Be A “Crazy” Mom

before screen time blog

My teen daughter spent the night with a friend.  They had a blast doing fun girl things.  The mom sent me a picture of them dressing up, and she said they were giggling and having a ball all night. What was the difference from the usual quiet night with barely any laughter or noise?  NO PHONES!  She had taken away her daughter’s phone, hence the other two put theirs away as well.

When my daughter got home, she was ecstatic!  She went on and on about how much fun they had and told me EVERYTHING they did, until I was doing one of those “uh huh”s and nodding my head.  My daughter couldn’t figure out why her friend’s phone had been taken away.  She was completely astonished that a major incident had not caused the loss of the phone.  The friend’s mom had simply wanted to “have her daughter back”.  She wanted to see something besides the top of her kid’s head.  She wanted to see her face.  I love that.

We get so caught up in our activities and busyness, that we don’t tell our kids to put that phone away.  We don’t see it until OUR parents are over, and we are kicking our kids under the table to put their phones away.  We don’t see it until our kids’ friends are over and we are giving our kids the look to put their phones away because their friend is just sitting there, and it’s making us feel a bit awkward and forcing us to make conversation with THEIR friend.

My daughter’s friend’s mom said something about being the “crazy” mom that took the phone away.  What if we all became that “crazy” mom?  What would it do for the real relationships in our kids’ lives?  What kind of bond would we have within our family? What special close friendships would be created among our kids that are on the same sports teams, in the same clubs, and schools?

I want to be a “crazy” mom.  I want to join that team of women who are willing to be different and unconventional in their methods.  I want my kids to be able to stay connected to their friends.  I know they need to receive messages and occasionally see what is happening out in all important teen world, but I want to regulate it.  I want to know what social media apps they have, and who their “friends” are.  I have to know.  I have one shot at this parenting gig.  So, here are a few questions that are going to be asked before screen time happens.

  1.     Is your homework finished?  (This is a good solid question.)
  2.     Is your room clean?  (I’m in charge of an entire home.  One room isn’t going to kill you.  Besides, I am trying to help you grow into a responsible adult who knows how to keep their           area organized and tidy.)
  3.     Did you read for 15 minutes?  (This has to be something productive.)
  4.     Have you done something kind for a member of our family?  (I know this isn’t always easy, but when these family years are all said and done, I want to know I encouraged love and a        strong bond between all of us.  This can be a very simple task.)

How You Know When God is Speaking to You

Lots of people want to know what God has to say to them specifically about the details of their lives.  Sometimes we would be happy with a general direction.  I have never been spoken to audibly, but the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, and many times it is at the weirdest times. That is how I know it is Him.  I could not come up with such genius and wisdom when I’m in that place between sleep and awake, running, in the green bean isle at Target or reading a children’s devotion to my daughter. Maybe you can relate?  I have friends who say they have clearly heard from Him in the shower or some other happy place where no one else is demanding their attention.

Here is an example.  I have been praying like CRAZY lately.  It’s this whole new world.  I grew up in a pastor’s home, and they talked about praying all the time, and we prayed all of the time.  But, somewhere along the line there was a disconnect.  I had in my mind that God was really going to do whatever He wanted to anyway, so my prayers were very wimpy and served little purpose.  On the other hand, my husband has been praying all of our married lives.  He always prays on his way to work – faithfully every morning.  He believes in it, and knows it can change an outcome.  He always says, “If you don’t ask, why should God give it to you?”  He has been carrying this family for 20 years.

So back to my praying.  I read Circle Maker and was totally inspired to seriously begin praying.  What did I have to lose?  I began a prayer journal.  I would simply “talk” with God.  I would ask Him for very specific things, and He began answering left and right.  He has helped my daughter transition into a new school beautifully, He has helped my dad with a health issue, I sold my parents’ home in 30 days without a realtor.  I know they seem like tiny things, but they are big deals in my life.  He has been so good,  that I talked with my husband about it.  I was worried – almost feeling guilty that things were going to good.  What?!?  God is answering too many of my prayers?  He said that was ridiculous (I like the way he says things).

Two hours later, my daughter and I were doing a devotion from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling.  Let me give you a little portion, “This is a time of plenty in your life.  Your cup overflows with blessings.  Enjoy this time – it is My gift to you.  Don’t feel guilty when everything is going well.  Don’t turn away from My blessings because you think you don’t deserve to be so blessed.  That is nonsense.  The truth is no one deserves anything from me.  Instead of trying towork for My blessings, I want you to receive them thankfully.  I give you good gifts becasue I love to see your joy wehn you recieve them.  So open your hands and your heart, and accept My blessings gratefully.  This brings Joy to you and to Me!”

