Thursday, January 7, 2021

INTRODUCTION TO BRIGHT LINE EATING | BABY STEPS TOWARD WELLNESS

Wow...it has been a long time since I posted over here on the blog! Feels good to get back at it today - especially for such a meaningful reason!

Unfortunately, through a little personal experience and some youtube research, I figured out that instagram isn't the easiest place to share youtube links unless you have a gazillion followers or a business account - neither of which have I. ;) This definitely isn't the simplest option, but I'm happy to have found a way to share the original video that I tried to link in my insta story a couple of days ago. I'll have that link at the bottom of this post. #win

Since so many of you were interested in learning more about BLE, I thought I'd type up a quick little overview of the basics as I see them.

Behold: 

The "Bright Lines" that this style of eating is named for, are simply these. 

1. Thou shalt not eat flour on this program. 

2. Thou shalt not eat sugar on this program.

3. Thou shalt only eat weighed portions (recommended portions for each meal are in the book. I'll link it at the end of this post as well.) 

4. Thou shalt not snack between meals. Ever. 

It's that simple. Do not cross these four "Lines" and you're good to go! 

A lot of people have taken this way of eating and turned it into a lifestyle. Not gonna fib, I'm impressed with what I've read and seen about this diet, but I'm still coming at this from a skeptical perspective. I'm in this for a 90 day trial to see what the personal benefits are going to be for me. 

What I love about this plan, is that it seems very balanced: We're not cutting out ALL sugar, since there's still fruit involved everyday. We're not cutting out ALL carbs, just limiting them to unrefined, healthier options. We're not cutting out ALL fat, just making sure that we're only using decent portions of it... that's why I feel like this could be a very good, healthy way to live. 

I'm interested in starting to eat this way because, honestly, I've been dealing with some pretty severe health issues throughout the last year, plus (counting my miscarriages) I've given birth to four children in the past five years. My body needs to heal, my mind needs to heal,  and it's time to work on gently rebuilding myself. Not just for me, but for my family. So, I'm looking at this whole process as a "gift" to myself, instead of "punishment" for the state of my health or the weight that I've gained since those pregnancies. Perspective is everything!

I do want to interject here, that I am planning to post a little bit about what's been going on with my health since we lost our little boy, almost a year ago. In short: my life totally broke open and smashed into a million pieces for a whole variety of reasons...and wow, have I ever learned a whole lotta things that I never realized before - about myself, about my beliefs, about people, about God....   It's been amazing; and I do plan to share some of those lessons with you when I get to an easier, healthier place. 

For now, I'm sharing our everyday life over on my instagram account, so feel free to come follow along to see updates, weigh ins, and our daily life as I figure out a whole. new. way of living and eating. ;) 

Here are the links that I promised: 

Click HERE for the youtube video.

Click HERE for a link to the Bright Line Eating book on amazon. 

Click HERE to check out my instagram page. (Most BLE updates will be in my stories.) 

Monday, July 6, 2020

IF YOU COULD TALK TO GOD | JOURNAL

The face of my home screen blares "6:40" into the soft grayness of early morning.

....     Why can't I sleep?

When Mommas have opportunities to sleep in, they take them, right?! Not today.

Anxiety medication can only do so much, and this morning, it isn't working.

The semi-darkness of our living room feels like such a sacred thing. No one crying. No one speaking. No noise or motion. This time is mine. This Bible is mine. This moment is just for me; to fill me. 

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow....I fear no evil. 

"Cast all your cares on Him....for He cares for you.

This level of stillness is something that I haven't felt for such a long time. There has always been a little somebody to follow me out, needing a snuggle, or breakfast or something at this time of day, and too often devotions sounded something like: "Lord...please give me strength for today..." ... and that was about it.

But this.

This reminds me why the winds obey Him, and the waves calm.

If I could have a sit-down conversation with Him this morning, this is what it might look like:

Him: "Ask what you will, child..."

Me: "Lord, are you sure? There's so much that needs fixing in me..."

