Monday, December 28, 2015

Goals for 2016

To say that 2015 has been a hard year would be a complete understatement. It has been the hardest year of my life. So much has happened.

I don't want to be vague but I also do not want to delve into the hurt and the pain and the work that has taken place.

I was not able to complete many of my goals for 2015. I didn't read as many books as I wanted to. I didn't run a single step, let alone a mile. I ignored my blog completely. There was so much that I wanted to say and so much that I couldn't find the words to express.

So for 2016 I need to a whole new set of goals.

  1. Have new family pictures taken
  2. Read 12 books
  3. Read 24 books
  4. Have 12 out of the house, kids free dates with Michael.
  5. Have weekly in home dates with Michael.
  6. Post 2 blog posts a month.
  7. Write a Bible Study
  8. Complete Mario Maker "100 Mario Challenge" on expert level
  9. Have weekly Bible studies with the kids
  10. Paint the kitchen and bathrooms
  11. Paint my bedroom
  12. Lose 25 lbs
  13. Make a pretty cake all from scratch
  14. Crochet a blanket for Michael
  15. Write a short story
  16. Complete gift projects that I started for the kids
  17. Finish Dragon Age Inquisition with Michael
  18. Drink water daily
  19. Identify one good thing everyday
  20. Encourage my family daily
And there you have it. My 2016 goals. I'm hoping that these are all achievable. Wish me luck as 2016 begins. I'm ready for a new year and new goals.

If you want to follow me as I update my goals throughout the year you can go to my Goals Page.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How Veggie Tales Ruined Church for Me

Well, that's really an exaggeration.

Veggie Tales didn't actually ruin church for me but what it did was ruin a specific phrase. If you have seen Jonah: The Veggie Tales Movie you may understand exactly what I am talking about.

The final song in the movie is Jonah was a Prophet and in this song they sing the phrase probably 4 bazillion times and every time they say "Jonah was a prophet" it is followed by an "ooh, ooh". And now, for the life of me, whenever the phrase "was a prophet" is uttered in church my mind sings "ooh, ooh".

There seems no stopping this madness! I am fully aware that this movie is 13 years old. That is how long that this has been a problem for me.

So I will be sitting in church, listening to the sermon, enjoying myself and then they will say:

Isaiah was a prophet....

my head then will sing "ooh,ooh"


Jeremiah was a prophet... ooh, ooh

Micah was a prophet... ooh, ooh

and on and on and on.

Do you know how many prophets there are? This can just go on forever. And then my head will be full of this song for the rest of the day.

And now I will share it with you so you can also enjoy it in your head too!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wolves, Songs and Nice People

Have you seen Into the Woods?


This movie has become a quick family favorite around here.

The movie is about many fairy tale characters that end up meeting and having adventures in the woods. It's a musical so there are songs that get stuck in your head and will find yourself singing at odd times during the day.

But surprisingly, to me, these songs have messages that resonate deeper than just the entertainment value.

This is my opinion on one of the songs that has been sitting with me. I have no idea is the author was going for this. Or was aiming to make the audience think, but the words spoke truth to me.

The song that I want to talk about today is I Know Things Now. This is sung by Little Red Riding Hood after she has been rescued from the belly of the wolf that had devoured her.

Here are the lyrics: you can hear the song here

Mother said, "Straight ahead"
Not to delay or be misled
I should have heeded her advice
But he seemed so nice

And he showed me things
Many beautiful things
That I hadn't thought to explore
They were off my path

So I never had dared
I had been so careful
I never had cared
And he made me feel excited
Well, excited and scared

When he said, "Come in"
With that sickening grin
How could I know what was in store?
Once his teeth were bared
Though, I really got scared

Well, excited and scared
But he drew me close
And he swallowed me down
Down a dark slimy path
Where lie secrets that I never want to know

And when everything familiar
Seemed to disappear forever
At the end of the path
Was granny once again

So we wait in the dark
Until someone sets us free
And we're brought into the light
And we're back at the start

And I know things now
Many valuable things
That I hadn't known before
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood

