Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Coffee and My Camera at the Kansas City Roasterie

I love my coffee and my camera, but not as much as I love my family. When I have the combination of all three it is a real treat.  We visited The Roasterie, in downtown Kansas City.  My children weren't exactly excited when I told them that we were taking a field trip to a coffee roaster, but once we arrived they were quickly intrigued.  The smell of brewing coffee welcomed us into the industrial cafe atmosphere.     

The girls perked up when they discovered the silly hats and goofy props available for mugshots and selfies.  Their imaginations took them to far away places while sipping pretend coffee.  Fun was definitely in the lesson plans for the day, and this dress up session was just the warm up for the tour.

Welcomed by our tour guide we were encouraged to take a seat for a mini documentary on the history of The Roasterie and the care the company takes to ensure the best coffee gets to their customers.  After the movie our girls weren't thrilled with the cloth hairnet, everyone was required to wear as we entered the rotating room, but they thought it was funny to see me in one.  We enjoyed the tour and we learned many interesting facts about the growing, harvesting, and roasting of coffee beans.  

One interesting fact that surprised me was that a coffee tree only produces one and a half pounds of coffee beans per year.  This made me appreciate my daily cup of joe a lot more.

The air roasting process is the not the most common way to roast beans, but can be argued that it is the best way to evenly roast each bean.  The Roasterie only roasts the quantity of beans to fill the daily orders to ensure the freshest coffee is delivered to their customers.

They roasts larger batches in the machine on the left, to meet the popular demand of daily orders and special blends or smaller orders in the machine on the right.  The smell of the roasting beans was amazing, like warm caramel!

The Roasterie has a huge selection of coffee beans from all over the world.

Different geographical locations and the ecological qualities of the soil and air contribute to the flavor of the coffee. Mixing different beans from different areas of the world enables roasters to create new flavors.

Each burlap bag holds approximately one hundred fifty pounds of coffee beans.  The girls and I were amazed to think that took one hundred trees to fill on of these sacks.

There was so much information shared with our family during the tour.  They covered subjects like agriculture,  social studies, economics, chemistry, and math all wrapped up in the art of coffee.  I felt like we could return multiple times to learn something new each time.

Adi loved watching "the workers" as they diligently monitoring the beans from burlap bag to sealed bags ready to be shipped to the customer.  Her favorite part was watching the bags be deoxygenated and filled with nitrogen to keep the beans fresh longer.


The tour ended with a brewing lesson and demonstration of a french press brew and a pour over.  I was amazed at the difference in the taste of the types of brews.  I preferred the french press to the pour over because it tasted less bitter.  The girls didn't get to experience the awesome coffee at the end but we did spring for a hot chocolate at the cafe.

The attention to detail from the technical measures to ensure a perfect bean roasting temperature and time to the chocolate syrup doodles on a hot cocoa in the cafe, made us feel special and want to come back again.

My kiddos reported that it happened to be the best hot chocolate they had ever had!  The Roasterie has become one our Kansas City favorite places.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

KC Tradition Lights Up My Heart

This November has been SPECTACULAR!  I really have enjoyed our unseasonably warm weather.  Looking ahead to next week's holiday endeavors, I am particularly excited about the forecast on Thanksgiving!!! Lows in the 40s and highs in the mid 50s, are perfect for layering up, sitting with warm hot cocoa, and making memories with my family at the Country Club Plaza.

The lighting ceremony at the Country Club Plaza has been one of Kansas City's most enjoyed holiday traditions.  The gleaming lights sparkle in my childhood memories and now I get to share them with my girls!!!  I am so excited to be back in Kansas City!

There is a full evening of entertainment here is a link to the event's itinerary: Plaza Lighting Ceremony

Friday, November 18, 2016

10 Reasons to be Thankful on Thanksgiving

There is so much more to Thanksgiving that turkey and diabetic comas.  It is one of my favorite holidays because it helps us remember what we are thankful for, at least until the stores open on Black Friday.  No but really inspiring gratitude is the best way to get over the holiday stress and focus on what matters.  My friend Sarah is a huge list maker so I thought that I would share 10 things that I am including in my Thanksgiving celebration!

