Friday, May 30, 2014

Mom's Night Out Review

It was kind of strange to see a movie that was pretty much my life.  Before going on a rare date with my hubby to see Mom's Night Out, I called him, panicked.  This is how the conversation went:

ME: The movie starts in 45 minutes!  I haven't showered yet!  Owen just peed on the floor!  Dinner isn't ready!  PLEASE tell me your on your way home!

TROY: No.  I'll be leaving here in about 10 minutes.

ME: (Hitting my forehead on the wall and sighing loudly.) Why do I even try?!?

TROY:  Oh, Love!  Don't give up!  I'll be there soon!

So, if you have seen the movie, doesn't that scene sound familiar???    I would never say that I'm "not happy," as it was stated in Mom's Night Out, but stressed would be a common word I use.  I love being a mommy, homeschooling, etc.  I even enjoy cleaning house and cooking, when I'm not interrupted fifty times before completing a task. It's just hard work.  Work that never, ever, has a break.  Except when you go out on a date, but it seems like it's so hard to let go of that stress even when trying to leave for that date!

The movie was a bit more stressful than I would prefer, but seeing it to the end was worth it.  After all, I never thought that Trace Adkins could make me cry.  (I don't cry much.  Ask my husband.) By the end of the movie, I was reminded more than once that what matters is that I am His.  And even though they didn't go into this detail in the movie (which is's okay that the Gospel wasn't thrown at me in a movie made by Christians!), I am covered by Christ's grace.  My identity is in Him.  He has covered this mess of mine with His beauty.  I was reminded to stop beating myself up and comparing myself to this view I have of what I should be.  Just do what God created me to do.  Be a mom.  Not a perfect mom.  Just be there.

If you are a mom and haven't seen this movie, I would recommend it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Quotable Jackson

I haven't posted one of these in a while!  Enjoy! 

Jackson woke up early on the Saturday of his schoolmate's birthday party and said, "I was having too much fun with my dreams and then I realized I have a party to go to!"
Jackson:  I wish we had a cow in the backyard so we could make steak.

-Jackson, age 5 1/2

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Truth About Mother's Day with Kimm Crandall

Last week, I sat down with Kimm Crandall, a friend and author of the book Christ in the Chaos, to get down to the sweetest truth about Mother's Day.  I'm not talking about all the homemade or Hallmark cards, the pot of flowers, pretty necklace, or the breakfast in bed you may receive as a  mother on Mother's Day.  I'm talking about the sweetest, best, biggest gift of all.  Watch the video to learn more!

....and if you want to hear more of that sweet truth, please give Haven Today's radio program a listen.  Kimm Crandall will be on all week!  Today's program is "How the Gospel Changes Mothers."  Visit to listen.

As I sit down at my kitchen table with my dirty dishes in view, trying to get my wits about me as a recover from a busy weekend, with a long to-do list bouncing throughout my brain, and a toddler in my lap trying to "help" me write this post, I am reminded of the amazing Gospel truths that I need to hear on a daily basis.  It is a constant battle to look to Christ and not my sin.  Thanks, Kimm, for the much needed reminder!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pinterest Post: Ice Cube Tray Lunch

Jackson, Owen, and Madelyn's lunch trays!
Inspired by an idea on Pinterest where you put the kid's lunch in plastic Easter eggs, I discovered putting their lunch in ice cube trays.  Let me tell you, all my kids (ages 22 months, 3, and 5) loved this! They all sat and ate their lunch without getting up from the table.  When we eat outside, there are many distractions that beckon to my kids during meal time.  They didn't get up once.  This was a very exciting lunch event for them and I owe it all to Pinterest and ice cube trays!

To make this lunch, I just filled each spot on the tray with a veggie, fruit, nut, cheese, meat, Ezekiel bread, or dip.  I customized each try to each child's preference.  Jackson doesn't like hotdogs, but Madelyn and Owen do, so they both got organic beef hot dogs in their trays.  Jackson LOVES veggies, so his tray consisted mostly of veggies, whereas Madelyn and Owen got more fruit.

