words of life

11 Jun

Keeping up with this series has been sorta difficult for me. Well, blogging in general has been which is weird. I am a writer. It comes easy to me and I usually always have something to say. But in this past six months, it’s just been a constant battle inside my heart and my mind. And to be honest, its been sorta paralyzing at times. God has constantly reminded me how much I truly need Him in this life and how I can’t do this by myself- even when things are actually going ok! So because of that, I’ve had to step back from some things and try to take some time to rest my soul and my mind when I can.

Through studying this chapter, God somehow always prompts me to write my next post in this series in the exact right timing that I need to hear from Him about what I’m struggling with. So I have found that doing this series has made me way more vulnerable than I was planning because I find myself sharing with you things that I’m really struggling with, as im struggling with it. It’s been a much more organic process than I was anticipating, but slower to evolve at the same time. Anyways.

The next verse in my study of Proverbs 31 is:

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26

Words. This next verse is about our words. *Sigh*

Why is controlling our tongues one of the hardest lessons to learn? Why have I been struggling with this so much? The truth is, I haven’t been struggling with it in a gossip sort of way, although there HAVE been times in my life that I’ve struggled with that. But right now, I’ve been struggling with my words in the ways that I talk to my family. Mostly my kids. Lately, I have been tired, not reading my Bible enough and just running on empty. I’ve allowed myself to become exhausted and to take on too much at times. And because of that, I have so willingly put my kids last- especially this  past week- and I have had an incredibly short temper with them. My short temper this week, has not come from God. The Bible says MANY times that the Lord is slow to anger, like in Psalms 103 stating, ‘The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.’

Not only is He slow to anger, but He’s compassionate, gracious and abounding in love. My words and my heart haven’t reflected that to my kids this week. I haven’t loved them the ways that God loves us as much as I should have. I haven’t been compassionate, gracious or abounding in love. Don’t get me wrong, I DO love my kids. And I haven’t been a complete monster to them. HA. But, I’ve just had a shorter fuse that I usually do. And I was convicted this week that it’s been out of my own disobedience. To be honest, I had a defining moment when Cruz walked up to me and told me he was “really, really mad” after I had yelled at him for disobeying. My heart broke. The way I was choosing to discipline them this past week was actually making it worse. And it was stirring up my little boys anxious heart and confusing him about why mommy was so angry. And it was causing HIM to be angry and mad too. How do I know? That sweet boy actually TOLD me that he was very, very mad when I yell.

Words. Words are so powerful. They have the ability to ruin entire households. Wars have been started over mere gossip. Families torn apart over harsh words, misunderstandings or even just the wrong tones. Proverbs 15:4 says, “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Our words can crush spirits and has the power of life and death. Holy moly. When I read this, I was vividly reminded about the damage I can do with my words. My big, loud, carless words spoken over my little boys can crush their little spirits. It can crush a girlfriends spirt. My husbands spirit. Or your OWN spirt. Our words are so incredibly powerful. Powerful enough that Satan can make us THINK that our words aren’t doing any damage, when in fact, they are sparking a fire that could blaze and entire forest (James 3:4-6).

The Proverbs 31 woman is very, very different. I actually don’t think she had a lot to say, at times. The Bible says she speaks with WISDOM. And with wisdom comes discernment. She is thinking about her words, choosing wisely, and not starting gossip. She is deciding to use her words for faithful instruction to her children, her family and her friends. Words that they can count on. Words that will be uplifting, even in a crucial disciplining moment. Words that won’t do damage or crush little spirits. Her words give life. And I have a feeling that she wasn’t known as the town gossip. She wasn’t known as the bully or as someone who would put you in your place if you needed it. She was wise in her speaking, choosing what words to say. She gave out faithful instruction and all those who were witness to it gained something positive from her words.

Don’t you want your words to reflect that about you as well? Shouldn’t our mouths be an exact reflection of our hearts? Shouldn’t our little kids come to know and subconsciously understand that mommy isn’t going to fly off the handle? Wise words and faithful instruction SHOULD fill our homes. When I think about what that looks like, it isn’t yelling and screaming. It isn’t chaos. It isn’t gossip. It’s methodical, well planned, self-controlled words that are only spoken to give life.

