Just Curious….

So, I came across this interesting little Easter Egg. At least, that is what it was called. 61KsdPjZ-gL._AC_UL115_ I did go ahead and get a few, well, because my boys just love these types of things. I am excited to see if these are as great as I believe they will be! If it will keep the kids entertained even for a couple hours, then the $9 was worth it! Want to try it yourself? You can find the link here.

 

**Yes, this is an affiliate link. That means, when you try out these fun little things I find, I get a “thank you” from the company simply for sharing things we enjoy.

tree

Christmas can be a magical time of year for kids. There are parties, crafts, extra treats, gifts, plays, lights, glitter, and paper snowflakes!  And the most exciting part for them, of course, is Christmas break! However, this is also one of my most dreaded parts. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing things with my kids. And I love being around them all day long when they are not fighting. But, let’s be honest. With 4 Little Darlings, fights are inevitable!

Mornings are filled with “Everyone upstairs to your rooms” and “I need 30 minutes of absolute silence because I have a phone appointment” and “Ask your sister for help while I finish up work here.” I get as much work done as I can, then rack my brain for activities for everyone without losing my sanity. Apparently, I am not the only one! Off to the gym we go because I can get a 2 hour break.  That gives me an hour-long class, 10 minutes in the steam room, and 50 whole minutes to myself!

When I awoke from my 20 minute power nap, I felt such a camaraderie with the other moms that were napping in the lounge of the ladies’ locker room. We get each other. We know that look each one wears as she sinks into the plush, oversized leather seat. We understand the importance of those precious moments of solitude as we hide in the lounge. There is no judgment. There is no regret. There is no shame. There is just an understanding that we share.

Moms everywhere, I get you! In case no one has reminded you lately, YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB! 

 

I’m sorry, WHAT?!?!?!

 

Kids are smart. They learn about life from somewhere, and I want to be their main source of information. Hubby and I have a parenting policy that nothing is off-limits. They can ask us questions about anything- and I mean ANYTHING! Oh, yeah! It’s uncomfortable! There are times when I want to kick them out of the room and say, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” They bring up topics that make me want to say, “I’m sorry, WHAT?!?!?!” But if I don’t answer their questions, they will look for the answers somewhere. We live in a world where answers are easily accessible, but rarely line up with our values.

Some of the questions we have been asked have made us uncomfortable. But now that we have an almost-13-year-old (as she likes to remind us), the questions get CRAZY! And sometimes I have to initiate conversations. “But, Mom, why can’t I wear these pants anymore? They aren’t too short.” BAD ANSWER: “Because I said so. Just go change.” HONEST ANSWER: “Because they are too tight. I can see the outline of your underwear and you have camel toe.”   Great, now I’ve done it! Now we have more things to talk about! But I would rather explain it to her than have kids laugh at her at school over something she knows nothing about. Oh, and panty lines? I would rather explain a thong to her than Little Susie Slut next door telling her it will make her sexy and boys will love it.

Regardless of how crazy the questions become, I am so honored that my kids trust me enough to ask! What are some smart parenting policies that you have? What kind of crazy questions have your kids asked? Please share with us!

Goals- Yay or Nay?

  Every month I have goals that I have to reach, need to reach, and want to reach. A few of my goals for this month are realistic. But I also have crazy, BIG goals that make me laugh and nervous at the same time. I have one so big right now that it scares the crap out of me, yet it is something I believe God placed in my heart.  I need something bigger to live for than the mundane everyday. Some goals are so big that they can’t be accomplished in just one month-they need several months or even years! Some are easy goals I know I can hit with a little bit of work. 

I believe in goals. I have seen too many people, especially women, that drift through life with no focus or sense of purpose. Working towards your goals keeps you moving on the path of life that YOU desire. What do you want your life to look like?

In order to reach your goals, you might have to change. Maybe it will require you to stretch yourself, develop more, grow. That’s not a bad thing! Yet, often in these uncomfortable moments is when people quit. Don’t quit! You can do it!

At the end of each month, I plan out the next month’s goals. Each goal, no matter the size, requires action steps. What steps do you need to take today? This week? This month? This year?

