To be Content

It’s hard to be content sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, there is always someone more beautiful, richer, has a nicer house, better clothes, etc. I think our society does a really great job at making us feel inadequate with what we have and who we are. However, the Bible tells us to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11). But, let’s face it, it’s HARD to be content in ALL things! At least I find it to be so sometimes. I don’t think I’m a person who is constantly looking for the greener grass, but I do go through periods of time where that is true. Have you been there?

I’ve been thinking about all this because of a Facebook page I’ve joined recently. It’s a page that women can buy & sell their stuff for cheap. All you have to do is go to the person’s house, pick it up and leave your money. It’s been a wonderful resource for us! I’ve bought clothes, shoes, items for all of us off the site, spending very little money. For example, a brand new pair of shoes for Cora for $5! Two pairs of pants for me, with tags that said $108 (each) for $7.50 a piece! You just can’t beat that. Although I find this site to be very helpful for many things I have also noticed that it’s easy for me to become discontent with what I already have and have been blessed with. I have driven to many a FANCY neighborhood, places I will probably never live, nor would really want to, and then come back to my humble home and think, “yikes! Hope none of these ladies will buy something I’m selling!” How silly! How ridiculous! It’s just stupid, really. My home is beautiful, well-built and exactly what we need and WANT. We can afford it and are not house-poor. We don’t worry from month to month how we’ll pay the mortgage. But, Satan knows just how to make us feel inadequate, doesn’t he?

The other night we took the kids to get ice cream, yes, for supper! It was so much fun, and we were all having a grand ol’ time. In walk a gaggle of kids and most of them were wearing designer winter coats. I looked at my kids with their faces covered in chocolate ice cream and thought, “I hope those moms don’t see I have hand-me-down coats for my kids.” Just as soon as I had the thought I was so ashamed! How ridiculous!!! My kids have perfectly good coats, they’ve been kept warm all winter, the coats are nice, not ratty, not torn, nothing of that nature. God provided these wonderful coats for our kids, and they’ve never questioned the labels on them. Why should I? That little internal incident made me stop short and realize just how ridiculous things have become in our society and have filtered into my mindset recently. We’re buying designer everything for our kids, who will only wear them for a season at best. And why? Simply because we want to be sure people know we love our kids and can provide for them. Pure silliness and insanity!

Don’t get me wrong. If I find good deals on items I know are well-made, I buy them. But, in our family our motto has never been to buy the most expensive just because. And, in all reality, our family is more than happy to take hand-me-downs! It’s all a matter of our selfish humanness. And, I suppose our insecurities and not fully trusting the Lord. And so, after the ice cream incident I am more resolved to thank the Lord for his GREAT and MIGHTY provisions and not give a whit what other people put on their kids or selves.

Is this something you have struggled with? What have you found to be the root of it?

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Snow Day!!!!!

Well, this winter has been a doozy, huh? I mean, really, it seems no matter where you live in the U.S. you are getting abnormally cold weather and way more snow than you’re accustomed too! The same is true for us. Even though we live in a the snow belt of our state we have had so much more snow than usual, and the temperatures are just so darn cold!!! The school kids have had more snow days then I think ever before, and Cora has not been happy with all the preschool she’s missing. I’m only able to appease her by saying the big kids also don’t have school. Now when I tell her she won’t have school she says, very forlornly, “even the big kids don’t?” She has also been wanting to go out and play in the snow, but with it being so cold it’s just not been safe. And, the snow we’ve had has been that powdery, non-packing snow and not overly fun to play in. However! The other day everything came together, and it was the perfect day to play in the snow! The night before, and morning of, we got dumped on–my husband figures about a foot. And the day itself was in the mid-30s, so the snow was perfect for packing (making a snowman!), and since it wasn’t bitter cold, and the sun was shining it was just the best time to bundle them up and send them out! David took them outside, and they all 3 had a blast! I took pictures from the porch as I had to keep an eye on Bekah…As they played outside I made hot cocoa inside to be ready to warm them up. I’m so thankful the Lord provided such a gorgeous day, and we were able to have them go outside! It did us all good!!

Ben wasn't too sure he wanted to go in the snow. But, David carried him down and in like 2 seconds he was having fun!

Ben wasn’t too sure he wanted to go in the snow. But, David carried him down and in like 2 seconds he was having fun!

Snowball fight!!!!

Snowball fight!!!!

I sure do love these 3!!

I sure do love these 3!!

Is it good Ben?

Is it good Ben?

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Cora making a snow angel

Cora making a snow angel

Building the greatly anticipated snow man!

Building the greatly anticipated snow man!

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Oooo! Who's that handsome man in my yard???

Oooo! Who’s that handsome man in my yard???

