Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fairness. {thankful thursday}

I'm in the midst of the "Missing Pieces" bible study by Jennifer Rothschild. It's so so so so that "ouchie" kind of way. It's a thought-searching, soul-changing, deep look into the questions we all find ourselves asking God. (Are you there? Do you care? Are you fair?)

So today I am thankful that God isn't fair. Yes - you heard me right. I'm thankful that God ISN'T fair. Let's be honest: If I really got what I "deserved", it'd be death and the 4 letter "H" word that no one is fond of. It's true for all of us. As stated in the video we watched in our group last night, anything God gives me (even my worst sorrow) is a mercy compared to what I honestly deserve from Him. His love for me is still more than I can comprehend.

Aren't you thankful that He isn't fair, too?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Last week, I found a cycle of doubting & self-pity that...again...quickly turned into complete wallowing in the "woe is me" attitude. It's a cycle where I can find myself in high spirits, hoorah for God, & appreciating life for what I've been given on each particular day but slowly the enemy creeps in and one tiny "harmless" negative thought turns into this cycle of big negative thoughts that leave me feeling hopeless and full of the ugly thing that is self-pity.

I remember driving home one evening last week trying to push my thoughts, my anger, my irritation, my "stuff is unfair" complex out of my head. I tried to put life into true perspective as I should to see all the abundant abundant blessings (which I obviously don't deserve) God has given me. I made the mistake of not "capturing" my thoughts but I was determined to change them. At the same time, I could literally feel my flesh side saying "BUT look at the bad in YOUR life...who cares about those problems...let's focus on what's wrong in your life." Talk about spiritual warfare. You ever wanna truly live FOR God and not yourself? Look out for it. It creeps up from every crevice and every crack of weakness you have. I'm not trying to be "preachy"...I'm just trying to be real.

Anyways...back to the topic. Perspective.

Think about it. Seriously.

  • Kid's cranky and getting on your last nerve? Allowing that to set the mood of your whole day? Are they healthy? Do they have congenital heart defects? Cancer? Leukemia? ... No? Then be thankful for the healthy children God blessed you with. Crankiness or no crankiness. I have a friend whose 2 year old was diagnosed with leukemia in recent months and it's so saddening to see the battle they are facing. Even to see some of the prayer's she requests, show how many children & families suffer through this.
  • Hate your job? Be thankful you have one. With the high unemployment rates in this country, be glad God has provided a way for you to support your family. I'm serious. Do you know that children really do work in sweatshops or that in certain areas of India children work in dangerous mines so they can help support their family and there really isn't another option for them? Lots of people in your community can't find work and some can't feed their families. If that happens in your community in the great USA, imagine how much worse it is in other countries?
  • Life is too hard? See above. Do you have a roof over your head, food to eat, & clean clothes on your back? Congratulations your officially better off than 75% of the world (according to the internet - I could be wrong.) I mean seriously...have you ever even really starved?
  • Too much to do in one week? Is that really a reason to feel miserable or resentful or unhappy? Be thankful for mobility of your body. For clarity of the mind. For life.
  • I really don't even want to start on the list of petty things I find myself concerned over. (I wish I had THAT car or THAT house or THOSE clothes. Blah. Blah. Completely irrelevant stuff that make me wonder how I ever consider a those reasons to be unhappy.)
As I'm learning in my Bible study, don't stomp on your manna in search of meat. When you think you "deserve" something from God or from life, remember that you don't even deserve the life He's given you. Cause we are all wretched sinners. He deserves an awful lot more than we ever have, ever can or ever will give Him. As I've seen posted online before: If God was only to give you what you thanked Him for today, what would you have?"

Me? I'd have almost nothing.

 Please note: I'm not condemning anyone here. I understand that people have real & very painful issues that make life seem unfair. (Including myself) I know that some people reading this may have literally been starving before or have a child with a serious illness or can't find a job. I didn't write this to judge or make people feel bad. I wrote a lot of this for myself so when I find myself on the journey to self-pity I can look back at this and remind myself that my cup runneth over.

So to myself: Your cup runneth over. Don't forget it.

Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser {product review}

I have a candle fetish. I really love lighting candles in various rooms and settling in for the night. It makes my house feel cozy & smell nice. If I am at Target, you will likely find me scouting the candle aisle for any clearance candles. (Cause for real - candles can get expensive!)

The only drawback to using candles primarily to scent my home is that you really need to be home (of course) to keep them lit & the smell dissipates not too long after you blow them out. Recently, I thought I'd try the Glade Oil Differs & Expression Mist to try a couple different ways to keep my house smelling fresh.

The Oil Diffuser is great. I chose the Lavender & Juniper Berry for a nice relaxing scent in the living room. (You can also get Pineapple & Mangosteen or Fuju Apple & Cardamon Spice.) It's discreet & decorative enough to set atop the little table near my front door and gives a nice fresh scent when I enter the house. Kudos for that because that means it also gives a nice fresh scent when guests come over.

The Expressions Mist works much like a traditional air spray. Instead of a bulky metal can out in view you can easily peel off the label to leave a sleek holder that blends with your decor for easy access. The fine mist eliminates odors & refreshes the air with a variety of scents like Cotton & Italian Mandarin or Spring Showers. (You can find more here.)

I can't complain about either. I've enjoyed using both to freshen the house. Last week, I picked up a little & sprayed the fragrance mist to trick Noah into thinking that I had cleaned. (Sorry babe. Haha!) Both are great products at a good value.

