Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Messy Braid.

Last night I was praying and I felt like the word "distracted" was being highlighted in my mind.
It wasn't "distracted" in the sense that my mind kept wandering during my prayer time, but it was the word "distracted" in the past tense form.
I've been "distracted" is what came to mind.
I texted a friend far too late, asking her for some input on this word in scripture, talked to my husband about it, and finally crashed for the night still pondering what exactly the Lord was trying to tell me.
This morning I woke up with the word still on my mind.
 I was getting my crew ready to leave the house and it was Addyson's turn to come to the bathroom and stand on her little pink step stool for me to do her hair.
I chose a single fishtail braid today.
Gathering the strands of her long hair, I began to move my hands from side to side beginning the braid. In about two seconds her little head jetted to the left yelling for Sawyer.
"Be still Addy, be still," I said gently.
She sat still for another few strands and then her little head jetted to the right reaching for something. I clung to the braid and reminded her that I was trying to make this braid look pretty, and she needed to hold still in order for me to do so.
"I know mom, I know," she sighed.
It was in that very instant that I felt the Lord made that word "distracted" come to life.
I looked at her hair and this braid I was creating and it made me think of our Creator who holds every strand of our life in his hands. He has a magnificent design in place. He's the grand weaver. But how often I am like my 5 year old daughter, constantly turning from side to side becoming distracted with everyday life.
The braid gets messy.
The Lord is constantly pressing on my heart to be still. In the quiet is when I can truly hear Him.
“Be still, and know that I am God."
 Psalm 46:10
We make excuses.
I know I do.
Now the holidays are upon us, and it's one of the most distracting times of the year. The shopping lists are a mile long, there aren't enough weekends to get everything done.
This time of year is when we need to grab hold of these truths and not let go.
"Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:10
Do our best to not let a day go by without our daily bread.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Becoming distracted is what messes up the perfect braid, but the most amazing part is that as soon as I return to that place of resting my focus on the most important thing, I can see the magnificent braid start to take shape once again.
He does have a plan.
We don't know the complete path the Lord has for us, but we can rest in the promise that He knows the plans He has for us and it is not for destruction. He promises us that He works ALL THINGS for good for those that love him! ALL THINGS! Not some things, ALL THINGS.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
We aren't promised to escape suffering, but we can rest in these truths and realize that being still and leaning on the Lord is truly what is going to make this messy braid that is our lives look beautiful in the end.
Sometimes I feel like we almost become content with the messy braid. Not realizing what God truly has in store for us.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis
I love this quote by C.S. Lewis. We get distracted and settle for mud pies all the time.
I am now closing out today and thanking God. Thanking Him for gently reminding me of my own tendency to become easily distracted.
My heart is eager to do His will, but that whole "being human" part definitely gets in the way sometimes.
I'm praying that in this busy season where being distracted is the social norm, that we will take the time to be still and realign as often as we can.
It's only to make the braid more beautiful.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'm Taking Questions..

So many of you may know, and many of you may not know, that I started homeschooling my crew this year. 

Addyson is 5 and in Kindergarten.
Sawyer is 3 1/2 and in Pre-school.
Capri is 15 months. 

The story on how this came about is for another post. Not one that I am trying to get out in a few quiet moments at naptime. 

I'm posting this because I have been humbled by the fact that I've had a lot of people contact me since starting homeschooling with questions about how it's going, what curriculum I use, what I'm doing for Sawyer, etc. I absolutely LOVE talking to people about it. I literally jump inside when I get a text about it!  BUT, I've been doing a bad job at getting back to everyone and actually emailing them info I promised. So I'm trying another route. Which brings me back to blogging! Ahhhh. I would love to post this information incase it might be helpful to many.  

But first off, I want you all to know a few things.. 

I am a ROOKIE. Did you notice the CAPS LOCK?!? This is VERY new to me, and I have SO much to learn! But I do best by jumping in, and figuring it out as I go, and so far, I am the one being blessed double by this experience. 

I also believe that what works for one family does not work for every family or even for every child! 

So of course, I will be posting what has been working for us, but please know that there are so many routes and ways to approach homeschooling and I definitely don't believe that my way is better than anyone else's or the ONLY way. 

 The Lord has been preparing and changing my heart for this season of life for two years. For several months now, I have taken a step back in regards to my little business I run part-time, Raving Tans. I'm now only working one evening a week in exchange for what used to be four. Although I was scared at first to do it, I know it has been what the Lord wanted for this season, and it is what is best for my family. 

So, I'm going to be doing posts as often as I can in regards to my homeschooling journey. Because I want my kids to someday look back at this and see where my heart was along this journey. And if it helps someone along the way, even more wonderful.

 This is just the very, very, beginning. And the posts will even be in a NEW blog that I will be announcing SOON! 

But if you have any questions for this ROOKIE, please comment below, text me, message me, whatever you wish! I kind of don't know where to start with a blog post in regards to everything we have been doing, so your questions will help direct me. 

