Unbreakable Christmas

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and this is what I’m typically like this time of year:

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But this year, I’m already so tired of Christmas. Wait. Let me clarify. I’m so tired of “Christmas”. I’m over the fake. The look-at-me-ness of it all. It just feels so empty. 

Maybe it’s because I started listening to Christmas music too early. Maybe it’s because I walked into Target and it was NUTS. I mean, they have WAY TOO MANY DISPLAYS IN THE AISLES. I feel like they are shoving “gifts”, also known as garbage, down my throat. No. I do not want 12 bath bombs. SHUT IT DOWN TARGET.

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Notice all the open space in this aisle. At least 4 people walking comfortably. Now replace 2-3 of those people with a GIANT GIFT DISPLAY. #shutitdown

Maybe it’s because it doesn’t feel like winter yet. But I don’t think that’s really it. Those all seem more like symptoms of some bigger issue. But I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, so I kept moving myself towards the holiday, feeling more like this:

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In the midst of all these feels, my Christmas decorating came with some new rules this year.

  1. No mess – I have outlawed all glitter and evergreen shrubbery
  2. Unbreakable – I’ve stocked up on paper, felt, and plastic ornaments.

Basically I don’t want to have to vacuum everyday. I want to decorate it, and not have to worry about it. As I was telling a friend about my decorating goals, it hit me. The feeling of a hollow holiday and wanting something unbreakable go hand in hand.

Things in our world have been so heartbreaking lately. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people using the ideas/words/imagery of my faith, of my Jesus, for their own personal gain. And it honestly makes me sick. Nothing seems real, or genuine. Even “Christmas” seems like junky garbage. It seems shallow. Fragile. Breakable.

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But the truth of Christmas is not shallow or fragile. Our God is unshakable. 

Hebrews 12:25-29 The Message (MSG)

25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

This is my prayer for the Advent season. To hold tight to what is unshakable. To let God shake the junk out of my heart, leaving only room for Him. To worship Him as the “historical and religious junk” comes burning to the ground. The beauty of Christmas is that God Himself came to us, to do the work we are not able to do. He has shaken our way of life, so that we can move into His unshakable eternity!

 

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#NohospitalNovember

Max is 2. He has been hospitalized twice for respiratory issues. Both times in November. The week of Thanksgiving. All of these pictures have been coming up on my Timehop over the past week.

This year we were ready. Earlier this year we saw a pulmonary specialist and got an asthma diagnosis. We’ve been working out inhaler meds basically all year. When the weather started changing here (the random cold snap we always get in September before the temperature returns to 90 degrees until Christmas) we had a practice run. We figured out the inhalers. Got some steroids. No hospital!

Then November comes. Along with all the memories of crying in the hospital. Of feeding tubes in his sweet little 3 week old nose. Of having to leave one baby to care for the other. November is a season of heartbreak and my anxiety FLARED.UP. Like “cry at a friend’s 2 year old birthday party because I was scared to let Max play outside” flared up.

But this year we made it! I realize as I am typing this that it is still November. But I’m taking the win and you can’t stop me! But I am also sitting still, basking in the Lord’s goodness this year. I know it wasn’t the hand sanitizer baths I gave my kids (no I didn’t…calm down). It wasn’t the deep cleaning I did after any sort of illness came in our door. I was reminded literally all week, along with those sad hospital pictures, of Psalm 71:20. First of all, if you don’t follow Sara Hagerty on Instagram, stop reading my silliness and hit that follow button. She fills up my timeline with scripture and adoration and it constantly speaks to my soul right when I need it.  She has posted this scripture on November 29, 2015 and November 27, 2017.

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In 2015 I was clinging to this truth for dear life. Today. Today I see it. I see the revival. Not just Max’s physical healing and growth. In this season of heartbreak, my heart has been revived to see, and cling to, His goodness and not just power through to the next season.

I write this sitting in a messy living room, in front of a tacky but unbreakable Christmas tree (more on that later), after giving Max his 2 inhalers for the second time today. And I am overcome with a sense of peace. Jesus has got this y’all.

Clean Out!

I don’t know about you, but I had this plan to get back to eating healthy foods as soon as Thanksgiving was over and our house guests headed home. BUT ALL THE FOOD IS STILL THERE. And then I got sick. I’m not on my death bed or anything, but all I want to eat is junk. And my house is full of it. I have no energy, which makes me not want to cook the meals I planned so I’ve been eating cheese and crackers. And I might have sent the hubs to the store for chocolate. I woke up with a sugar hangover this morning. Then had the rest of the Two-Bite-Brownies for lunch. I’m on a roll over here guys. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

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Quality photobomb from the leftover lettuce #vegetables

Step 1: Clean out the fridge

I can’t eat the delicious leftover stuffing if its not in the fridge. Luckily the brownies are gone, so I don’t have to feel guilty throwing those away! I really try to limit our food waste but none of use has any business eating the amount of stuffing/green bean casserole that we have left!