I LOVE the pride shining on Cora's face over her snow man, which she named Frosty, naturally!

I LOVE the pride shining on Cora’s face over her snowman, which she named Frosty, naturally!

I threw a hat on Bekah's head and took her outside with me so I could get a good photo of snowman and his creators. It really was so warm (or felt that way!). No worries, she wasn't even out 5 minutes!

I threw a hat on Bekah’s head and took her outside with me so I could get a good photo of the snowman and his creators. It really was so warm (or felt that way!). No worries, she wasn’t even out 5 minutes!

She's so beautful...

She’s so beautful…

This is how Molly and Bekah spent the time...looking sadly out the door wishing to be out with everyone!

This is how Molly and Bekah spent the time…looking sadly out the door wishing to be out with everyone!

Warming up with hot cocoa!

Warming up with hot cocoa!

Happy Anniversary Dear!

Today David and I celebrate 8 years of marriage! Wow! I honestly don’t know where those 8 years have gone, and as I say every year I can’t imagine life without this man! We celebrated yesterday doing all sorts of fun things!  My mom came up to watch the kids and then my dad joined her after he was done work. They told us to go have fun, relax and just take our time! It was great!!!

Us then, January 28, 2006--our wedding day was in the 50s and so nice outside!! Today? Well, we'll be happy to break ONE degree today and we're buried under snow!

Us then, January 28, 2006–our wedding day was in the 50s and so nice outside!! Today? Well, we’ll be happy to break ONE degree today and we’re buried under snow!

Us now! I think we're still cute!

Us now! I think we’re still cute!

A Little More Tweaking

I mentioned last week that we would be attempting to have a menu made up for our meals all week–breakfast, lunch and supper. I made up a whole menu, pulled all the recipes (mostly from the cookbook Against All Grain) and did the grocery shopping. We did pretty well! Honestly, we did better than I thought we would–I know, what confidence! We have gotten in the habit of going out WAY too much. I mean, really, it’s such a bad habit, and it’s one we’re trying to break. We did MUCH better with eating out. I think most of our meals were a hit, at least with David and I, and I was encouraged to keep it up for this week too!

I noticed a few things last week with having this menu. A) I had to really be on the ball with thinking ahead to make sure meat was thawed, and dishes were done in plenty of time. B) I found I was in the kitchen even more than I usually am. C) I found it very overwhelming trying so many new recipes! This week, I’ve added a couple new recipes but am doing things I’ve done many times before. I think David might be a little relieved too, because I’m guessing (though he would never say, or complain) he was getting tired of something new and different every single meal!

I think once we do this for a good month I’ll get into a better rhythm, and it won’t feel like I’m in the kitchen all the time. I would highly encourage you making up a weekly menu. If doing a whole week of 3 meals is too overwhelming, just start with the meal you have the most trouble getting on the table. I would say for most of us that is supper. I always find it easier when I have a plan. When you get in a good routine with that 1 meal a day add another one, and so on. I do believe it helped our grocery bill, and it certainly helped our eating out “budget.” It’s always cheaper to eat at home, and with small kids, way less stressful! My goal is to do 2 wks of menu, then 3 and eventually 4 weeks/a whole month.

What’s something new you’re doing to help your household run more smoothly?

A New View of Convenience

We all like to throw something together fast for breakfast/lunch/supper, don’t we? The internet is full of blogs, websites, etc that tote having the fastest and best meals for you and your family. You’re just a click away from putting together something quick and easy. Unfortunately, those quick and easy meals usually involve opening a can or box of some kind and then ingesting a lot of salt, sugar and other ingredients you can’t even pronounce. They usually mean putting a bunch of unhealthy (in my opinion) ingredients together to make that easy meal.

As our family has been on our journey of health and wellness this has meant changing how we eat (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a time or 2!). We do our best to eat as Paleo as possible–eating mostly fruit, veggies and meat. My husband is able to tolerate dairy so he still eats cheese and drinks milk, although his consumption of those things has gone down considerably. After the insanity of the holidays and eating way too much junk and sugar, David and I are motivated to get back to being more strict with our diet. And I don’t mean diet as in the eating-cabbage-only diet, or only eating lettuce and celery. I mean, diet, as in what we put in our mouth on a daily basis. The way we eat to be healthy, not to loose a bunch of weight all of a sudden. We are all on a diet, some are on a Hostess cupcake diet, others are not! Anyway, I digress! We have noticed, once again, that when our children eat too much grain their behavior worsens. David has noticed the same in himself. We’ve noticed that when we ALL eat too much sugar we are all more irritable, crabby, tired, etc. And so, with that in mind we are hoping to make some more changes in our eating, or get back to what we were doing initially over 2 years ago!

