALLY think about what our hands are doing? Not only what our hands are doing, but it is effecting the rest of our body? Like our minds and hearts?

I am brought back to a childhood song:
O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
He's looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
For the Father up above
He's looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

Do we really think about what our hands are doing? Do we think about that article we click on, that website we are scrolling through, and how that is effecting our self-image, our faith, our relationships, and our hearts?

I was looking through a food magazine the other day and as I was flipping through it, it made me feel like I needed to cook "better" meals. I saw these yummy pictures and thought "I should go get a piece of paper and write down all the ingredients I need for them!" Then when I was done looking at it, I realized that they were recipes that Mazy would NOT like, I had a recipe similar and knew it tasted fantastic, so why would I replace it and spend money that did not really need to be spent? It was just a simple magazine that my hands flipped through.

Another day I was looking at a website and thought oooohhh...if only I decorated my house like that girl did! I started to scroll through the pictures and envied what she had. Then after I closed the screen, walked into another room in our home, I thought to myself, that is NOT what I wanted. It was not even me! I love simplicity. I love having less; not the things that clutter my shelves and take longer to dust. Don't get me wrong, I have decorations, but not many. It's just what I like. We would rather choose to spend our money on something else. I am NOT saying decorating a home is wrong because trust me, we choose to spend our money on things that others probably think is weird, like fishing licenses and gas for a boat we refurbished. But it was just a simple scrolling through of a website that made me think I needed to be someone I didn't even want to be.

I want to go back to that song above: our heavenly Father is watching us. Not in a demeaning way or in such a way that He is waiting to point a finger at us. No, He truly is looking down in LOVE. But I think we often don't realize that our actions do effect much more than we realize.

O be careful little hands, what you do. When we slip up, remember that God IS looking down in love and give yourself another chance, just like HE does!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ink On The Couch



So I get this text from my husband:

So I was washing dishes and Mazy was playing in the living room. All of a sudden I realized she was being awfully quiet. I looked over there and she was coloring on the couch with an ink pen!!! I think I got most of it off with a magic eraser though.

I'm sure you've been there. Your child wanted to display their beautiful artwork, not just on paper, but all throughout the house. The bathtub, the refrigerator, the cupboards, and maybe even the toilet, with crayons, markers, pencils, and even pens. I know you are just replaying a scene in your head right now!

My initial thought was oh boy, but then I thought, well at least he didn't mention any holes! That's a plus! Then I reread the text. I thought okay, Dan was doing the dishes. Yup, I have an amazing husband. Then I realized Mazy was just being independent and finding her own fun. How is that a bad thing? And then the last sentence from Dan's text solidified it all - "I got most of it out." 

It really doesn't matter.

Yet I find myself at times getting frustrated when Mazy gets into something she's not supposed to. For instance, seeing crayon all over our white cupboards. Seeing her snack, smashed all over our rug in the living room. But not a few seconds later, I tell myself...

She doesn't know.

In Mazy's eyes, an ink pen (which I probably left out - wait, I KNOW I did), looked like a writing utensil. This girl LOVES to color. I think she asks 5x a day to color (no exaggeration). In her eyes, she found a new medium to color on. A new design. Something at her level that she could reach.

How could we be irritated? Dan and I often say, now having a child, there is a reason why we do not have expensive things. I suppose for multiple reasons, but having things not quite perfect, says that our home has a beautiful child living in it. It bears the marks of love. It bears the marks of a child playing. 

We have broken lamps, books, toys, scratched up end tables, worn out items, and I could not be more thankful for them. They tell our story. 

What is not-so-perfect in your home anymore, thanks to the littles? What in your home bears the mark of "loved-well"? 

I am thankful for a husband who loves our child well. Who is teaching her right and wrong, but also is giving grace when she doesn't know. 