They will not protect you
The way that they should
And take extra care with strangers
Even flowers have their dangers
And though scary is exciting
Nice is different than good

Now I know
Don't be scared
Granny is right
Just be prepared

Isn't it nice to know a lot
And a little bit not

Red is admitting to not listening to sound advice that she was given and she knew that what she was doing was wrong. But there was an excitement of the unknown and even the "bad". And isn't that what sin does for us? It gives us the desire to have what we know isn't good for us because it seems exciting. Who doesn't love a bit of excitement? But with sin comes pain and punishment. And it's never just the person who commits the sin that has to deal with the pain.
You see, because Little Red listened to the wolf and strayed from the path that she was meant to follow gave time for the wolf to get to her grandmother. A path he would not have taken if he had not delayed Red's journey. And her grandmother was gobbled up. Yup, I'm telling you, that granny was caught up in the consequences of the sin of her granddaughter.

Because the wolf sucked her in. He seemed nice. And a lot of times in life we confuse "nice" with trustworthy. But in the song she says "Nice is different than good" and that speaks tons to me. People can be nice. They can say nice words and do nice things but it doesn't mean that they are good. Good is a completely different concept. Goodness is not being "nice". I've known plenty of people who are nice but are not good. And I've also known those who are good but not necessarily nice. 

Good is doing what is right. It may come in a way of challenging people in their lives, which isn't always nice. Or revealing truths to people that they need to hear. Good can be nice but it doesn't have to be.

Nice is a portrayal of what you are on the surface. Nice is what you want people to believe that you are. But in truth, nice is not what people are all the time. Even good people aren't always nice.

And I've had to learn this lesson. Nice is different than good. And I want to surround myself with those who are good. Those who believe in truth. I would rather be hurt in truth by someone good than lead along by someone "nice" who is hiding their true self. Because it will all come out eventually anyway and it hurts more from the liars who are nice.

And I have been hurt deeply by the "nice". Because I confused nice with good and nice with trustworthy and nice with kind. When people who are trustworthy and good and kind can be nice but they are also good but not all nice people are.

And what is good? Good is doing what is right. Good is following God and his son's example. Because, who is good? Jesus is good. And I strive to be like Jesus. I want to be good.

I want to do what is right and live the right way.

I want to be more than nice.

I want to be good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Fit in my Wedding Dress!

It's not a surprise to say that 2015 has been a rough year. There has been a lot that has happened, a lot of pain and sadness. But there have been victories as well.

Since the beginning of the year I have lost 35 lbs. This is exciting because I have been hanging out at the same weight since having Anya. But finally this year I have managed to take some of the weight off.

This last week we cleaned out our closet and tucked in the back was my wedding dress and I got the urge to try to put it on and it slipped on easily.

This first picture is of me on my wedding day over 10 years ago.

And this next one is from last week. After a 35 lb weight loss. Back in my wedding dress!

Yes, I'm standing in my closet. I don't care that my body is not perfect and I know that I still have more to lose to be healthier but it felt so good to put on that dress. I've never even dreamed of wearing it again... of being able to fit in it again. I really thought it was going to sit in my closet forever tucked in the back and forgotten.

Here is a six month difference in my face from losing the weight. I really didn't realize how round my cheeks were before.

It's the small victories that help to get through the rough spots.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Homemade Salsa

Last week while I was grocery shopping I was in the produce section when I smelled the most wonderful smell.

Fresh cilantro!

And it gave me a hankering for homemade salsa.

Jarred salsa, refrigerated salsa just can't compare to the the taste of fresh made salsa. And it's so easy to make! I'm going to share this quick basic recipe that I used.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

3 cans diced tomatoes
1 large yellow onion chopped 
1/2 red onion chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
2 jalapenos seeded and chopped (add seeds or more for heat)

Pour tomatoes in their juices into a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients salt to taste, mix. Cover and put in the fridge to let the flavors all come together for a couple of hours. Enjoy!

If you prefer your salsa less chunky, you can throw everything into a blender or food processor to blend it together.

It makes a lot. So I canned some in mason jars as well. 

