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Thankful Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, what better time to write a Thankful Post.  Every day you wake up, is another day to be thankful.  We take so many things for granted each, and every day.  Let’s all try to slow down and focus on what’s truly important to us.

A friend of mine posted an article about being Grateful and also have a 5-day Gratitude Challenge if you are interested in diving deeper.

https://messytiredlove.com/2017/11/13/messy-tired-love-mom-talk-grateful-momma/

Take a moment of think of your TOP 10 Reasons to be Thankful/Grateful.

Here is my list.
  1. My God who loves me unconditionally, and forgives me as many times as it takes.
  2. My husband, who is truly my best friend and I wouldn’t want to do this life without.
  3. Each of my children.  Together they bring so much joy and life to our little family.
  4. Parents, who support and encourage me in all walks of life.
  5. Our church, which is more than a building.  Its a place we go and can be ourselves, share our good and bad times and know that the people there truly love and care for us.  We are all there to help one another and would do anything to show God’s love.
  6. Our ‘heart’ parents, who may not be blood, but are very much part of our family.  Without their love, support, and constant Godly encouragement, we would not be where we are today.  It helps that “Papa John” is one of our Pastors.  😀
  7. A home that we do not deserve, but God has blessed.
  8. The girl’s school.  They attend a Top-rated Charter School.  It is a lottery school and near impossible to get into.  After much prayer and the slim chance of getting in, we applied and Allyssa was accepted.  Since she got in Kindergarten year, both other kids are automatically in.  This was a HUGE blessing.  The kids get great education, the school is very volunteer/family oriented and each year we are so pleased with the teachers and staff.
  9. Coffee!  How can I possibly leave that one out?  I mean, I am seriously made up of half coffee.  I drink it all day every day and survive on it.  😀
  10. My Goats!  Yes, I mean it, they bring so much happiness to this lady.  So much easier than dogs.  Always happy to see me, they bounce and frolic and just make me happy.

So as you can see, very few things made my TOP 10 list that are materialistic.  Why do so many people strive for “things” yet if you ask most people, what truly matters and makes them happy, its the people in their lives that mean the most?  Maybe instead of focusing so much on what we don’t have, we would be much happier focusing on what we do have. 

While writing this post, I decided to take a survey and see what other peoples answers would be.  Kinda to see if I was on point or maybe totally wrong in my thinking.  I spoke to several people but decided to only include one for the purposes of this post.

Mark Mathos wrote:

1 Jesus died for me
2 I have 6 wonderful children
3 I have a beautiful wife that loves me
4 I have a church family that loves me
5 My grandchildren
6 I have pretty good health
7 FOOD and a roof over my head.
8 I have some good friends
9 I have a job
10 I am going to school to better myself

Pretty much EVERYONE I spoke to said the same things.  Very few variations.  No one, said they were thankful for their Big screen TV, new furniture, new car, new jewelry, etc etc.  See its really not about having all the newest, fanciest, most expensive THINGS.  It’s about caring for, loving on, and spending more time with those we care about most.

When you die, it's not the THINGS you had that matter, it's the PEOPLE you touched. Click To Tweet

So, this Thanksgiving I want to encourage you to sit down, make your own list.  Change your focus from wanting/needing, and in turn being ungrateful, and instead focus on being truly Thankful.  Then think of 3 things you can DO for someone who may be having a tough time. 

I am one of those people that I tend to cook for others.  If someone is having a procedure, a new baby, sick, or maybe just going through a difficult situation, I make them a meal.  If I don’t have time to make a meal, maybe I’ll bake some muffins or cookies and deliver a card.  It doesn’t require a lot but shows that I am truly thinking/praying for them and they are important.

No time/money to cook a meal?  That’s okay.  Take out a piece of paper, it can even be a sticky note and send a note.  You would be surprised how much a handwritten note can brighten someone’s day.  It doesn’t even have to say much.  “Thinking and praying for you today.”  Is simply good enough.

Above is something I did for the girl’s teachers.  It was simple, yet meaningful.

You can even be anonymous if you’d like.  Afterall, giving isn’t about getting attention or acclamation, it’s about caring enough for someone else to do something/anything special for them. Just like Paul said, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There is such a difference between someone who is a generous giver because they have the heart for it and someone who does it out of obligations and grudgingly.

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”  Deuteronomy 15:10

If we could all stop focusing on our problems, give those to GOD, and do for others.  There are ALWAYS people going through so much worse things we are.  Each and every one of us has so much to be THANKFUL for.  

I pray that this Thanksgiving will be one you remember to focus on TIME with those you love.  Turn off the phones.  Sit and actually enjoy the company of those around you.  Play games, tell funny stories, encourage one another, and of course overindulge in all the food for ONE day.  Be HAPPY!  This life could be gone tomorrow.

What are your plans this Thanksgiving?

Would love for you to share.

Teaching our kids the gift of Giving this Christmas!

As we approach the Holiday Season, I really want to focus on JOY this year.  I want to make the most of Christmas.  One of our little traditions is riding around neighborhoods looking at lights.  Its fun, everyone points, pick their favorites, we laugh and just enjoy the time together.

Kids will be kids and get caught up in the wanting/wishing/hoping for all these cool toys and things they do not NEED but everywhere they look is trying to brainwash them into greedy little boogers.  This Christmas I want to focus on teaching them the REAL meaning of Christmas and giving back.

Below, are several ways that you can give back.

Meaning of Christmas:

We celebrate Christmas to remember that Jesus Christ came to this world, to fulfill a promise, and ultimately gave his life to save us.  We celebrate Jesus’s birth.  My kids can tell you this story inside and out.  A dear friend gave us a book that is great and I recommend to everyone.  You might look at the library or if not, it’s totally worth the buy.