Step 2: Get rid of junkie snacks

I could live off of chips and salsa. Breakfast, chips and salsa. Lunch, chips and salsa. Dinner, chips and salsa. Snacks/Dessert…you get the picture. As much as it will break my heart, I think I need to throw the chips away 😦 Unless I can pass them off on someone else. Anyone want some chips??

Step 3: Organize and plan

I need to go through and see what I have left and plan some healthy meals. I need to prep some healthy snacks to grab instead of cheese and crackers.

Step 4: Move.

I always have more motivation to eat well when I exercise. Luckily both kids will be in school tomorrow so I will have the time and space to get something in!

So tomorrow is a new day. I may still feel like crap, but I there are no more brownies so I’ll have to eat a salad or something. Hopefully choosing vegetables over chocolate will give me more energy! And help me not break out! And be nicer to my children!

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Me after surviving on chips and Two Bite Brownies for 2 days.

Smoked Salmon Frittata

My first food post! I made this for dinner last night and it was super easy and SO good! I also had it again for breakfast and it heated up nicely and was delicious again. So I think it has passed 2/3 of my food tests (delicious the first time, delicious as left overs, kids loved it). I made this after the kids went to bed so they were out of luck on this one. But considering Max eats more salmon than a full grown man I’m confident that at least one of my children would have enjoyed it!

Ready in under 30 minutes! 
Makes 4 servings.
362 Calories per serving.

Ingredients

  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • Frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I used about half of a 12oz bag)
  • Spinach, about 2 handfuls
  • 1, 4oz package Smoked salmon, sliced ( I used the Pastrami from Trader Joe’s, but any will do!)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 4 oz. Reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook the veggies. Using an oven safe pan, saute onions and artichokes until cooked/slightly browned over medium heat. Wilt the spinach with the other veggies. Melt the butter in the pan to help the eggs not stick.
  3. Scramble the eggs. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pan. Top with salmon, tomatoes and dollops of cream cheese.
  4. Cook. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the edges of the eggs start to pull away from the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the middle of the frittata isn’t jiggly any more. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then use a spatula to ease the eggs away from the side of the pan. Place a plate on top of the pan and flip!
  5. Cut and enjoy 🙂 I topped mine with some hot sauce…but that’s just me!

Mom Shaming

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about why I am a stay at home mom (see previous post). There are all these reasons floating around like daycare is horrible/for mom’s who don’t want to take care of their kids, it’s what I (as a woman) am supposed to do, yada yada yada. There are just as many reasons to NOT be a stay at home mom – less money, low self-esteem, divorce. It’s tiring hearing people explain their decisions.

The truth, for me at least, is that this is where I am supposed to be. Not because we can afford it. Not because my husband travels for work. Not because I am a woman. I am a stay at home mom because it is what is best for MY family.

That being said, as women, we cannot win this argument between being a working mom and a stay at home mom. If we decide to work, we are neglecting our kids. If we stay home, we aren’t living up to our potential or contributing to society. No matter what we decide, we will suffer the never-ending “mom-shaming”.

For some reason we are told that we need to do it all. We need to take of the children, our husbands, our homes. We need to work and bring home the proverbial bacon. We need to craft. We need to do volunteer work. We need to teach our kids. And we need to look good doing it. If we fail at one of these, we feel like we are failing at life. It is so easy to get wrapped up in any one of these things and look to them to find our identities. If we lose it, we lose our identities and we feel lost. Even if others aren’t “mom-shaming” us, we begin to shame ourselves.

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The only way I’m able to get around this, is to remember that my identity is not in being a mom. It is not in being a teacher, or a wife, or even as a woman. My identity is in Christ. I have to remind myself of this daily because it is oh so easy to be blinded by everyday life. This truth takes away so many of these burdens! I want to challenge all the mommies out there reading this (and MYSELF) not to let those thoughts of self-doubt and shame creep in. And almost just as importantly, don’t let those feelings of doubt be directed at other mommies. Whatever type of moms we are, we are doing GREAT work!

Cheers!

 

 

What Not to Say to a SAHM

Before Lucy was born I was a teacher. I think that much of my identity was wrapped up in what and who I was teaching. Since having Lucy and deciding to stay home I’ve gone through a bit of an identity crisis (which I’ve heard is completely normal…at least I tell myself it is). I no longer had the typical 9-5 (or 7-6) job. I no longer dictated my own schedule. I couldn’t hang out with my friends the way I used to. I was lonely, tired, angry, bored, hormonal, borderline crazy. There were many times I wondered if I made the right decision to stay home…or even have a baby.