Oh how I’ve failed at times recently here to give life with my words. What  a convicting passage for me. I am going to be working on allowing my mouth to be the gate keeper for every word that comes out. Because once your words are out, they can’t be taken back. And THAT, is when it can cause real death and crush spirits. We think that words aren’t going to be painful. Or that our toddlers won’t remember or hear what we mutter under our breaths when we are angry. But in fact, they are. And once spoken, if not thought and planned carefully, can kill a precious spirit that was designed by God Himself. I’ve received a jolt this week by this verse. And you better believe that I’ll be working on this area of my life from here on out. God is very clear to warn us of the danger here, with our words. And I don’t want my kids, family or friends to be on the receiving end of something that is so obviously a heart issue on my part.

dear cruz and rider,

4 Jun

Sometimes, being busy is a good thing. Sometimes, it’s not. I feel like for myself, these past several weeks have been a mix of both extremes. I have been finding myself extremely overwhelmed with work, thankful for the job I have, busily rushing around you both, AND trying to make intentional time to focus on you and just to be a mom too. This balance that I have to find, I will never understand. I’m often told by other mom’s that it looks like I am super mom. That it looks like I have it all together. And that I do it with grace. While those are HUGE compliments to me and also very encouraging, I DO sometimes feel like the world is running AROUND me. That I’m NOT making time for what’s important. And I’m constantly feeling guilty for the nights that I can’t tuck you in. AmI doing the right things here? Do I work too much? Am I shuffling around my boys- the very REASON why I stayed home to begin with?

It’s a constant battle. One that I fight every day in an effort to make sure that I am maintaining some sort of BALANCE. And it’s not ever easy. I find that in my life, Satan does everything that is possible to make sure that the balance in my life is constantly chaos. If it’s chaos, it means that I am doing something very, very wrong. And it means that I’m not focusing on what’s important here. And that I’m not spending time with Jesus and allowing HIM to direct my steps. It only means that I’m relying on myself and all the things that I think are important to get done. And I’m not focusing on things from above, like the Bible calls us to.

Anyways. I guess this quick little letter is my way of saying. ‘I’m sorry’ to you both. You’re both too little to understand all of this big vocabulary, but someday you will. I’m sorry that I’ve spent the last few months rushing around you, impatient, sleep deprived, and grumpy. Mommy is doing some things to get back on track, including changing my diet so I’m not so irritable. I’ve been really, really horrible at keeping and maintaining any kind of balance these days. And you boys have gotten the short end of the stick, somewhat. I do promise you, that mommy is doing the best that she can. And I promise you that you really ARE the first things I think about when it comes to any decision I have to make. And I promise you that I’m going to strive for more balance in all the areas of our lives. And that when the balance scale is starting to tip, I will be more intentional about spending time with Jesus to get me back on track instead of just plowing forward, hoping the season will end soon.

Even though I am your mommy, and I’m trying to do the very best that I can, I still make mistakes too. I’m still learning and growing too. And I’m so lucky to have both of you as my little boys. Both of you sweet, patient with me, forgiving. And loving me enough to see past the mistakes I’m making along the way. I’m so grateful that we are in this journey together as a support system to one another. That’s what family is. And I’m so glad you’re mine.

I love you all the time.

Mommy xo

 

thinking before i speak

17 May

I just wrote up an entire blog post and decided to stop myself before I published it. For if I published it now, it would be out of a heated moment and about a topic that really gets me going. So instead of ranting and raving like a crazy lunatic with no self control, I’m going to BREATHE. Then, I’m going to edit my blog post a little bit and post it here once I’m not so worked up.

But for now, I leave you with this. For THIS is what I’d REALLY like to say to a few peeps today. But would regret it if I said it any other way:

hangar cafe

15 May

Have you ever been to The Hangar Cafe? HAVE YOU? Oh my sweet goodness you HAVE to go.