10.  Cute Kid Crafts.  Go ahead and show off your Thankful Spirit with a homemade Turkey Hat. Here is a link to 8 Turkey hat crafts.

9.  Saving Money. I enjoy stocking up on practical items on Black Friday.  No need to fight the crowds for those techie gadgets when this girl can get her hairspray over half off.  I usually go after the initial store rush, and after my babies have gone to sleep.  

8.  Taking time to help my children practice gratitude.  Here is a great link to a printable Thankful Journal by artist Becky Kelly

7.  The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - every year our family lounges around in our PJs and occasionally dance to the live performances.   This is the 90th anniversary of the parade and they have an interactive activity on their site that highlights the parade over the last nine decades.

6.  Gluten Free Dessert always stirs warm and fuzzy feelings of thankfulness.  Thank you Mom Loves Baking for this delicious idea: Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices

5.  Homemade Gluten Free Egg Noodles - Check out this recipe from one of my posts.  I look forward to these every year.  I consider it a labor of love to make them, because I LOVE TO EAT THEM!

5. Left overs, yes left overs!  I can't express how thankful I am to always have more than enough.

4.  Friendships, each and every person.  It is always fun to connect especially since we've moved so much.  No matter where we live we host a Misfit Thanksgiving on Black Friday, for all our friends that don't have family around to celebrate with.  Our cup of Gratitude overflows into Friday.  Yep two days of Turkey feasts, who says we have to be thankful only one day of the year.

3.  Laughter! Part of spending time with our friends is playing Just Dance Kids on our Wii.  Laughter during Just Dance Kids helps burn those extra calories.  It is a necessary tradition that reminds me how blessed I really am.  Here is a snippet of what one can expect from our calorie burning activity, Just Dance Kids

2. My family.  I do believe I have the best husband and the most amazing children a girl could ever ask for.  I also am thankful that we will one day welcome our adopted children into our family.  I look forward to the day when I can thank God for all my children by name.  National Adoption Day is November 19th, I am thankful of all those who made the choice to adopt and redefine Family. I am thankful for my Forever Family!

1.  I am most thankful for my salvation.  There is nothing I could do in my own power to make things right with God except his free gift of salvation through His son Jesus.  
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fostering Creativity Through Homeschooling

There are days that I find homeschooling very challenging; I sometimes wonder if it is the best schooling choice for my children, but yesterday wasn't one of them.  I am so thankful we are able to foster individual thinking and creativity though homeschooling.  My children have different learning styles and they work at different paces.  Olive often stays focused and cruises through her daily assignments and Adi keeps up with her big sister in areas like Latin and art, but Olive usually finishes her core subjects quicker.  Her speedy scholastic skills results in more time for independent study or exploring hobbies.

Olive usually spends her extra time reading for fun, working ahead in her math book, Minecraft, making music.lys or drawing in her sketch book.  Recently, she was given an assignment by her cooperative finance teacher to make a craft to sell for class cash.  Carefully, she thought of an original idea for her contribution.  It needed to be tangible, homemade, and enough for multiple students to purchase.  The teacher had provided suggestions like baked goods or jewelry, but Olive decided to be think out side the box by creating hand drawn color sheets.  Her selection is an adorable reflection of her interests and displays her hidden talent of illustration.  She drew three different animals and made a few copies of each.

Drawing has been a passion of Olive's for many years.  She received accolades from her public school art teacher when we lived in Wisconsin.  The encouragement from that teacher has fostered her desire to sketch, drawn and color. Yesterday was one of those affirming days that homeschooling is the best choice for our family, because homeschooling has allowed her to work at her own pace and explore her creative intelligence in the extra time.

I believe that math, science, social studies, and language arts are very important.  But I also believe that the creative arts are often under appreciated and the first to go when schools cut budgets. Watching my children thrive in their core subjects and in the creative arts makes me a happy mama.

