Thank you for visiting, I hope you stick around! This is a blog dedicated to encouraging women to rest in God's grace and righteousness. I pray that nothing you read or see here leaves you feeling discouraged or inadequate. The last thing I want is to contribute to the "I don't measure up to this blog" epidemic that is plaguing so many moms today! My prayer is that this blog helps any readers (and myself) be comfortable with the eternal and secure identity in Christ that is there for the taking. Here's to walking in His liberty!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

who do we think we are?

Is it just me, or does it seem that in this generation of moms (myself included), we think we know everything and that we are the only generation of moms who really want what is best for our children?

Take the "whole food" phenomenon that has swept the nation in the past few years. I just want to cry sometimes when I hear/see a mom feeling guilty that she isn't doing all natural/organic/vegan/gluten free/sugar free/taste free/fun free diet with her kids. Two thoughts plague me when I see something like this going on.

First, I feel like tracking down all the braggarts who claim that they care more about their kids because they spend $500 a week on food...and I just feel like giving them my two cents. "Your parenting choices do NOT make you better or worse than anyone else. Bragging about how healthy you are is totally tacky and rude...and even though people 'like' your brags posts, I guarantee they are subsequently--if not simultaneously--rolling their eyes. Get over yourself." Disclaimer: Sometimes, I'd be saying this to a mirror...but lately we eat about 99% inorganic food (some of it is even--gaaaasssssp--processed {oh the horror!!!}) ...and guess what...we're all still kickin. 

The end of my disclaimer brings me to my second plaguing thought in these situations. I have to wonder how these kids' grandparents are feeling about how they raised these bragging moms and dads....because I'd wager that roughly 84% of them were not raised on raw milk or kale salads or chia seed smoothies.

My husband and I were both raised by single moms...who are amazing women, by the way. We both feel that our moms did a great job of teaching us balance. We ate lots of filling, well balanced, home cooked meals AND fast food; we ate raisin bran AND cinnamon toast crunch; we ate white bread AND wheat bread. We were served and loved by wonderful mothers who provided nourishment for us from the time they were pregnant with us, to...well, they still cook for us frequently!

Would I be obeying the commandment ("the first commandment with a promise" in the words of the apostle Paul) to Honor my mother by showing her that not only am I not thankful and pleased with how she raised me; but also,having the audacity to imply that I care more about my children than she cared about me....because the ONLY sweetener my kids ingest is organic honey?? (What the heck is that, anyway? How do they tell which bees are organic?) WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE?!

Take a moment today, and give yourself--and the woman who raised you--some grace. Aren't we all given the same impossible love for our children? Don't we all want to do right by them, and do what we believe is best? Isn't it okay if we all have different ideas as to what that looks like? I'm saying this to myself first. Self...next time, before you rush to post something that's a little braggy, consider whether or not I'm honoring my own mother and how she raised me; then consider whether or not this is going to make someone else feel like they aren't measuring up to the virtual world they see.

Here's to breathing encouragement upon one another as we await our precious bridegroom!


Friday, August 16, 2013

{letting your husband lead you} new series

The ebb and flow of biblical hierarchy in the home is something my husband and I have worked on constantly and consistently for years.  As with most prescribed things in the Bible, it doesn't seem to just come naturally to anyone...but is completely worth the effort.

Lately I've read in several different places something that disturbs me a little bit, so I wanted to address it in Part 1 of a series called "letting your husband lead you." Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be any kind of authority in this area. Just the opposite, I struggle in this area more than you could imagine. Along the lines of most things on this blog, I'm writing this for my own benefit, and hoping and praying someone else might be encouraged by it. 

What I've seen that disturbs me is the notion that we shouldn't "burden" our husbands with the fact that we have hard days at home with the kids. It's widely suggested in the mommy blogosphere that our calling as wives is to create a peaceful, idyllic, problem free sanctuary for our husbands to come home to each day. Now, don't get me wrong, I do feel that I am instructed in the Word to keep my home well, and that Proverbs 31 was written as a type of guide for me as a wife and mother...in which is does talk about my husband trusting me completely. I do believe all of this, for sure. What I'm not really jumping on board with is that it's a burden for my husband to bear my troubles.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:22 - 33

My husband is instructed here to give himself up for me, to sanctify me, to cleanse me with the Word, to love me as he loves his own body. So let me present this food for thought. If he is to do all of these things in order to lead me, so that I can submit to him the way I am called to, how is it a good thing for me to hide myself from him? If I hide the fact that I am struggling and overwhelmed with our children when he comes home, I am denying him the chance to give himself up for me. If my husband is out of town and I am lonely and exhausted from dealing with everything on my own for a few days, shouldn't I express to him that he is in fact needed here? Or should I deny him the opportunity to love me as he loves his own body and say "everything is fine here, honey" through my teeth? 

Again, I'm not saying it's a bad thing to provide our husbands a place of rest when they come home from a long day at work. Not. At. All. I pray daily that the Lord will grant me the strength and selflessness to do just that. What I am saying is that some of the most precious moments in my marriage have been the times my wonderful husband has held me and prayed over me while I wept with complete abandon in his strong arms, or the times when I was just done-zo...hating the entire world...just done with everything, and my husband listened carefully and cleansed me with wisdom from the Word. 