I would love to hear from you! Are you a goal-setter? Do you want to be? How often do you plan out goals? Leave a comment and share with the rest of us!

The Perfect Example and Role Model

grandma with grandma

To the woman who has had the biggest influence in my life. Our time with this amazing woman is short as she longs to be with the love of her life. I love you Grandma! I wish the distance wasn’t so far.

They say actions speak louder than words. I have seen the truth of this in my grandma. I treasure the moments we spent talking about life. And I value the example that she walked out right before my eyes. I learned so much through her actions, even more than I learned from our talks.

I have never been the type that needed to be the center of attention. I am content to just be present and observe. I enjoy watching as much as others enjoy the attention. So, with my grandma, I watched.

I watched her welcome everyone into her home. She had a special way of making everyone feel that they were part of the family.

I watched her treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of how they treated her or others.

I watched her respond to ugliness with grace and kindness.

I watched her be strength at a grandchild’s funeral. Then I watched as she wept with grief when she thought others had gone.

I watched her take care of hurting people.

I watched her love the unloveable.

I watched her as she selflessly loved her husband.

I watched as she was adored and loved by him.

I watched how her eyes lit up with joy as she danced in his arms.

I watched as she made sure everyone around was taken care of.

I watched as she served others without complaining.

I watched as she patiently explained the titiya recipe over and over and over to me until I finally got it.

I watched as she made more food than necessary so that when everyone left, they left with full stomachs, full hands and full hearts.

I watched how she treated her husband, and I knew that was the type of marriage I wanted one day.

I watched how she spoke to others, always with kindness, compassion, and gentle correction when needed.

I watched her when she lost her own son. She grieved. Yet, she never let bitterness consume her.

I watched her exude great strength. Many think that strength is shown with bold, boisterous gestures and loud, aggressive comments. But true strength is also a quiet, gentle-giant. It doesn’t bend or buckle under pressure. Instead, it stands firm against the storms of life. It doesn’t destroy others; it protects them.

I watched her for many years, even from afar.

I have always known that if I could be like any person on the face of the earth, she is the one I want to be like.

I want to live my life so full of love and so full of life that anyone watching me is affected.

I hope I can pass on these same traits to my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.

I love you, Grandma!

Live on Purpose

live your life“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” -Steve Jobs

There is so much buzz going around these days about living your own life. It’s a great concept, but how many people truly live their own lives or fulfill their purpose? I first started thinking on this idea when one of my children asked me, “Mom, do you like what you do? Did you always want to do this? If you had asked me this questions 10 years ago, I probably would have said, “No.” Ten years ago, I worked a job that added a great income, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I didn’t love getting up and going to work. In fact, the only thing I loved about my job was vacation! I felt I was living how I was SUPPOSE to live but not how I WANTED to live!

What would happen if you created a life that was fulfilling? What if you woke up every morning with this thought: “God, I am so grateful for another day to pursue the things you have called me to. Thank you for trusting me with this assignment. I get to live a life of purpose- that will impact others, that blesses people, that excites me, that inspires and motivates me to do more and become better. Thank you for placing the right people in my life. Show me the new friends that are waiting to be met. Guide my words and my actions as I go about my day. Thank you for a life of JOY, BLESSING and ABUNDANCE!”

This life doesn’t happen by accident. This life happens by choice. The power of choice is amazing! What excites you? Do you know what God has asked you to do? Have you discovered why you do what you do? Is it full of purpose? Or does it just get you through life? Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying quit your job and just “do more of what makes you happy.” That would be foolish. Just because eating cheesecake makes you happy DOES NOT mean you should just keep eating more and more of it!

If helping single moms gets you excited, how often do you do it? Do you even volunteer your time? Did you buy backpacks and school supplies for that family you know is struggling financially?

Sadly, I have met too many people that think in order to do the things that fulfills them they have to find a full-time job doing exactly that thing. What if God blessed you with that well-paying job so you were financially capable of doing those things? But it is also possible that God gifted you with the desire, resources and ability to start a business doing exactly what you love. Have you started it yet? Are you working towards it?

