the struggle.

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the struggle is real, y’all. and sometimes when i open my bible instead of throwing a temper tantrum like my nineteen month old, i realize it is the way it’s supposed to be. recently, i’ve been settling into the book of romans and am learning about the struggle of the oh so wise, paul. he calls himself a servant, and recognizes that means he is to embrace the struggle.

i hate the struggle. i get depressed by it. i get beat down by it. and i think to myself, in all my righteousness and complete darkness, if i am doing the right thing- things will shake out in my favor. sometimes they do turn out the way i have planned. but sometimes, they don’t, even when i’ve prayed, and prayed hard.

i am learning that paul prayed hard, he lived out a life worthy of the gospel. he was always ready to preach, serve, and suffer. he probably was the first one to raise his hand when the church hosted a clean up saturday. he probably put a post-it note on his bathroom mirror to remind him to pray for his preacher, and actually did it… and paul, beyond that, he was ready to die. because that’s what being a servant of jesus christ looks like sometimes. it’s not always a fun time. sometimes it’s really, really hard.

recently, while reading a commentary on romans one using blue letter bible, i read a truth that wrecked me…charles surgeon in his great wisdom said: ” i do not suppose that paul guessed that he would be sent there {rome} at the government expense, but he was. the roman empire had to find a ship for him, and a fit escort for him, and he entered he city as an ssador in bonds. when our hearts are set on a thing, and we pray for it. God may grant us the blessing; but, it may be, in a way that we never looked for. you shall go to rome, paul; but you shall go in chains.”

i’ve read these words a 100 times now and i can’t help but put myself in paul’s shoes. if i had known the stakes, would i have been so eager to follow Christ? i would have pitched a fit and said, “but, look at what i’ve done. i don’t deserve this. ” i’ve been a christian for over 20 years (by the way, they think paul had been a christian for that long when he wrote romans) and i haven’t learned to live like paul. i still feel entitled to an easier road.

i don’t deserve the easy road. and i am learning through the words of paul that i am to embrace the struggle- whatever that looks like. if i am pursuing a life worthy of the gospel- a life for Him- i have to commit to a life free from grumbling and be satisfied with the truth that He is in the struggle seeing me through regardless of the outcome.

Non-Morning Person Routine {With Kids}

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I am not a morning person. Frankly, I don’t believe I should be required to function with kindness until 10 AM. However, I’m a mom now and I don’t have luxuries like sleeping in… And when I get mad, I remind myself I chose this! I chose to be a mama. I chose to give up my sweet morning sleep and wrestle with two kids instead… I’ve developed a quick morning routine that works, most of the time… It doesn’t work when I hit snooze and little mama gets dropped off at school at the same time as the dreaded “you are now tardy” sign gets put out in the carpool loop at school. It also doesn’t work when the baby has a blow-out right after he’s been buckled into his car seat… But mostly, it works and here’s how:

6:00 AM – Nurse

6:20 AM- Shower

(Failure to do this on time will mess the entire flow!)

6:40 AM- Wake little mama

6:50 AM- Breakfast/ Pour Coffee

6:55 AM- Blow dry hair

7:00 AM- Give little mama a fifteen minute warning/apply make-up/dress

7:10 AM- Change baby

7:15 AM- At the door

Here’s how I “win”:

I lay everything out the night before including coffee mugs, breakfast bowls, etc.

I chopped my hair so I could reduce blow dry and flat iron time. {And it was falling out postpartum..}

I don’t know how to anything more than a “five-minute face” with make-up.

Little mama is friendly in the morning.

The baby is an efficient breast feeder and normally chills in his swing after his “breakfast”.

Here’s how I “lose”:

I don’t get to do a devo to start my day.

I don’t get to exercise or stretch or ease into my morning.

If I hit snooze or if one thing goes wrong, I am late dropping off little mama to school.

If I shower the night before (which is truly ideal), I feel like death when I wake-up.

