FAVORITE THINGS + A SUMMER GIVEAWAY

I am SO excited about this giveaway for you! I have teamed up with several wonderful businesses and artists to bring you an assortment of goodies you are going to love this summer!

Before I jump into what is up for grabs in MY giveaway, you must know about the 8 OTHER giveaways that are all happening right now. To see each gift up close, and to enter to win, visit each site to fill out their entry forms.

It’s possible you could win more than ONE!

When you visit each blog take a look around. This is a great list of amazing bloggers and I know you’ll love each one of them. These precious bloggers (who all love Jesus!) are tearing the blog world UP with their commitment to helping women know God more, serve their families well, and be encouraged on the journey. Plus, their giveaways are AMAZING, so make sure you enter to win their giveaways, too!

**Click any AND ALL of these links to enter to win the incredible giveaways going on at each of these fabulous sites!**

1. Happy Home Fairy // 2. Ale & Tere // 3. The Littles and Me // 4. Erika Dawson – Faithful Moms // 5. Filled with the Word // 6. The Olive Tree Blog // 7. The Purposeful Mom // 8. Meaningful Mama // 9. Frugal Coupon Living

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THANKSGIVING THOUGHTS

give thanks

A few Thanksgiving thoughts:

  • We’re just coming out of a 17 day stretch with Alex being gone and the kids and I cranking it out at home. They were tough days. Long days. Some days ended with wine and tears and some with laughter and pillow fights.  I wish I could say it’s over but it’s only a matter of time before he ships off again. Today I’m thanking God for these past 17 days.  We made it.
  • My parents spent a lot of time here with me.  They have always been my constant. It doesn’t matter where we are in life, they always come to the rescue and this time around they didn’t disappoint.  As soon as they heard that Alex was going to be gone for an extended time, they moved right into our third bedroom.  I wonder what life will be like without them near to us.  I’m not looking forward to finding myself in need of them and knowing that for the first time ever, they won’t be there.
  • Emory is not sleeping through the night.  I tried forcing her a couple of nights ago and it ended up with a puke fest that quickly turned into me saying “that’s it, you’re sleeping next to me until you’re 15!”  She’s such a good girl and she’s our last so part of me wants to hold on to the dependency aspect of our relationship a little longer than I did with the older two. I’m pretty sure she’ll be the child who has to sleep train me!
  • Our Nebraska home is almost ready for us.  I can’t believe we’ll get to live in such a beautiful place.  I shared a bedroom with my three brothers until I turned 15.  It’s such a surreal feeling to be able to provide for your kids things that we never had or dreamt of growing up, like their own room!
  •  I’ve been binge watching the hallmark channel (online because we don’t have cable) and my Christmas spirit is bursting within me.  We arrive at NE on the 7th of Dec but our things to get up there until the 15th giving us only 10 days of Christmas.
  • I’m pretty sure I tore some sort of ligament or tendon in my ankle.  I injured it about three months ago and I can’t seem to shake the pain away.  I’ve never feared seeing a Dr. before because I know the diagnosis is going to make me rest and this is not a season for rest. Maybe it’ll be forced rest. Maybe it’s for the best.
  • We’re going to my in laws home for Thanksgiving.  I’m in charge of a dessert and drinks.  I’ll be poaching some pears and making sangria! We requested cuban food for Thanksgiving because we have no idea when we’ll get to have real Cuban food again so we’ll indulge in our ultimate comfort food.
  • Thinking about this verse. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you… this season we’re in, our health struggles, our parenting, our new Nebraska chapter, these are all things that He willed for us.  These are things that our in our lives for a purpose and we are to give thanks in all of these circumstances. So humbling. Also, so much peace comes from knowing that He is sovereign and has plans to prosper and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 9:11) I am so thankful for that.  For His will and for His plan.

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!

 

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Motherhood: Mommy wars and a FREE printable

Motherhood: Mommy wars and a FREE printable

Last week, I met up with a beautiful group of girls for a book study. I jumped in the study a bit late, but we’re going through Mom Enough. The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope by Christina Fox, Gloria Furman, Christine Hoover, Rachel Jankovic, Rachel Pieh Jones, Carolyn McCulley, and Trillia Newbell.  In the book, the authors discuss different motherhood struggles and trials that they have faced and are currently facing.  Last week’s topic was on mommy-wars and the impact judgement (from other moms) has on our everyday life.

We are all judged in one way or another and we are all guilty of judging other moms because they don’t parent the way we do.  The first time I felt the impact of mommy-wars was when Alex and I decided to induce Grace’s labor.  We were are 39 weeks and I had exactly two weeks of spring break to have her and head right back to my second semester of nursing school.  At the time, and given our circumstances, it was the best decision for our family.  Needless to say other moms were not thrilled about the idea and made their points known without regards for our fragile state and our decision.