Thank you all for your support and if you don't mind saying a little prayer for me as I'm taking this one day, and one year at a time, I could use all the prayers I can get! 

Love you all.. 


"Train a child up in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Domestication breakthrough.

Ok, I am deviating from my typical blog posts because I have recently had a domestication breakthrough... 6 1/2 years into marriage and 5 years into mommyhood.
I want to shout from the rooftops what has been working for me, so this was the best way to do so. lol.
Here's the gist..
Yup, you read that correct.
 I have found a solution to my never ending laundry crisis in the Hawthorne home.
I am not about to tell you that my solution is the only way, I'm just here to tell what has been working for this stay-at-home, part-time work at home, homeschooling, mamma of a 5, 3 and 1 year old.
I'm sure as the kids get older, different seasons, this method will have to change, but for now, I'm rocking it out!
I'm also here to tell you that I did not come up with this on my own.
My dear friend came over to play a few weeks ago, and when I went on my typical rant about the fact that I can never keep up on the laundry, she very simply told me that she doesn't really have that problem.
I gasped.
She as well is a momma of a 4, 3 and 1 year old.
She told me what she does, and I immediately set out to give it a whirl. I mean, we all know the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. lol.
Guess what.
It's been working.
So here goes!!
1. Only use ONE laundry basket for all of the family's clothes. I know what you are thinking... but I have SUCH a cute hamper in my baby's room!!! Use it for toys, stuffed animals, I don't care what. But DON'T use it for dirty laundry! lol! I'm telling you, having all the laundry in many different rooms contributes to the chaos. I have one small basket that I can carry downstairs to the laundry room and it is in our master bedroom walk-in closet.
2. Get rid of all laundry baskets that hold enough dirty clothes to keep you washing for an entire weekend and still not be caught up. Kelly, my sweet neighbor, if you are reading this, I actually felt guilty when I gave you my big baskets a few weeks ago.. wondering if I was contributing to your laundry crisis. LOL.
3. Keep 3 small baskets in your laundry room for sorting. I have a very small laundry room, so there is not enough space to have a sorting hamper in there. So that's where my three small baskets on top of the washer and dryer come in. One for light, one for dark, and one for special attention clothes! hehe.
These baskets are $3.99 each at Target. Get them! lol!
4. EVERY MORNING bring down the small basket from the closet and sort clothes into correct baskets. This takes all of 5 minutes. No excuses! lol.
5. As soon as a basket load is full, throw it in. I usually do this first thing in the morning. Following coffee of course. This happens quickly since the sorting baskets are small.
6. On average, I'm doing around two loads every other day it seems like. Of course, when you have newborns in the mix, this will probably be a daily thing with all the burp clothes, blankets.. etc. On the days in between I will rotate with bedding.
7. As soon as a load is done, fold it and put it away. I did this very scientific experiment a few months ago and calculated the time it took me to casually take out a load from the dryer, bring it upstairs, fold it, and put it away. I know some of you are not going to believe me, but it took me 7 minutes. Of course, I wasn't distracted by a newborn or being requested by a toddler, but my friends, if we have a 10 minute window we can do this!!! lol!
 8. Let your kids help. Addyson, my 5 year old, was fully capable of folding, sorting and organizing her clean clothes into her drawers! And on top of it, she was excited to help and felt accomplished!
That's it.
NOTE: If you are like me, you will be appalled at how many clothes you actually have. When all the laundry is caught up, I could barely close my kids' drawers.. and let's not even talk about my own closet.. So unnecessary! We ended up going through all the clothes and finding an awesome local organization that we could donate some of them to. Good Will is good... but there are other organizations that are GREAT! Some of them are helping parents that can't afford to clothe their babies.. and they are doing it for free...  
One of those in my area is called Solutions For Change.
 We have lots on our plates as busy moms and dads.
Hopefully this little laundry tip will help a few of you, and maybe some of you can comment with some solutions that have worked for you!
Raising kids is an amazing blessing...and a lot of work! 
Let's conquer this laundry crisis so we can move on to the more important things!
 I can't begin to explain the little bit of freedom I have experienced from this little method. Those baskets that were always haunting me are gone.
Yes, there will be days where things will surely get behind, but let me tell you, this is a breakthrough!!

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Galations 6:9

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Something is brewing..