And how many times do we make "mistakes" because we didn't know? We tend to give grace quicker to ourselves than we do our children, don't we? So the next time something may not look as "new" as it once used to, remember that first, they just may not know, it doesn't REALLY matter, and your home bears the mark of love inside.

You will see your home and the things that occupy it, in a whole new way!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mazy Is 23 Months Old




Stats: 
 ~ Weight: 24 lbs. 14 oz.

Food:
 ~ Favorites: grilled cheese, blueberries, fruit pouches, hot dogs, lasagna, mac 'n cheese, strawberries, cheese, pizza, blackberries, crackers, goldfish, cereal, smoothies, fruit snacks, oatmeal cream pies

Size:
 ~ 24 month - 2T clothes
 ~ 24 month - 2T pants
 ~ Size 4 diapers during the day and size 5 at night

Routine:
 ~ Wakes up between 7:00 and 8:00am. Enjoys watching a show while she wakes up, then wants to eat breakfast. Eats lunch at about 11:45 and goes down for a nap between 12:30 and 1:15. She usually sleeps about 2 hours, sometimes more and sometimes less. Then it's play time! We eat dinner between 5:00 and 5:30, which she can only last until then anyways. Then off to whatever night activity we have or we just play at home. At 7:00 or so we do a bath, melatonin, a snack, and milk at 7:30, Daniel Tiger, Thomas, Curious George, or Peppa Pig per her request, and to bed at about 8:00 or 8:15.  

Milestones:
 ~ Putting 2 words together often
 ~ Enjoys everything being neat and tiddy, such as throwing things in the trash or putting things away
 ~ Likes to choose her own pair of shoes to wear
 ~ Developing an anxiety again over mommy and daddy leaving, but is okay after a few minutes
 ~ Is really expanding her food choices
 ~ Tantrums are starting, but quickly subside
 ~ Still not sleeping throught the night, but will put herself back to sleep
 ~ Enjoys choosing what to wear everyday (as long as it's washed)
 ~ Still loves EVERYTHING dog-related
 ~ Her vocabulary is EXPLODING! She is learning new words everyday and putting more words together on a daily basis

Other Things To Remember:
 ~ Still loves to watch Danny (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood), George (Curious George) and Tommy (Thomas the Tank Engine), and now Peppa (Peppa Pig) and Mouse (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
 ~ Favorite Toys: bike, play-doh, coloring, sidewalk chalk, blocks, dolls, books, playing catch, shape sorter, stickers, putting things away, and throwing things in the trash
 ~ Enjoys hands-on toys, like crayons, markers, stickers, etc.
 ~ Still tells us when she goes to the bathroom
 ~ Enjoys vacuuming and cleaning with mommy
 ~ Calls things a "mess" and needs to pick up
 ~ Likes to call things cute and pretty
 ~ Asks to pray and now repeats our prayers when we ask her to


Monday, February 20, 2017

Around The Home

Hello, Spring!
I never thought we would see 60 degree weather in Minnesota in February, but that we have! This past week has been absolutely gorgeous, which meant we spent a LOT of time outside when we could. Unfortunately Mazy came down with what we found out was only a nasty nasty cold after taking her in, but glad we did, since she was a pretty sick little girl at times. Thankfully she's on the mend! 

It was Spirit Week at school this past week and once again, the 3rd grade teacher and I sported THE best team in the country with pride! We actually grew up 10 minutes apart from each other, but it took moving to Minnesota to meet! Not to mention, she lives kitty-corner to me!

Mazy is SO well-loved by people at the school! Mazy even asks to go to basketball games - now you see why!

Lots of snuggles this past week!

We still managed to make it outside and go for walks! Our new game is to find all the flags in our town - that sure keeps her moving!

"Color" is a favorite activity of Mazy's outside. Anytime we go outside, she asks to color, and unfortunately she always asks me to draw a puppy, which usually ends up looking like a pig. Thankfully she's gracious and understands that mommy isn't that good of an artist!