It takes courage to go after those dreams and desires. What holds you back? When I asked my children what they wanted to be when they grow up, the answers are always BIG! Most kids think they can do anything when they are adults. Somehow, as we get older, outside voices tell us we can’t. We hear things like: You can’t actually make a living doing that; No one from our family has ever been able to do that; You’re not talented enough; You’re not smart enough; That’s an impossible dream. Yet, those same people are ok with you helping them achieve their dream!

Most BIG dreams require more than just you. In order to accomplish it, it often requires God, you, and a team of like-minded people. It is important to surround yourself with encouragers and go-getters. It is good to have a solid support system to help you along the way.

I want to challenge you this week:

  • Take time to really reflect on the things you are passionate about. What fulfills you? What has God placed in your heart that is just waiting for you to take action? Be real about those things. Some are big, some might be simple.
  • Remove all negative thoughts and doubts. If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? If anything was possible, what would you do?
  • Make a list of baby steps you can take NOW that will move you towards those things. Maybe it means taking a few classes to learn what you need. Maybe it means doing research to find organizations to join that are doing what you want to do. But do something! Ps 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. It takes one step to get started!

DREAM BIG! LIVE BIG! LIVE ON PURPOSE!

Shine Brighter- July Life Out Loud Event

Shine Brighter

Many of you have probably seen the Facebook and Instagram pictures and read a few of the details for the event. Have you wondered what we actually do at these events? Have you questioned if this is something you would like?

Life Out Loud events are a once-a-month time to get together, meet new people, laugh together, and navigate life’s issues together. No one is alone in this journey of life- but sometimes you don’t realize that there is a community of women that want you to succeed and are willing to walk through the process with you.

In the “About” section, the description of Life Out Loud is not just about this blog. It is the purpose for what we do, whether in our women’s small groups, monthly events, or blog posts. It reads:

“Life Out Loud” probably seems like a catchy phrase that has no real meaning. But, in fact, it is the very essence of what I feel God has placed in my heart to accomplish. We see women all around us, through social media, that are living seemingly perfect lives. Their husbands are perfect. Their children are polished and polite. They constantly have #proudmom moments. We see their highlight reels. Then we look at our own hot mess of a life and wonder why we are failing at this. Over the years I have found this to be even more true within the church. We see the Sunday perfection and we have our mid-week friendships. We laugh together, we smile at everyone, but on the inside we are crying for someone to know the real us. The real person that is hurting, that wants to walk out on her marriage, that feels guilty because she yells at her kids when no one is around. Many of the life issues we face are not unique to us alone. Countless other women have struggled and overcome. But we don’t always hear about that side. We only see the amazing end-results. Life Out Loud is about addressing those “secret” parts we try to hide from others out of fear of judgment or condemnation.  Real Women= we are authentic. Real Lives= we are hard-working, busy, emotional, imperfect. Real Love for God= we are passionately seeking a loving God and doing our best to walk out our destiny for this life.

This month’s theme is SHINE BRIGHTER. We will discuss how we can shine brighter in a darker world, but we will also talk about how to find our strength in our dark moments of life. You will hear about real journeys from real women who have overcome. You will find a place where you can engage, be encouraged and leave empowered!

Join me every last Friday of the month.

July 31st ~ 7pm

San Marcos Golf Resort

One San Marcos Dr, Chandler AZ

Open to ALL women

FREE event!

Life on the Wild Side

Hike the Grand Canyon

At first, I was scared to write this. I felt people would read this and begin to judge me based on the typical, Christian prejudices. How often do we, as a whole, judge a person’s credibility based on the size of their ministry or their worldwide impact? There are a lot of faithful people, that are exactly where God has placed them, that fly under the radar all the time. I don’t have a large ministry. My “worldwide” impact looks different from others. My calling might look a little different, too.

From the outside, nothing about my life says “Wild Side.” I have a great family that I love very much and they love me. I am blessed with the opportunity to do work that I enjoy. We go to church on Sunday; we have a small group; kids do well in school; we eat dinner together almost nightly; we are supportive parents of all our kids sports activities.

I mean, I drive a minivan! 

I chaperone school field trips and teach art masterpiece. I am part of the PTO. I run the children’s classes at church and host a women’s event every month. No, nothing from the outside screams “Wild Side.”