I have attached a link to her blog that will allow you to print off her hand drawn color sheets.  Please leave a comment to encourage her.  Positive words go a long way and are a precious currency!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Cran Scone, Yummy and Gluten Free

During the holidays we usually snack on pastries for the early parts of the day, to save room for a large lunch mid afternoon.  I usually bake breakfast and snack treats in advance because my kitchen will be busy enough with Turkey and fixings.  These Pumpkin Spice Cran Scones are a sure fire way to please any crowd, and they freeze well.

Like what your seeing on the blog?  Make sure to follow Olive You Because!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Memories of Friendship

When I was a little girl I remember playing outside till dark with my neighborhood friends.  Our days were filled with imagination and jumping fences to play in each other’s backyards.  The small house next door was called home by three generations of one Laotian family. I am not sure what brought them to Kansas City but I am glad they moved in next door because that's how I met Ana.  She was younger than I, but was smart and mature for her age, so I enjoyed her company.  Ana often had to translate english to the older generations.  She showed her parents and grandmother unconditional respect.  Their household always seemed to be in order and she knew her place in her home.  

Our homes were like two different worlds only separated by a chainlink fence and a language barrier.  My parents did their best to provide for us in very humble circumstances.  Both of them worked outside of the home and sometimes there was no parental supervision on long summer days.  My older brother would babysit, but under his care orderly would not describe us.  The lack of order overflowed into our backyard.  Our backyard was a place of free play and Ana’s a place of work and resource.

Ana’s petite grandmother was always working long days in the garden.  She didn’t speak a word of English but I knew she expected order from the pale freckled face girl from the strange world next door.  I remember Ana had a gentle and graceful way of translating her grandmother’s stern reprimands to me, when we would sneak strawberries from their garden.  Those strawberries were tiny, but delicious on those hot summer days.

Ana’s family garden was full of small plants with colorful peppers and vegetables.  I will never forget the day I was tempted to try one of those colorful peppers.  They were so tiny and I couldn’t help think they would be as refreshing as the tiny strawberries.  I would have never guessed they carried a powerful kick of heat that would set my mouth on fire. Nor did I realize that as I bit into it that the oils would run down my hands and become a catalyst for an overwhelming wildfire on my face.   I had wiped the tears from my eyes as we ran into their home for some milk and I was confronted with a new burning sensation that only intensified by my second wave of tears.  There was no rebuke from her grandmother that day, but I definitely felt punished.

 Ana’s backyard was a rural oasis in the midst of urban calamity.  Sometimes there would be live chickens pecking in there backyard.  It didn’t dawn on me that they weren’t pets until the day Ana’s grandmother chopped one of there heads off and let it run around till it fell lifeless to the ground.  At first I was terrified until I realized the feathered friend wasn’t a playful pet; it was family dinner.  Though lifeless the fowl still provided entertainment to a group of dirty faced neighborhood kids, as we explored the science of the chicken talon.  I remember her brother pulling the tendon causing the claw to open and close.  For me the grass seemed greener on my side of the fence that day; I was thankful our chicken came frozen from the grocery store. 

There was always a since of mystery on Ana’s side of the fence and I was often introduced to new food experiences.  I guess that is why food is often linked to my memories of Ana, and it is a food that reminds me of her sweet friendship.  I had moved away when I was in sixth grade and I don’t recall interacting with Ana ever again.  I have never forgotten her or her strict grandmother, because I am reminded of them when I eat on of my favorite foods.  Ana introduced me to pomegranates.  She and her siblings would snack on the vibrantly colored seeds.  One day they offered me a handful; I was hesitant to try them after my pepper experience, but am so glad I did. Not only do they taste good, they will always remind me of the quiet girl from another world who happened to lived next door to my childhood home.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Frugal Festive Frill: Christmas Craft

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, so I am not bothered by the early arrival of holiday decor in the stores.  The commercial craze sets my mind toward family traditions and reflection of my savior.  I can totally see how all shiny things can distract us from the true meaning, and I am often guilty of getting over stressed this time of year, as well.  One temptation this time of year is to over spend and extend my budget and well that stresses my husband out.  God provides for our family through Matt's hard work, and I need to respect the boundaries of our budget, especially this time of year.