Friday was so nice (I think it hit 65) that it called for a picnic lunch outside! 

Dan made Mazy a golf club that she now is practicing her "putting" with"

Had to share this...Mazy and I sharing a hand-spun shake at Chick-Fil-A after the zoo the other week

Dan got Mazy up on cross country skis and much to my surprise, she scooted along the snow just fine and LOVED it! She's not even 2!

Lots of snuggles with her "puppy!"

I sometimes feel like all I do is post pics of Mazy's activities inside and outside, but really, that is our world! She just brings so much joy to our life that we just love sharing that joy. Her language is just exploding and she is putting two words together like crazy. One of her favorite combos? Cookie Monster. That's my girl!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


Have you ever been in search for local or regional foods that are unique just to that area? 

If you have been to any restaurant in Minnesota (especially in Northern Minnesota), a common item on the menu is a wild rice soup. 

When my husband and I moved to Minnesota 4 years ago, wild rice was often on the shelves in the "locally grown" stores and found in gift shops. I did not understand at the time, why wild rice was so special, but after trying wild rice soup for the first time, I get it. The Great Lakes region is known for their grasses filled with wild rice goodness, hence why wild rice soups are so common in the Northern Midwest region.

I was in search for a creamy wild rice soup recipe to help me feel like a true Minnesotan. After finding this specific one, I have never found a recipe that remotely compares. If you want a taste of Minnesota, this recipe is a must-try! I am not a professional cook, so when I say this recipe is easy, it is EASY. So if you are looking for a winter pick-me-up, look no further than this soup recipe! 

In a large pot, combine broth, water, chicken, and vegetables, over medium heat.

Bring just to a boil, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

Combine salt, pepper, and flour. Melt butter in a skillet.

Stir in seasoning packet. Reduce heat to low, stir in flour. Whisk in cream. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

The best creamy chicken and wild rice soup!


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup {print recipe}


Ingredients:
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut up
  • 1 pkg. quick cooking long grain wild rice with seasoning packet
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • Chopped carrots, celery, and onion


Directions:

  1. In large pot, combine broth, water, chicken, and vegetables, over medium heat.
  2. Bring just to a boil, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
  3. Combine salt, pepper, and flour.
  4. Melt butter in pan.
  5. Stir in seasoning packet.
  6. Reduce heat to low, stir in flour.
  7. Whisk in cream. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice.
  9. Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Join Me On The Journey


As a blogger, something I pray for, is that other women and other readers will feel valued, understood, related to, and loved. I don't always know how to accomplish this, but this is something I pray for. Yes, I even pray about blogging.

It makes my heart drip with tears to think that there are mothers who feel alone. Who feel unworthy. Who feel unloved. Who feel empty. I am sure every person has felt those feelings at some point in their life, but I think someone who could easily feel all of those things as one time, is a mom.

I could not be more thankful for my husband, who has made me feel worthy, loved, and who fills up my bucket. He has taught me what grace looks like, when I am at my worst. He has loved me when I felt I had no time for anything else. He patiently waited.

Though nothing can replace the relationship women have with other women. Let's be honest. Our husbands probably have zero desire to fulfill that role anyways! I mean who can follow our conversation logic when we switch from one topic to another and then back in the matter of .04 seconds! We are blessed to have each other, aren't we?

But why do we allow the Enemy to cheer on our differences that divide, instead of trying to stay on the same road, together? Why do we let the decisions we make, separate us, instead of bring us closer together in conversation?

Think about how many social media posts you have read about the hot topics of motherhood. The very topics that divide us. How many of us have had graceful conversations about these topics in person with someone else? What is there to gain when we post opinions, but lash back when someone disagrees? Why have we chosen to assert our "rightness" instead of joining together to figure out how to live this life together?