There are times for holding back, out of love for him and appreciation for his being under tremendous amounts of stress. There are times when we are just being silly and emotional, and need to just pray through things ourselves, rather than feeding the monster by involving someone else in our silliness. I believe we have the ability to discern these situations. Please, oh please, don't keep part of your heart from your husband under the guise of being the Proverbs 31 woman! There is a balance that allows me to encourage him and let him rest and fill his cup, all the while embracing his God given strength and desire to bear my burdens...the way Christ bore ours on the cross. 

Here's to finding that balance, and resting in God's grace where the balance is lost...


no keurig? streamline your morning coffee routine!

sometimes, people want Keurig coffee makers. sometimes people don't get to have them (poor little me moment). 

In all seriousness, I'd love to have the convenience of a single serve coffee maker, but it's just not in the cards right now....so, most of the time I brew coffee sometime around 10 or 11 in the morning instead of when I wake up. This is obviously fine, but not ideal for me. 

I am not--let me repeat as to properly emphasize my tone--naaawwwwttt a morning person. I almost always wake up later than I was planning, and I'm almost always zombie-ing around the first hour or two of the day (only instead of slowly growling for brains, I'm growling for coffee). I decided to experiment with ways to get me my brains coffee a little sooner. 

Oh, and for good measure, here's my almost 2 year old running around in his diaper eating a pop tart. Breakfast.Of.Champions.

First, I decided to get super creative. I filled my filter with the right amount of coffee, then twisted the top closed and secured with a twist tie (tip: start saving twist ties off of things!). The result was a very weak cup of coffee. Drinkable, but not strong enough to de-zombie me. Here's what I finally landed on.

What you'll need:

A dinosaur of a coffee maker...at least 500 years old is best. 
(I kid, this is actually a pretty decent machine. She was a handsome woman back in her day.)

Coffee. Duh. I use half cheapo & half fanciful beans, which I grind to perfection myself. I know. How does she do it?

A container that will accommodate your coffee filters without cramping their style.

So...basically, you're just going to pre-fill your filters with the right amount of coffee and stack them in a container. Then close the container. When you want some coffee, open the container. Pull one out. Put it in your dinosaur coffee maker. Close the container. 

I'm not loving the word "container" anymore.

Anyway, you will of course want to froof up your coffee with some cream and sugar, right? Well, I'm digging the homemade coffee creamer right now. Just use a can of sweetened condensed milk, 1.5 - 2 cups of milk (try coconut milk instead of regular....NOMMM), and your flavors. My favorites so far are chocolate & caramel with coconut milk (samoas, anyone?), and vanilla caramel.

 Until next time!


Friday, August 9, 2013

techie-mama: rig up a video baby monitor for free...

So I've always wanted one of those video baby monitors, but I have a regular baby monitor so I can never justify buying one. Well, the other day my sweet little moose was napping on my bed, and he can roll over now so I got a little paranoid. I decided to get savvy. I signed into my hubby's Google+ account on my computer, and my Google+ account on my Android phone. By doing this, I was able to start a "hangout", and use the video chat feature to monitor my baby buddy while he slept in the other room. Awesome. Now, if you do this, MAKE SURE TO PLUG IN YOUR PHONE. It will perish in a blaze of glory in about 20 minutes if you don't (I mean the battery will die). Oh, and turn your computer's hibernate/sleep settings to "never" while you're doing this...otherwise your monitor will turn off, or your screen saver will come on, which defeats the purpose.

Skype's free video call feature could be used in the same way. The key with either service is having two accounts to sign into.

My husband might flip because I'm saying this (to put it delicately, apple products aren't his favesies), but you hip apple peeps could use your iPhones and iPads--come on, you know you have both--and do a little face time baby monitoring! Pretty sweet. Also, you could probably ask Siri to babysit, but I'm sure she charges outlandish rates...she is, after all, made by apple. :P

Until next time,


Saturday, August 3, 2013

{allow yourself grace} cleaning...

I'm not one of those women whose house is always clean, but I am one of those women who feels bad about myself because my house isn't always clean. 

I always hear other women talking about how they can't stand to go to bed without their house being spotless....well, for me it's more that I can't stand to clean my house before I go to bed. I am exhausted by the end of the day. After my children are in bed, the list of things I want to do is a very short one...and cleaning isn't on it. I wish I was one of those people who loved cleaning and found it relaxing, and I guess once upon a time I was. As a tired mom of four, I can't even fathom doing housework to relax right now. 

This is so hard for me to admit. In fact, I backspaced over the last couple sentences several times, but luckily God gave me the strength to rewrite them. Hopefully I'll make it all the way to clicking "publish." Deep down, I am shallow (ponder that one for a minute, huh? lol). The truth is, I want to be perceived as that kind of mom; the mom who happily frolics about my home in an apron and quietly and reverently serves without a peep. 