Him: "Is anything too hard for the Lord to do?"

Me: "No, but I don't feel like I deserve to ask...I'm falling apart. Overcome by anxiety. Overcome by my own weakness."

Him: "Child, When I look at you, I see purity and wholeness, paid for by my own blood. Have no fear...."

Me: "My life, Lord, I need it back. It's broken beyond anything that I can change. I don't have the strength to put everything back together anymore. I don't even have the strength in me for today."

Him: "But I am your creator and sustainer. I promised not to give you more than you could handle. For today, that means that I am giving you the strength to make it through, victorious. This will work out for your good, no matter what it feels like because you are mine."

How many of us need to hear this, I wonder? We can. Every day. You and I both know that all those words come from the scripture; meant for even the weakest of Christians. He wants to talk with you this morning. What's breaking your heart? What's pulling you apart? What's that one thing that you need to see happen today? He wants to talk about it.

He may not give you a vision or an Angel with a scroll, but He promised that if you would ask, you would receive.

Go in after your peace today. Your strength. Your comfort.

He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed.

You are loved.

Monday, June 29, 2020

BEING A "GOOD ENOUGH" MOM | IN MY WAITING


I've always been one of those freakish creatures who glory and revel in the "big picture" version of life. If life were a piece of art, mine would be full of big, broad strokes of brilliant color and flare. My husband, on the other hand, is one of those sane, thoughtful people who focus on the details of getting to where they're going. If life were a piece of art, his would be a detailed, neat pencil sketch.  We make a great team... but I'm very good at overwhelming him. * grin*

I've always been this way. Big ideas. Big dreams. Big (and specific) plans; and for as long as I can remember, I know God has been teaching me to enjoy the process of reaching my goals ... and, worse ... to enjoy the waiting.

I'm not good at waiting.

And I don't like the unexpected.

But this year, both of those things have been constant, aching, growing pains for me.

Waiting to be strong again.

Waiting to be healed, totally.

Waiting for peace.

Waiting for life to begin again.

But day after day...there is simple stillness...and the promise that God is working, even when I can't see it.

It's hard for my "big picture" self, to slow down this much.

Today I dare to ponder that all of us Moms can feel like this sometimes: Unless we are "going" and "doing" and working ourselves crazy on one project or another, we find ourselves feeling empty and purposeless.

I do.

Without diapers to change, sippy cups to re-fill, a thousand "hold me, mommy"s to satisfy, floors to vacuum, business checks to write... I'm so lost.

During this season of my life, I've caught myself cramming house projects into my days so that the  "quietness" won't sneak up on me in a form of uselessness. I've come to see that in my own mind that if I'm not working, I'm not being productive. If I'm not being productive, I'm not being enough. If I'm not enough, then I am worthless - and with this realization,  I had to stop myself, in the midst of my clawing and grasping for worth - to re-think the definition of myself, and the definition of Mommyness.

Motherhood is so many different things. It's being so busy homeschooling that your body craves a quiet moment. It's being so still with a newborn in your arms, that you wonder if you'll ever do anything else again. It's feeling so satisfied with your fresh, clean house and yummy, home-cooked meal, that you wonder how you deserve to be blessed with this beautiful life. It's being so exhausted, and overwhelmed that you wonder what in the world you're doing wrong.

Are any of these phases not a part of being a mom? I've only been doing this for four years, and already, I can relate with every single version in the above paragraph. Does any of these versions seem "Useless?" And even if they did, should we really let them define our worthiness or value?

Truth is: God has loved us with an everlasting love. He poured it out over us in the form of His blood - because we aren't worthy and we can't be enough.

That takes out all the fear and all the worry, right there.

Should we try hard? Yes. But in whatever stage we find ourselves in today, we can just lean back and know know that Jesus is enough. His grace sustains us through the hard times. His love fills us so that we can pour out to our children.

If we are fulfilling His call in our lives, and that call brings us to a place of quiet - let's rejoice in that! If He has called us to a busy season - we can rest in His strength for each new day. If He has called us to a season of waiting - we will pray, and trust that His plans are perfect.