So maybe this is a little bit of a rant and a little bit of trying to sort my thoughts out. We shall see.
This morning I decided to take my kids on a "nature walk" around our perfectly HOA kept up neighborhood.
Without fail, almost every person I happened to pass by on the walk did a double take, or simply said out loud, "wow, you have your hands full!"
This is nothing new to me.
Somewhere around the having two kids and being pregnant I gave up the frustration of stranger's comments about God's choice to bless me with three kids by 30.
Oh, and the fact that I'm 5'1" on a good day doesn't help. Some how, my small stature makes people think I'm "one of the kids." I can testify that my smile lines prove otherwise along with the gray hairs I cover up every 8 weeks. And I still need to get those darn glasses ordered. Did you know that after having three kids I now need glasses!? Anyways..
I've honestly learned to smile and agree, realizing that their comment is not intended to make fun, but that in most cases, they truly do not understand how I do it.
Today I got to thinking.
It would be awesome to have a planned out response to this never ending comment. Something along the lines of, yes, my hands are full, but that is part of what keeps me leaning on Jesus DAILY. I have 3 little lives that are in my hands to teach, love, and grow. That's a BIG responsibility if you ask me, and the most important one after being wife to my awesome hubby. Indeed my hands are full. But it is NOT in my strength that I get by. I take no credit. And a lot of days I fail. As I yell at my kids to stop yelling.. you know.. those kinds of things.
Then, who KNOWS the types of conversations I might get into just by going into any public place!
Almost makes me want to have another one.
My "almost" lies not in the idea of having more children to raise in our home, but the idea of actually bringing them into the world. Okay, that was just a weird way of saying that our family has been seriously talking about the idea of adoption for some time now.
I can't help but wonder what the comments would be like if I were to add on another child to the mix. {insert devious laugh.. hehehe}
I honestly feel like the Lord has shown me a lot of things in just the last 6 months. I told my cousin yesterday, "I feel like I have a new brain."
It's really weird.
I've felt the Lord move me.. wake me up.. I don't know how else to put it.
I read Kisses From Katie {Katie Davis}, Radical {David Platt}, and now Seven {Jen Hatmaker} all within the last few months. Oh and Feminine Appeal twice.
I'm not kidding you, they are game changers my friends.
When you start to get a glimpse of the WORLD VISION and our responsibility as Christians and as one of the wealthiest nations on the ol' globe today, IT CHANGES YOU.
"Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31
I have no idea what God has up his sleeve at this point with this "new brain" if you will.. but I can attest that the desire and the burden for change is getting bigger and bigger.
By change I mean, a radical change in the way we "do life."
A change in how we see those in need around us.
A change in how we spend every $1 that the Lord blesses us with.
A change in how we see God.
He's bigger than most of us give him credit for. Myself included.
Anyways, much more to come on this heart change going on, but my small window of time before 3 smiling faces greet me is about to run dry and I still haven't gotten out of my pj's or cleaned up the paint from the carpet from this morning's "rock painting" project.
Okay, that was quite a ramble.
But something is brewing.. that's all I can say.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Little friends are the best medicine

Last night I had the privilege of getting to spend several hours on the oncology floor of the San Diego Children's Hospital. I have never been on that floor before and even got a little lost trying to find it.
Our friend's daughter {4} was just diagnosed this week with stage 5 bilateral kidney cancer. 

Meaning the cancer is on both kidneys. 

Wilm's is the name of it.
Just wrapping my head around that sentence is still mind boggling.
Little Taelyn had just finished her first round of chemo when I arrived with my daughter, Addyson {5}, to visit. She was in good spirits when we got there, being pushed around by her daddy on the IV pole. According to one of my best friends that works on the oncology floor, these IV pole rides are a fairly typical thing around there. Addy jumped on with her and caught a ride as Taelyn directed where we would go next. 

Daddy listened to every hall his little girl wanted to take.
I tell you, walking passed rooms of all ages of children on the oncology floor will do something for your spirit.
I gasped as I walked by a room of dueling cribs. These 8 month old twins both had cancer. I'm sorry, but something about seeing cribs on the oncology floor... heart wrenching. The little faces peeking through the bars seemed happy as can be. 
On a search for popcorn, a stop at the gift shop, we eventually made our way to the activity room where the girls sat and played play doh, colored and painted Hello Kitty pictures chatting with each other about their favorite princesses, colors, and their mutual love for rainbows.
Watching Addy talk and hang out with Taelyn as if the IV pole attached and the tubes coming from her chest, the wheel chair in the room were completely normal was so amazing

Addyson saw that little girl as a little friend and nothing else. 

Addy never asked about all of those things, instead just acted like everything was totally normal.

I saw in that moment that little friends can be the best medicine.
One glace around the activity room and you could see who was new to the oncology floor simply by the fact that they still had their hair. A few adorable little ones with whisps of hair left made their way into the room with their parents in tow.
I learned a lot from those parents in the short time I was there.
Those little kids had 150% of their parent's attention.
I watched a daddy lay on the floor with his little balding beauty and play with the toys with her. Another mom with her little boy sat and colored and helped him paint. There was absolutely no distractions. There was no other place these parents would rather be than in that little place with those precious children.
The same went for Taelyn's mommy and daddy. Taelyn asked her mommy to paint with her and with no hesitation her mom sat down and chose her art project.
I mentioned to my friend I was with how humbling it was. How many times have I put sitting down to color or paint with my kids on hold while "other things" grasped for my attention.
We made it back to Taelyn's room as she was starting to feel some effects of the first round of chemo. I was still so amazed by her. This little fighter still wanted to put up the foot pedals and climb into her wheel chair all by herself. 
The girls watched Cinderella together as Taelyn bundled under blankets. Visitors were starting to head out and Taelyn was begging her big brother and for Addy to spend the night. It was so eye opening. When you are being constantly poked and prodded and hugged and kissed by adults I could see why she clung to the little ones.
We got ready to leave and promised Taelyn we would be back to play soon.
♥     ♥     ♥
In this week of finding out about Taelyn, it's already so evident of how much the Lord is using this situation in so many ways.
When you see a family gather around a little girl like this it's amazing how many other things in your life get not put, but thrown into perspective.
Just for our family alone God has shown us that some of the situations we were holding onto and stressing about truly were petty in the big picture. 
Sometimes it takes these little fighters for us "big kids" to find freedom in other areas.
The Lord has a plan.
Taelyn was fearfully and wonderfully made.
And I tell you what, Taelyn is one tough cookie.
To follow along with Taelyn's journey you can "like" her page on Facebook!
Click here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Distracted in prayer time... who me?

