Guilt-inducing hymns, the try-hard life, and recovery

A dear newly-married friend messaged me last night, asking my to hear my opinions and thoughts about a certain matter. She has known me for a long time and watched me as my blogging has taken the direction more and more of writing through my struggles of not being so hard on myself, embracing my limitations, and doing the best with what I have.

But she wanted to know: Is there a place for more positive encouragement? For wives and moms to be encouraged to set goals high, to be inspired and push themselves, and to know that hard things can be done?

Her words went straight to my heart, and I laid awake pondering her message in the late night hours. Sleep evaded me for a while as I turned her questions over and over in my head.


Somewhere between the tossing and turning, old hymns started coming to my mind:

By and by when I look on His face, I’ll wish I had given Him more…

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus, I know my Lord expects the best from me…

I thought back over 27 years of life and asked myself those questions again. Could I, should I be doing more? Should I be trying harder? Setting more goals? Pushing myself? Continue reading

About that three-letter-word…

Yes…I’m going there. I have some close friends and a few weeks ago we found ourselves talking about it. You know…sex. We gleaned some great advice from each other and we all agreed that more dialogue about sex needs to happen in Christian circles. Join me as I open up the conversation in this post over at Singing Through the Rain, 6 Things I Wish I Had Known About Sex (Before I Got Married).

6 things I wish I had known about sex

EASY 4-Ingredient Protein-Packed Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I have always loved the taste of chicken cordon bleu since my mom made it for us on special occasions when I was a girl. But if there’s one thing else I remember about it, it seemed like an awful lot of work.

Sometime last year, it was dinner time and I had no dinner plans, and I looked in the fridge to realize I had all of the ingredients. So I mixed them up in a pan and threw it in the oven and it turned out amazing…AND was a huge hit with my husband {he’s hard to wow in the culinary department}. I made it again a few weeks ago and again, he raved about it and told me I needed to blog about it. So, here it is.

4-Ingredient Protein-Packed Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole Continue reading

A Sunday Blessing for the Tired Mom

A Sunday Blessing for the Tired Mom |

Blessed is the body that jolts awake the minute the tiny feet hit the floor at 5:34 AM (for the 3rd morning in a row)…for it was strong enough to birth his entire being.

Blessed are the eyes that reluctantly open to greet the little face next to the bed…for he thinks they are beautiful.

Blessed are the weary bare feet that shuffle down the hall, up and down the stairs, multiple times filling his various demands…for he thinks that their chipped “toe painting” is pretty.

Blessed are the tired arms that change wet sheets…for they also know the blessings of hugs.

Blessed are the hands that prepare toast and grapes and more toast, and more toast and somehow still find time to fix coffee…for those are the hands he loves to hold the most. Continue reading

Beyond the ABCs and 123s {in which preschool resources aren’t enough}

This is post #9 in a blog series entitled At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy momYou can view all of the posts in the series here.


I wish I could finish this series by wrapping it up with a nice tidy list of ways to succeed as a homeschool preschool mom. That post would be pretty and it would be pinnable. But instead, in this final post, I’m going to delve into some preschool philosophy and some things I have learned the hard way.

Continue reading

Breathe, just breathe {raw, unedited}

It’s 10:09 AM and I’m supposed to be at a support group for caregivers at the VA. I tucked my son into a friend’s car at the grocery store and took off. But somewhere between the traffic on the parkway and the flipping on the radio I realized that I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to talk with strangers about my life and I don’t want them to ask how I am and I don’t want to hear their stories today.

So now here I find myself listening to Anna Nalick over my headphones in Starbucks while my friend is braving the grocery store with her two littles and my little.

I wasn’t even sure why I came here – I brought my computer with me and I have some great blog posts that I could work on. A preschool series to finish and a 31 days series to work on. But I’m just not feeling it.

Right now I just want to sit here and listen to One Republic and drink my vanilla chai tea latte and let the words tumble out and not care how they fall. The words that I was too scared to let out yesterday because I didn’t want to deal with your comments. Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 08.12.14

The sun is finally peeking out after four or five days of solid rain and gloom. What remains is soggy leaves, mud, and stifling humidity – yet still I welcome it.

Life is messy. I’m used to coming here and pouring it all out or leaving a rant on Facebook or just getting it off of my chest in hopes that maybe in the release I will feel less alone.

Unfortunately, more often than not I am just left feeling more frustrated. When everyone wants to offer their two cents, their suggestions, their thoughts. When I hear “Have you tried…?” and “Are you doing…?” and “Have you called…?” and “Have you read…?” and it starts to feel like they are just pointing their fingers at all the ways I’m not doing enough for my family.

And so today, I’m not going to get into the mess. Because I simply don’t have the mental energy to sort through the gush of well-meaning comments that leave my head spinning.

Instead, I’m going to tell you how we went to the pool for Independence Day. How I packed red, white, and blue fruit salad and called it a day. No parades, no birthday parties for America, no sensory bins or preschool. Just me, this boy, and a pool. Underachieving at its finest. Continue reading

Teaching preschoolers about God

This is post #8 in a blog series entitled At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy momYou can view all of the posts in the series here.