Samaritans Christmas Child-Shoeboxes

Most people are well aware of this organization and what they do.  If you live in the South just about every church participates.  Basically, you pack shoe-boxes full of goodies for Children around the world that otherwise may not get anything.  The people delivering the boxes witness, share the gospel and help encourage those children.  It is an incredible operation.  This year the price is $9 for shipping per box.  For more information see below.

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

My kids always enjoy doing this.  We get a box for each child.  Then I go to the dollar store, get items to pack and let the kids divide them up and packing however they see fit.  We just did this and the kids had the best time.  We talked about who might get these, and how it could affect their lives by showing these kids that someone thousands of miles away was thinking about them and put love into making this box just for them.

Shoeboxes Samaritans Purse

Care Baskets for Hospice Patients/Family

My mother is a hospice nurse, so I have connections.  She works at a Hospice Home now instead of visiting individual homes.  The families that come in to a Hospice Home usually do not have much longer.  Their families are grieving, trying to enjoy what they know will be the last days or weeks with their loved ones.  What better thing to do, than to bring some cheer to these families even if for just a moment.

These Baskets will likely be more for the families.  I asked my mom and she said things to help keep the family busy are good options.  Here is a list of items you could do: Word Search books, Card Games such as Uno, Snacks, Baked goods, Blanket, Chocolate, Fruits, chapstick, lotion, anything to help make them more comfortable.

While I’m an advocate of creating these on your own if you are short on time or creativity you can purchase pre-made baskets for all occasions on Amazon.

Retirement Homes

Along the same lines as above.  The people here usually want your TIME more than gifts.  They get lonely and just enjoy the company.  Most especially love seeing your children.  I plan to take my girls this year.  We will go with baked goods in tote, 3 happy little girls each with their favorite books, and maybe some fingernail polish.  Old ladies really enjoy having their fingernails painted by kids.  Don’t ask me why, but it makes their days and it takes the nerves out of the kids.  You can even coordinate and have your kids go and help with Bingo Night.

Hospitals

Pediatric Wards, Cancer Centers etc are a good way to show your children that there are people in so much worse situations than anything they are dealing with.  Bringing a smile to their face by giving them a small goody bag/basket is a great way to teach kids and also encourage those sick.

Again, Amazon has premade care kits.

Food Banks

Pick up some extra items next time you are at the grocery store and take to a local food bank.  There is always an increased need in the winter when people are cold and hungry.  It shows that we are trying to help those less fortunate.

Teachers

One of the most underpaid, unappreciated professions.  Make goody bags/baskets to take to teachers at your kid’s school.  It doesn’t have to just be your individual child’s teacher.  The office staff, janitorial, and all the specials get forgotten about.  You could always find out what if anything the PTSA is putting together and offer to help if you do not have the means to do this on your own.  There are tons of cute ideas on Pinterest.

Preachers/Law Enforcement/Fireman

Any public service personnel would love you to stop by.  Bake some cookies and go by just to say hello and offer them a treat.  It will help your children interact with these people in non emergency situations and be a little more comfortable with them.

Spouse’s Work

My husband is military but even if yours is not, have the kids help prepare something and go pass out to your spouse’s colleagues.  It shows them support but also your kids would love going to daddies workplace.

Send Care Packages/ Cards to Soldiers Deployed

Okay, so this one hits close to my heart.  Holidays are some of the hardest times for Soldiers deployed.  They want to be home with their families and can’t be.  Often times they have seen and endured unimaginable things and are halfway around the world thinking no one is missing them or thinking about them.  If you do not do any of the above, PLEASE take the time to send some cards overseas.  Let them know they are NOT alone.

If you do not know where to find this information you can go to a local USO and I’m sure they can help.

Blessing Bags

I started a year or two ago, putting together some blessing bags, and keeping in each vehicle.  When we come up to homeless people at intersections or what have you, we hand out these bags.  I know a lot of people have mixed emotions about giving to these people.  We hear so many stories of people standing at street corners than at the end of the day driving off in expensive cars and totally taking advantage of people.  That is why this is a good alternative.  Jesus says over and over in the Bible to LOVE.  We are not to judge, to question, to worry about whether we are being taken advantage of or not.  I’d rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge.

Items for Blessing Bags: Travel toothpaste./toothbrush, soap, tissue, hand warmers or gloves, snacks/food items, a gift card to McDonald’s or a food place so if they are truly hungry they can get something to eat.)  I also always a card or something with some scripture and encouragement in it.  I have recently added a sheet with local charities and places they can go for additional help.

I'd rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge. Click To Tweet

Let’s Change the Focus

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas of ways to teach your children about GIVING this Christmas instead of focusing nonstop of getting.  Not only will it help your children see that there is more to Christmas than presents, but it is a way we can spread Gods love during this Holiday season.  There are so many people who just want to know they are thought of and loved.