I'm finally getting up early again. I've had weeks of convincing myself that due to the fact that my now 11 month old is still not sleeping through the night, that I deserve that extra hour of sleep.
Not this morning.
I set my alarm last night and although I grumbled to myself all the way to the Keurig this morning, I am now two hours into my day and being given the beautiful privilege of blogging some thoughts and watching the sunrise.
Let me just tell you that I feel pretty silly as I'm about to write out what is on my mind.
I've read this verse in Romans many, many times.
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do....
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- Through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:21-25
I've recalled reading this verse and thinking to myself on more than one occasion, oh man.. that poor Paul (the author). He must really be far from God, I mean, come on. Why does he keep doing things that he hates? I just don't even get it! It's not that hard! Do good things Paul! Wasn't he an apostle?! Sheesh.
And now today I sit here completely baffled at my foolishness.
It's absolutely amazing how much credit we can give to ourselves.
We constantly compare ourselves to each other, and somehow feel like we are better off because at least we are making better choices than that one friend we have...
We convince ourselves that we aren't that bad, and that we don't need God as much, why? Maybe because our sin isn't so obvious to Instagram or Facebook.
Instead we use each other's little snapshots of their lives, make judgments about them and ultimately use them as the standard of living this life well, and decide on our own where we fall on that scale. Is this not true? I wish it weren't.
When our standards should be the ones in black in white.
The ones in the book that we didn't write.
Although I have been a Christian for most of my life, I am now seeing things in my life, and in my actions that I am not proud of. It brings me to my knees realizing how much I need the Lord every day of my life. Every day is a gift that we don't deserve.
My pastor put it plainly last night.
- The closer we get to God, the more we see our own sinfulness. -
Now, this may sound super negative, but in fact, it's not.
Instead it gives me a new hope. 
A renewed thankfulness for what was actually done on that cross so many years ago.
What I'm most encouraged by is that by finding these yucky places in my heart that need help and realizing them, I have a wonderful maker that is ready and waiting to help me move through them.
I do not need to fix myself on my own.
In fact, I can't.
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15 4-5.
Isn't that actually a weight lifted?
Prayer is one of those ways we stay close to God and abide in Him
I'm learning more and more about the power of prayer. It's the way we get to communicate with this God that we owe all our lives to.
I got a tip from a sermon I was listening to on an app the other day.
 {The Village Church is amazing by the way. Pastor Matt Chandler. Download the app. NOW. Lol.}
The pastor was explaining how he gets very distracted in his prayer time. Um.. YUP. That's me too. I either pray and fall asleep at night or I try to pray and then think of a million things I have on my to do list. I'm terrible.
So this morning, I took his idea and tried it.
It worked for me.
I sat down in the quiet of the morning and I wrote in a notebook as I prayed. I made quick notes of the people and what I was praying for them for. I filled up two pages in 15 minutes. I didn't get distracted. It was amazing. Not only that, now I have a record of what I was praying for on this 24th of June in 2013, and I can't wait to see God answer these prayers in different ways.
The other thing I've had on my heart about prayer is that it doesn't always need to be lengthy and in a quiet part of my day. I can talk to God anytime. When the kids are having "one of those days," a quick, "Lord, help me stay joyful," He will hear.
I just want to end this post and encourage you all my friends..
Don't feel worse if you are starting to in fact see areas of your life that need more attention than maybe you thought. Be encouraged. This is growth.
My pastor explains this..
We don't drift towards holiness.
Oh the truth in that statement!
We must be attentive to our yucky heart issues and with God's help work through them until we can look back and say, wow, that's how I used to be, but now, thanks to God ALONE, I am new.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

God loves date night too.

