Friday, September 27, 2019

ARE WE REALLY BEING TOO HARD ON OURSELVES | RANT



I hear so much about standards and motherhood.

"Lower your standards. It's the only way to be a mom and survive."

"Ignore the mess. Our standards have lowered with each child."

My inner OCD completely rebels upon hearing those phrases. Outwardly, I can laugh just as hard as the next mom. Heaven knows my floors are probably dirtier than the next mom's. But still; there's one little corner of my mind that always asks, "But, did I try? Did I give my best effort to my house and my family? Or did I use my (very busy) family as an excuse to not apply myself?" From day to day, that answer is different for me. We all fall short some days, and I'll be the first to raise my hands and admit it.

There's been a gradual, wide acceptance of all things "grunge" and "ick" for the sake of "living life to the fullest." I can't understand it.

I mean, I get it ya'll. There such a thing as "adapting to change", and "rolling with the punches", and "surviving" - Yes. I know full well the meaning of those phrases. {I have toddlers, and a logger-husband whose schedule is often unpredictable. Honestly, today I cleaned the outside of my porch windows for the first time in...I don't even know...}

But are we being realistic in our total bellyflop on anything that resembles order and tidiness?

I have been roundly criticized for keeping my house clean.

Clean-ish, really. 

The issue was not that I keep our residence in apple-pie order (Cuz I honestly don't) but for the fact that it matters to me when the porch windows haven't been cleaned in six months; that I care whether or not the bathroom has been scrubbed this week.

"Don't be so hard on yourself"

"The dust will always be there, your kids won't be."

"Enjoyyyyyy lyyyyyfeeee."

I don't criticize a messy house, friends. Mine is messy too; it needs organization and, probably, another good coat of paint in several areas. What I criticize here is the "I don't care" attitude that has sprung up and spread so rampantly - It's a special new brand of laziness that hides behind the "moral principal" of "spending enough time with your kids." (Or, in most cases; sitting next to them on the couch with your phone. )

I'm not suggesting that One should never sit down and have a steaming cup of coffee over her Pinterest boards - I do it all the time. I am suggesting that maybe we should reevaluate this whole idea of "Lowering standards in exchange for happy family living." More often than not, I'm afraid we're really "Lowering our standards because we have a good excuse that makes us feel okay about not trying very hard."

Blunt? Yes. Rude? Maybe. But I get so tired of seeing the slow decline of people as a whole. Whatever happened to stepping up to the plate? Whatever happened to priorities? And caring? And responsibility? Don't our kids need to see those exemplified in us just as much (if not more) than they need us to chill out and watch a movie? And what about working together? They need to know how to do things! They need life skills. 

There is a time to take a break - I don't dispute that. There are ridiculous weeks with company that leave houses looking like ground zero. There are toddlers who destroy their rooms in fifteen minutes flat.

Once more I reinforce: I don't judge a dirty house; but I do judge the apathy of not caring about the dirty house. 

"Not cleaning" is becoming more than a "dust problem."

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Favorite Hair and Body Products!





Someone on my youtube channel asked for a rundown of my favorite hair products. You may be surprised to see the results! Simple, affordable and effective...if you have frizzy or curly hair, you'll wait to try these. THEY SAVED MY LIFE!

Monday, April 29, 2019

FIRST PLACE IN THE CONCLUSION JUMP | NOBODY CARES

The older I get and the longer I have anything to do with anybody, particularly any kind of social circle, the more amazed I become.

In spite of moving 1000 miles away from where I grew up, I find myself surrounded by similar personalities. Different faces, yes. Different preferences, yes. But the same quirks, the same problems...the same old hidden secrets that eventually come to light...the same need to love and be loved in their own special ways; be they loud and outgoing, or quiet and reserved.

They all, at some point - or, "we all," if I'm honest - eventually come to some point in our lives when we finally look around and decide that "nobody cares" for us.

Always, I have been one of those lucky ones to be blessed with a close inner circle - at least one or two people, always, who provide a safe place and comfort. Always.

But moving that disclaimer aside: It constantly floors me when I hear beautiful, busy friends of mine - with bustling lives filled with people, and friends, and responsibility - admit  the same old sentences that  I've heard over and over since adolescent days;"I don't have many friends," or "I really don't fit in well," or "I wish I had a place."

And I have to sit back, looking at these beautifully successful lives, and wonder how in the world they've been tricked into these lies.

But not for long - as I see my own questions mirrored in their eyes, and realize that often our struggles are not as unique and secret as we think they are.

There's a solution for this, and it lies with us.