It’s at the Chandler airport not TOO far from where we used to live. When we lived out in the East Valley, we never went to it, although I always heard good things about it. So one day a week or so ago, I decided to take the boys. So we picked up my sister and headed out there for the morning. And it sure was AMAZING. Right when you walk in, they have planes just parked only feet away from where the cafe is located. Cruz was ELATED to see these big planes up close. Well, they actually were SMALL planes, but big to him. You know, those kinds of planes that you couldn’t BRIBE me to fly in. But they were very cool to see up close. The cafe sits right along the runway, so we got to eat, talk and watch the planes come and go right from the patio of the cafe. The food was super good, service was fantastic. After lunch, we were allowed to go INSIDE the hangar and see some of the planes they were working on up close! I cant wait to take them back to the Hangar Cafe. If you’re in the area and looking for a fun lunch spot, look no further! Especially if you have little boys, this is better than a museum!

 

homemade bread

1 May

Holy moly, I actually did it. If you haven’t read my previous post, then let me fill you in quick. Or you can also scroll down and just read it. But basically I’m setting out to make some different decisions for my family. This is a NEVER ENDING battle for me and something I think I’m always going to struggle with. FOOD. I’ve struggled with food since I was in high school, really. I mean, really, really, really struggled with it through college. BUT, that’s for another blog post. I don’t struggle with it in those ways anymore, but my health, finding a balance and making good decisions is a constant battle for me.

For all of us, right? I know I’m not alone.

So I’m setting out to try to set myself up for success. So I took a few hours on Sunday and set it aside to COOK. And man alive, I DID IT. I cooked FOUR loaves of bread. Yes, FOUR. I made two loaves of white sandwich bread (the recipe will be below) and I made two loaves of Amish Friendship bread. If you’ve never had Amish Friendship bread, hit me up and I’ll pass some to you in ten days. OMG YUM. I cooked about three pounds of shredded chicken to have on hand, I cut up ALL my fruits and veggies for the week, I made breakfast cookies, no-bake energy bites, quinoa and rice to have on hand. I stocked and prepared my fridge for this week and I am SO proud of myself. Carving out three to four hours to do all of that was a huge discipline for me. But it was super energizing because now I can confidently make quick breakfasts and lunches for us. And this week has been SO MUCH EASIER in that regard. Usually I run through Chickfila because I don’t have time to cook during the lunch hour. It’s just easier to grab stuff out. But this time I’m prepared. So I’m going to work hard to make this a new habit for myself. It’s a constant discipline in my life. And it makes it harder that cooking isn’t my most favorite thing to do. But I do feel more confident as meal time approaches because I’ve prepared my meals and I can know with full certainty that my kiddos aren’t eating checmicals and preservatives.

Praise God.

I’ve had a few people ask me for the homemade bread recipe that I used. I never realized how EASY making homemade bread was!! Time consuming, but easy. This recipe made one loaf for now and one to freeze for later. So I’m hoping to do a huge bread making day soon and so I can stock my freezer of bread. Then I won’t have to make it every week. But there’s something very satisfying to me about making your own bread, and I really found it fun! I actually JUMPED up and down (kind of high in the air, actually haha) when my bread came out looking and tasting perfect. I usually ruin stuff in the kitchen. So the fact that this bread is amazing is PROOF that anyone CAN do it. It just takes time, discipline and a DESIRE to actually do it.

Check it out. And leave me any links to recipes you love too! I love to share ideas!

HOMEMADE BREAD

Ingredients

– 2 Cups Warm Water
– 2 Packets Yeast
– 2/3 Cup Sugar
– 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
– 5 1/2 (or a little more) Cups Flour

Directions

1. In large glass bowl dissolve the sugar in the warm water and stir in yeast. Allow to proof about 5-10 minutes until it looks foamy.

2. Mix in salt and oil to the yeast. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time.

3. When dough has formed a ball, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth (not sticky) about 5 minutes.

4. Wipe down your previously-used glass bowl and oil it well. Place the dough in bowl and turn to coat surface of dough with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (trust me on this one).  Cover with a towel and put it in a warm area. Allow to rise until it has doubled in bulk.

