The husband only I know

Have you heard of the Five Love Languages? Before my husband moved to Missouri, we spent several weeks having a ‘date night’ over the phone, once a week, and read through the book on the subject. We learned a lot about how to show one another love, and how we, ourselves, received love. We learned the phrase “My love tank is full/empty”.

Did you know that your love tank can be overflowing?! Did you know that it can overflow, EVEN IF HE ISN’T SPEAKING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE?!?!

As a mom of three, three and under, and with a husband who is gone more than he is at home (due to his commitment to his calling and his financial responsibilities) there is a new category to Love Languages for me. It encompasses all things family, as well as being seen, respected, and appreciated.

You see, my husband is an amazing dad who loves his kids more than anyone could ever know. He stops to look at them, to listen to them, to ask them what THEY want to do in his tiny windows of time between school, work, homework, and church. He plays games with his daughter, chases and tickles his oldest son, and makes the silliest of faces at his baby boy from as far away as the end of the hall. He holds them, snuggles them, carries them, tackles them, tickles them, plays with them, teaches them, disciplines them, encourages them, praises them, and loves them with everything inside himself.

You know what else? He’s an even more amazing husband. He sees me. He notices when I’m tired, worn out, at my wits end. He knows when I’ve had an amazing day, by the tone in my voice and the expression on my face and even the way I don’t look dishevelled. He knows when I’ve worked hard with nothing to show for it. He can see when I work hard and the evidence is everywhere. He loves when I get things accomplished, and understands when I don’t. He revisits the division of duties, responsibilities and tasks frequently, in order to make sure he is doing his part and I, mine. He holds me accountable when I’m struggling. He encourages me when I’m unsure. He praises me when he sees me overcome a great obstacle (even if it is only the dishes). This man has a love for God that is fiercer than any love I can ever describe in words.

This week, this man decided that he was going to help me get the house back in order. He decided to TELL me he was going to help, not ask me if I needed it. After waking up and sipping his coffee, my husband began cleaning and immediately and graciously sought out the help of our overly excited daughter. He cleaned alongside me, with her help, for a good part of the morning. Then, he gave the kids a bath for me. And if you know anything about my skin condition, you know how important and amazing this simple gesture is. He didn’t stop after lunch, even when his motivation dwindled. He didn’t criticize how bad things had gotten as he continued to clean and clean and find more and more to clean. He didn’t shame me for how far behind I had fallen. He helped me get caught up. He didn’t just give me encouraging and understanding words of love; he acted. No one in the world gets to see him acting like this, but us. And so, I want to share it with the world! The WORLD! My husband is an amazing man, and I couldn’t be more blessed and thankful to God for giving me the pleasure of growing older alongside him!

My husband is not perfect, and we have our slumps, valleys, and hardships. But perfect wasn’t what I was looking for. In fact, what I was looking for doesn’t hold a torch to what this man has done for me. I want him to know how loved and appreciated he is, every single day. I fail to do that for him some days. But he puts his whole self into everything that he does. I’m just thankful and grateful that one of those things is life with me and our kids!

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There’s just NEVER enough storage!

I have been watching a LOT of YouTube videos lately. I mean, A LOT! Most of them have been decluttering and minimalism videos. I have really been stressed out by the mess of stuff around me lately, and so I have been considering going through another purge. When my daughter was very young, I started the first purge, that I really only ‘finished’ right around the time our son was due. I say ‘finished’ lightly, though, as I always had a small box of items that I would take to donate from time to time. But I was no longer taking out large boxes full of things. But there is still SO much stuff!

I was watching a video today, and the lady (I don’t remember who, as I have only seen this one video of hers) said something that just resonated with me! She said something to the effect of constantly dealing with a constant obsession and need to organize her things perfectly. She would be happy if only she had the right organization for all of her things. Then it hit her! It will NEVER happen. She needed to pare down what she had in order for her to be happy and organized. I feel like that’s where I am. I just spent a lot of money on some organizing equipment for my craft room. But when we found out that we will be moving, because of the new baby, I decided, THAT’S IT! I’m done done DONE with all the excess STUFF!

We are purging. We are getting rid of stuff in every corner of our house, and that craft room I talked about? I’m getting rid of so many unused art and craft supplies that I don’t have ANY use for! Someone with time and ideas will get far more use out of them. Everything just sits on shelves or in boxes in my craft room, and most of it has no specific purpose! I’m tired of stressing to keep things clean and tidy when I don’t even use half of the stuff, or could at least live without a lot of it. There is no reason to let THINGS dictate the way I feel! So here’s to the new chapter in our life. We will be decluttering, purging, and downsizing in the following days and weeks! I’m so excited!