Savvy shopping and saving all year is the key to apply our budget wisely for this costly time of year.  This summer I was in a cute gift shop in a small town in Nebraska.  It had last year's Christmas decor on clearance for seventy percent off.  I had spotted an adorable pom pom garland for $5.99 (after the discount), and really wanted it.  Matt, who is often the voice of reason, pointed out that there was only one (and I would want more of them) and the price even at the discount was a little high for pom poms on a strings.  The cuteness of the garland and the logic of Matt's observation made me think about how easy it would be to recreate it on my own and have several to decorate with throughout the home.

Recently, I was running an errand at Target.  The store like many others had rolled out their holiday enticements and in the midst of them were these red, green, and white pom poms.  Instantly I remembered the vintage pom pom garland.  So I bought a few packs and some cotton string from Hobby Lobby, and created my own.  My total cost was under $8 and I was able to make several garlands.  Here is how:

The Light and Airy Pom Pom Garland:

Red, Green, White Pom Poms (approximately 24 total per garland)
Cotton String or Yarn
A Yarn Needle

The Light and Airy Pom Pom Garland:

1. Measure and cut 120 inches of string.

2. Tie a knot at one end of the string and thread the needle at the other.

3. Insert the threaded needle into the center of the pom pom, and slide it along the string to the knot.

4. Tie another knot on the other side of the pom pom, to keep it in place.

5. Tie a third knot a few inches from the pom pom.  I used my hand as a guide, grabbing the string with the left side of my hand at the pom pom and started the knot at the right side.

6. String another pom pom and tie another knot to secure it.

7. Repeat this process until you run out of string.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Coffee and My Camera

Coffee!  Yes please!  In desperate need of an hour to myself and a good cup of joe, I set out for some mommy time this afternoon.  I was intent on finding a caffeinated oasis, and decided to check out the City Market Coffee.

Every mom deserves a coffee break, especially one that involves crafted swirls of steamed cream and awesome 90's music. Bravo on the Beve!

Today, I decided to find a little rest by taking a coffee break with my camera.  I found that a couple hours of enjoying two of my favorite hobbies was beyond relaxing.  It has been nearly a decade since I moved away from Kansas City and since I have photographed for my own enjoyment of art.  

My favorite shots of the day reminded to not forget to take note of the little things, and the value of a grander perspective.

I am excited to jump back into my hobby. Leave comment below and tell me a hobby you have neglecting because life is too busy to have hobbies.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Groceries on a Budget

Do you ever wonder if it is possible to do what those extreme couponers do on TV?  I often think those people are crazy, seriously I think it is because I relate to them.  Deal shopping is addictive, and I have to admit when you have a great savings day you do acquire a shopper's high.  I am not as extreme as you've seen on television, but I do like to save money.

I used to think that you couldn't eat healthy on a budget.  On top of that I have a gluten sensitivity and that is an added expense at the checkout.

We feed our family on approximately $400 a month.  The secret is to stock up when things go one sale, to use coupons, and shop multiple stores.

I had once assumed that it would take too much time to save like the crazy coupon people or to go to multiple stores. Contrary to my initial thought it doesn't take that much more than making a list each week. Here is how we shop to save more than a few bucks:

It doesn't takes too much time to clip coupons, if you only clip the ones you'd typically use.  There are multiple ways to coupon and some of them do take a lot of time.  I have developed a method that doesn't take much time or cause us to over spend on unnecessary items, like 10 tubes of tooth paste.  I filter through the coupons and pull the out only the coupons for products we normally use: cereal, meat, dairy, and select hygiene products.  On average I spend 15-30 minutes going through the coupons and ads each week.  I put them in an organizer and watch for those products to go on sale. Then combine sale and coupon for maximum savings.  This week's coupon savings totaled $17.75.