I go to bed too late and still am up in the middle of the night nursing so I feel like I’ve been hit by a mack truck. every. day.

As you can tell, this is NOT an expert post. This is not a “hey, I’ve got it all together” story. This is my life and it’s a mess! Totally imperfect. And I need help, honestly. Does anyone have any advice on how to have a smoother morning even when… you don’t like mornings… your baby doesn’t sleep through the night… and you stay up too late because it’s the only one on one time you get with your husband…??? If so, I’d love to know… E-mail me. Comment below.Pray for me. Tell me I’m not alone. I’ll accept any or all of the above.

High Five for Friday.

Friday. Friday. Friday. Hey! Hey! Hey! 
{I am so ready for the weekend to start.} 
1.) My mamas gorgeous Easter table.

2.) Twelve hidden Easter eggs throughout the house for Mr. Goodwill to hunt. I think he enjoyed working for his Easter candy.
3.) Cuddling at night with my pups. Mr. Duke ranked the highest this week with his sweet smiling face as he snoozed at my feet.
4.) Haitian crackers while learning about the art of financial management…
5.) Stella + Dot earrings. They’ve been delicately tucked into my jewelry box waiting for Spring… I adore them! 
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P.S. I am linking up for #H54F with this gorgeous lady

Furry Friends: Baby Girl.

Yesterday, I told y’all that I’ve been busy doing some really fun things. And I meant it. Lately my little world has been chalked full of some really exciting opportunities. 
About a month ago, I partnered with Jessamine County Animal Shelter and started volunteering. I have helped with a couple of their adoption events at PetSmart. During those events, I take puppies out on potty breaks, work with them on basic commands and try to encourage the “lookers” to add a furry friend to their family.
Another way the shelter uses volunteers, is through fostering. Many shelters are overcrowded and as a result they have to turn away pets or euthanize them to keep control. We decided to help in this capacity with Miss Juliet or Baby Girl (as J calls her).  While fostering, the “parent” gauges behaviors, how well they integrate into your home, with your other pets, etc as it all relates to their probability for adoption. 

In Juliet’s case, she is a black nine month old puppy that is very eager to please. She loves people and enjoys playing with toys! J and I wanted to work with her on basic commands, socialization with other pets and house training. All of our hard work paid off, because Juliet went to the vet on Friday morning to get fixed before going to her new home! 

She was adopted by a sweet family with three little girls. They came to the PetSmart even last Saturday and totally fell in love with her. While the paperwork was being processed, we had the pleasure of loving on her and working with her. It was sad to see her go! However, we have three very loved dogs of our own! 
When J dropped her off to the vet he sent me a photo with this text message “Bye foster mommy! Thank you fur sharing your home with me. I promise to be brave and love my new family. I love you”. It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever read! I’m teary eyed even writing it… Don’t you just love a happy ending?!?
If you might be interested in supporting a local animal shelter, google it and see how you can help! Or if you are looking for a pup, consider adopting form a Shelter to help pups like Miss Juliet be saved from possible euthanasia. You can find shelter dogs or cats on www.petfinder.com or by visiting your local shelter. 

Brave

Hi Y’all! I am a well intentioned woman but often super scatter brained so I apologize for not blogging recently. I’ve missed babbling on about my world and catching up on yours! During my absence, I’ve been doing some really fun things. One of them includes attending a Bible Study at my church on Wednesday nights. I love spending time with my girl friends this way because it is really precious to have sisters that can lift you up in the Lord!

The Bible Study has been teaching us how to be Brave! The women of my church have been on a really fun yet challenging journey during the last couple of weeks. Brave, the Bible Study, written by Angela Thomas is basically a study that examines many struggles that women face each day.  Each week we join together, watch a video segment and chat amongst one another about our personal issues related to being Brave!

Angela tackles hard topics such as: I am worn out, I am suffering a thorn, I am undisciplined, I am trembling inside, I am invisible and I am broken. She presents these topics each week in the sweetest most loving way (and she’s Southern so I’m really into that!) and challenges women to surrender their lives in efforts to live the life that God intended.