 

I just had a baby, and I’m pregnant again! Happy Mother’s Day to me!

In December, we welcomed our second child, a son, into the world. We were elated to be bringing a sibling home to our daughter, and couldn’t wait to see what God had in store for our new lives. VERY shortly after bringing home the new baby, I began to realize how much different this baby was from our first.

Our daughter was a very quiet baby, and like most, slept the majority of the day away. When she wasn’t sleeping or nursing, she would lie in her bassinet, happily, or we would hold her from time to time. We didn’t want to get her too used to being held all the time, so we started out on day one, letting her just lie in her bassinet for large periods of time between feedings. This didn’t work for our son. He was quickly diagnosed with colic, and as time moved forward, he only became more and more dependent and high-maintenance.

Fast forward to the four month mark. When our son was just a little over the four month mark, I began to suspect that I might be pregnant again. I was having a food craving for a food that I generally don’t enjoy. Not a food that I hate, but a food that I’m NEVER in the mood for, and usually only get occasionally, if it’s a special treat. But no, I’m CRAVING these now. I have also been feeling nauseous from time to time, but I haven’t been throwing up and the nausea never lasts for more than 30 minutes or so. The symptom that  REALLY gave it away though, was the one that I have recognized at the beginning of EACH of my previous pregnancies. I have been EXHAUSTED. I can sleep all night, nap twice during the day, and I’m still falling asleep while nursing the baby. It’s awful. There have only been three times before this, that I have had exhaustion of this level. The first was when I was in the first weeks of pregnancy with our daughter, again with our son (and the symptom that gave away that pregnancy, before the missed period and pregnancy tests) and when I was only sleeping 1-3 hours a night last summer during my pregnancy, dealing with my chronic eczema and allergic reactions.

Well, I’m sleeping more than 1-3 hours a night. The only real other reason I have EVER been this tired, has been pregnancy. So, we waited until several days after I should have started my period. Ironically, and not premeditated in the slightest, we took a pregnancy test on Mother’s Day. It didn’t even take two seconds for that second blue line to appear on the test. I’m pretty sure I’m around a month pregnant, so I wasn’t surprised when it read so quickly. So, for Mother’s Day this year, I got a positive pregnancy test. Our son turned five months-old on the 16th of this month, and our daughter just turned two and a half years. We have a lot of big changes coming up, and I imagine, a LOT of blog entries!

I Ditched the Monthly Challenge Mindset

My last post addressed a 90-day challenge that I had made for myself. I reported that I may as well have called it a complete fail. The ONLY area that I actually feel that I accomplished, was to stay off of Facebook. I am still not on Facebook, as I am ending that on June first. I still find that staying off of Facebook is extremely important for my growth. There are other things that I ALSO feel that way about, but that is the ONE I am working on for now.

Anyway, after reporting on that, I mentioned that I would post a new challenge for the month of May. I DID post it, but I took it down after a little while. I realized that it was just words on a screen. I hadn’t stuck to any of the goals, for even the first day! What is my problem?! Well, I came up with the answer!

Two days ago, I wrote in the journal that I bought initially to track my progress, thoughts, struggles, etc. for my 90-day challenge. The first sentence read something like, “I am TERRIBLE at goals and I am TERRIBLE at recording.” I hadn’t even kept up with the journalling, let alone the goals! And that’s just it. I’m bad at them. I make goals for a stretch of time, and I look at the goals like I look at a mess. I am immediately overwhelmed and resigned to failure!

I noticed that any time I would set goals for a stretch of time, I was falling into the same routine. Make goals. Get intimidated. Fail once. Consider complete failure. Abandon goals completely.

You see, the way I looked at it was, that if I made a goal like “I won’t drink soda for a month,” I would be immediately intimidated. “What if I drink soda?” “I’m probably going to drink soda.” “I really like soda.” “Surely, I can survive a month. I’ve gone years without it.” “But I really really like soda.” Then, I drink soda. I usually drink it the day of, or the day after I make the goal. AUTO-FAIL! How can I achieve a goal of going a month without soda if I didn’t even make it one day? As soon as I fail that goal, I’ve failed the ENTIRE month’s worth of goal.