New Phase of Life-Kids will all be in school

I get asked a lot, what am I going to do when Isabelle starts preschool.  Meaning, all 3 kids are at school.  We have another year before that will become a reality, but non the less I’ve really been doing quite a bit of thinking about it.
First off, I work from home so it’s not like I will have nothing to do.  Most people know this fact yet because I am home with the kids, take and pick the big two up from school, and involved in every aspect of their lives, it’s simply forgotten by all.  However, I put in 25-30 hours per week.
This mostly consists of me working when Isabelle naps, and between 8 PM to midnight.  There are not many nights that I go to bed before 11 pm.  If everyone sits down to watch a movie I tend to jump on the computer and do some work.
My hubby is great and has re-arranged his schedule a bit to where he can stay home a little longer in the mornings and lets me sleep till 6:30.  I wake up and he has already woken the kids up, and put me a big fresh pot of coffee on.  He helps with the kid’s breakfast before heading out.  That leaves finishing up breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kid’s dressed and out the door to me.
So, here are some of my thoughts for when I get all the kid’s in school.
  1. I could actually set up a real office and work during the hours they are at school.
  2. Would love to volunteer more at the kids school.
  3. I could get involved in a charity.  I have always wanted to support the USO or other military organizations that do so much for our soldiers.
  4. I know I want to go back to college and finally finish my accounting degree.
Obviously, #1 is most appealing.  I would love to go back to being able to work during the day and actually spend my evenings and weekends hanging out with my family instead of committed to the computer and work.  I love my job, I’m good at it, I am blessed to be able to do it from home and be there for my family.  After 6 years and increased responsibilities/hours, it does take a toll.  It would be great to be able to go to bed at the same time as my husband.
I get sad thinking about all the kids being in school.  We will be entering a  NEW stage of life.  While it comes with many benefits, its also a reality that they are growing up.  No more babies!  I know that we are only given them a short time, in the grand scheme of things.  Eighteen years to raise, guide, and try to get them in the right direction before they go off on their own in this big scary world.
I pick with my kids and say they have to go to a local college so they can still stay with mommy.  Any that know me, know I have still not let my 10- year old go to a sleepover.  I like my kids under my roof, where I know they are safe.  Then we have our youngest, Miss Isabelle who says she is going to build a tree house in the backyard and live there forever.  😀
So I guess this is a little more of a rambling and whats on my heart and mind.  If you are reading this, pray for me.  Pray for the decisions ahead.  I would love to do the same for you.  Also, be sure to hug your kids a little tighter tonight.  To have a little more patience and remember that they are only yours a while.  Ultimately they belong to God and His will be done.  I pray each of my children will come to know and accept Jesus in their hearts.  I pray that He will use them mightily in His kingdom even if its outside mommies comfort zone.  I pray that he will guide and direct our path as we come to this new phase of Life.
Hug your kids a little tighter tonight and remember that they are only yours for a short time in the grand scheme of things. Click To Tweet

Teen Valley Ranch Weekend

For the first time in my life, I went away for the weekend without my parents or husband, and took the kids to Teen Valley Ranch.  To some that may sound lame.  However, I should also re-iterate that I got married at 19.  I went from living with my parents to living with my husband.

This was a HUGE deal to me.  Silly as it may sound.  I tried everything to convince someone, anyone, into going with no success.  When we booked the weekend, I made sure it was one that Jeremy wouldn’t have drill.  However, when he got his new position and transferred units, his new drill schedule of course had him working this weekend.  So, while our circumstances were less than ideal, when I commit to something I follow through.

Now, that brings us to our weekend.  I completely stressed over this trip for a month leading up to it.  The thought of driving 4 hours, just the 3 kids and me absolutely petrified me.  I woke up Friday morning, broken out in a rash, horrible stress headache, and my nerves torn to pieces.

I took the big 2 kids to school, then Isabelle and I came home to finish loading the car, taking care of the animals, and doing all the last-minute items.  About 11:15 we headed out, stopped and grabbed some lunch and went to pick the girls up from school at noon.  From there, we headed to my husband work on the way out, to tell him bye.  Of course, it started raining just to make my stress level higher.

He could tell I was nervous, and he told me I didn’t have to do this and I could still head home.  I told him, NO, I wasn’t turning back now.  I knew once I made it there we would be okay.  I was just nervous about driving there, stopping with 3 girls, and terrified I would get lost.  Two GPS’s running and a print out, and I can still get turned around.  There is really no help for me.  😀

We said a prayer together, he wiped my tears, and we headed out.  Of course, I got turned around leaving his work, it was raining, I needed gas, and my head was killing me.  I finally made it to the major highway and was rolling good.  However, when we got about 45 minutes down the interstate, they had a HUGE area of road construction.  Took us about an hour to go maybe 5 miles.  I pulled off and got gas, and once we got past that area we were fine.

The girls did great.  Isabelle finally fell asleep after the construction area and slept most the rest of the way.  I decided to stop at a rest area when we go up into the mountains.  It was beautiful, cool, and much-needed pit stop to stretch and get out for a few minutes.  From there it was easy travel because I remembered where I was and we made it to the camp with no trouble.

Finally There…..

Once we got to the camp we got signed in, and settled into our camp room.  This camp is largely used for summer kids camp so rooms include 6 bunk bed, with prison mattresses, a bathroom and sink.  If you are going, I’d recommend doubling up the mattress pads.  Worked like a charm and I slept fine doing that.  They do have some cabins but the other group had reserved them all this time around.

Dinner was at 6:30.  The kids were starving and they had burritos, chips, cheese dip etc.  It was really great.  Then we had our first session.  How the session works is you come in, do some icebreaker games, then they sent the kids to various places.  Toddlers went upstairs to play, elementary went to the gym for games, songs, and a lesson.  Middle and High schoolers went to Walt Bobs Cafe.  This allowed the adults to be able to have time to calm down and focus on what we came for.

They start out with prayer, music as a time of worship, and then Mr. Greg comes in and does the speaking time.  Mr. Greg is funny, down to earth, well spoken, and really easy to listen to.  He ties stories into the lesson and really drills home the point with scripture.  I should inform you, if you have never been and about to go take a sweater or blanket.  Right before he comes in, he cuts the air down, and its freezing in there.  We went back in March also, and it actually snowed overnight, he still cut the air on.  Not joking!