I am a firm believer that God has created us for community. For relationship. I admit I am someone who is a home body and by default, enjoys time in my home with just my daughter and family. But I also love engaging in conversation. There is something that is liberating and thrilling about it. But I feel like women are so afraid to talk or open up for fear of what someone else might think. What does it matter? What if someone does it a different way? It doesn't mean you are wrong and they are right.

The beauty of being a mom is that God has called each of us to parent a certain way and if you are committing your parenting to the Lord, no one can tell you that you are wrong (as long as it doesn't go against God's Word or His character). Most of the things that divide us, my friends, are not salvation issues. Yet we treat them as if they are. And they divide us to the point where we treat others as "you are not a Christian if..."

It makes me heart just weep.
It makes me cry just typing that.

Does your heart weep in the same way? Do you long to have candid, open, honest, heart-felt, and REAL conversations about life without fear of judgement and condemnation?

Join me on the journey. Join me in not holding back our hearts. Join me in offering grace instead of judgement. Join me seeking to understand before seeking to be right. Join me in believing that every mom and every woman is worthy of God's love and compassion - that same love and compassion we need to be offering. Join me in believing that we can make a change and a difference.

Join me TODAY, by looking at your own life and ask God to show you were you can be more vulnerable. Where you can open up your heart even more. Join me by first doing this with God and you will then see it overflowing into your other relationships too.

Trust me. It is worth giving it a shot.

Join me on the journey.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More Than A Home


Before I had Mazy, I was more than involved as a youth pastor's wife. I was making copious amounts of food, going to every event, and really, doing what I loved. In fact, when I was a freshman in college, I had declared youth ministry as my major, until a lunch table conversation with a social work professor, changed my course, in which I eventually did convert. Though I never lost passion for what I loved - working with youth.

After Mazy was born, I truly thought I would stay in step with what I was doing with Dan, just not being AS involved. We told ourselves that we would take Mazy everywhere with us, make her flexible, and just go with the flow. Yeah. I'm sure if you are a parent, you are laughing right now. I know I am still laughing at myself.

As you might have probably guessed, that is not what happened. Mazy thrived off of a schedule (like any child really does...note to self...) and any deviating from that, well, she let us know. Mazy also was a bit colicky, had acid reflux, and was not a good sleeper. So that whole idea of being flexible quickly flew out the door.

And honestly, it was the BEST thing that could have happened to me. I can say that now, but it took me a while to adjust. I felt I lost a bit of who I was because I felt I was failing as a mother. With a baby crying for hours on end, with no ability to console, I felt I was anything but a good mama. 

But just like God changed my heart when it came to my major back in college, God changed my heart for the type of ministry He wanted me to do. He has now given me the best of BOTH worlds. I have the privilege of helping and making food for the youth group when I can, but I also have the gift of creating a ministry within the walls of our home.

And you do too. 

Maybe you've been in the same boat. Maybe a big life change, changed your course of action. You maybe weren't prepared and you felt a bit lost. Maybe it was after a job change. Maybe it was after having a child. Maybe it was even after getting married.

But God taught me a valuable lesson: I can still give of my heart because my ministry is to my very own daughter. To think that Mazy is first going to hear of Christ and His power, through my husband and I, literally gives me chills. To think that we are going to be the first people to teach her what godly character looks like. To think that we are the first people who are going to teach her how to pray. How to speak. How to love. How to give. How to put others first. 

Parenting and motherhood are NOT just the mundane. They are a calling to a greater purpose. A calling into a ministry that God has set aside specifically for this time, this season of life. A ministry that is going to make a Kingdom difference, if we give it to God first, and then act out of His will for our lives. 

That my friend, is a high calling. Even though you may feel like you've had to give up something and maybe it wasn't very easy to do, remember that God has a far greater purpose for you in being a parent, than you may have ever realized. Having Mazy and her NOT being flexible was truly the best thing that could have happened! God opened up my heart to a whole new ministry and oh the blessings I would have missed if I did not open my heart to it.

See those four walls as not just your home, but also a place of ministry.