Teamed up with veggies or tortilla chips made this a simple snack or a side to a meal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Nothing Formed Against Me Shall Stand

 I have heard the song Whom Shall I Fear  by Chris Tomlin so many times.  It has been playing on the radio for years.

It was one of the first non preschool song that I remember MJ singing regularly.  He would sit in the car and sing about the God of angel armies. He was so little.

I've sang the words so many times but didn't really listen to the words.

This week it was different. As I stood there in church worshiping God I felt tears streaming down my cheeks as I sang:

"Nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I'm holding on to your promises

You are faithful"

The last six months of my life have been blockades and obstacles and trouble. There are those who are against me. There are those who want nothing better than to see me fail or cause that failure. I am no fool to think that I am not under attack from my enemies; from the enemy.

But God's word is clear.

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) states:

"no weapon fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord"

Nothing can stand up against me because I am God's. He bought me at the price of His Son and I am his. Weapons, whatever they are, may be made to be against me but the will not succeed in their task of tearing me down because God stands before me and behind me.  He has an entire army for my protection.

I needed to be reminded that I am protected and defended. He has promised me life in Him and that is what I am in trusting. It's not always easy. But I know who I can depend on. I know who is there with me, before me and behind me. I'm learning to trust him more and more. I know that he's got this. Whatever "this" may be as each day passes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Where Have I Gone?

For the three people that actually read my blog they may be wondering what has happened to me over the last 6 months.

I've had periods on no posts before, but never for this extended amount of time.

My life, six months ago, took a completely unexpected turn. Everything has changed. Very few things look as they did then.

So, what happened?

That night still feels like a movie. My husband, Michael confessed to a six month long affair and left. I don't plan on getting into the nitty gritty details of it but I was devastated. I asked him to stay. I told him I loved him and he left.

A very dramatic ten days later he humbly came back, seeking forgiveness.

We've had a lot of work that we have gone through and that we are still going through but our marriage is gaining strength with every hurdle that we have had to leap over.

I would never wish the pain and sorrow on anyone. But we are surviving.

And through it all I cut back on a lot of things. My blog taking the first big hit. I avoided it. I wasn't ready to face writing somewhere that I talk I about our lives and having to tell of what a wreck we are.

But I am real. I have challenges that life has thrown at me that I have had to face. And I miss writing. I miss creating and sharing. I miss talking about what's going on, what I'm reading or cooking. I miss sharing my life.

I have isolated myself away. I've spent the last six months focusing on the work that it takes to heal my heart, my marriage and my family. God has been making huge strides for us.

And now it's time to reenter the world. I am strong enough to live my life. And I want to live and not hide. I have been learning who I am, who God is, and where my family belongs.

So, pray for us. As we continue to work and grow. I may share things from time to time but I am ready to write. I am ready to update and get back on to here. I've missed it more than I could've imagined.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: A Lifelong Love

I heard of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas through blog that I follow, To Love, Honor and Vacuum. They are doing a challenge for the year to read 12 books, one book a month, that is about marriage. Even if you have the best marriage, it can always get better.

A Lifelong Love: What if Marriage is About More Than Just Staying Together?

That's the goal, right? Staying together.

I believe that there is more to marriage than just the longevity of it. And that where this book comes in.

It was an easy but thought provoking read. Each chapter ended with questions that really got you to think and apply the new information to you marriage.

It talks about God not being just you Heavenly Father but he is also your spouses Heavenly Father and essentially you Father-in-Law.

To bring perspective: How would you feel if your child's spouse was not not treating them with the love that they should? That they weren't appreciative or affectionate?

How would this make you feel? Pretty unhappy with the one they married.

Think about how God feel when we do not take care of our spouses in that way, God is sad because his child is not being treated well.

Kind of punches you right in the face. We need to make God happy by taking care of really loving on his children.

Another chapter talked about how we are not rewarded in heaven by how we were loved in our marriage but instead how much we loved.

This point is brought up again and again. It's not about what we get but instead what we give. Do I love my husband enough? My goal is now to make sure that he know that he knows how much I love him. And that's a forever job.