They all requested that I make them an ice cube tray lunch again.  And you know what?  I will!

They're excited, can't you tell?
All finished!  Although, she did give her brother her pistachios and celery.  Isn't she kind?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pinterest-y Easter

As I was scurrying through Target with the little bit of energy I had that the flu had not taken from me to gather items worthy of my children's Easter baskets, I contemplated how I wanted to make it a point that Easter wasn't about candy and bunnies and eggs.  I have no extra energy for anything extravagant, and I want to be to the point.  No fluff.  No "Jesus Loves You" Bunnies.  Of course, we love giving our kids gifts, which is why we give them an Easter basket, but I want Easter to be a day that focuses on more than just the Easter basket, the big meal, and the egg hunt.

I searched Pinterest high and low for Christ-centered ideas to celebrate Easter with kids.  Most of the ideas that I found, were, well, just cheesy and didn't help explain why we celebrate the fact that Christ is risen.  For example, I was not looking for a "No Bunny Loves You Like Jesus!" printable to put in the kids' Easter baskets.  I don't want to force Jesus into our Easter baskets.

So, this afternoon, I found it.  I found the Easter-y thing that creatively connects eggs and Christ AND helps explain why we celebrate, "He is Risen!"

I believe the "proper" name for the thing I found is "Resurrection Eggs."  Sofia's Primary Ideas is the blog that best explained each egg for me.  (CLICK HERE FOR LINK)  All you need is 12 plastic eggs and all the other items you can find around your house and yard.  Each egg contains a message, a passage, and an item to describe the events leading up to the Resurrection of Christ.  It is sort of like an "Easter Advent."  My kids LOVED the advent calendar we did at Christmas time, so I know they will enjoy this.  You fill the eggs, label them, and hide them.  The kids find them, open them, and you read each message and passage.  I'm not sure if we will do this Easter morning or after church, but either way, I've made the eggs (it took me about 30 minutes) and I am excited!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Christ in the Chaos: A Review

I remember growing up, painting or drawing a piece of art would be a common thing for me to do. When I was close to finishing up the piece, I would show my parents the almost-finished product for their opinion. To them, these pieces of art were beautiful. To me, there was always imperfections and room for improvement. I was critical and always very hard on myself as an artist. I remember my mom telling me that "You are your worst critic." Oh how true it is! 

In reading Christ in the Chaos, I have had the opportunity to examine my heart, especially in regards to the motives of my heart.  My motives seem to be driven from high expectations from myself and false (or perhaps nonexistent) expectations from others.  I will never meet these expectations.  I will always find myself lacking.

No matter how I may see myself lacking---a canvas painted with many imperfections and mistakes---God sees me as a perfect masterpiece because He sees Christ. You see, I can continue to try to improve and cover up my bad brush strokes and blemishes. I will. It's in my nature. I can continue to care about what other people think and seek their approval. That, too, comes very natural. Even as I write this post, my sinful heart seeks your approval and many views from my followers---all 14 of them. But, those things don't matter. All God sees is Christ! Not my imperfect paintings or my blog posts seeking approval! Oh, and for that, I am so very thankful! That drives me to obedience. I pray that The Lord continues to work in my heart and that I would more often look to Christ and not to what others think of me. 

 Now, I have a confession to make.  Christ in the Chaos is the first book written to women (but not only for women) that I have finished since I became a mother.  I started plenty, but I was never motivated to finish them because they showed me my weakness (the weakness I already very well knew of!) and didn't show me Christ.  Yes, they showed me passages in Titus or Ephesians or Proverbs which are great reminders of how I am to act as a woman.  But I always would become discouraged because I could not live up to those expectations.  I always mess up.  Always.  This was the first book that not only assured me that would happen, but pointed me to Christ in that he has already done all the work for me.  Now, I need to clarify that this doesn't make me lazy.  Quite the opposite.  This amazing outpouring of God's grace drives me to repentance and obedience.  In fact, that grace is the same grace that sort of "smacks the sense" into me with I go on a sinful rant when something (or many things) don't go the way I think they should.  Kimm points that out several times in this book.  And it is true!  It's truly extraordinary what God's grace can do!