We are currently in week three of the journey, I am undisciplined and I am learning so much! I love this study so much because it has been teaching me a couple of things: (1) the importance of getting into my Bible regularly (2) a reminder that in order to live a more fulfilled life, I have to seek His will for my life (3) the realization that he is the refresher of my soul (not my bed, exercise or ladies night!).

This study would be great for independent study or a small group. I highly recommend it. It will rock your world. Also, if you would like me to pray for you on any of the topics that I have mentioned, please comment here or e-mail me. I’d be honored to pray over your circumstance and stand alongside you as you seek a richness in life that only comes from our sweet Father!

Be Brave, Girlfriend!

Friday Failures: Making a Come Back!

I believe we all aspire to be as resilient as Britney Spears. (Stay with me here!) Most of us painfully watched the teen pop star crumble under pressure a few years ago. She totally went off the deep end! However, she made a come back. She cleaned up her act, got in shape, focused on her kids and her career. It appears that she left the darkness behind her.

Not everyone can come back from humiliation with such gusto. Britney’s mistakes were BIG and in the spotlight of the whole world. Our mistakes are small and yet we often choose to hide behind our “failures” forever. Some of us rarely give ourselves permission to make a come back let alone gain the perspective that one is even possible!

In my life, I am notorious for eating a McDonald’s value meal and then following it up with a tasty treat. On those days, I usually feel ashamed and disgusted. I slipped and made a mistake. It normally takes me a week or so to recover from that mistake and start eating healthier. It takes one small thing to set me off and claim a “failure”.

I once had an instructor in college tell me that “failure” is not a reality. She said that we as a society “just give up too soon!”. If Britney Spears can bounce back from her train wreck why can’t we? I refuse to accept that my mistakes are “failures”. I will look at them as opportunities to improve my outcomes for the next time.

Britney Spears seems to have improved her outcome. She is now featured in magazines with her kids on the trampoline or with her boyfriend lounging by the pool looking incredibly fit. I challenge you to change your outcome too. Take the Britney approach and get a team of folks to support you, encourage you and love on you! Allow those individuals to hold you accountable and encourage you to stand up when you make a mistake. Give yourself permission to fail and encourage yourself to bounce back. If Britney Spears can do it, so can you!

Good Luck!

P.S. Check out my Valentine’s Day Wreath over at A Content Housewife!

31 Days to Fit— January Preview

This January, I am trading in my high heels and scuffed sneakers and dusting off my running shoes.

Over the past several years, each January, I have resolved to eating healthier and losing weight. Each year, I fail miserably and my resolutions fly out the window. My waist size increases and my self-control decreases. This year, I want it to be different. I want it to actually stick– don’t you? I want to develop a healthier lifestyle that embraces who I am and who I want to become.

In efforts to hold myself accountable and focus on better habits, this January all my posts will be dedicated to healthy living. Each post will be centered around various get fit topics. I’ll be sharing my successes and failures with you along the way.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this new year and that you meet every obstacle with strength. Join me each day as I transform my daily life and learn how to develop healthier habits.

 Here’s my blog schedule:

Move it Monday

  Exploring work out routines such as Pilates, Yoga, Zumba & PureBarre. 

Tasty Tuesday

 Featuring recipes from various cook books, sites and blogs that make your taste buds dance and are healthy at the same time. 
Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday

 Discussing my favorite healthy lifestyle reads. 
Tips & Tricks Thursday

 Tips & Tricks found from a variety of different resources. 
Failure Friday

Personal weight loss failures and how they have motivated me to push through. 
Style Saturday

Exploring my favorite work out gear— because when you look cute, you feel better! 
I am looking forward to a healthier 2012 and I hope you are too!

Cheers, 


Stand Still

When I was a little girl and my mama would fix my hair, I had the tendency to wiggle around and sway from side to side. My mama would get so frustrated! She’d say “Sissy, be still!” (That’s what my family calls me). I’d huff and puff and eventually settle down (honestly.. you have to calm down when your mama has your ponytail in her hand and is yanking on it!).