OK, wow!  Got that one loud and clear during my daughter’s devotion at 9:00 when I really just wanted to go watch tv.

God speaks.  We just have to be open to what He says and available to hear when He wants to reveal it to us.  He is full of surprises, wisdom, and answers when we least expect it.  I love that about Him

. God gives blog

Thankful Canvas

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We did this Thankful canvas five years ago.  The littles were so little, we had to write for them.  Everyone who came to celebrate with us that year wrote what they were thankful for.  This canvas is priceless to us now.  Our kids will have something from their grandparents and have a small glimpse of our life in 2010.  I hope it evokes special memories and feelings for them always. It is an awesome way to put a little bit of love on the wall during the fall season.

Best Banana Cake

banana cake

This cake melts in your mouth!  My sweet sister-in-law passed this on to me because it’s my niece’s favorite cake, and I want to be my my niece’s favorite aunt.

What you’ll need for the cake:

1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas (the kind your friend makes fun of you for still having in your house)

2 tsp lemon juice

3 cups all purpose flower

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter soft butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 1/2 tbsp of vinegar to regular milk)

What you’ll need for the frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the cake:

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan (make sure you don’t use a smaller pan, or the cake will fall and be mushy in the middle).  Mash the bananas and add the lemon juice – set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt – set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time and stir in vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in bananas.  Pour into cake pan and bake one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting:

Cream butter and cream cheese.  Beat in vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth.

 

This entry was posted in Recipes.

7 Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Marriage

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I love my husband like CRAZY!  It gets better every year.  But, all relationships have their ups and downs.  Sometimes it feels like a full on roller coaster.  As I begin to get ticked off with the little things in marriage, small infractions get larger than life.  That is when I have to catch myself, and make the choice to help diminish the problem instead of watch it escalate.  Sometimes these things are harder to do than give birth, but I notice as I humble myself and TRY,  my marriage thrives.

1.   Wear toe nail polish, or at least change the shirt you wore to bed last night.  It is so easy to be totally secure with the one you love.  We are our total selves.  They see our best and our worst.  It is important to not get so comfortable that we neglect trying to be a fox occasionally.

2.   Focus on the good.  Instead of letting any negative attributes hold you down, think about the qualities that attracted you to him.

3.    Connect with him on his level.  What is his favorite thing to talk about?  What is his passion?  What is his favorite past time or sports team.  Learn about his interests and be able to carry on a conversation with him about it.  (Woo Pig Sooie!)

4.    Extend grace.  Everyone has those days.  We can’t be 100% all of the time.  So, he left his shoes out again-pick them up for him.

5.     Have his coffee and paper ready for him in the morning.  I know.  I know.  It sounds a little June Cleverish.  That might not be his thing, but consistently do things that show him you thought about him.

6.     Initiate you know what.  I don’t think I need to expand on this one.

7.     Always build him up privately and publicly.  Talk about his awesomeness to him, your family and friends.

Make-ahead Orange Salad

This has always been a go to for my mother-in-law.  So, naturally it is a comfort food around this house.  It is the weirdest, easiest and most delicious concoction.  Simply mix up the following ingredients after you have drained your pineapple chunks.  It is perfect for the holidays because it can be made the day before!

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1 container of Cool Whip

1 box of orange jello

1 16 ounce container of cottage cheese

1 bag of mini marshmallows.

1 can of crushed pineapple or chunks of pineapple IMG_2379

Strength Will Be Given

I hate running.   I do it so I can have good legs,  eat ice cream and be somewhat healthy.  My husband and I run at the same time but not together because we can’t stand the thought of running and talking.  We can barely breathe – let alone talk.  What is so interesting is that this is the time God choses to talk to me.  I know it is Him because I am in so much pain, there is no way I could come up with this stuff.  Today I was running and having a very difficult time.  I usually never have to walk, but I just couldn’t run another step.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said “Run back the way you just came.”  I wanted to laugh out loud.  If I was to run back the way I just came, that would include a huge hill.  I totally ignored the thought. He said it again, “Run back the way you just came.  I obeyed.  I thought if I can’t trust Him in the little, how will I ever trust Him with the big?  The verse I have been memorizing this week is, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On you I wait all day.”  Psalm 25:4-5.   What a perfect time to put it into practice.