It can take less than five minutes to change this problem for someone, and it doesn't take empty, groping compliments to patch things up. All I ever had to do was point back to the good things that I'd heard people say about them; run back to my own observations, and to the honest truth that is too often shyly tucked back in silent admiration.

How many times are we too bashful to show how we really feel for each other? How many times do we decide that lending a helping hand "just won't fit in our schedule right now. Maybe when I have more time..." "We haven't had anyone over for supper in quite a while...but we're just so busy..."

People need to know they're loved, and admired, and cared for. It should never embarrass us to give a compliment when one is due.

What's wrong with saying you loved the hairstyle? What's awkward about mentioning that you "enjoyed that special song this morning"? What happened to encouraging someone just because you could?

It never hurts to build each other up, even if the friend in question doesn't look broken, or needy. 

Such simple, honest compliments... simple ways of "showing up" for your friends... a little "clearing of the schedule" to go help someone, even when it's inconvenient...  showing up for a birthday party... or making a meal for someone who's sick; these things encourage hearts and really make a difference in the world around us. More than that: It makes a difference in those we love. 

I leave you with this question: Do your friends and family know how much you love them? Your husband? Your kids? How often do you really show it? It's worth considering.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

THAT WHOLE COLLEGE CONUNDRUM | FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Since I was at least 12, the whole "college issue" was a prominent one in our homeschool group - as it should have been. It's a huge issue.

I was never one to enjoy verbal fencing matches, so I always kept my mouth shut and watched the debating from a distance, all the while cultivating my own opinion.

When the time came for me to make my choice, I made it firmly and with no regret -  I stayed home.

One side of the fence would argue that I wasted my talents and my time working a dead-end job until I got married, got pregnant, and stayed at home with my two kids. Arguably: I had little in my bank account, and little in my pocket book - and no, even now, I am not pursuing a "get-rich" career.

The other side of the fence remarks piously that anyone with a good spiritual understanding and any brains at all wouldn't be going to college anyway. "Only weed-sniffers and crack-heads hang out in those dormitories."

I disagree with both sides.

Whatever happened to Christians who asked God what He thought? 

That question has sobered me for years. So often college is stuffed down our children's throats as a measure of preparing them for "real life", and giving them a boost toward a well paying job. It's often viewed as the only way to become successful or "be anybody" in the world. " Only lazy people who end up on welfare fail to pursue higher education."

Obviously, as someone who has never gone to college and, thus far, has never seen any reason to go, I disagree. One argument has always forced itself prominently between me and that ideology; the simple truth that WE ARE INDIVIDUALS. We always have been, always will be.

I still believe that God has written out a script for each of our lives; a very intimate, personal thing with a very specific ending in mind: Furthering the Kingdom of God. As much as we strive, and struggle and complain about being who we are (too fat, to skinny, to little opportunity, not enough money, no friends) I don't believe that we "have what we have" or "are who we are" by chance, at all. I believe God needs people at every station in life to serve His purpose and work for His glory. That's what "success" is - fulfilling what God asks of us in this life.

In scripture we're commanded to preach the kingdom of God to every creature. Every creature; not just the coworkers at our high paying desk jobs. No, the garbage man needs to hear it too...and the little children at home...and maybe even the other teen girls who are working that "dead-end job" beside you.

God needs hands and eyes and loving hearts everywhere.

This short time of mortal living is our only chance to do something for the One who gave His life for us. How can we fail to ask Him what path He really wants us to take?

I don't doubt that He calls some young people to college. I believe in eduction. I believe in good doctors. I thank God for teachers, and bankers, and lawyers. But if God calls you to be a housewife, or to start a business from scratch, listen. It's not wrong.

There are so many statistics out there that I could add to this post. So many personal ideas and experiences that I could portray - but ultimately, our decisions shouldn't be based on personal opinion, popularity, or even hard fact. Our decisions should be made on the basis of sincere hours spent before God, searching out the course of our lives; seeking His pleasure, not a pat on the back from society.

I also dare to say that college is not for people who have not yet had a personal experience with God. Away from family, away from church, and constantly bathing in a secular atmosphere; a young boy or girl without the keeping power of the Holy Ghost will struggle and flounder in the deepest, hardest ways. Personal strength of character is not enough. It takes a supernatural force to keep a young person walking true to God in a college setting. Without it, the road will be long and difficult. I promise you, from personal experience.

I do realize that anyone who takes a stand for what they think is right will be criticized sternly and soundly from one quarter or another, and I embrace the challenge that comes with this as I have embraced all the other snide remarks that come from holding any form of Christian ideals. It's fine if you disagree, but my mind is made up. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

OPEN YOUR EYES MAMA | LOVE YOUR LIFE

It’s Aldi’s Grocery Store. I’ve had a crazy week. I’m getting ready to have another one. The grocery cart is half full. Haven is stepping on the groceries. Thank heavens I hadn’t grabbed any bananas. Where’s the Paci? Hope is starting to fuss in her carseat.