There are so many voices that try to label and define us - but you and me, we don't need to add to that clamor.  Let's rest in the goodness of our Heavenly Father, who created us, called us, and sustains us as Moms.

We are enough, because He is, and He called us here. Lean on Him, and you can't go wrong.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

DEAR MOMMA | WHO ARE YOU?

Everybody knows that mommys everywhere are susceptible to losing themselves in the lives of their children. Some argue it's good and "worthy", some bitterly gripe that their lives have been stolen.

As always, centerfield is a safe place to stand on opinion.

I remember when my first little girl was born. All the snuggles. All the bows. All the little ruffled jammies.

So sweet.

Oh, was it sweet!

But there was so little sleep. And there was so much bleary-eyed feeding. And so many diaper changes. And so very little time for myself that even a common shower felt like an act of reckless rebellion.

Had I lost myself? For a time, I suppose. But looking back I see that, really, I found myself in the care of my new baby girl: In the soft weight of her on my shoulder, and the tiny, sweet breath of hers on my neck, I found contentment. In her little snore, something in me was almost giddy with delight. Seeing her become more alert and independent brought a tinge of sadness that mixed with the joy of watching her grow.

We've all seen it in our Mother's eyes; the joy, the pride, the uncertainty, the happiness. Then we grow up and feel it all down to our very souls...and all those weird things that they said and did makes sense. The miracle of motherhood; passed down through generations.

Looking back on those precious "first" days of Haven's life, I remember feeling like I had lost my everything to become a 24 hour milk factory...but I also cried all the way to the grocery store and back the first time I left her with a sitter for an hour. (The sitter was her Grandmother. Who volunteered. No judging ya'll!)

Sometimes we find perspective in the void of loss, or change.

For me, lately, there's been a lot of both.

I know I've talked often about the heaviness of this current time in my life, and I don't want to stay over here on the ash heap and call a rain cloud over your day; but it's here, if we trade the ash heap for my living room couch,  that I really realized with my mind what my heart knew all along.

Purpose, is people. 

Our people. 

All people.

We Moms don't have to run after a career to become fulfilled and useful. I mean, let's face it: all of us know the story of some wealthy, lonely man or woman who spend the last days of their life alone in a nursing home.

We Moms don't have to be "the best" Mom to become fulfilled or useful. The floors will be smudged within ten minutes of mopping them; the stainless steel refrigerator will be printed by sticky fingers; the hair bow will be ripped out of the cute little hair-do on the way to church. Somebody will inevitably criticize you anyway.

We Moms don't have to meet a quota, or earn a raise, or be outrageously beautiful to be fulfilled or useful....because when we really stop for a minute and get quiet; get alone...we notice that the things that makes our hearts the happiest are the million big-little moments in the run of an ordinary day.

In stillness I've realized that for me, purpose comes from snuggling the four year old in my bed, even though it's a breach of Pritchard Household Policy. Fulfillment is the smile on my husband's face when I make him laugh at the dinner table. Happiness comes from making happiness for people. My people. All people.

Really, isn't that what God did for us? Gave up everything - all of heaven - to come down and wash the dirty feet of His disciples? He brought healing, and love to people at His own expense.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for His friends."

How can we do any less?

So friend, do chase after purpose - but let's start by looking in the right place. There is opportunity all around you. What ordinary things fulfill your heart? Do yourself a favor and write them down. Never forget how much Jesus valued the ordinary, or how much He values you.

Monday, June 22, 2020

BEFORE & AFTER | FRENCH COUNTRY MASTER BEDROOM

Good Morning Everyone! The day has finally come, and I am finally able to show you our bedroom makeover. (!!!) 

While I'm not a professional on any scale, I can be pretty particular about how I want a space to feel and look...so there have been lots of trial runs, thinking sessions, returns, and a whole scrap pile of ideas that didn't work out. 

Let's start with a picture of our bedroom as we first saw it:


I know right.... 