I used to think I didn't have the time to drive all over town to go to multiple stores.  Once a system has been established like sticking to only the items on your list, with laser focus your grocery shopping does get more efficient.  I can't claim to be efficient it is a trait I inherited with marriage.  We shopped three grocery stores this afternoon and it took approximately an hour total.  We saved $31 by using the store discount cards. Finally, we save 10 cents for using canvas bags (believe me every little bit counts.)

My total time clipping, driving and shopping was about an hour and a half.  I will round up to to two hours for easy math.  Two hours of savvy shopping to save our family $48.85.  That is would be at least four hours of work at a part time job if I were paid over $11/hour.  And I would still have to grocery shop on top of the time I worked outside of the home.  Spending a little extra time saving is worth being able to stay home with my children.

This week's grocery store visits totaled $86.55.  It consisted of:

8.5 lbs of ground beef
3 lbs of bacon
8 boxes of Cheerios
4 59 oz Minute Maid OJs
1 lb of kale
2 zucchini
7.58 lbs of bananas
3 Old Orchard Frozen Juices
2.29 lbs of squash
.32 lb of baby boo chop
.58 lb ginger root
3 red bell peppers
5.04 lbs of red grapes
3 large pumpkins (for carving)
Renew Life Ultimate Flora 30 ct Probiotic supplement

Most of the list above will be consumed this week but some of them are stock up items.  We only buy them when they are on sale and freeze them to use when we need them.  Some weeks we buy other items that compliment our meal plans.  I hope to post a stock up price list in the future so keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Clear Away the Clutter Challenge

I dread the organizing process of moving into a new home.  Once all the major unpacking was done, I shifted to the sorting of the random objects.  I have found that I had created piles that would migrate through the home until they found a temporary spot in our office.  I began to call it Mount Catch All.
Organization has never been my strong suit.  Many of my childhood memories are of my mother and I in conflict over my messy room.  In fact, one of my mother's favorite school projects that she saved is a laminated children's book I wrote in sixth grade, titled: Cleaning My Room Is So Much Fun.  Uh, that was a big fat lie I told myself, my teacher, and my mom.  I can thrive in piles of papers and books.  That is until they somehow multiply like ciaos causing gremlins.   Mount Catch All had taken over the whole office and was flowing into the kitchen, leaving me overwhelmed and unfocused.

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_solandzh'>solandzh / 123RF Stock Photo</a>I have to give a huge thank you to my dear friend Amy, who came to my rescue.  She came over this week and helped me organize our office.  If I am the Hot Mess Mamma, she is the Organizing Ninja Mom.  In less than two hours she stealthily sorted, delegated tasks and advised me through the office.  What had once been the landing pad for the miscellaneous office supplies, bills, homeschool curriculum and any other random objects, (Mount Catch All), were now neatly sorted placed and orderly stored.  I had been chipping away at the pile for weeks and thought I had weeks ahead of me.  Nope she had the floor cleared and left the desk functional, in a matter of hours.  Woo Hoo!  I love Amy, she rocked it, but why couldn't I do that on my own.  Am I hard wired to be messy?

I love when my home is clean and clear of clutter.  My brain actually is relaxed and calm when my home is organized.  So why don't I keep it that way?  I am on a mission, yes the impossible kind to find a system that works for keeping up with the clean up!  Join me as I relearn how to be domestic.  I would love to hear from you about your organizing tips and tricks.  Obviously I have a lot to learn, and I am ready to get started!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fun Can't Wait For Tomorrow

It doesn't  matter how busy I actually am. There never seems to be enough hours in my day. I will just have to put it off till tomorrow.
Whether I have ten or two things on my daily list, I have a hard time being motivated to complete them.  What isn't finished today should get done tomorrow.

I function better with a visible list, but creating that list is often a task I am not motivated to do. I will make one tomorrow.