Date night. Now that's a word that I haven't used in a while. Sadly, but true.
Last night John and I had our first date night in months.
I'm sure many of you can relate, but when we look at our busy schedules and our budgets, unfortunately date night is one of the first things to go.
Our family has an even crazier schedule to work around with my job taking up 2-3 nights per week, John having a leadership meeting one night a week, and the church plant we are blessed to be a part of falling on Sunday evenings.
That leaves us exactly 2 open evenings a week.
 Tuesday & Saturday.
Saturdays as you all know are usually booked months in advance with birthday parties and special events, and my hubby works until 2 pm on Saturdays as well, so by the time he gets home at 3 pm half the day is gone.
I'm not saying all this to vent or look for sympathy, it's a reality of the season of our life right now, and we make it work.
We make it work by truly making every moment count of the time we do get together as a family.
But still, even with doing our best to make the most of the time we get, we realize that putting off our own little date night long enough and sometimes we can start to feel like we are just two good friends on the same team getting through each week.
Romance, uh.. what was that again?
So I say this because we are so guilty.
 Date night is tough.
It costs money.
Who would watch ALL 3 kids?
Who can we trust?
We already ask family for all the super important babysitting needs, so asking them "just for a date night" seems like a burden.
At least that's all the excuses we use.
So we have tried to have date nights in after the kids go to bed, and to be honest, I'm that awesome date that falls asleep 10 min into watching James Bond. Woohoo!
So this week something crazy happened.
I got a text from a girl that I used to coach on the varsity high school gymnastics team.
Side note, this is a girl I absolutely ADORE and always have.
Text read:
Hey Heather! For some reason I was thinking about you and your kiddos and I know how busy you are so I just wanted to let you know if you ever are in need of a date night and need a babysitter.. I'm totally available! :)
Are you kidding me?!
I think I froze or gasped or tapped my phone a few times to make sure this was a real text.
Our conversation went on and she explained that God totally put me on her heart to contact me, and she almost ignored it, but then she felt a big old push so she decided to just go ahead and throw it out there.
I honestly wanted to cry. Happy tears.
Yes, we were desperate for a date night.
So I cleared my work schedule and we booked her for a few days later.
I seriously could not believe it.
I felt so blessed in that moment.
God truly knows our every need and He provides my friends.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19
I just kept thanking her for taking that awkward jump and texting me, because God used her in that moment. She was an answer to prayer.
So we left on our date night last night and restaurant hopped! It was such a blast. Went somewhere for a drink and appetizer, then another place for an entrée and then the last place for dessert. We talked and laughed like we were dating. I'm sure no one would have known we left the 3 kids under 5 at home. lol!
And I was blown away that even my insanely clingy 9 month old did fabulous and all three were asleep by 9 pm. So we were out at ease knowing all was well.
We didn't even snap pics and post them to Instagram this time. We just enjoyed the rare, precious time we got together to be alone.
Date night. It's a necessity my friends.
I truly feel like convincing ourselves that date nights are not important is one of the biggest lies that the enemy can get us to believe.
They are important.
With 50% of marriages falling apart these days, we have to FIGHT to be on the 50% that do stay together, and when I say together, I mean together ENJOYING each other.
Good marriages don't just happen.
Date night is a simple, yet amazing way to fill up your marriage so that you are ready to tackle life together.
Now we have seen the fruit of it and we told our girl that she will be booked every week for eternity. haha. Totally joking, but we are definitely going to try to make date night a more regular part of our schedule.
Once, maybe twice a month would be our goal.
Mommies and daddies.. if you don't have someone that can swap kids with you, or family to watch your kiddos, start praying for this person.
God is all about strengthening marriages, and I'm telling ya, He will hear those prayers.
Maybe you are an auntie or a friend of someone with little ones.
Maybe you have someone on your heart that you know could really use a date night.
Ask them.
I can assure you it will knock their socks off when you offer.
God is good.
So good.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Scrambled Egg Syndrome