So, how do I move forward after making this observation and realization? I no longer make such limited goals for such long periods of time. (Except the Facebook goal. Maybe ONE goal like that a month wouldn’t be so bad, but for the time being, the Facebook goal is my last for a while, at least.) Instead, two days ago, I implemented a new goal system. Instead of making monthly goals, I have been making daily goals. I also revisited the way I worded my goals. Before, my goals were more negative than positive. (example: NO soda for a month) The goal I used to replace it, has been TODAY, I will drink at least 64 oz of water. This doesn’t make it EASY for me to fit in much soda, but IF I DO drink it, I haven’t failed! AND, if I don’t make it to 64 oz by bedtime (which I have actually exceeded for the first two days of my new goal system), then I can just try again tomorrow. My goals reset daily, so I don’t have to lose a large number of progress if I mess up once. AND? I don’t HAVE to have that same goal tomorrow! For instance, if I knew tomorrow was a special occasion, and I would be more likely to drink non-water drinks more, I may cut down my water goal to 48 oz, or even HALF, if I really wanted to treat myself. So, I’m still not failing a monthly goal, because I took ONE day a little less strictly in an area.

In conclusion, this is day three, and on day one and two, I am satisfied with the new goals system I have placed. I haven’t been intimidated, and have felt freed, in fact, even with goals in place! And when I didn’t FULLY accomplish any of my goals, I didn’t feel completely deflated. I made hefty goals, and (except for my quiet time yesterday-that I completely failed to have) I made a huge stride in MOST of my goals. So, even the ones that I technically ‘failed’, don’t feel like failures! I have taken pressure off of myself, while still working to better myself in several areas.

Where Am I?

I have noticed that I have a few new followers that have joined me recently, and firstly, I would love to say, “Hi! Welcome! I’m so excited that you have joined me here!” Secondly, I would like to let everyone know where I have been. I don’t have a regular posting schedule, and haven’t been up-to-date on responding to messages and new follows.

Near the end of April, my accountability partner (for homemaking, financial, spiritual, etc.) and I decided to take 90 days away from Social Media. We started on the first day of March, and were planning not to go back until the end of the 90 days. I had given up even more than that at first, but have recently been making amendments (some of which I think I need to reel back in). Sadly, I feel I have let myself slip a little too much!

Why did I take a break in the first place?

I was spending hours and hours absorbed on the internet between Facebook and YouTube. It was a very sad place to be. I was online so much because I was spending a lot of time nursing my brand new baby, and was pretty limited in what I could accomplish while doing so. I think that reason alone, is why I have slipped back so much already.

Additionally, I got offline in an effort to do a 90-day, cover-to-cover read through my bible. I quickly realized how unrealistic that goal was for my current phase of life. With a little one that goes to sleep late into the night and a separate little one that gets up very early in the morning, I was already running on very little sleep and struggling to keep house in between feeding, diapering, and holding the new baby and reading to, getting snacks for, dressing, changing, playing with, training (and so so so much more) the toddler.

Don’t get me wrong, reading my bible diligently is so so so important, regardless of all those things. But to keep such a strict and unforgiving, and rigorous reading schedule was impossible for me. Sadly, I have relapsed in my bible time and feel that there will probably be a completely new 90 day challenge that I will set before myself again soon. My current 90 days are not completed, but I feel that I have regressed too much to say that I can even claim this challenge anymore. Sadly, I have lost the excitement and motivation that I began the challenge with.

When I start my new challenge, I will post a new blog that will outline my goals during the challenge and will try to write a monthly update post, to let you all know how I am doing, and how poorly I am doing as well. I am disappointed in myself for this challenge and will be setting up a new one to start at the beginning of May. I will do my best to keep track (nearly) daily, and will be realistic when I make my goals for the new challenge. If anyone wants to join me in my next challenge, I would love to share this experience with you!

Train yourself to have constant conversation with God, throughout your day

We all know the verse “never stop praying” or “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). But many of us struggle with simply praying daily. I know that it is and has been a huge struggle for me! Prayer has always been an abstract concept to me. I have written a whole other blog post about my struggle in prayer, and how God began teaching me how to pray. Since then, I have worked on scripture writing (and struggled through it) verses that the bible says about prayer, started a prayer journal, and started a prayer journalling group on Facebook. But I’m still struggling through my journey.