I plan on doing better tomorrow!   

The truth is that today is important and many things on my to do list aren't as important as others.  Sure I could have the tidiest house, or most fit body, those things are good, but choose other things like experiences with my kids.  I once asked my mom how she thought that my kids would remember me when I pass.  She replied, "You always make things fun, you're the fun mom!"  Inside I beaned, did a happy dance in my head.  "Oh yeah I am the fun mom.  I am not the tidy mom, the organized mom, nor even the cool mom, but I am the fun mom."  

So today I will enjoy being the fun mom.  I am headed out for a bike ride the piles of books and office supplies stretch across my dining room can wait till I get back or organizing can resume tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Steadfast in the Change

It seems as though we are getting good at moving.  We have spent the last nine months in transition and we have done it without internet!!  So I have been a little distant from the blog.  I know some of you are freaking out as you read those last few sentences, not because of my internet absence but rather the idea of not having internet!!  It has been a challenge, but also a huge blessing.  I have spent more time reading actual books (ya know the paper kind) and interacting with people face to face!! Without lightning speed internet my life has slowed down and I have found myself in that season I dreamed of in my post last year.

SO here is the catch up:  Last November we completed the long process to become foster parents, only to find out that we'd be moving to another state.  This meant that we would have to start the process all over again, and we have.  We spent the better part of the winter decluttering and staging our home to sell it.  We put it on the market in April and it sold in a day.  Ok, but then we had to find a home in another state, without internet.  Deep breath.  Matt my husband found us a home and in our new state and showed it to me over FaceTime.  Take another deep breath, he place a contract on it without me stepping foot in it.  The control freak in me still can't believe this, or what is more unbelievable was that I was ok with it!  Months later I am still in awe of the blessing our new home is and can't wait to meet my son and show him his very own room!

The more change the better!  So we decided to homeschool this year and there will be more about that in the post to come!!!  I hope to post more whenever we get internet; we are waiting on Google Fiber! That's right 0 to 100 mbps in who knows when!

For now I will e working on those face to face friendship making and book reading.  Currently I am reading The Best Yes by New York Best Seller Lysa TerKerurst. One of my hopes is to get better at scripture memory.  I have chosen one of the verses in the study guide that corresponds with the book.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thanks for holding my hair Mom.

"Mom, I think I threw up..." Those were the words that woke me up 12:06 AM this past Tue.  My girls had snuggled up in my bed as they usually do when my husband is traveling for work.  Sure enough I turned the light on and with out all the gross details, it was everywhere. Throw up is my mommy kryptonite, I some how made it through the compulsive gagging and began praying. This sucked, I really didn't want to be the only parent home tonight. One of my girls was sick, and the other covered in her reversal of fortune.  I didn't even know where to begin, but prayer was my only guard against the selfish "why me?" and getting through the clean up.  Prayer instantly positioned me for gratitude, and then lead me to a place of compassion. I have had a friend whose husband was deployed for over a year and knew she had nights just like these. Then my heart dropped for a dear friend who had lost her husband less than a year ago.  She has often told me it is the nights that are the hardest. I couldn't even imagine a night like this. I was thankful that I could at least call my husband the next morning and ask for prayer.
Adi woke nearly every hour and I did as well to hold her hair back and play the role of nurse mom for the next twenty four hours. My bouncy bubbly six and a half year old was like a lifeless doll. She couldn't even keep fluids down, and I began to worry. But before I went too far down that path I spotted the pink post it notes she had neglected to put away after playing with them the day before.
Lately, she has been leaving a lot of her things out of place, her focus at school has been lacking, and has even began throwing passionate fits.  Irritated would would be an understatement in discribing my feelings about these behaviors.  Now those pink post it notes were a reminder of her chronic disobedience but also to me that I had committed to praying for her.  You see, I am a post it note prayer. I often write prayer requests on post its and stick the in various places around the house.  Sometimes it is a just name, sometimes there are specifics, but they catch my eye and remind me to pray.
I had started this battle strong, but after long hours and little sleep, I was forgetting my strongest ally.  I began to pray and God helped me remember how much joy Adi's spunky personality brings me.  That He is sovereign in every situation, even using Adi's over site to encourage me to pray. 
So I did. We made it through the night, and when Adi woke bouncing and playful, I was again, very great full.  Today my sweet Olive was struck by the same virus and we have chosen an active prayer attack.  She has hugged the toilet a few times and as a scurried down the hall to hold her hair back I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The sound of my steps and my body language reminded me of my mom, when I was sick. It was a I have become my mother moment, but in a good way. When I was sick, she would scurry in hold my hair and rub my back. 
Tonight I am the hair holding, back rubbing, nurse mom on the night watch. I am ready to battle this illness with prayer. Prayer for healing and prayers of gratitude.  I thank God for a loving mom; thank you mom for being the type of mom who rubbed my back and held my hair; thank you for training me to be a good mom through your actions. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Lies Rob Me of Joy