One of my favorite passages from Christ in the Chaos is as follows: 

"Mothering has taught me how very weak I really am, and that is a hard, hard truth to accept.  But by living in my weakness, I see more and more how powerful God really is.  I come to understand that his power is shown to be perfect through my weakness and failures."  

Oh!  How I relate to how mothering has truly shown me my extreme frailty as a human being!  What comfort to know that especially in our weakness, God is showing His power!

Summing up the same chapter, Kimm writes, "Let me encourage you to take off the "strong mother" mask and embrace your weakness.  Stop hiding the very inadequacy God wants to use to display the gospel.  Believe his grace is sufficient.  Allow his power to be made perfect in you and then boast!  Boast all the more gladly so the power of Christ may rest upon you.  In your weakness, you will be made strong."

One of the chapters in Christ in the Chaos addresses the "Masks" that we put on in order to "fake it" so that we may get the approval, acceptance, and love of others.  I am constantly, in the deepest, darkest center of my soul, comparing myself to everyone around me.  Whether it be the mother at church who has more kids than me and somehow seems to be holding it together very well, or the mother who home-schools with several little ones with what looks like ease, or the mother who manages to find time to weight lift and compete and has more muscles than I would ever know what to do with.  I am constantly seeking the approval of my own self.  My "self" tells me that I need to have the kitchen sparkling everyday, that my kids don't need to watch any TV (Ha!), that I need to workout six days a week, and that I can never show any weakness to my kids, my husband, or my peers.  I have to constantly battle this.  Kimm shares that she does too.  That makes this book different than all the rest that I ~ahem~ started to read.  She says that these things will always be a struggle, but to run to Christ---to remember (Christ's work on the cross and how it relates to YOU daily), to repent (daily of those sins and desires to do it on your own) and to rest (in knowing that Christ has FINISHED the work for you.  He has paid it all.  We owe nothing.) REST!  What a truly freeing concept!  

Here is where I am going to say that if you have not read this book, READ IT.  It is only $9.99 in paper form and $5.99 in Kindle form.  I knew Kimm before reading this book, but even if I hadn't, I would feel as if she is one of my dear and closest friends after reading this book.  She is the first woman who has said to me, "You will fail. And when you do, run to Christ.  Rest in Him." I appreciate that honesty so very much.  And for that reason, as Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) would put it, I feel as though the author of this book and I are "Kindred Spirits."  I know she has gone through (nearly in earthly terms) hell and back as a mother.  I know she understands me and my weakness.  I know she prayed that it would effect me and everyone else who ate up the words from cover to cover.  I am so very thankful that God has used her life ---from the seemingly bottomless pit of despair she was in to the completely freeing Grace of God that she has come to know as a mother--- to speak to women who really, really needed to hear how the Gospel changes motherhood.  Thank you, Kimm, for the love, effort, prayer, and hours you poured into this book. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Quotable Jackson: Emergencies, Lightbulbs and China

In efforts to explain to Jackson what a real emergency is, because there have been many "false" emergencies lately, I clarified to him a few times what an emergency was (fire, someone hurting or taking you, earthquake, someone else getting hurt or doing something that could hurt them, etc.).  When putting him down for a nap or bedtime, I also explained that he wasn't to get out of bed unless it was "an emergency."  The other night, after I told him that, he sighed heavily and said, "Well, we just don't get too many of those around here!"  I had to agree.


Troy told me the other day that Jackson informed him that I had replaced the lightbulbs in the bathroom.  Jackson said that I "restored the light."  Ha!  I wonder where he came up with that!


Last night, Jackson's new water bottle broke while Troy was trying to take the lid off.  It was said that the cup was made in China.  Jackson then looked toward the bathroom where we had several new lightbulbs go out recently.  He asked, "Mommy, were those lightbulbs made in China?"  I replied, "Probably."  He then concluded, "Well, China needs to get some better materials!"  Well said, son, well said.
Jackson, age 5.