For me, the mommy-wars continued on when it came down to our decision to formula feed Grace vs. breast feed her.  Although I do believe that under perfect circumstances breastfeeding is the best option, at the time, it was not something we could do.  I was in school all day long and pumping at 6pm while trying to cook dinner and cramming for my next big test left me with no time to spend with my little girl and my hubby.  So, we opted for the next best option and looking back, it was a great decision.

Although I have been on the receiving side of the mommy-wars, I am also guilty of doing the judging.  I know I didn’t believe it either… but it’s true.  I’ve said things like “you let your kid eat those crackers off the floor?” or “You’re still breastfeeding your two year old?” or my favorite “Why isn’t your three year old potty trained?” and I’ve given plenty of judgy side-looks when seeing kids roll around the church floor or worse walking barefoot! eeww…

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Finding balance in the every day

finding balance

 

Daily balance is something that I struggle with. As a mother of two (soon to be three) with a nursing job, a brand-new fixer-upper, and a schedule that is nowhere near predictable, balance has proven to be extremely difficult.

I’ve realized that when I allow distractions to find their way in, my stress level rises and I turn away from what’s really important.

After much trial and error, I’ve been able to hone in on my top 6 priorities.  Writing them down, allow me to focus on what’s important and keep me distraction-free.

I think everyone’s priorities vary slightly, but what has helped keep me on track, is to jot down the non-negotiables and place them in order of what’s most important to least.  In my case, all of these are super duper important and if I don’t tackle each IN THIS ORDER (or as close to it as I possibly can) my day doesn’t seem to click.

I keep the list simple and it looks something like this:

  1. Prayer time/studying of the word – This is my number one priority.  Somedays, I am able to sip some coffee while I study, pray and sing and some days I pause for a one minute prayer.  Whatever the case, spending time in the word and in prayer sets the tone for my day.
  2. Marriage- Other than my relationship with God, my relationship with Alex is my top priority.  I do my best at making sure that Alex and I are communicating effectively and that I’m showing him that I love him through acts of service. My friend Betty calls it “marriage bliss” and if we don’t have that intimate connection to one another, our home doesn’t function well.
  3. Children– Raising Godly children is my calling and it’s one I take very seriously. Am I teaching Grace and Haddon God’s word?  Am I teaching them how to love God? Am I being a good example to them?  Are they making a difference in the kingdom?
  4. Work– I am a nurse. I usually work at a hospital 3 days a week and although I love my profession, it’s not something I see myself doing for much longer.  For that reason, I find it very difficult to pour my heart and energy into improving my skills and knowledge in the field. I place my job on my master list, because I believe that as Christians, we should be an example in the workplace by working as onto God rather than men (Colossians 3:23)
  5. Home– Vacuuming, dusting, laundry, dishes, DIY reno projects… there is something always to do at home. My priority is not to try and get it ALL done, but to tackle what needs to be done now. For example, are our uniforms ready for the next day? Do the kids have clean clothes? Is there mold growing around our tub? Do I need to restock my fridge? Did the dog go out? etc. I don’t believe that we should allow dirty clothes or dishes to pile up for weeks at a time, but I do think that everything needs to be placed on a scale and that sometimes it’s ok if if the clothes is clean and it’s sitting on my bed for a couple of days before I get around to folding it.
  6. Blogging– This is my outlet.  My opportunity to be creative and to express myself. However, most importantly, it’s a platform that I have been given to show others Christ.  My priority is to use this platform to be a blessing to others rather than to ramble about my day (which I sometimes do)

Throw in there doctor appointments, work emergencies, diaper explosions at target, doggy throw up, and you have yourself my typical day. I’m sure you have your own list of crazy “typical day” examples. The good news is that regardless of what’s thrown your way, if your top priority is always finding time to focus on Christ and on His word, finding balance will just be a matter of perspective.

Also, I like to meditate (think about, repeat in my head, throughout my day) specific verses that help keep me focused.

  • Psalm 19:14 let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
  • Joshua 24:15 … Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord
  • Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord
  • Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me
  • Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
  • Colossians 3:23 whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters
  • Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light
  • Matthew 25:23 His master replied, well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!

Oh dear mama, I hope you find a little encouragement in this post. Balance comes and goes, but your heart and spirit are eternal and His love and grace which is extended to you will carry you through all of the explosive diapers, temper tantrums, crazy work schedule and sleepless nights.

Praying for you today!

/linking up here and here:

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