Last weekend I was sitting on a gym floor coaching my daughters' cheer squad when I realized there was a woman standing behind me.  When I looked up, her phone was right above my head.  I jokingly commented, "Are you taking my picture?"  I startled her; she had walked right up to me and hadn't noticed I was at her feet.  "I was looking at today's schedule. I am trying to figure out what the next activity is today."  She like many of us had so much on your calendar that instead of enjoying there current activity she was planning the best plan of attack on the following items on her to do list.

Busyness is my weakness. I am the girl who thinks she can do it all and then finds herself overwhelmed. I know that I am not alone in this whirl wind of busyness because I have heard at least three other women this week say they hope in the next season, they can find time to rest. The overcrowded schedule is an epidemic that is widely spread among modern families.

A while back, I spoke to a mom who had rushed from one activity to another; her account of violin lessons, practices, and ballgames all in a matter of two hours, made me sigh with exhaustion. I didn't dare judge her because I was in the same boat: Kids home at 4:00, homework, dinner, a t-ball game at 5:45, and softball practice at 6:15. Thinking about our family schedule made me sigh as well. I often say to myself I will be less busy in the next season of my life, but that is a lie I have been telling myself for years. It is no secret that lies are destructive. I haven't met anyone who likes being lied to, but we tell ourselves lies all the time. More bizarre we believe the lies we tell to ourselves.

I have a long history of telling myself lies which have robbed me of the joy of the moment. When my children were infants I would long for the days they could feed themselves, walk through the zoo without wanting to be carried, and especially the day we said goodbye to diapers and hello big girl potty. My eyes were always focused on the next season of life, so much that I would often forget the blessings of the here and now. I am thankful for the amazing women in my life who sat me down at that time and reminded me that those precious days would pass too quickly and I would miss them when they were gone. Many times I couldn't wrap my mind around missing dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and days on end without showers. But I do miss that sweet face looking up at me saying "Hold you?" with arms stretched toward the sky. Then a glowing smile wide on her face as I swept her up in my arms. How many of us are looking at what we have to endure and are missing what we've been blessed with right in front of our eyes?

My little girls don't fit in my arms anymore, but they still want climb onto my lap. I am body pillow during family movie night; personal space is not an option. I don't mind because I know in time they will slowly fill there own schedules with independent activities, and snuggle times will be too few and far between. Despite my arms and legs going numb, I love making memories like these with my girls. This season of our life is incredible; tying shoes and inconvenient potty breaks come with the territory. I still find myself telling a variation of that old lie, we will have more time when this season is over to rest. When basketball is over we will spend more time together as a family. When school is out we will be less busy, and on and on.

Busyness is an epidemic, an addiction, and this is an intervention. I have to stop lying to myself and take back my schedule.  Putting healthy limits on the amount of activities will give you more time to grow as a family.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Burlap Free Printable Scripture Love the Lord Your God

Burlap Free Printable Scripture Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Det. 6:5