Our session finished up around 9:15.  They have several things you can do in the evenings, however with it already past the kids bedtime, I let them do the hayride and then we went back to the room.  Luckily, everyone was tired and I didn’t have too much trouble getting them to go to bed.  In case you are interested they have hayride, campfire with smores, the cafe is open, the gym is open, putt putt, etc.

Leave it to my kids to wake up around 6:15 on Saturday morning.  I tried to keep them quiet and laying in bed.  You can image how well that worked.  Finally we got up, I got everyone dressed, and we went ahead and walked down to the cafeteria area.  They really do have the best breakfast.  You can choose from Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Grits, Eggs, Cereal, Yogart, and milk or juice.

After breakfast they do quiet time.  They give you a print out to use as a general idea.  This was probably one of the most frustrating times of the weekend for me.  You are supposed to break off into different areas, and have this serious, quiet time.  Isabelle just turned 4 and has NO attention just like her older sister.  Trying to keep the kids focused, engaged, and getting anything out of it was near impossible.  Great idea, and was an awesome time when we went in the spring and I had Jeremy there to help, just didn’t work out so well this time.  It is supposed to encourage you to have family quiet time daily in everyday life which is a great concept.

Here are a few photos following our quiet time.

After that you go back and have another session.  They do the morning session different.  They have a thing called “Word of God, Speak.”  This is a time where the adults come together and worship through music and scripture reading.  It is really cool and an awesome experience.  I would love to implement that occasionally in our church setting.

Then there was an hour of down time before lunch.  The kids played a little putt putt, ran around, and we just hung out for a few minutes.  After lunch you have all afternoon to do things around the camp.  They have amazing activities more than you can possibly do.  We however, took the opportunity to my kids disapproval, to take a nap.  My head was still hurting and Isabelle really needed a nap.  Turns out, Kaylee, Isabelle and I all took a nap.  Allyssa read her book for her upcoming book report during this time.

We got up about 3pm which worked out perfectly because that is what time they open certain activities.  We went and did horseback riding first.  The rock-wall was also a BIG hit.  It was too cold last time we went to much of anything outdoors so this time we took full advantage.  Allyssa climbed to the top of the rock wall twice.  Kaylee got not quite half way up and they even helped Isabelle do it.  Really great time.

The two big kids then went and changed into bathing suits and did the zip line into the pond.  Mommy and Isabelle sat back and watched.  They were not so impressed with this.  Apparently it hurt landing in the water. They needed baths after this so I headed back to the room to get them cleaned up and thankfully Mr. Randy played with Isabelle for a few minutes.

By the time we had done all that it was time for the kickball tournament.  Isabelle and I kinda walked around and did our own thing while the other two played kickball.  Then it was dinner and another session.  We did another hayride and headed to bed.  The great thing is on Saturday Night they do live music in the cafe and its a really great time to relax, listen to music, and just fellowship.  I didn’t get to do that this time but our rooms were above the cafe so I was able to enjoy the music from our room.  That was probably Jeremy’s favorite thing about last time we went.

Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, packed our things and loaded the van, had quiet time, another session, lunch and headed out.

The kids really had a nice time and besides Isabelle running off and keeping me busy, it was fun.  Not very relaxing without Jeremy there but fun.  I was the only one without a spouse I believe, and I was sure missing Jeremy.  BUT….We did it!  I made it work and tried to make the most of it.  Not really much time to sit around and talk and relax like last time.  I look forward to going again next year, with my husband, and having a great family time.  Don’t think I’d do it again without him.

So….if you have been debating going…I say DO IT.  IF, I can go and take 3 kids 10 and under by myself you can do it.  It really is a good time for the whole family.  There are a ton of activities you can do in free time.  WiFi and cellphones don’t work well there so its time to unplug and focus on family and God.  It’s not super preachy or overly dramatized which I appreciate.  Everyone there is very kind, helpful, and relaxed.  Kids can be let free to a certain degree.  It really is family centered.

I’m sure I’m missing some but from what I can recall the various activities are: Putt Putt, Volleyball, Ping Pong, Basketball, Rock Wall, Hiking, Horseback Riding, River Rafting, Zipline, Board/Card Games, Coffee Shop, Kickball, Hay Rides, Campfire with Smores, Cornhole, Horseshoes, Tether Ball and the list goes on and on.

Enjoy the sideshows of photos.  It was so beautiful.  Weather was gorgeous, leaves were beautiful.

 

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Happy Birthday Isabelle

My youngest daughter, Isabelle, had a birthday yesterday.  The whole week leading up to was filled with preparations, cleaning, and all that comes with putting together a party.  She turned 4 years old.  I am still a bit in shock with that.  Maybe denial would be a better way of saying it.  I really do not understand how that little girl, who I just brought home from the hospital could possibly be 4 already.

I invited friends, and family for her big day.  Understandably, things come up, and some had to cancel plans to attend.  In addition, after months of NO rain, the one day I have an outdoor party planned, is the day it decides to rain.  Oh, and it waited until party time to start.

Overall, I believe she had a great party and we really enjoyed time with the friends and family that were able to attend.  She had one friend from school come, which really made it all worthwhile in her eyes.  That’s all that matters, making sure it’s a special day for her.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the past week about how we got here.  Each child is very different, and unique in their own ways.  They all have very different personalities, behaviors, and strengths.  Isabelle is our last child (unless God does the unthinkable).  She is such a funny child.  I mean from the time she was little bitty, she loved to make us laugh.  Sometimes, that can be a problem.  She will do something that she really needs a spanking for or serious punishment, yet you cant help but laugh, and therefore she gets off easy.