In some circumstances, I’m still that little girl, I’m fidgety and unresolved. There are things in my life that just keep me all wound up and swaying from side to side. However, this time instead of my mama telling me to “be still” it’s the Lord. What started as a little nudge from him, a little whisper, “Sissy, be still!” has turned into a full fledged ponytail yank! It’s like he’s saying now, “Do you hear me little girl? I said BE STILL!”

He tells me this in so many ways… every where I go, I wait.

Scriptures like these scream “stand still”:

Exodus 14:14 (God’s Word Translation): ” The Lord is fighting for you! So be STILL!”

Samuel 12:6 (NIV): ” Stand still and see the great things that the Lord is about to do before your very eyes!”

My life is in transition (not in a bad way) and is forcing me to embrace stillness. I’m learning to stand still and listen to him and wait for his move. Until I know where I’m going, I’ll stand. After all, I’m sick of getting my pony tail yanked! My head is starting to hurt. (I’m a stubborn little girl).

Have you ever been there? Has your daddy ever told you to be still? 

Fall TV Line-Up

I’m addicted to Fall TV. Our DVR broke down during the week of season premiers and I almost had a panic attack. There are some really great comedies on TV right now. J and I enjoy winding down with an episode or two before bedtime. (Yes, I know what the sleep guru’s say about TV before bedtime…).

Here’s our favorites:

Modern Family on ABC- The antics of Phil and Cam make me laugh out loud every single episode.

Big Bang Theory on CBS- Sheldon and his roommates are super nerdy and such a comical dynamic.

New Girl on FOX – Jess is a train wreck! She’s quirky and funny. (I watch alone).

Glee on FOX – The newest season is a little odd but I love it. I’ve been a self-professed “GLEEK” and really enjoy anything musical so despite the newest season, I am still a die hard fan!

Up All Night on NBC- I’m a huge Christina Applegate fan. She is a new mother and working in a very demanding environment. Pretty funny. (Not fantastic, but funny none the less. As a result, I watch alone).

What’s your favorite TV show?

Goodbye Gym Membership, Hello $300

Gym memberships are incredible in theory especially when they are priced as competitively as Urban Active. I am also in support of group exercise and really enjoy the diverse options offered through a gym. I’ll especially love Zumba class! Urban Active also has a lot of equipment and I have the opportunity to make different choices every single visit. Maybe today I feel like using the elliptical while tomorrow I might choose to focus on strength training. The choices are endless and the products are generally maintained.

It sounds great but… I made a decision to cancel my Urban Active gym membership for the second time. I canceled once last year and then almost had this psychotic episode because I felt like I couldn’t work out without a gym membership. I rejoined earlier this year with high hopes of establishing a regular workout routine. I have yet to establish a routine and am do not feel like I’m using the membership enough to get my monies worth. As a result, I had to spend some time hashing out the truths about the gym membership that I pay to maintain. Here’s what I realized:

  • Gym memberships are costly! The hubby and I have made a decision to live frugally and by not using my membership regularly I BLOW money each month. I don’t have a lot of BLOW money each month and feel convicted to use it wisely. (HELLO SAVINGS: $25 extra per month or $300 annually.) 
  • Classes offered through the gym do not always jive with my personal/professional schedules. 
  • I realize that I do not need a gym to achieve an awesome workout. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE! If I want a diverse work out regimen, I can create it at home very inexpensively and do it on my own terms.

The bottom line, exercise is important and can be incorporated into my daily life without costly gym memberships. If I’m struggling to work out, the best outcome is to just MOVE.  I can’t get hung up on the “where’s” because opportunities are everywhere. I have to be honest with myself; consider my lifestyle and develop a plan that works best for me and keeps Jason and I on the same financial page.

Is there an expense in your life that needs to go bye-bye? We all have them. I’m grateful to be parting ways with mine.