It's 5:25 am. I'm trying something new.
I'm awake before my house.
Despite a night with an 8 month old that still has no interest in sleeping through the night, I knew that today something was going to change.
I'm drinking my warm cup of black coffee in my anthropology mug and savoring every sip more than usual.
I prayed for my day.
I prayed for some of you.
I just read Proverbs 4.
I even had a far too peppy song jump into my head at 5:05 as I rolled myself out of bed into the darkness.
"Rise and shine.. and give God the glory, glory!"
Maybe you remember that jingle.
I then felt like the Lord said, "write."
So here I am. With an hour before the kids rise, tapping away. Smiling.
I don't have any idea what exactly I'm supposed to be writing on today, but I can tell you all a little bit about how I've been feeling lately and some of my friends know this, but I like to coin it the scrambled egg syndrome.
My life seems to be this mix of so many different blessings with work, family, church, friendships, and I often feel that I never come out sunny side up. I just go through each day trying my best to enjoy the moments, but truly feeling like everything is so scrambled together that I have moments where I just want to sit down and say, what on earth am I doing here?! What is my purpose for this day!? I feel like I'm not doing anything to my best ability.
Last week I was so scrambled that I drove my kids to school on Friday telling them all about Good Friday, to arrive to a playground that was a ghost town. It should have occurred to me that there was no school on Good Friday.
I then blame shift a lot to my "mommy brain."
My closest family and friends can tell when this scrambled egg syndrome is setting in because I get so stressed over the smallest of things. My plate is so full, but honestly, most everything on my plate has been placed there with full intent by Him. I cannot manage it all on my own. I was never intended to.
Yesterday it came as plain as can be to me. The fix for this scrambled egg syndrome is learning to tithe with my time.
Tithe with my time.
Tithe with my time.
"My son, pay attention to what I say,
Listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight.
Keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body."
Proverbs 4:20-22
As I read these words this morning I wanted to fall to my knees.
God is so good my friends.
I know in my days of scrambled eggs I need the word, but sometimes I forget just how important it is. For me, although I love doing the bible-in-a-year app, I need more. I need the time to sit and dive into Proverbs and truly read and let my heart settle on these words.
I need to truly give a portion of my day to my Lord and if that means getting up before my house, so be it. No more excuses.
These words are health to my body.
I feel like this idea of tithing my time is truly so key. God has blessed me with so much and I want to truly show him with the most precious commodity how thankful I am.
As a wife, mommy of 3, and business owner I can assure you my most precious commodity is my time. Therefore, this is what I will tithe.
Some days it might be 30 minutes, other days it might be an hour and a half. I don't honestly know.
And I'm sure there are going to be days that I fail, and I already know the outcome.
I am not a morning person, but guess what, I'm going to try this whole morning thing out. Because I hear there is something magical about this time.
"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter til the full light of day." Proverbs 4:18
Pray for me? Please?
Time to go start the laundry and it's only 6:09 am.
Ahhh... I think I can get used to this.
I'll give you all a follow up soon...
Here's my 8 month old that still enjoys waking up all night.
I will someday miss this right?

That's what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From 2... to 3.

I woke up to an inbox message from a sweet and talented gal. She was privately asking me a few questions about how life has changed from going from two kids to three. I chuckled when I read her message as I was sucking down my first cup of coffee after being up with Capri five... I think five, maybe more.. times last night. I almost waited to respond to her thinking, oh Lord, she doesn't want to know how I feel right now, but felt compelled to share my heart and now here I am also sharing my heart with the rest of you. 

Let me back track a tad to explain that while going from one kid to two kids 21 months apart, I had a relatively seamless transition. I actually started my business, Raving Tans, when Sawyer was only three months old. I was blessed with very easy going babies, that slept fairly well. I remember the first time leaving the house with both of them and it took me, no joke, two hours to pack everything. I now realize how much I have changed. I somehow managed to get all four of us out the door this morning in 15 min. It was a ridiculous morning where I actually was so exhausted that I was sitting there sipping coffee after responding to her message, baby was sleeping, kids were hanging out after eating breakfast and at exactly 8:15 I looked up and realized OH MY GOSH TODAY IS A SCHOOL DAY!!! We have to leave the house at 8:30. I literally flew upstairs, woke up the baby, threw on Sawyer's rain boots with his pjs and Addy got herself ready in lightening speed. We were all laughing! I kept telling Addy, I can't believe mommy forgot it was a school day!! I felt so ridiculous. Some how we made it to school on time with no tears, no one upset. I remember looking at my diaper bag on the way out and thinking, no time to pack that, if she has a bomb on the way to school, well, I guess it will wait until we get home to change it! Bad, I know. I grabbed the keys, my trusty old hat and we were off.

So, although I have relaxed a lot since having three, I must also say that I regularly feel like I have lost half of my brain cells. Most likely to sleep deprivation... STILL.. at six months old.

Oh coffee... you are good to me! Which I proudly {not sure why proudly} drink black now. I had a few friends come over for a play date and two of them asked for their coffee black. I remember scrunching my face in response and saying? REALLY? I had to try it. So the next few days I did drink it black and felt so hardcore.  

As hardcore as a mom drinking coffee can get. lol. 

I actually loved it. Weird... try it, dare you! 


So, in responding to her questions this morning it really made me think about how the change has been for me, for us, for our family. This may start out sounding like a large venting session, but I promise it is so much more than that. 

I'm not going to lie, if you know how I blog by now, well, real is what you get. It has not been a walk in the park. Capri as well has been a very easy going baby, but she has had a few issues with her sleeping. Congestion kept her up in the first few months, and then her early teething dominated the next several. This girl had two bottom teeth at 5 months old. As a mom, you always compare your baby to your older kids and when they did things, and for me, 5 months was EXTREMELY early for teething. I have come to the conclusion that I think Capri has a much lower pain tolerance as well. For goodness sakes, remember Sawyer broke his tiny leg at 16 months old and if he wasn't not bearing weight on it, I would have had no idea his leg was broken. You can read about his Toddler's Fracture here. So coming from Mr. Tough Cookie to now a little princess, it has been a bit of a change. Add in the fact that the girls are sharing a room, so it makes moving her out of our room into their room more of a challenge. With all her waking up, I don't want all the other kids waking up, so we still have her in our room.