I recommend this book for everyone who is married or planning on getting married, It really helps to get you in the right direction.

I'll leave with this quote: "Biblical love isn't a feeling to be felt; it's a commitment to be kept."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's for Dinner?- Sausage and Potatoes

Some days we just need a quick and easy meal for dinner. Sometimes we just don't plan out our meals or what we had planned will take more energy than we're willing to dole out.

On Monday, we were busy. I was getting ready to leave in less than an hour, the kids were doing homework and Michael was tired from being a parent volunteer for both Sidda and MJ's classes. It makes for a busy long day.

We really didn't have a dinner planned but we needed something fast. So I opened the 'fridge and saw some smoked sausage, and DING I had an idea.

I started by washing up a chopping 4 potatoes and one onion.

Next, I heated up a little olive oil in a large skillet. After it had warmed up a couple of minutes I added the potatoes and onions. Be sure to add salt to your potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are soft to your preferred texture. If you let them cook a little longer at little higher heat they can get crispy.

 While the potatoes are cooking, chop your sausage into bite size pieces.

Add it to the pan and cook until heated through.

We served it up with a side of scrambled eggs for the kids and fried eggs for the adults. 

Including chopping, this meal took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. It's would also make a delicious breakfast.

So, tell me, what is your favorite go to meal when you are short on time or energy?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Out of the House Date #1

Don't you love when you get to feel fancy and go out with your husband?

It's one of my all time favorites.

And we got super blessed. For Christmas my mom got us ticket to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! 

I know. It's awesome! The show was so much fun to watch. It was funny and entertaining. We had a blast. We had never seen it before so we didn't really know what to expect. It really was a great time.

We had some wonderful friends that took our rascals for the whole night. Kid free night with a show and dinner. Amazingness!

And to top it off, I felt good. It was nice to get dressed up and feel nice about how you look. I even got my new cardigan that I wore on sale for only 8 dollars. It made my night.

Good fun with Michael is just what I needed.

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus

And it's over. The Blood of Olympus is the final installment of The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

I'm a little sad that it is over. I've been reading through since I discovered Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I love the adventures of the books and after I read each one I listen to the audiobook with my kids.

They love listening to books when we are in the car or cleaning the  house. Especially Sidda.

The Blood of Olympus does not disappoint.

The seven demigods of the prophecy are heading to Athens. They are on their way to stop the ritual that will bring Gaea back to life.

But not without a few hiccups along the way. They must face psyco gods and battles that will make them face their own fears and even their own mortality.

Across the Altantic, Nico, Reyna and Coach Hedge are making their way back to Camp Half-Blood with the Athena Parthenos. They are hoping to make it back before the Roman demigods start attacking the Greek demigods. Their only hope is to make it in time and unite the two camps against the rising earth mother.

I loved reading every minute of this book. And I look forward to letting the kids enjoy this final installment.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

At Home Date #2

It has been a rough week this week.  We have been combating sickness all week. So of course that already slightly derailed our at home dates.

Our second date was supposed to be last Sunday. That did not happen.


Michael got sick. And not just the "I kind of don't feel well" but more like the "102 fever passed out in bed" kind.

Sleeping, sick husband does not make for much of a date night.

And through the week he has been trying to recover and I have caught a cold.

Not fun.

But we did mange to have a couple of mini dates. Michael was still recovering on his day off but since the kids were at school and while Anya napped we were able to spend a little time watching a movie together. And  we were able to fit in a little family movie time that same night.

I can not wait to be over this cold that has seemed to have latched on to Anya and me. My poor baby just doesn't feel good. Luckily, the big kids have been able to keep it away.

I am looking forward to a better week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

At Home Date Night #1

So, what would my goals be without some accountability? So I will try to stay on top of our weekly in home date night by recording it each week.

Our date nights can consist of really anything at all.  But the biggest thing is that we are spending time together. We are not distracted by our phones or the outside world. The kids are in bed and we just get to be Michael and Jessica together. That's it. We are not mom or dad. We are not inviting anyone else into our time. We had done really well at having weekly date nights but then, as you know, life happens and it fell to the way side. What a bummer. So I am excited that we are making a point to do it again.