5. Knead the dough lightly and cut it in half. Shape it into loaves and place into two well oiled loaf pans.  Cover both with sprayed plastic wrap.  Put one loaf in the freezer (more on this loaf later).  Cover the other loaf with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

6. Bake your bread in a preheated over at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

7. Let your bread sit for at least 15-30 minutes in the pan after it comes out of oven to finish setting up…then dig in!

8. For the Freezer Loaf:  After about 8 hours, take it out of the freezer, remove it from the pan, wrap it in plastic wrap & then put it in a labeled freezer bag.  It will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.  When you’re ready to use it, unwrap it and put it in an oiled loaf pan directly from the freezer.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a towel and put in a warm place for about 3-4 hours.  The dough will thaw and rise at this time.  After that, follow the instructions for baking!

Here’s my picture of my bread just out of the oven!

So fun. I found this recipe on Pinterest, but it was actually from this blog. In her blog post, she details out the cost of the bread versus store bought bread. Check it out. It averages to about $1.00 a loaf. Bread doesn’t need to be complicated, people. And it feels SO much better knowing that you’ve made and eaten something that is actually only five ingredients or so. AND that you can pronounce them. I can’t wait to make more!

So, have at it and HAPPY BAKING!

new approach

28 Apr

I have REALLY been beating myself up lately over some habits I’ve formed that I’m not SUPER proud of. Meaning, we eat out too much, I’m eating too much processed food, and not cooking or preparing for me week the way I’d like.

Well my friends. THAT IS ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE.

Tomorrow I’m starting a NEW weekly habit. And I’m nervous about it because I’m NOTORIOUS for starting something of this nature and not following through. It takes a lot of discipline. And while I have quite a bit of discipline in my life, the area of anything domestic or if it involves working out is super hard for me. I’m not ashamed to admit it, BUT it is slightly embarrassing. It IS embarrassing to say that I’d rather get take out than cook. It’s not my favorite thing to do.

But alas. It IS better for my family. And it will save us a ton of money. And while I’m not one to clip coupons or only shop at the grocery stores that have the bargains this week, I DO think I need to be a better steward of what God’s given me in this area. Plus, it will be healthier for us. The food industry is pretty gross these days and I constantly feel convicted about not taking the time to prepare my week in such a way, so that I don’t need to eat out. But I’m exhausted and don’t take time to do it. Well, tomorrow starts a new day for me.

I have already done ALL the grocery shopping for next week. I have cleaned/organized our pantry. And I have a plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow, I am basically going to get most of what I need ready and in the fridge so we can quickly grab snacks and prepare meals within our busy schedules. Sundays is usually a down day for me anyways. My family usually comes over. I should be able to stand in the kitchen and prepare for the week while I’m visiting with all of them. And my sister even offered to help! Now I really have ZERO excuses.

So tomorrow I am going to be cutting fruits and vegetables and getting them organized into tupperware. If they’re all ready to go, it’ll make snacking and cooking with them much faster. I’m going to be baking two loaves of bread (yes, homemade bread!), banana bread, Amish friendship bread, homemade coffee creamer, no bake energy bites, breakfast cookies, quinoa, brown and white rice, and cooking enough shredded chicken to have on hand in my fridge to last me for the week. Are you tired? I AM TOO. But I really think this new approach to my kitchen is going to help me. I’m not trying to be super mom. I just DON’T have time every single day to cook. We are super, super busy people. But I DO have time on Sundays to prep for the meals we’ll need during the week. And I’m really convicted about what we put into our bodies and trying to avoid all the chemicals that are on the shelves these days. If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it. It’s SO hard. So I’m going to try it. I’ll definitely post my success and/or failures that may ensue tomorrow. HA. Hopefully I have more successes than not. And I’m really praying and asking God to bless my time doing it so that it will make for a fruitful week. I’ll post my favorite recipes once I figure out what I’d like to share.

Wish me luck!

 

don’t worry

27 Apr

* Image found on Pinterest.