But things aren’t always as they seem, are they? I look calm, grounded and put-together. However, on this inside…that is where the action is! If you could step into my brain, my heart, my insides, you would think you walked into an action-adventure movie! I am constantly battling giants, defeating fears, and chasing big dreams. There is never a dull moment. Sometimes, I am about to walk off into the unknown. Sometimes, I run headstrong toward the giant in front of me. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed with the greatness of the dreams God has placed inside me. But I have seen miracles. I have seen God do impossible things. I am too far into this adventure to give up now! I am alive! I am excited to wake up everyday and win my battles!

I have too much purpose, too much destiny,

too much at stake to stop!

We often see the big things that others are doing. We feel that our small contribution isn’t enough, so we give up. We can give our selves all the right excuses to justify giving up. Our circumstances. Our inability. Our insecurities. Our time. Our lack of discipline. Looking at the work of others, we think our adventure must be grand in order to be fulfilling. I thought that, too, at one time. But I have learned that I cannot do everything and I am not called to do everything. However, I can be faithful with what I have been called to do. I can say “yes” to God, whether it be big or small

There are too many women that reach a point in life where they feel dull. They have lost their “wild side.” They want action. They want adventure. They want mystery and wonder. And, no, I’m not talking about with their husbands! Unfortunately, they begin to look outside for those things. I’ve met too many that walk away from God to seek out those adventures. Little do they know, their “wild side” is inside them waiting to be explored. We all have a “wild side” in us just waiting for us to tap into it! I love the saying , “Wherever you go, there you are.” You don’t have to leave your family to find your adventure.

Are you looking for a little adventure in life? Do you long for something “wild?” Do you want to do something that seems so audacious that people think you’re a little crazy? It’s easier than you think. It starts with a simple “yes” to God. I know, I know. That seems too easy. But try it. It’s harder than you think. Often, it will take you out of your comfort zone. It will stretch you. It will cause you to grow. It will test your limits. Saying “yes” to God may cause you to pack your car and move to another state. It may cause you to start a new job. It may cause you to seek Him everysingle day of your life because you can’t do it on your own. It may cause you to live a life that is fulfilling and exciting!

Live on the WILD SIDE!

“PINTEREST MOM” FAIL

I am a far cry from having it all together. Sure, sometimes I appear to do this mom-thing with ease. But then there are the moments behind the scenes that no one sees (except my hubby!). In fact, I had one of those failed mom-moments just this past weekend. Gasp! I know it’s shocking! You see, I have a Pinterest board specifically for the 4th of July. It’s filled with wonderful crafts, recipes and DIY decorations. This is my second time the 4th has come around and nothing from my Pinterest board can be found anywhere in my house. The only “decorating” that happened was the window clings the kids put up. How does this happen? Looking back at my week, how could I have failed at this one?

decor2

Sometimes I am hardest on myself. I expect so much out of me. But I would never hold others to the same, impossible standard. I love planning big, elaborate parties, yet I beat myself up because the house wasn’t patriotic enough for Independence Day. My children have never skipped meals for lack of food, yet I am kicking myself for not having a spectacular cake on display. And all those crafts I pinned? We don’t even have construction paper!

Where did my time go? Why didn’t I get everything done? I’m a full-time mom. And a full-time student. And I work. I made it to the gym 5 times. I did 6 loads of laundry. I cleaned the house, repeatedly. I cleaned the pool. I made meals each day for the family. I prepared a Sunday brunch for the whole church. I took one child to gymnastics everyday. I took another to archery. I spent an entire morning with a family from the church. I did the grocery shopping. I spent time in prayer. I spent time reading my Bible. I spent time with my kids. I spent time with my husband. As I reflect on my week/weekend, my time went exactly where I put it. We can beat ourselves up for the things we didn’t accomplish or we can appreciate the things we were able to do.

This Fourth of July may have been another Pinterest Fail, but it wasn’t a Life Fail. It was filled with memories made with my family. We had a movie night and everyone stayed up extra late. I made an apple pie for the first time. That pie with ice cream was a big hit with my kids. We picked out fireworks together and had a blast setting things on fire. We laughed, we played, we were happy.

Making memories
Making memories