I also was explaining to her that I feel like sometimes I'm constantly telling one of them, "hold on just a second love." And sometimes this just breaks my heart. I want to be able to help all of them with everything they need, but I'm realizing I can't do that. Sometimes the big kids have to wait, sometimes the baby has to fuss for me to help Sawyer put his pants back on. My house is not picked up as well as it used to, my dishes are not always done when my husband gets home. The laundry... OH THE LAUNDRY. Laundry has, and continues to be my nemesis. Some days I completely fail, like this one.

I put up a post the other day about my trip to the store with all three of them. Which doesn't happen as often as it needs to.

It read:

"I guess I don't get out to stores with all 3 kids very often. I can't even tell you how many people stopped me and said, "wow, you have your hands full!" Or just stared.. Wow. Lol. The kids did great too! Take that people watchers! Haha."

It's true, I do have my hands full and the truth is, I'm so grateful on some days it just brings me to my knees thanking Him for this sometimes out of control life I've been given.  

I too have to remember that I was wonderfully made by the same creator that made the Heavens and the Earth, and he knew in stringing together my DNA that I would thrive on having my hands full. Teaching me all along the way...

I'm not that crazy, I mean I only have 3 kids, come on, the Proverbs 31 wife had just a FEW things going on right? She had so many things on her plate and she did them WELL. Oh how I strive to be like her!  

"She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue
  She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness."
{Proverbs 31: 26-27} 

Going from 2 to 3... well... here are a few things I've learned.

I have had to lean on the Lord every day. Like ALL the days that end in Y.

I have had to become and even stronger TEAM with my husband. Oh how thankful I am for this man.

I have had to accept that I will not accomplish as much as I feel "I should" on days where the kids just need more of my time than the house does.

I have had to relax when it comes to that pile of dishes, that unswept floor, knowing that I WILL get to it, just not yet.

I've learned to take the time to just stare at this beautiful baby and hang on dearly to the moments, even the tough ones, knowing that these moments will be gone far too soon. I do feel like our family is complete, unless God has some crazy other plans he hasn't filled me in on yet.

I have had to rethink my work and understand that growing my business to another level is not what God has planned for me right now. Mothering is. He will provide exactly what I need from that business, and I need not worry.

MY FAMILY is my first ministry. 

I've learned that as soon as I feel a little out of control with my commitments, I release one. Hard for me, but life changing.

I've learned I'm going to fail some days, but other days I'm gonna ROCK this having 3 kids and juggling all my commitments thing like nobody's business. And it's with His strength. Not mine.

I've learned that I do need MY time. Maybe a little more often than I did before. And if that means getting up early and going to workout before our commitments on Sunday, I'll do it. No one wants to be around a grumpy mom.

I've learned that it's pretty difficult to be quick to anger when you have worship music playing. Try it.

I've learned that there are going to be days that I need to put myself in a mommy time-out before we have finished breakfast, and guess what, as long as I apologize and teach my kids about forgiveness, it was a morning not wasted. 

I've learned to appreciate and thank the Lord for some AMAZING friends I have in my life. Friends that I can just shoot a text message to in the morning asking for prayer, knowing that they have me covered that day. {Yes, I did send out a text this morning.}

I've learned that as long as I am SEEKING HIM first of all things, my life, although it might look crazy to some, is absolutely perfect and tailor made for me.

So, if at first glance it may seem like I am overwhelmed, exhausted, running a crazy house, well, you are all correct. But, at the same time I have JOY. SO much JOY. These babies have been given to me as a precious, precious gift. My Lord has my back and he's never going to forsake me.

The Lord has actually even changed my heart over the last two years in regards to my kids and I will be sharing that with you all very soon.. I promise I'm not pregnant. lol.

Until then.. feel free to give me any advice when it comes to helping my teething baby sleep through the night.. lol. And thank you to the lovely that sent me the message this morning that spurred this post. I think it will be one I will continually go back and read on the hard days to remember at 6 months into being a mom of 3, how much I have learned.

Now back to the coffee.. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That dang latte.

It might sound strange, but I knew I was going to write this post after I spent the afternoon yesterday in wretched stomach pain. The clarity came this morning, but I knew it was coming last night. There are slightly two parts to this post, and I promise I will combine them. Stay with me. lol.

You may recall my blog post a few months ago about going a little "crunchy." If you missed it, well, you can check out my craziness here

Basically, during that time, I went 40 days without dairy, meat, sugar, or basically anything processed. It was pretty insane, but I somehow survived. As I slowly began to add a few things back into my diet, I was noticing how some things my body didn't really respond well to.

Dairy has been one of them. I have never in my life thought of myself as lactose intolerant, but it was so strange how after cleansing myself in a major way I was able to really see more clearly what certain things were doing to my body as I tried to put them back in. I've pretty much eliminated dairy from my diet for many reasons that are not important to this post, but the main one was just the way it would make me feel after trying to add it back in on occasion. Awful.