I'll just set the record straight right now, hoping someone finds it encouraging. I love vintage things, things from the 50's and such; and I want nothing more than to serve the Lord and my husband and kids by fulfilling the noble calling of wife and mother well! But I will never be a 50's housewife. I rarely get dressed before about 10am, and my house is definitely not perfect. It's not "Clean House" or "Hoarders" material by any means, but it's....lived in. My husband cooks on occasion because he does it well, and he helps with housework and changes diapers because...well...he's an amazing father and a gentleman to the core. 

Also let me remind everyone that most of those 50's housewives that so many women are idolizing right now were closet alcoholics because they cracked under the pressure of being perfect! Don't forget that there are usually martinis in those pictures too...not just curls, pearls, and aprons!

I am not called to be a perfect mother or wife, I am called to do it to God's glory...and by walking in His grace in the areas I fall short (even in my homemaking), I truly believe that brings Him glory!

Here's to making our hearts His home!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Mandarin Slow Cooker Chicken - LITTT-erally the easiest meal ever...

I can't even call this a recipe. Take a bottle of the Panda Express Mandarin Sauce (I have found it at several stores in the Asian foods section) and 4-6 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, and throw it all in the slow cooker. Fill the empty bottle about half up with water and dump it in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over rice (minute rice if you really want it to be the easiest meal ever).

DEEEE-lish. Seriously.

Quick Cookin Tip - Cook & Freeze Meat

Now, I in no way claim to have come up with this idea...it's just something I like to do.

I like to have cooked meat, ready to go, in my freezer in Ziplocs or Tupperware (the latter being the more eco-friendly option, but the former meaning no dish to wash...toss up!).

Cook an entire bag of frozen chicken in your slow cooker. Just dump the whole bag in there with some water (I add a wee bit o' chicken boullion for extra good goodness), let 'er rip on high for 4 - 5 hours, take it out and shred it or chop it. Put it in the right sized portions for your family in ziplocs/tupperware and freeze! I use this SO much. Talk about 30 minute meals, just substitute one of those bags of chicken in any of your favorite chicken based meals! I commonly use it in enchiladas, casseroles, cacciatore, etc. It's also great for when you need to take a meal to someone at the last minute, it doesn't derail your own family's dinner!

Cook a few pounds of ground beef or turkey (we prefer turkey, cheaper and healthier!), or italian sausage in a skillet with salt and pepper (and I like to add garlic and onion powder), then cool it on a plate. Freeze meal-size portions, and you have recipe ready meat or sausage crumbles! This makes a spaghetti night about a 15 minute meal! Just cook your noodles, throw some sausage crumbles in a skillet with your favorite sauce and some frozen veggies, throw a loaf of store-bought frozen garlic bread in the oven (de-LISH...I like it better than fresh. lol), and you are so eating amazing pasta in less than 20 minutes. Also good for quick chili or tacos!

I've also done frozen sliced steak & chicken for fajitas, and frozen shredded pork for chili verde or Cafe Rio style pork that doesn't take all day!

The possibilities are....well, not really endless...but almost.

Recipes coming soon!



It was about 6 years ago, when my oldest was just a baby, that an seasoned mom of a few older kids said to me "when my kids were little I just felt so tired all the time...don't you just feel tired?" I broke into tears and said "yes!!! Yes, I am SOOOOOO TIIIIIIRRRED!" This wise woman then gave me what remains to be one of the best mom tips I've gotten...."take naps...whenever you get a chance and you feel tired, make sure your kids' needs are met and they have something to do nearby, and take a nap."

I'm definitely not suggesting that anyone should make naps a part of their daily routine forever, but I do think there are seasons where we are in greater need of extra rest. When I'm pregnant, nursing, or in a particularly stressful season of life, I nap frequently. Right now for example, I have a three-month-old moose of a baby who is relying on my body alone as his nourishment; so sometimes in the afternoon, I will put on a movie for my older kids and take a snooze on the couch while the babies have their nap. It's almost always interrupted by someone urgently needing to tell me a joke, or someone needing a snack, or they just want to tell me about the movie...but it's still some extra and much needed rest. Even if I don't sleep very much, just laying down and letting my mind stop racing for a few minutes helps tremendously.

I know some moms don't feel tired all the time, and I know some moms think it's absurd to put aside the mothering and wife-ing duties of the day for a few minutes and disengage, but for me it's necessary a couple times a week right now. I feel that I can better serve my family by resting when I really need to. If I leave that load of laundry to be folded later, or my floors don't get vacuumed until tomorrow, in my opinion it's a small price to pay for a rested, happy mom & wife who isn't overwhelmed and burnt out before dinner is even on the table.

Tired mothers out there, it doesn't make you selfish or a bad mom to let your kids play or lay on the floor and watch a movie while you replenish your energy stores and rejuvenate your soul by giving yourself a small break! Just like that morning cup of coffee, or that morning workout, sometimes what I need most is to serve my husband and children by just being Tiffany...and addressing Tiffany's needs for a short while. Mom & wife are still there, they are just the Supremes instead of Diana Ross for a half hour or so.  ;)

Here's to resting...just resting.

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