4 years ago on a Sunday, I woke up having light contractions.  They were every 3-4 minutes apart but not hurting.  I went ahead, got the kids ready, and we went to church.  The contractions became a little more painful, but not bad.  Stayed every 3-4 minutes apart.  Came home, fed the kids, left them with Jeremy, and went down the driveway to meet my mom and start walking.  We walked for 2 hours, contractions remaining steady at 3 minutes.  Finally, I called the OB.  Being high risk, he wanted to come to the hospital and get checked out.

We got to the hospital and while contractions were steady and remaining consistent, there was no progress and I was only 2 o 3 cm dilated.  They decided to have me walk and keep me overnight.  They ended up giving me something to help me relax and sleep.  They said it would either kick me into labor when I relaxed, or it wouldn’t do anything.  The next morning, I was still contracting and had made small progress overnight.  I would end up laboring ALL day.

The doctor didn’t want to send me home, so they started me on pitocin, and wouldn’t let me  leave the room.  I wanted to do one of those mobile monitors so I could walk and labor as naturally as possible.  I was determined to have this baby naturally.  However, after having consistent contractions for over 24 hours, the increase in pitocin, and being bed ridden, all while having severe back labor, I finally gave in and got an epidural around 3pm.  By the time they came in do the epidural the contractions were off the chart.  Jeremy was having to hold pressure on my back during every contraction and I was being yelled at by the nurses every time I moved because the monitor kept coming off and my blood pressure was through the roof.

My body does not handle labor well.  My blood pressure always skyrockets, and right before delivering the babies heart rates go crazy.  However, being high risk and on blood thinners they do everything possible to avoid c-section as it is extremely life endangering for me.  Oh, and epidural don’t really work right for me.  I’ve had one with each child and every time a little different results, non of which worked correctly.

I wont go into all the details but Isabelle really wanted to make sure mommy did NOT want to ever go through all that again.  36 hours of laboring later, I finally had her.  Whoever said, labors get shorter and easier with each child, LIED.

She was finally HERE.  I was able to breastfeed with her longer than the other two.  I made sure to saver and relish all the little moments, knowing it would be my last.

  • No more bottles
  • No more diapers
  • No more sleepless nights with teething babies.
  • No more diaper bags and carrying everything but the sink with me.
  • All the above I do not miss.  Then there are things like no more baby smells.
  • No more snuggling warmth of a newborn
  • No more first laughs, first ma ma, da da
  • No more watching them grow and learn to crawl/walk.
  • No more little girl coming to mommy to make her feel better when she falls down.

Life goes so fast.  You blink and its a new phase.  We no longer have a baby.  We now have an almost 10 year old, a 7 year old, and a 4 year old.  Growing and learning and coming into their own.  Before you know it, they will be teenage girls, preparing for college and life without mom and dad.  Oh how I dread those days ahead.

For now, I’m going to sit and hold my little girl a little tighter.  I’m going to give her lots of hugs and kisses, and try not to go bat crazy on her when she doesn’t take a nap, and decides to drive me nuts.  I’m going to be more intentional about spending undivided time with her before she goes off to school.  My older girls, I am going to try to spend more undivided time with as well.  Would love tips/suggestions/advice on how to make the most of the time with my little girls.

 

 

 

7 Reasons to get a jump start on Christmas Shopping….

It seems annoying to some to be talking about Christmas already, however here are some reasons WHY I plan to shop early this year, and you should too.

  1. Believe it or not, they actually INCREASE prices the longer you wait.  They hike the price then do markdowns to make you think they are saving money, but really in a lot of cases you are paying inflated prices.
  2. Supply and Demand-Says it all, do I need to remind you about the Hatchamils last year?!?  Sold out and people were paying outrageous amounts to get them.  I ended up not getting one for my daughter who wanted one so bad and still haven’t heard the end to it.  Needless to say I went ahead and ordered one for this Christmas.  Get yours while they are still available!  Why are these darn things so expensive?

  3. Choices- Marketing increases and all the sudden you are hit with a million choices.  The more choices, the more most of us are to do impulse shopping.  DON’T do it!
  4. Lines-Don’t forget you will have to wait increasingly longer in lines and fight people doing last minute shopping.
  5. Money- If you start now, you have longer to spread your shopping out, and not kill the bank buying everything at once.
  6. Creativity- Get creative, you can make gift baskets, and other DIY items if you get a jump start.
  7. Done- Last but not least, shop early and being able to wrap and have majority of your shopping done before December, means less stress for the holidays and that incredible feeling of accomplishment.  Who doesn’t need a little less stress?

So while I’m at it let me just say, I usually use Amazon for everything because of convenience.  However, I have been doing some shopping comparison and realized that most the time I can buy the product cheaper elsewhere.  Not only that Walmart now offers FREE 2 day shipping on order over $35. 

http://Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

So, go ahead, go take a look. 

http://Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

There is also tried and true Amazon.

Of course, do not forget your pets! 

http://PetSmart


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5 Ways to decorate on a budget!

After living in this house for 10 years and having 3 babies who are no longer babies, I decided this year to do some re-decorating and really try to make our house look more homey and less baby run.  You know what I mean!  I wanted to decorate my living room and kitchen, and here is how I did it for a fraction of the price as designer stores.