I did it.  I ran back the way  I had just come.  I ate the hill for breakfast!  And, it was horrible every second.  Sometimes God allows the difficult and hard times so we have no where to turn but Him.  We have to be utterly dependent on Him and have constant communication with Him.  As I was running back the way I came, I was praying for help and strength every second.  But, I knew He would give it, because He was the one Who had asked me of it in the first place.

 

Puppy Love

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We wanted our daughter to switch schools, and that is the last thing in the world she wanted to do.  So, with a little prodding and a new puppy, we are finally convincing her. (Oh, just call it what it is – bribery.)  None of the two practical, experienced, or wise people in our home wanted a dog because they were in fact aware of what would happen approximately three hours after the precious puppy’s arrival.    About 2 hours after our blessed new arrival, everything unravelled.  There was poop!  There was pee!  It looked like the toy department at Petland had thrown up in our family room.

Gone were the days when I was trying to stuff toddler toys in a bin in the corner of the family room, but here were the days I was stuffing dog toys in a bin in the corner of the family room.  THIS IS LIKE HAVING A NEWBORN.  There is no rest or peace.  I am waiting for nap time and tip toeing around when it happens.  I took her for her first walk.  Please note that I took her and not one of the three kids that begged to have her.  She nipped and bit at my neon shoe strings.  She would stop and try to eat those dead dried up worms that couldn’t quite make it across that black hot pavement,  she would pull at the leash and try to wander away.

The next morning when I was running alone (ALL ALONE), the song, “I Can Only Imagine”, came on.  I usually skip this song because I have heard it 7 million times, but it hit me in a fresh way.  The first  line is, “I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by your side.”  And, it hit me.  Sometimes, I am like my puppy when it comes to walking with Jesus.  I will nip and bite at Him with my worries and concerns.  I get distracted with with things that have absolutely no eternal value.  He will try to draw me in and pull me away to walk with Him, but I will tug at that leash and attempt to go a different direction.

He continues to invest in me and shower me with grace.  I look forward to that day where I can finally meet Him face to face and walk with Him.  But, I want to do that before I’m dead.  I want to be able to walk with Him now.  I want to follow His lead without the questions, doubt, and stopping for things that just don’t count.  I want to walk beside Him like the beautiful, loyal and trusting daughter He created me to be.  It is a continuous journey and process that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. One day my puppy will walk by my side like the beautiful, regal, and  strong German Shepherd she was born to be.

I wrote this in August.  It is now January, and I’m not exactly where I want to be with our walks, but it’s way better.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Lucy has happily and successfully completed her first semester.  Queens the puppy helped her all the way.

Back to School Organization

 

 

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There are five million papers that come through this house about 3:30 everyday.  I used to keep EVERYTHING and put them in tubs.  Each of my kids had their very own at the end of the year.  It was ridiculous.  It’s not practical, and it’s too much clutter.  What works is to get a 2″ binder (as they get older, the binder can get smaller) and hole punch.  As soon as we get home from school, I grab their stuff out of their back packs, ohhh and ahhh over them, and then put the important and great stuff in their binders.  When they look away, I trash the other stuff.  At the end of the school year, I place each of their binders in the storage room, and start again.  I let them decorate the page that will go in front, or put a paper describing their year.  I  like for them to fill it out, so one day I will be able to remember their sweet little handwriting.  Each year, I write a letter to them on a piece of notebook paper and place it at the front of their notebooks.  I encourage them, tell them how much I love them, tell them why they are so special to us, and  tell them specifically how I’ll be praying for them that year.  They love to go back and revisit their previous years with this notebook.

P.S.  If you read about Lucy, she has kept her room clean now for 263 days.  How do you ask?  I take her to lunch for every 10 consecutive clean room days.  Works amazingly!!

Where To Begin?

That’s a funny title for this post considering my blog is startwhereuare…  Didn’t even think about it.  School is in session!!!  My sister keeps sending me photos of her feet at the pool with celebration emojis all over the place.

I look around this hole of a house, and I seriously don’t know where to begin – so many options in not a good way.

I decided to bring my husband in on this one.  I sent him a text and said, “Do you want to play a game?”  I knew that would get an immediate response from him.   The game is, “You tell me the one thing that is driving you most crazy around this house, and I’m going to go take care of it like the Terminator”.

I am motivated when I am given a certain task, I’m doing something quite nice for my husband, and my house is getting back in order, so I can go take pictures of my feet at the pool.