So, I asked myself, how do I implement prayer without cease? How in the WORLD am I supposed to stay in constant prayer. Well, it’s not actually rocket science, I realized! A couple of years ago, I attended a Sunday night service at my former church home, where the preacher spoke on prayer. He brought to light something I had never considered in all of my struggle; prayer is our part of a two-way conversation with God. God gave us His Word, that we might hear His voice and understand Him. Prayer is our response to that Word. Yes, I fully believe that God can speak to us through revelations in our hearts and minds as well, but that comes after our initial response to His word. So, when we do our daily bible study, we will hear what God is saying to us, and when we pray in response, that opens up the conversation.

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Now, I still haven’t addressed constant prayer, but I’m getting to that point. First, we must understand that God has initiated the conversation with us by providing His word and by allowing us to come to Him because of the sacrifice of Christ. Without those two important things, there would be NO conversation with God at all. So, now that we know that the bible is God’s way of initiating conversation with us, we can proceed to keeping that conversation line open.

There are a couple of ways to do this. The first way, is to have our bible study first thing in the morning. This will begin the conversation early, and allow us to ponder on what we have read, throughout the day. With our reading floating around in our head, we already have a conversational topic. The problem that I, personally, have with this method, is that I will do my reading, and I’ll ponder it for an hour or so, and then my day gets busy and I don’t continue thinking on it for the remainder of my day.

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My solution was to approach the idea with an idea I am already familiar with in my daily life. I have a daily schedule, but we all know that we aren’t supposed to schedule God in. We are supposed to live for Him and schedule around that. Think about it this way (for those of you that are parents or can at least imagine parenthood), we live each day for our children. We don’t ‘schedule’ them in. We are constantly taking care of their needs, checking on them, answering them when they instigate conversation, et cetera.

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So, if we are to live for God, what will that look like? Check in with God often. How? Try this method out. Read your bible daily, and have index cards or post its with bible verses and prayers on them throughout your home. You can have some that you always keep up and change out every so often. Or you can write out a few during the morning during your bible study, to keep the conversation with God on a more specific topic that correlated to your reading. Some of you won’t have time to write them out daily, so the first method might work better for you, and some of you need the structure of keeping your daily conversation with God on one topic.

Why do I suggest the index cards or post it method? Our children can catch us off guard in any room of the house. When you walk by the post it or index card, you can stop and imagine that it is God speaking to you in that moment. How would you respond? What will you say? Continue the conversation with Him while you fold laundry, wash dishes, take a shower, and so on. By looking at it in a way that we already do on a daily basis, we can train ourselves to keep the conversation with God going. Praying without cease will be attainable, because we are applying real life practices that we already do daily with the people in our life.

I will be implementing this behavior, myself, over the course of February, to see what kind of habit I can make in keeping in constant conversation and prayer with God. I hope this is something that you all can implement as well!

Giveaway: Handmade Christmas Gift Bows

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I have been absent on this blog for a little while, because I have been working REALLY hard on my personal crafting business! I have been pumping out inventory, and entered my very first Vendor fair last month. It has definitely taken precedence lately, as I am trying to contribute to our finances, as I am a SAHM.

As I have been working on each of my handmade items, I decided that I wanted to do a Christmas Giveaway this year! ‘Tis the season for giving, and I thought I would give a little too! The bows below are all handmade by me, and I will be giving them away to ONE LUCKY WINNER this holiday season! Enter the giveaway for a chance to win the HANDMADE Christmas bows you see below!

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Why handmade Christmas bows? Lately, I have been exploring different paper crafts and considering the time of year, I wanted to do something related to the holiday season. I decided to make gift bows because I wanted to help YOU spruce up your giving this season with a traditional, but handmade gift bows!

The giveaway was supposed to begin on the first of November, but I was having troubles with the posting, so unfortunately it will begin today, but will run THROUGH Thanksgiving day, and a winner will be selected by an online randomizer on Black Friday. Entries must be in by 11:59 pm CST on Thanksgiving day.

To enter, all you have to do is comment on this blog post, with your favorite part of the holiday season! Each comment (up to one per person) will be counted as an entry. To view terms and conditions for this giveaway, click here. (This is a US giveaway only! I have goals to do an international giveaway in the future! Sorry for any inconvenience.)

To check out more of my handmade items, visit my facebook page. I am currently taking orders for Christmas!

**In addition to this giveaway, I will also be offering a free bag of assorted handmade gift bows with each order made between Nov. 1, 2016 and Nov. 23, 2016. Colors, patterns, and sizes will vary.

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