Resources for Teaching Preschoolers About God |

I will be very honest in saying that teaching my preschooler about God is definitely not one of my strengths as a parent. We don’t read the Bible together often or have family devotion time. But I still try to give Ezra opportunities to learn about God and give God a place in his little life. Continue reading

Affordable store-bought preschool resources

This is post #7 in a blog series entitled At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy momYou can view all of the posts in the series here.


As I mentioned in my post about tot-packs, I started trying to teach Ezra at home using cute home-made printable curriculums. But over time, I realized that the time I had to put into preparation and the money I was spending on ink and other supplies simply wasn’t worth it when I saw how much Ezra actually got out of them.

Around this time (the ages of 18 months to 3 1/2), I was also trying to focus a lot on crafty, messy, and sensory play. (Ezra wasn’t a fan.) This meant that I spent a lot of time shopping at the dollar store, which is pretty much the best place to go for inexpensive sensory play items, cheap toys, and craft supplies.

It was in one of my many trips to Dollar Tree that I realized there were ready-made workbooks and flashcards that I could pick up for a dollar. No downloading, no printing, no ink, no laminating sheets, no cutting – no stress required. Just dump into the cart, pay, and plop down on the couch with a pack of Mickey Mouse flashcards or a Thomas numbers workbook – and I could easily teach Ezra the concepts I wanted him to learn.

affordable store-bought preschool resources Continue reading

Dear twenty-something mom…

I married less than two weeks after my 21st birthday. I lost my first child at 21 and birthed my second child at 23.

If I had to go back, I would still do it all over again, just the way it happened. But that’s not to say that it hasn’t been really really hard to mother through my twenties.

letter to the twenty-something mom.jpg

I invite you this morning to head on over to Mama In the Now where I have written a letter to myself and every other twenty-something mom.

Pen > Paper > Heart: Letter to the Twenty-Something Mom

Our favorite preschool apps

This is post #6 in a blog series entitled At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy momYou can view all of the posts in the series here.


We don’t use apps all that frequently at home, but they are my go-to solution in the doctors office or other waiting rooms. I rarely remember to pack toys, but I always have my phone on me! Here’s some of our favorite educational apps!

Our favorite preschool apps {at-home preschool resources for the very-tired, non-creative, really busy mom}

^^Pin It!^^

Continue reading

You’re invited to the #JourneyThroughDeployment Twitter Party!!

On May 20th, my dear friend Kathryn from Singing Through the Rain released her book, Journey Through Deployment in paperback!

This Friday night, she is hosting a Twitter party in honor of her book release. I along with two other gals are going to be co-hosting with her.

Twitter Party

Join us this Friday at 9PM (EST) on Twitter. If this is your first Twitter party, simply open up or, sign in with Twitter, and then plug in the #JourneyThroughDeployment hashtag to pull up all of the tweets and follow along! (If you use HootSuite, here is an awesome tutorial on how to use HootSuite for a Twitter party!)

During the party, we will be discussing many aspects of deployment, and there will also be some amazing giveaways.

Enter your Twitter information over on Singing Through The Rain to be entered to win a DoTerra Essential Oils kit!

I hope to see you on Twitter on Friday night!

When you are finished with being a mom {on hiding under the covers and calling it quits}

Motherhood is hard – anyone who says differently is selling something.

There are hard days, rough days, tired days – and I’ve had my share of those.

But then there are days where your mommy spirit sinks so low that you throw in the towel and call it quits. Like, for real.

Yesterday was that day for me. I was done. I had had it. I had spiraled out of control, and I just gave up.

Ezra is going through another difficult phase. I don’t know why these happen – I just chalk it up to some inexplicable struggle he has with growing up. During these phases, he doesn’t sleep well, he fights us constantly, he pushes every button I have (non-stop), and if you can think of a negative behavior to be acted out by a child – well, he’s done it.

I’ve tried everything. Harsh discipline, gentle discipline, keeping him in his room all day, sending him to daycare (and having to pick him up after two hours because even they couldn’t handle him), giving him extra love and attention, rocking him every night, begging, yelling, crying, whispering, discussing, bargaining, time-outs, losing privileges, bribing, rewards, behavior charts, making deals, asking friends for advice, trying things off of the internet that never work. I’ve become desperate and then some.

He’s simply non-compliant.

And with each passing day of this (it’s been a little over a week now), my tolerance level has fallen and the anger within me has risen to off-the-chart levels.

I became a mother that I barely recognize, who is definitely not the mother I want to be. Continue reading

Preschool…on YouTube? Oh Yes!

This is post #5 in a blog series entitled At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy momYou can view all of the posts in the series here.


YouTube might not be the first resource that pops into your mind when you think of homeschooling or preschool, but I have found it to be an amazing resource for all sorts of educational fun!

Preschool…on YouTube? Oh Yes!  | At-home preschool resources for the very tired, non-creative, really busy mom.

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You can find just about anything on YouTube, which in this case, means letters, numbers, phonics, story times, finger plays, kids songs, and so much more. Here are some of our favorite playlists: Continue reading