I will be setting up a weekly menu of what we’ll eat breakfast, lunch and supper. My husband has been suggesting I do this for YEARS, and I have ignored him. However, he’s right. (And yes, he knows I said he’s right, and he’s danced his jig of glee over it!) We’ve always found it helpful when I have our suppers listed out for the week, so why not for breakfast and lunch too? Not only will this ensure we have healthy choices purchased while grocery shopping I won’t be left scrambling and wondering if they kids should have an almond butter/jelly sandwich or hotdog for lunch. Also, it will, in theory, keep us from eating out so much! We eat out way too much, and we’re hoping having all 3 meals planned & the food bought for them will help keep us at home more.

As I’m running through my head just what all this entails, and the different meals I’ll put down, I realized this just isn’t very convenient. It is WAY more convenient to put some cereal in a bowl and hand it to the kids then to make a quiche, or oatmeal, or fry up some bacon. I’m not saying cereal is evil, it’s just a difference we want to make in OUR family (and I say difference, because the kids eat a lot of cereal and toast in our home right now). I’m also realizing that by eating in a way we find healthier will make us healthier. It will keep us from getting sick so much and if we do get sick, theoretically we should heal faster. And so, I’m left to look at convenience in a different way. Yes, food out of boxes, cans and the freezer are fast, easy and convenient, but they do not promote health. And being sick is WAY less convenient. It’ll take time, practice, diligence, and we’ll need to form new habits, but I do believe we’ll find this way of eating in a not-so-convenient way to actually be far more convenient.

As we continue on this new leg of our journey to wellness I will do my best to post how we’re doing, & share recipes we all like. I was thinking of even sharing a menu for a week that we’ll be eating. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate when someone else has information to share and if it helps me, then I hope it will help you!

One Collllllllld Birthday!

My 36th birthday was on Monday! Yes, I was born 4 years and 1 day after my parent’s anniversary! Makes it easy to remember how long they’ve been married…anyway! We didn’t have a whole lot planned, and I suppose it’s a good thing because we had to cancel what little we did have planned due to the extremely cold temperatures we experienced! Nonetheless, we managed to have a good day, and my husband and kids made me feel loved and special. I started my day by rolling over in bed to see Cora running at me, arms opened wide saying, “Happy Birthday Mommy!!!!!” And then we cuddled while David was in the shower. So. Sweet. I love this child so much. She has a heart of gold, and I love how excited she gets to celebrate birthdays even when they’re not hers. We decided to brave the cold and went out for lunch as a family. We figured it was only going to get colder, and David wanted to do something! We had a nice lunch, and in the hour we were in the restaurant the temps fell dramatically. Cora and I made brownies and hot chocolate and well, it was just a great day. I knew things wouldn’t go exactly how I had thought they would, and so I asked the Lord to help me have joy, no matter what. And, I did! I took great joy in the simple pleasure of making brownies with Cora, having lunch with David and the kids and then sharing the brownies after supper with everyone. The Lord has blessed me greatly and I want to live in such a way that others see that! Here are a few pix I took to document the day!

Makin' brownies in pink camo! Recipe to come tomorrow...

Makin’ brownies in pink camo! Recipe to come tomorrow…

The tea light candle is the only candle we could find! :)

The tea light candle is the only candle we could find! 🙂

T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

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Joy

Joy. It’s a word that keeps coming to mind. I have felt for a long time that joy is something which is sorely lacking in my life. It shouldn’t be. First, I’m a child of the King! I’ve been saved by grace, and His tender mercies are new every morning. I have a wonderful husband, who loves me, cares for me and provides for our family. I have 3 beautiful children and am blessed by each of them. However, I still feel I lack the joy that I most certainly should have in my life. Over the course of the last several years I have allowed my personal time with the Lord to pretty much go by the wayside. Though I pray regularly, daily, and throughout the day I have not done well staying in his Word. I know this, more than anything, plays a huge a part in my feeling joyless. I remember years ago I would pray every year in January that the Lord would show me the lesson he had for me to learn that year. I’d pray for an open heart, open ears and open mind to His leading and guiding. The Lord has shown me some pretty amazing things and has grown me in some pretty amazing and painful ways! I have felt for months now the Lord gently telling me that I need to spend this year, 2014, finding that joy again–HIS joy. The joy he offers because he’s God, and because I’m his child. And so, I start. I am committing to reading Scripture every day, as I used to, and as I read I’m praying for the Lord to teach me about his joy and what it means for me today. My prayer is that by the end of 2014 I will be a person filled with JOY, with the joy of the Lord, and will be so full of it that it’ll spill over on to others.

What is it that you need to do differently in your life this year?