“Oh how PRECIOUS.” It’s another set of grandparents beside me. Treasure these times…they are so precious.” 

I smile painfully. “Oh, thank you. Yes, they really are.”

It sounds completely wicked and ungrateful, doesn’t it? But we’ve all been there, whether we admit it or not. 

“These precious times”: The ones when you snuggle your sleeping child to your heart and wonder why in the world anybody wouldn’t want to have kids…

...and the times when you think your sanity is getting ready to jump of a cliff. 

Those sweet, clean-headed babies, all ready for church…

...and that toddler who just went through the filing cabinet and is rubbing ranch dressing through her hair. 

These precious times. These sanctifying times. These HOLY, SACRED TIMES THAT RAISE GIRLS TO WOMEN AND SERVANTS TO KINGDOM ROYALTY. More precious than gold, more meaningful than any other job in this world, something I’d never change or give up…but hard as well. 

I love the weeping moments, when I find my heart is so full with the love that’s been poured out over my life, that I can’t help but give it out to the little people who need so much from me. I’m singing and laughing with my children. I exalt in the beauty of this life that God has given.

But there’s a great deal of dying in motherhood, too. A killing of your own selfishness. A losing the “me first” to give life to new life, comfort when you’re own body craves it, love when it’s easier to turn a blind eye. This is Christ in you; The Giver…The Sacrifice. 

When my feet hit the floor every morning, there’s a particular attitude that I don't want to keep: Living as a martyr makes home life miserable and displeases God. (He’s not angry if you cry, mind you, but if you go through today never opening the door to let in the sunshine…I’d say that’s ungrateful. Your selfish mourning eats away at your blessing.)

The tough times come frequently, but I think, if we look a little closer - past the dishes and the dust and the to-do list - if we let the light shine in through the crack under the door, then around the opening edge, until it pours out over the grayness…I think we would see that there are more precious times than the devil would like us to see. 


Just a hint from one Lady to another: Keep your eyes wide open today. Go ahead and love your life; It’s a gift, not a punishment. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Making Realistic Mom Goals | What's Enough?

I always wanted to be the fit mommy. The kind that runs behind her little jogging stroller; killing her early morning workout. 

Today I think of her; that woman I want to be.

I’m quietly listening to my morning yoga video. Normally, I find yoga comical and pathetic. Right now it feels amazing - just to relax. 

I hear the calm, whispery voice of the instructor. “…Child’s pose…..”

I see the bright realization in my little girl’s eye across the room. I know what she’s thinking. 

That smile is my chagrin. But my chagrin is the reluctant kind - with a tinge 
of happiness staining the corners. 

Here she comes.

Relaxing into the stretch I realize that this is, without doubt, The Children’s Pose. In the most plural sense of the word.

“…thread the needle…toward the sky…”

Oh, that little smile. Small hands, reaching. 

She climbs into my lap. Her safe place. Her happiness. Her Mama. 

And I give up. 

Again. 

I catch a glimpse of that woman who I want to be, still running hard behind her cute little stroller. I waive as she passes me. 

Feeling my warm, snuggling baby, I reflect a little. 

This is why I live - To support. To give comfort. To raise up. 

This is why my freshly mopped floors are smudged and gritty already. 

This is why I don’t sit down all day. 

This is why I fall into bed exhausted at night. 

And it’s enough.

To be everything to these little lives is more meaningful than any pay check I could ever bring home - any job that I could do. 

To bandage their skinned knees and wipe the dripping tears for “The least of these, God’s little ones…” How can I despise this? 

To teach the generation of tomorrow that God is still real and unchanging in the face of a world that tries hard to say He’s not - that’s worth every workout that I miss; every bit of interrupted “alone time” that I’ll have to reluctantly abandon. 

To know that I’m loved, as their sweaty-hot arms wrap around my neck in the sticky heat of July, means more than being able to go to clothes shopping allllll daaayyyy whenever I want. 

To laugh with unfathomable happiness over the little things they say and do as they shape into the people who will shape the world someday …. that’s more than getting to finish my lunch without sharing a bite with someone else. 

It’s enough. 

More than enough. 

Turning from my reflection, my two year old has found my schedule and pulled it off of the fridge door - along with all of the alphabet magnets. The one year old is crying. I need a shower. I need to pick out church clothes for tomorrow. I’d love a break - but I love them more. 


And that’s enough.