Last night Ethan and I were looking through all the pictures of our house from our first look to now...and I'm so floored by how far it has come in the last few years. Sometimes in all our dreaming and goal-setting we forget how much we have already accomplished!


We decided to peel back the wood paneling and see what kind of walls were behind it. Thankfully, there was solid shiplap - which held loads of potential. 



I wanted to mention here that we are so blessed to have a very "handy" and "D.I.Y." family and church family that pitched in to help us paint our whole house while I was in the hospital having Haven. 

Ethan and I married in August of 2015, then bought our house in May of 2016, while anticipating the arrival of Miss Haven in August of that year as well. Obviously, we aren't the type who like to wait around and let life pass us by, so we jumped into our new lifewith both feet! 

 There were so many structural things that we wanted to change, that we spent the months before Haven was born focusing on taking out walls, peeling carpet off of the original wood floors, throwing away old stuff that the previous owners had left, taking down the old, dilapidated chimney...and then Haven decided that she wanted to be born five weeks early. ;) We were hoping to be in our house before she came, but she was in a hurry!  Thanks to the Lord, and our wonderful family and friends who pitched in, we were able to move out of our little apartment and into our house only a few weeks behind schedule. 

My heart melts with all those memories. 

*sigh*

But anyways 

Are you ready for the "after?" I sure was.



I'm still blown away by how much this space has changed!



I am a girly girl. 

Ethan is a total man. 

I decided that somewhere in our house I should probably pay homage to his masculinity, so this wall in our bedroom does exactly that. He actually has five deer heads, a giant salmon and a zillion turkey fans, but he was kind enough to tell me that I didn't have to use them anywhere in the house if I didn't like them. Lucky for him, I think deer heads can be dressed up to be tasteful and rustic. ;) 

Ethan helped me rip out all of the old shelving, then I painted, and painted and painted what was left, then added some fresh, new handles to the drawers. 

I was going to make some leafy, green arrangements for underneath the deer heads, but these battery operated candle boxes were a super good deal at the Homegoods store. I may add some details to them in the future, but for now, they're perfect. 


I wanted an organic, natural, somewhat whimsical look for this corner, beside the bed. 
Think fairyland. 

This basket was another Homegoods find. I spray painted the "tree" gold, added battery operated fairy lights, some dried moss, and voila!


I love the look of toile florals. I actually found this comforter online, and dressed it up a little with some big, white euro shams from Homegoods. (Me and that store have a pleasant relationship.) 


I actually based a lot of my decisions for this room on  these gorgeously ruffled, "antique blue" curtains. Ethan and my Mother In Law bought these for me after I put them on my Christmas list one year. They are such a dream. 

                   And here's my little family out mattress shopping after church last Sunday ;) 

We found one mattress that we absolutely adore, but it's seriously Five thousand dollars. 

Five. Thousand.

You've got to be kidding me. 

So the search for a softer mattress continues ;) 

What do you think of our Master Bedroom Makeover? Please, please let me know down in the comments - I would love to hear from you! 

Friday, June 19, 2020

THIS YEAR | LEARNING | JOURNAL






This year has taught me a lot of things about myself - more than I ever wanted to know, really. So many crazy things have happened that I never expected. 

Grief. Anger. Helpless waiting. Disappointment. Tears. Hurt. Loss. 

Wow, that’s a big one. Loss.
Loss of strength.
Loss of hope.
Loss of my baby.
Loss of my two little girls on all the days that I was almost too weak to take care of my own self.
Everything taken. 

“God, what are you doing?”


It all seemed to be for my destruction; my punishment. But really, in it all, as it has unfolded and continues to unfold...I find that I’m learning more and more about who I am and what I’m made of. 

The worst days of hurting and hoping have taught me to work with my hands - there’s not much that a paint brush or an old pair of garden shoes can’t help ;) The days of weakness and physical incapability pushed my mind to dream.

I still don’t feel okay, honestly. Nothing seems alright. My whole self is raw and broken behind the fake-smiling and forced laughter...but every once in a while...now and then... I’m starting to see a glimmer of purpose in it all; good things, slowly easing out of the shadows - much like the little plants in my new front garden. 