This week was not the most creative but it was still a lot of fun!  We watched a movie.

The best part?

Getting to watch and laugh and talk with Michael. It was just what I needed.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: Shopaholic to the Stars

Where do I even begin?  I love, love, love the Shopaholic series.  I love reading about Becky Brandon (Bloomwood) and all of her antics.

But maybe it's time for Sophie Kinsella to put it to bed.  I feel in Shopahlic to the Stars Becky just gets in to one mess after another and none of the problems are really solved. It just kind of ends. It is left with a huge cliff hanger that means there is going to be a follow up novel.  And in truth I will read it because I have to know what happens.

Now even though it wasn't one of my favorite shopaholic novel doesn't mean it didn't have great moments or funny moments or that it was over all bad.  Just not the same. But now, let's get to what happened in the book.

Becky and Luke have moved to Hollywood. And Becky is beyond excited. She wants to rub shoulders with celebrities and walk the red carpet. But more than any of that she wants to become a celebrity stylist. It's really the perfect fit. She would get to dress the Hollywood elite and get to shop to make it happen.  It's really a dream come true. If only she could get her foot in the door.

Luke is working PR for Sage Seymour a very popular actress. Becky is trying to make contact with her but Luke is keeping Sage away from Becky. (Smart guy.) But then Becky catches Sage's rival, Lois Kellerton, shoplifting and it's her way in to get in with Sage.

But Hollywood life is not all that it's cracked to be. Becky's daughter, Minnie, is in a prestige preschool but the head of the PTA is none other than Alicia Billington, Becky's own rival from her years as a financial journalist. Alicia has convinced everyone that she has changed but Becky is not so sure.

Overall I would rate this about a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Goals

As I looked over my goals I set for myself last year I realized how much I really didn't accomplish.  I was able to complete 13 of the 32 items on that list.  I am super excited for the things that I did accomplish.  I really failed in the areas of losing weight and creativity.

I started the year off with good intentions. I ran every day for 100 days.  I was good with drinking my water. I tracked my steps. But with all of that I wasn't staying on top of my diet and so no weight was lost.  I did not gain but none was lost at all.  What a downer. A lot of my exercise stopped completely after Michael's grandfather passed away. Life just changed and it was hard to get a routine back together.

So it really seems that for the last half of 2014 I really didn't accomplish anything.

But that's not completely true. It just wasn't the goals that I had even considered.

A couple of months ago I started crocheting for the first time in at least 10 years. I never really liked it when I was younger. But as I've been starting to get into it again I really feel I have a knack for it.  I love when I get to be creative and this is a way I can do it.  I was ecstatic! I love that I can make things for my friends and family.

Also, funnily enough, my husband and our kids church helped me accomplish a back of my mind goal and I have finally memorized all the books of the Bible in order.  Sidda, MJ and I all learned them together.  I can now get through those minor prophets with ease!  Woo-hoo!

So now for this year. It's time to accomplish some new goals.  Renew some old goals and change my way of thinking on how to accomplish them.

  1. Write at least one blog post a week in 2015
  2. Read 12 books.
  3. Read 24 books.
  4. Crochet a blanket
  5. Sell one crocheted item.
  6. Drink 100 oz of water in one day.
  7. Drink 100 oz of water a day for 7 days
  8. Drink 100 oz of water a day for 30 days
  9. Run 1 mile without stopping.
  10. Lose 10 lbs.
  11. Lose 24 lbs.
  12. Lose 36 lbs.
  13. Go down on dress size.
  14. Potty train Anya
  15. Go on 6 out of the house, kid free dates with Michael.
  16. Have weekly in home dates with Michael
  17. Try a new food
  18. Try a new recipe
  19. Start a vegetable garden.
  20. Play an RPG video game.
There we have it.  I have less goals this year than last year, I want this year to be a success.  I'm ready to start.  I'll start small at expand on my goals as needed. It's time for new. It's time for change in some areas and more focus in others. I'm looking forward to 2015 being a great year!