So yesterday, I felt I earned a good ol' Starbucks run, and when I saw the Vanilla Chai latte plastered on the board I was sold in an instant. It's only a grande.. I told myself. How much milk could that possibly be? I'll be fine. I casually ordered my grande with nonfat milk (I don't do soy) and the barista of course asked, "do you want the whip cream?" Ok, so I have this weird thing.. where I feel like if I order something nonfat then it's totally valid to keep the whip cream because somehow in my mind it cancels each other out. It makes no sense at all, as I'm typing this I'm realizing it all the more, but there you have it. So I requested, like always, to keep the whip cream. lol.

Oh that warm, frothy, cinnamon, vanilla, spice taste was so incredible... for about 20 minutes. I got back to my neighborhood and popped in on my sister and couldn't stop complaining about the incredible pain in my stomach. All I wanted to do was curl in a ball on my side and wait it out. I threw a few death glares at my latte, and put it down, for good.

The pain took hours to subside and I felt off for the rest of the evening.

Then this morning I had a crazy God moment where some things I've been mulling over in my head all made a little more sense and the image that flashed across my brain was that dang latte.

Let me explain. So, this is that second part I was telling you about. I challenged myself at the beginning of this year to read through the Bible in a year. I have never done this before, and to be completely honest, this came about because I started to feel some conviction in the fact that whenever I am wanting to give people biblical counsel, to the best of my ability, I find myself recommending people books. Now, I LOVE books. Books are absolutely fantastic, and the Lord uses AMAZING authors to teach His word in fascinating ways.  

My little check in my soul was that I was spending more time reading those awesome books then I was spending in the most important book of ALL.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the BIBLE tells me so...

You know how I like to change refrains of songs?

Well, I felt like I was singing a different verse. Once again. Sigh.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for this *insert other awesome book* tells me so.

So my little conviction started stirring and then I read this blog post, which confirmed some things. (PS. I will definitely be telling you about this gal soon.) So January 1st was coming and it was one of those perfect opportunities to start this whole bible-in-a-year thing.

Now it's only been 15 days and I've absolutely been loving being in the word everyday. I know this is a simple truth, and we are called to live on the Word, our daily bread, but in all reality, I have never made it a solid habit to be in the word everyday. I could give you every excuse in the book why, but finally something changed, and I was ready to do this Bible-in-a-year thing. I knew it would force me into a habit that I would never regret.

Funny what happens.. I've found myself eager to open my Bible when the rare free moment in a busy mom of 3's day arises. The app on my phone has been fantastic, giving me daily reminders and I've even plugged my phone into my car and let the app read to me while driving. Not too shabby the technology we now possess. It's like the more I'm diving in to this book, the more I crave it. I'm also reading a few other AWESOME books on the side, but, my number one right now is getting my daily reading done in our Lord's book.

So now, stay with me, back to my crazy new way of life in regards to my eating.. I remember reading and hearing that as time went on you would actually crave vegetables, and the foods you used to want would no longer look so tasty. I am here to tell you, once again, it's true. Fast forward a few months now and I actually get excited about making a soup of tuscan kale and butternut squash! If you would have known me even 6 months ago, tuscan kale would have never made it's way into my shopping cart, let alone into my soup. It's like.. this crazy thing, where as you find out more about the health benefits of something, and then when you see it actually change your life in regards to how you feel after eating.. you naturally want more of it. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

So now I'm chomping down daily on God's incredible word and I'm feeling it wreck havoc on me.. in a good way. Clarity is coming quicker, this awesome God we serve is on the forefront of my mind.This isn't just something that is going to help me feel better, the word is life altering. Now these are some health benefits worth talking about! lol.

And right when I start to want to pat myself on the back, stand up a little taller, tell myself, good job Heather, look at you reading the Bible every day now, well it's like I just took a swig of that dang latte again. Oh pride. You are something. At least now I'm realizing that, like dairy, my body is not too keen on this haughtiness either. It honestly doesn't matter if I read the Bible in a year. I should be re-reading the Bible every year for the rest of my life.

Am I going to keep going? YES. Why? Because God has put this on my heart for this year, and maybe he has put in on yours too. Not so that we may boast about it, but so that we can gain a greater understanding of who HE is. Help us to create an amazingly awesome habit of being in the word daily. To hold each other accountable. I get so excited thinking about it! I just have to spit out the latte when I feel it coming. And if you see one in my hand, I give you full permission to take it from me. Got it?

The most effective means the enemy has to keep us from being full of the Spirit is to keep us full of ourselves. - Beth Moore

Thanks Beth, you always put me in my place as well. ;)

I feel like living in the word each day so far has been like a major cleanse of my soul. 

I'm now craving the good stuff and although I might have a swig here and there of those dang lattes, my prayer is to someday rid myself of those dang lattes for good. And guess what, there's only one answer to that. And it's gonna take more than a few death glares.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

I can't wait to see what the Lord has up His sleeve this year.. 

Who's with me?

Oh, and here's proof of my tuscan kale and butternut squash soup. Seriously.. amazing.

Recipe here.  Pin away my friends, pin away. lol.