Have any house scenting tricks? Do you ever trick your husband or guests into thinking you've cleaned by spraying the house?

I am a BzzAgent and received free product coupons in exchange for my review on Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser & Fragrance Mist. The opinion is mine & an honest one at that.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February Self Portrait: Reflection

Note: It's slightly awkward to take a picture like this without blocking your face with the cell phone.

I feel kind of MIA these last few weeks but as seasons of life come & priorities get a little shifted. Right now I'm juggling a few new different small group for marriage, new 6 week bible study, working hard to make exercise an everyday thing and really buckling down to get to that healthy point for me. I'm find myself not home at least 3-4 evenings a week right now & haven't had much downtime for home projects or crafting. I've been trying to focus more on relaxing & reflection when I feels right for once. The control freak inside of me really hates this "off schedule" feeling but I'm trying to embrace it for what it is. Seeing that the themes for my year seems to be surrender & trust, I'm surrendering my controlish nature to God and trusting Him to open up new views on life and new vision for me.

Fun tidbit: I'm an anti-hoarder except when it comes to sentimental things. I love seeing things that remind me of little happy moments. My rearview mirror is an example. See the macaroni strands? Zeke made that necklace for me last year for my birthday. I also keep a strand with an elephant charm, a windmill charm, a charm from my dad, & a cross charm that's literally been in every car since I began driving. I joke it's my lucky charm - I've never gotten a speeding ticket. There is a clear sparkling necklace that makes the sun dance around my car on pretty days from my neice, and an way old air freshener that reminds me to "Be Free". It all makes me smile.

Want to embrace your self this year? Join up with some of us gals committing to a self-portrait each month.
While Wearing Heels

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Morningstar Farms Veggie Burgers {review}

Last Monday, I officially started a 6 week "Biggest Loser" challenge in my Zumba class. If I lose the highest percentage of weight in the 6 weeks, I win the cash prize made up from the pool of money each contestant puts in. Of course, I'll also get the benefit of feeling & looking even better. Word. I'm currently combining my excercise with a 1200-1400 calorie diet. I'm ready to drop these last pounds and I'm ready to win some money for a new wardrobe. ;)

A 1200 calorie diet is not a lot so I need to watch what I eat (I use My Fitness Pal to track foods in & excercise..great app!) I recently recieved a coupon from BzzAgent to try the MorningStar Farms veggie burgers. I was interested in trying them because I knew they were a great alternative to hamburgers; they can offer up to 74% less fat than regular hamburgers.

In my attempt to "broaden my horizons" on eating different foods, I've come to have a love for black beans so I thought I would give the Spicy Black Bean burgers a try.

MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burgers

With black beans, roasted corn, brown rice, and chili peppers, these burgers definitely have a whoa-that-was-good-now-give-me-some-more kick to them.
  • 120 calories, 4g fiber, 11g protein and 73% less fat*
*MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger (67g) contains 4g fat per serving, compared with regular ground beef (67g) containing 15g fat per serving.

I've never really known anyone to say "Hey...I LOVE veggie burgers" so I was really not sure if I would like them but I was definitely wanting to try so the other night was my Meatless Monday. Turns out - they're really yummy! I simply let mine thaw out just a little, placed it in a skillet on medium and cooked for about 7 minutes while turning frequently. Instead of a big hamburger bun, I used the 100% wheat Sandwich Thins.

You don't have to eat it just like a burger either. It's a pretty versatile little thing. I cooked up some long grain rice last night, topped that with the black bean burger and topped the burger with some black bean & corn salsa. It was a great little choice for a quick, easy, & healthy dinner.You can find recipes for ways to use the various veggie burger/patties here on their website or check out their Facebook page.

 This will definitely be a new staple in a healthier diet for me.

I recieved a coupon from BzzAgent for a free sample of product  and product coupons in ecxhange for providing a real, honest review. Yes, I honestly did like them that much. ;)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Snow Day.

4 fabulous kids + snow + Sunday = no more words.

Big boy sledding.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cause babies don't keep.

A Saturday off work. It started with Zumba, then a trip to the grocery store, then unloading groceries/putting a child down for a nap/taking a shower/wrapping a present/getting ready/waking child up from nap early/rushing out of the house to get to a birthday party/then driving home paranoid on suddenly snow covered roads. 
I felt rushed all day; the never ending to-do list of motherhood was overwhelming my thoughts and turning me into a Mommy machine. On autopilot as soon as we walked in the door, I was thrust into dinner mode. As I shamefully nuked some fish sticks for Zeke, I looked at him and just saw a glimpse of something on his face. It almost looked like..disappointment. It could have just been gas but point being - I realized that the stupid fish sticks could wait. Dinner can wait. Bathtime can wait. Why? Cause growing up don't wait. (I've been mourning this whole loss of babiness recently. Can you tell?)
"Zeke, do you wanna go outside and slide in the snow?"
I commenced bundling up with multiple coats and pants until Zeke resembled Ralphie's little brother.

He had socks on his hands and excitement in his little heart.

We didn't sled for very long in our makeshift snow gear but it was long enough. Long enough to make our butts sting with the cold & our love tanks feel full. Long enough to laugh and smile and forget about what we were supposed to be doing. Long enough to etch a permenant happy memory in my mind. Long enough to watch as my once little baby got on a sled and shot down the hill all by himself.
Even though it was almost dark and definitely dinner time, when Zeke asked "do 'gain?" over and over - well, for once I said "Again? O.K."
It was the most beautiful part of my whole week.