Jeremy and I have a thing where we really try to pray and talk about spending money before we do it.  Not so much on little stuff, but any big decisions.  We know that it’s not OUR money but the Lords money.  He provides for us and we don’t want to waste.  However, in our studying of the Bible and listening to our peers who are so much wiser than we are, we also understand that God is okay with you getting things that make you happy, as long as you are not putting those THINGS as gods in your life. In other words, not worshiping or making them idols.  If something happened to it tomorrow, could you live without it?

I have REALLY wanted to update our house.  I just struggled with whether or not it was okay to spend money on THINGS.  However, I finally got a peace about it and truly felt the Lord was telling me it was okay.  I know that probably sounds completely petty to some, but I did not want to have buyers remorse/guilt.  By updating the house, I am much more willing to invite people over, serve them, fellowship with them, and enjoy the home the Lord has provided for us.

Here are 5 fairly inexpensive ideas to update a space without spending much money.
  1. Simple Accents (Candles, Lamps, Photos, Floral, etc)
  2. Paint- Not as cheap, but can really change a space and clean it up.
  3. Rugs- Oh how I longed for a nice rug and was NOT disappointed.  Best investment for my project hands down.
  4. Curtains/Valances- This adds dimension, and style for really affordable prices.
  5. Wall Decor/Mantel- Change up your main wall photos/decorations.  This can be done multiple times a year for the different seasons and to keep your room fresh.
Here is my journey to updating our space.
I bought a rug for the living room, which was by the far the best way to really improve and update the space.

This is a HIGH quality rug, beautiful colors which not only brightens the room but has soft tones which also warm it up.  I could not be more happy with the purchase.  All the other rugs I looked at were $300+.  I really feel I got this for a steal!  It is a HUGE rug, maybe even too big for my space, but I love it.

Happy Kids
Kids were super excited to have a rug.
Next, I looked into curtains.

After days, maybe even weeks of looking into the different options, I went with these.  I really wanted them here when I got the rug so I ordered through Amazon.  I did find some I like on Wayfair as well, but they were more expensive and took longer to get here.

I also wanted to have the kitchen and living room flow together.  I found these really cool, washable chair covers.  I found these on sale on Amazon which they are NOT now.  There are so many different options for chair covers.  I have two high back chairs at my counter top in between the living and kitchen so it was very important to me.  I got a set of 4 because I am constantly having to take off and wash so this way I have a pair on and a backup pair for washing.

I ordered a valance for my kitchen window.  That is no longer available on Amazon.

Next, I picked up rugs for in front of my doors and kitchen sink.  I bought those from Wal-Mart.

http://Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Did you know that you can now do Free 2 day shipping like Amazon, from Walmart.  No annual membership and thousands of products.  I have ordered so much from them since they went to this.  Beats waiting a week and they have much more to select from online.

Here is what it looks like now.  Finished Product!  I also LOVE the end table my hubby built me not long ago.

Hopefully, this helps inspire you.  I would LOVE to do something new and creative with my mantel but so far haven’t found the look I am searching for.  If you have ideas, please let me know.  I’m trying to go farmhouse/rustic.  HELP!

What are some ways you have updated your space on a budget?  Am I the only one that struggles with spending money on decorating?

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*This post contains affiliate links.  I get a small percentage anytime someone makes a purchase through a link to Amazon or Walmart.  This is in hopes of supporting my blog, which is not free.  I am required to have 3 purchases from links from my site to stay an active sponsor.  No extra costs to you  just helps me.  😀

 

Promotions Come from the Lord-Warrant Officer

“For not from the east nor from the west nor from the south come promotion and lifting up. But God is the Judge! He puts down one and lifts up another.”  (Psalm 75:6–7, AMP)

Back in July, we asked for prayers, for Jeremy, as he went in for a big interview. We found out right after he got to JROTC, that he did get the job. However, I have not wanted to say much until now, waiting on the official orders, and him to get into his new position.  He is full time with the Guard (AGR).

Anyone who knows my husband knows he has always wanted to be an officer of some sort. With some persuasion from fellow co-workers, and friends, he finally applied, and was accepted to become a warrant officer over a year ago.

In the National Guard, those positions are limited. Unlike regular Officers who they place anywhere, a Warrant Officer is a more specialist field, so it has to be an opening in the same MOS(Job type). An opening finally become available, that he qualified for.  He did the interview, and thank the Lord, he was offered the job. This means he will NOT have to deploy in April, as he has now transferred to a new unit. I could not be more happy about that little fact. I know with the beef up in the military, and him still having 8 years left before retirement, that its still could be in our future. I’m just glad we have a little longer.

Jeremy works extremely hard at what he does, he has more than earned this position. I am so incredibly proud of him, and I thankful that this dream will become a reality for someone so deserving. He is a great example of a true hero, and will also be a hero to all his girls.

Last Christmas so Old but good.

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The Second side of the story…more of a testament

 Jeremy switched units back in January from the headquarters unit to a field unit. This year has had a ton of challenges, with the fast-paced, and overwhelming job responsibilities of a unit about to deploy. I have been as supportive as possible, however, Satan has done his fair share of attacking me. You see, Satan knows that he can get in my heart, put doubt, fear, and worry. The last time Jeremy deployed was right after we got married. It has been a long time, and we did not have kids then.

Back in December when we started talking about Jeremy switching units, knowing this unit would probably be deployed, it was to Iraq.  Jeremy and I prayed about the decision, talked about it, and prayed more. We consulted faithful friends, asked for their prayers, and ultimately, felt God was leading him to change units. I had peace with that decision, and really felt God was telling me, he would take care of us.