I don’t know why I’m sharing this. Maybe someone else is stuck in the valley, begging for one shaft of light to come searching down to them. If that’s you today, I just want you to hear a whisper of hope from someone who really understands.

Maybe nothing feels controlled or “okay” - but I promise you, there is so much love hiding up there behind the scenes. Those who suffer and can’t understand; yes, you and me: we will look back with teary eyes upon the goodness of God in the land of the living.

You are loved. You are useful. You are treasured.

And one more thing: Feelings do not define you. Grace does.


Never forget it.


Monday, May 18, 2020

French Country Home Tour | Mini



Good morning from my laptop and cup of tea to yours ;) 

I finally decided to do this because of a sick day. Several of them, actually. The house has been still and quiet for so long that I decided to dream up some new decor ideas as distraction. It worked! And I'm all excited to share some of my favorite spaces and soon-to-be projects with you today. 

Looking over these pictures, I'm amazed at how far our house has come, and how much has been accomplished since we first bought it. Let me know if you would be interested in full room tours, before and after pics, and project updates as I finish up! 

And, just a note: This tour won't be including fine, landscape-stye portraiture, which I hope won't be too disappointing, but I just wanted to give a sneak peak of our house until the rooms are finished.


The Master Bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house - or, at least, it will be when I finish sprucing it up! I've tossed around ideas for this room for a long time, and have slowly been giving it the "French Country" vibes that I so love. I'm starting by forcing myself to make a decision on the comforter and throw pillows for our bed. I think I have my options narrowed down to two similar styles. After the final mental wrestling match, I'll be waiting anxiously for the Fed Ex guy to show up, and for Homegoods to open it's doors to my pillow-seeking self. ;) 


Confession: This has nothing to do with my house. Well, aside from the obvious inclusion of all the things that make my house what it is. (Flowers, flowers, vanilla candle, floral scented hand soap and gentle colors... ;)) I so loved putting this Mothers' Day basket together for my Mother in Law that I couldn't help throwing in a picture.



If you've been following along for a while, you know that we've been renovating our bathroom for....ages. Now we're down to touching up paint and adding a few pieces of trim! Hopefully I can show you guys the full tour soon! This picture represents what I LOVE about our renovations - the clean, white tile. After scrubbing ((and scrubbing)) the icky blue linoleum that graced the floor when we bought the place, I couldn't wait to recreate this room into a simple, clean space.




Kindly ignore the dust. My housekeeper has been sick ;) 

This geometric floor was an idea that Pinterest introduced me to. While definitely NOT  French Country, I'm enough of a "free spirit" to break the rules and love it anyway. :D  
It adds interest. 
I like interest. 


 I was so excited to start my backyard flower garden with a few peony bushes from some friends when we first moved in. Our friends sent the bulbs with a note to let us know about planting depth, the proper amount of sun exposure, and a little encouragement for the nervous first-time gardener: "Peonies thrive on abandonment." Thank goodness, since that's all I've had to offer them since planting them a few years ago! They've been gracious friends and kept growing in spite of my occasional preoccupied checks for blooms. Someday soon I would like to do a little mulching and add some more flowers to create a little "cottage garden" type look!

After we finish up all the indoor house projects, we'll be turning our attention to the landscaping out front, and some exterior paint...but I'm not sure if that's going to be this summer, or next. 



...And here we have a blurry, candid shot of sick days with my little Luvs. ;)  We're all disheveled and sleepy, but "home" equals space to be yourself, right?  I included this pic to give you a glimpse of the tired white rug that I plan to be replacing soon, along with the exhausted house plant that finally thirsted to death in the background. (Whoops.) I have bigger plans for this room as well, but I'm still negotiating with myself on what needs to happen in which spaces. #creativehomeownerprobs

What do you think so far? Have you been checking any house projects off of your list while stuck in quarantine? Please let me know! I would so love to hear from you :)