Over the last year, I have discovered a few questions/phrases/etc. that I HATE to hear.

1. What are you up to now? Oh you know…not much. Just raising a human.

2. You have plenty of time to ____________________. Yes. I have plenty of time to feed, change, feed, clothe, and entertain a 1 year old with an attention span of 20 seconds. Not to mention changing, feeding, clothing and entertaining a 29 year old husband with an attention span of just over 20 seconds 😉 On top of all of the “homemaking” crap I am expected to do (sweeping, mopping, meal planning, exercising, taking care of the dog, cooking, dishes, vacuuming, crafting, making baby food…I’m sure I’m missing something because I’m not so good at this part).

3. So what did you do all day? No comment.

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4. Oh, you’re not wearing yoga pants today. Oh…you’re being an ass-hat today.*

5. When do you think you will go back to work? When I friggin’ feel like it…ass-hat.*

I’m sure there are more…but my “mommy brain” can’t think of them. You know, since I haven’t been stimulating my brain for the last year. *

*Apologies for the snarkiness #sorrynotsorry

How to Talk to Little Girls

I have the best husband. He has a pretty good blog. Not as good as mine, but still pretty good 🙂 This one made me tear up a bit.

I am always finding these letters that parents “write” to their kids to teach them how to live their lives, and how to see themselves. One of my favorites is Tina Fey’s letter in her book Bossy Pants. I would love to see what my husband’s letter would say to Lucy.

Eric in ATL

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My daughter is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. I understand that I have a certain fatherly bias, but it’s true. Wherever we go, strangers approach and comment on how cute Lucy is, what pretty eyes she has, and how big her cheeks are. Women pinch her cheeks in public and tell us how lucky we are to have such a beautiful baby. This terrifies me, not because they are strangers, but because of how it will share the way Lucy thinks about herself.
Every woman I know struggles with self-image. Every one. 
 
Self-image dictates so many aspects of the lives of the women closest to me. Health, exercise, intimacy, self-esteem, self-confidence, clothing, work, entertainment. How women spend money, allocate time, build relationships, and value themselves ties directly to their perception beauty. (Not to mention its impact on men. A topic for another day.) Lucy is only about a…

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Lucy’s First Birthday

This past Saturday I was a Pinterest Mom. It was Lucy’s 1st birthday, and I wanted her to have a book themed party. I made a bunch of stuff out of a ripped up book. I think I did a pretty good job…I don’t think I will end up on a Pinterest Fail website.

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Birthday food…with GREEN EGGS AND HAM

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Green Eggs and Ham

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Daisies

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Smash cake on a book page cake stand

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Book pinwheels and tissue paper flowers

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Book page birthday banner

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Everything

Everyone brought lots and lots of books for Lucy and she LOVES books. I almost regret having people bring books, because that’s all she wants to do. I can only read “If I Was a Giraffe” so many times.

But instead of focusing on all the preparations, cake, balloons, etc. I tried my best to focus on Lucy. Not Lucy growing up. Not me surviving my first year of parenting. Just Lucy. She is beautiful, smart, sweet, strong-willed, and perfectly created to be my daughter.

Over the past few weeks, I have been struggling with the idea of idols (sorry, I’m going to get deep on you guys). As a stay at home mom, I think it is easy to make your kids your idol. It literally is your life. Your job is your kids. Your home is your kids. Your thoughts are your kids. This year, I have definitely caught myself putting Lucy before myself, my husband, my friends, my church, my God.

On the morning of the party, something hit me. LUCY IS NOT MINE. I have been blessed with the privilege to take care of her. She is part of a bigger picture…a bigger story. I am so excited to see what this story becomes. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her and how He will continue to use her.

Wants vs. Needs

Things I NEED to do:

  • Unpack my clothes from our vacation a few weeks ago
  • Put latches on all the cabinets so Lucy doesn’t pull all the dishes on to the floor
  • exercise
  • Meal plan
  • Organize the office
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Do laundry
  • Make baby food
  • Do the dishes
  • Blog more…yes I know I am awful at this

But thanks so this child (and my hubby being out-of-town)…

Lucy Does Not Want Eggs

*Note: She cried for about 30 minutes following this video*

…all I WANT to do is:

  • Sit on my butt
  • Socialize with adults who don’t whine
  • Drink bourbon. This feels more like a need at the moment.

Cheers.

 

P.S. I PROMISE to post pics from the beach and Lucy’s 1st birthday party soon 🙂