Then in March, a position we thought would be opened to new warrant officers, turned out to not be open to him. I really had in my heart he would get promoted to a warrant officer, and that made me doubt. I continued praying, but at the same time, the reality was setting in, that a deployment was in our future. How would we tell the kids, how would they react, what would I do with him being gone, and handling a home with 3 kids for a year. I know people do it all the time, but worry set in. However, when I prayed, I still felt God giving me a peace in my heart.

While everything was set in stone for a deployment to now Afghanistan, with dates, training leading up to, and everything in motion, when I prayed, I still felt a peace come over me. Then Satan would get in my head, I’d start doubting, and getting anxious. However, God is faithful and true. He had it all planned out a year ago before we ever knew anything about his current job or the new one. I don’t begin to understand His timing, but I do trust Him and know that everything happens for a reason.

8 He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace. 9 What do we gain from all our work? 10 I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. (Ecclesiastes 3: 8-12)

 

Now he will get set up in his new role, go off to officer candidacy school, then hopefully by early spring he can get enrolled in W02 where he will be for a few years.  I can not begin to tell you how proud I am of this man, his accomplishments, and reaching for his goals/dreams.

You will see more post from me going through the above mentioned things.  He is enrolling in the Warrant Officer Candidacy School now.  I was not with Jeremy when he went through Basic so I have no idea what to expect.  We know there will be a formal the day prior to his graduation ceremony.  However for the graduation itself, what am I supposed to wear?  Silly question, but one that has me truly concerned.  😀

PS. This is the big thing I was talking about a few weeks ago.

Accepting Liebster Award-Thank you

I am so honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award.  For anyone who may be stopping by my blog for the first time a little about me.  My name is Tannah.  I started my blog about 6 weeks ago.  Initially I wanted to document my journey and just have something that my kids could one day look back at.  Then I discovered that you could potentially make money blogging and have people interested in my stories. So now, I try to do a little better in my writing and reaching out to others who may need encouragement or sometimes just laughs at what happens around here.

I want to send a huge thank you to Amy, who is a fellow blogger of Yukon Mama of 4.  I love her blog.  She is another christian mama writing about life in the chaos/blessing of raising kiddos.

Please check her blog out at: https://yukonmamaof4.com/

The Liebster Award is designed for new and upcoming bloggers to build their audience and to welcome them into the community.

So a little about my blog. I am happily married.  My husband is active duty in the National Guard.  I stay home with my youngest daughter, while also working from home for a property management company.  We also have 3 dogs, a cat, and recently purchased goats.   Most importantly, we strive to follow Jesus in all that we do.  I feel like my main job is to raise our kids to know Jesus and put their faith and trust in Him, not us or this world.  This blog is mainly to share life experiences and encourage other moms along the way.

When Amy nominated me she gave me these questions to answer along with the opportunity to nominate 10 bloggers of my own choosing for the Liebster Award. Here are her questions, along with my answers…

Questions:

1) What drove you to start your blog?

As I mentioned above, I really wanted to just document life and leave this for my girls to one day look back on.  That way they can know that while I struggled, I loved every bit of being their mom.  I also hope to encourage other moms and document this journey of owning goats.

2) Do you read often? If so, what is your favorite book?

No, with all going on in life, its hard to find time to read my Bible much less other books.  Jeremy and I try to do a nightly devotion together, and I love reading Lysa TerKeurst books on the rare occasion I find time.

3) What is your favorite quote?

“Be safe, sleep with a soldier, just not mine.”  😀

4) If you could have dinner with anyone-dead or alive who would you choose?

Wow that’s tough.  I’ve had so many great people I love die.  I would have to say my mother in law, Carolyn.  I would love to have one more conversation with her and make sure she knows how much I love her and her son.  To ask her questions and hear her tell stories of the crazy things the kids did growing up.  I am so blessed to have known her, and have her love and support in marrying her son.

5) What is your favorite post you have written? (Include a link!!)

That’s another tough one.  I’ve had several post get more likes and comments than others.  However, probably my favorite one is my most recent post.  It’s so easy to get caught up in life and kids and we put our spouse on the back burner.  I should have added laughter in here…  If it wasn’t for my husband and his ability to make me laugh on the worse days, I don’t know what I’d do.

Make Your Spouse Top Priority, While Balancing Life

6) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would love to take the kids to Disney some day.  I am not the most frugal person but I just can’t bring myself to spending that much money on a vacation that they may or may not remember.  The planning of it also makes it a daunting task.

7) Who inspires you most?

My mom!  She is an incredible women.  She raised my brothers and me while working with my dad, taking us to school, attending all our ballgames, and having a huge horse farm.  After we were grown and out she went back to college for Nursing and is now a RN for a local Hospice Home.  She has been a living example of the kind of mom I aim to be, a great wife, and just getting through everything thrown at her. 

8) What is your best advise for new bloggers?

Don’t get discouraged.  Stay true to yourself and your writing and be sure to set up all your social media networks to get your blog viewed more.

9) Describe yourself in three words.

Christian, Wife, and Mom

10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years all the kids will be in school.  I hope to be breeding goats and milking as well as more successful with this blog so I can continue to stay home and be active in my kids lives, sports, and church.  I would love to get our little homestead going to where we can raise the kids knowing whats it’s like to live on a farm and teach work ethics. 

Now, I am returning the favor and nominating 10 New Bloggers for the same award. 

  1. Meangreenmommymachine.weebly.com
  2. Overwhelmedmama.com
  3. FarmGirlsmom.com
  4. Messytiredlove.com
  5. rollingonward.com
  6. thewayhomestead.com
  7. thewellbeingoasis.com
  8. austintoacres.com
  9. inspireandempowermoms.com
  10. lifessimpleblessings.com

To accept, make a blog post accepting the Liebster Award.  Tell about yourself, thank the person who nominated you and answer the questions below.  Please include my blog link www.tannahsjourney.com

Here are your questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What make you decide to start a blog?
  3. Give 3 tips to new bloggers based on what you’ve learned so far.
  4. Share links to any additional social media platforms you have.
  5. Who inspires you most and why?
  6. What is your blogging goal for your first year?
  7. How can you encourage another mom blogger?
  8. Whats your favorite post you have written?  Include the link.
  9. What free platform do you use the most for blogging?  IE Canva
  10. Whats your favorite quote?

 

 

 

Make Your Spouse Top Priority, While Balancing Life

When you get married, its easy to put each other first (after God of course).  However, after kids come along, they are tiny, needy, and it’s just as easy to get caught up in all things baby.  We as women, need to also make sure we are giving our husbands our time, respect, and affection.

The Bible talks a lot about the importance of marriage.  From the very beginning it states:

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1. Husbands are the head of the household

Ephesians 5:23,24,32 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

As wives, we need to be sure we keep our husband top priority.  They are the head of the household.  They deserve and need our attention.  They should lead the family, but we have an important role to be their helpmate.

Colossians 3:18-21: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

This scripture explains the family relationship perfectly.

2. Husbands need our affection.

Hebrews 13:4- Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but I love Mark Gungor’s marriage seminar.  He talks a lot about how men have a physical need to be fulfilled by their wives.  We as women have more of an emotional need to be filled.  Each can be done in the intimacy of our marriage.  You with hold in this area, and he will be more likely to look elsewhere, even if he doesn’t act on it.

3. Money is one of the main reasons for divorce according to studies.

Hebrews 13:5-7 states: “Keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with that you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; neither will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

For most men, they feel that they have to provide for the family.  They want to do everything possible to not only meet the families needs, but also give those things you want.  However, this can add a ton of stress.  It is a wife’s duty, to be careful with the finances, and to ease the husbands burden.  We were made to be his helper.  This is not to say the husband should be a dictator and the wife not allowed anything.  You are a team.  It should be discussed, openly, and realistic expectations set.

I know first hand, too many couples, who were great for each other in every other way.  However, spending habits and tendencies ruined them before they even started.  Another one of my personal pet peeves, is when you get married you should be ONE.  Not live two separate financial lives.  Where his money is his, and her money is hers.  You are brought together and should live as one.  Sit down, figure out goals, plans, and make concessions for when the unexpected happen.

1 Timothy 6:10 states: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

This verse is often mis-quoted.  It states the LOVE of money is evil, not money itself as evil.

4. LOVE each other in good and bad times.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

All marriages go through rough patches.  This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.  Work together.  Pray for each other.  Communicate!!!  Reminisce over the dating phase, wedding, or other good memories you have together.  Remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.  The word Divorce should never be even be uttered.  In heated argument it might be thought about, but refrain from saying at all costs.  Chances are, once you have calmed down, you will wish you hadn’t.

5. Pray for each other

I am a strong believer in prayer.  I know how it has personally helped me in every area of my life.  Prayer is something that comes easy to me, and I realize that is not the case for everyone.  However, it’s really hard to hate or stay mad at someone you are diligently, whole-heartily, praying for!  I also like the saying, those who pray together, stay together.  You must put God first in the relationship.  Take away the selfish desires, and focus on the ONE who you should be seeking to serve.

6.  DATE NIGHT

This is so incredibly important.  When we had our first child, my mom kept emphasizing how important date nights were.  Allyssa had colic, and honestly date nights were a way for us to get our sanity back.  My parents, and Jeremy’s mom kept Allyssa for us to go out almost every week for the first year she was born.  After that we still made a point to go out at least once a month.  When baby #2 came along, that all changed and it was a lot of harder to go out.  When baby #3 came along, we were so used to just taking the kids with us and having family night, instead of date night.

We rarely get date nights now, but I still feel very strongly about the importance.  Though, we do not get out as much, we make it a point to have time together after the kids go to bed at least once a week.  Rather that means, watching a movie together, sitting outside talking, or cuddling up on the couch and watching tv.   It is so important to still make undivided time for each other, no kids around.

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We did a marriage retreat through the National Guard years ago and then again at our church about two years ago by, Mark Gungor.  I highly recommend this to any married couples.  There are several things I learned from this marriage retreat. 

  1. Men have boxes, they can compartmentalized everything.  This blew my mind, I can’t turn off my brain if I try. (See full video insert below)
  2. Men respond to positive reinforcement way better than nagging.  Example…. If  I want my husband to help out more around the house.. I might send him a note in his lunch or put in his car, telling him how much I appreciate how hard he works, how he takes care of us, and how I know when he gets home he is tired so I’ll try harder not to nag him about helping do ________  fill in the blank.  This is likely going to encourage him, and give him more reason to want to do more.

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The same concept applies with fill their bucket, with love and encouragement.  If they feel loved, they will  be more likely to want to do more to make sure you feel loved too.  When you get a date night, another good activity is to tell each other 3 things you really appreciate/like that they are doing right and in exchange one thing that needs improvement

I have witnessed too many struggling families, where the wife doesn’t show love and appreciate for her husband.  I am not always the best at this, but I have made many improvements over the years, and really try to put work into making sure my husband knows how much I appreciate and respect him.  Do I always agree with everything?  No, of course not.  However, how we choose to respond, has the option to positively affect our marriage, or do the opposite.

*This post contains affiliated links.  I make a small commission if you purchase from the link.  It costs you nothing extra, just helps me out.

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