Monday, January 31, 2011


When I remember back to high school (It was OH so long ago... almost 6 years, THAT is weird) there was a time in youth ministry that we all learned about serving one another. I don't remember the scripture we had studied, or who spoke on it, (but let's be honest, it was probably Tom,) but I do remember the acts that followed this particular lesson. Helping one another, lifting one another up, being comforters, friends, and cheerleaders for each other.

Doesn't it sound so great to have a community around you cheering? To have friends who pick you up when you are down, who care for you when you are sick, who take care of business when you cannot? To have people praying for you daily? Well- I think that sounds awesome.

In high school it was really little things:
-Can I plan the songs this week for youth group?
-Can I pray with you about your finals?
-Can I take you to _____ since you don't have your license yet?

You know, those things, and a lot of the time, really, I don't think as many opportunities to serve were taken as should have been.

I see it this way. We are all pretty self sufficient people (or like to think we are) and we know that we can take care of things (even if it might take us two hours longer than if we had help). But- with that- we are all selfish people, too.

Stay with me here, aren't we selfish to get the glory for doing things, to be noticed for working hard (although I know this isn't the perfect example, but I think it can count in some circumstances), or to be felt sorry for that you have done sooooooo much?

I know that when I was working three jobs and pregnant it did make me feel good for my husband to praise my efforts, to notice that I was kicking my tail knowing my teaching job was going to be gone the next year. But- it became such an obsession at times that I would take on more because I liked hearing his praises, and instead of allowing him to take some of my other burdens (such as laundry, making dinner, doing dishes, etc.) I packed that on too, because it made me look good. "Wow, she works so hard." But wasn't that out of selfishness? Uh... pretty sure that's a positive Ghost Rider.

In those youth group days our leaders told us that sometimes we would have to purposefully allow people to serve us. Yes, you are capable, but does that mean you should/have to do it? (But... there are some people who have become very good at being "served" and I want to kick them in the face, you know, those who never work, or whose homes are trashed and a group comes, cleans it up, and the next week it is completely in disarray again? I think sometimes we can be taken advantage of.)

But specifically I remember a conversation with a friend, "Let me do this for you, let me serve you."

We are called to serve others as Jesus did.

I love the story about washing the disciples feet in John chapter 13. There is so much to this passage, but tonight, I am focusing on the fact that Jesus took the role of a servant, and cleaned the dusty feet of His followers. Some protested, but He explained that He had to do it anyway.

Do you protest to people serving you? I do- because I know I can do it on my own. But this so easily creeps into other areas of our lives too- I can do salvation on my own, I can do forgiveness on my own, I can do life on my own, and God then has no place. People offer to carry a diaper bag, but I got it. Or to hold my baby while I do something else, but I can do it one handed.

This Sunday I was sick, very very sick, and I let my husband serve me (that doesn't seem to be difficult, except for when he doesn't do what I want done when I want it done). A good friend of mine repeatedly asked how she could help me, and although I lay in bed for hours, I told her nothing, that we were fine. Last night, as I pondered those days back in high school and allowing others to serve you, I replied to a simple text that I could use her help the next day.

In serving me, my sweet friend also helped me to serve my sister-in-law who is recovering from delivering my adorably sweet nephew. Because I remembered back to some Snow Blast, the ball of service is rolling. And I'm hoping to serve my sick friend this week, and my other friends in months to come.

As a mom, there is a lot to think about here- how do I teach Brooklyn to serve others and be served, but not to take advantage/be taken advantage of? Or, do I leave that up to God? I hope she will see her dad and I serving people in more ways than bringing meals, moving furniture, or doing laundry. (Although seriously, isn't is AWESOME when someone does your laundry? Uh- ya, and puts it away... in the right places!)

Serving others is so simple, but it is finding those who will let themselves be served. As a mom and wife, I serve my husband and daughter daily, but what if I extended it beyond them? I like to think that I serve my parents when I help do dishes, while they serve me by taking care of Brooke for a bit. Or by purposefully cleaning up the things that we took out while we were over there (particularly having to do with our baby, and YES, I did call to apologize to my mom for not putting Brooke's bad back in the spare room on Saturday.) Have you chosen to be served? How can we serve others this week?

(I'm thinking we won't be serving the neighbors with shoveling.... because they all have snow blowers... but we'd gladly be served... not that I KNOW my neighbors really.... :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Delicious Enchiladas

Jon and I hate enchiladas, just ask my mom, I would skip dinner instead of eating the disgusting casserole in a tortilla- until now.

I created these bad babies a few years ago, and felt the urge to eat them again this week:

6 tortillas
1 large chicken breast (Like really, the big ones)
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans enchilada mild sauce
1 can original rotel (or mild, if you have baby taste buds)
1/2 bag shredded three cheddar/mexican cheese/colby jack (whathaveyou)
1 large can refried beans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook chicken breast (we cooked ours in chicken bullion in the slow cooker, about 1 hour so it could easily by shredded, could easily be set early in the day). Shred chicken and place in bowl with taco seasoning, rotel (WITH juices) mix well.

Grease 9 x 13 pan with cooking oil spray.

Smear some refried beans down center of tortilla, sprinkle cheese generously, sprinkle chicken mixture, roll up, place seam of tortilla down in pan, when filled, pour one can of enchilada sauce over all roll ups.

Cook for 30 minutes in oven at 375, sprinkle cheese on the top, and the other can of enchilada sauce (we used half). Cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with yummy rice drizzled in lime and salt and sour cream- fab!

I know I know... I normally don't blog THIS kind of stuff, but truly, I lost my recipe cards and had to document somewhere! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Competition and Priorities

Jon and I started a new workout program on Monday, and yes, we’re still doing it. (You can pick your jaw up off the floor now… we’ll see how long it lasts.)

There have been many times that I have wanted to try this workout, or this diet, and usually, it starts with a friend. Someone suggests we do something together, and we go for it.

And I fail, EVERY TIME.

See, here is the paradox, if you will. I am competitive, but not with women. I HATE competing with women for anything. I hate one-on-one women’s sports, I hate “Biggest Loser” women groups, I hate job interviews when other women are there. Maybe I’m intimidated, maybe I think women take things too personally (ahem), I just think it is silly to compete with friends, so I just choose not to.

I like to compete against men, feelings don’t get hurt, it doesn’t get personal, and who cares! I will wrestle any man, and gladly lose. I will diet with a group of guys (and even let them know my weight because really… they don’t care anyway) and be blown out of the water. I will show any man up on an interview (hehe).

I don’t like playing whose what is better or try to convince everyone that my ____ is the best. But if someone challenges something that I am very passionate about, I will certainly defend my position whether it be a male or female, (or my brother)- and it is okay if we don’t agree. I like how my friend Liz said it, “We can just choose not to talk about that stuff since us two are passionate this way, and you two are passionate that way.” Nice friend, nice.

In the bible study I am doing right now with other mothers we are talking about parenting (shocking). We have discussed what we need to give our kids- things like a secure love, a strong hope, a significant purpose, the freedom to be different, and on and on. THIS, my friends, is something I am passionate about, THIS is something that I believe in- 'raising our children the way that God raises us.' This is a priority, for our family.

Which got me to thinking… Priorities. I remember in high school we had an activity where we had to list out where we wanted to be in 10 years- sort of a priority list for a 16 year old. You know, married, a good job, a nice home, a few kids, an education, etc. And then I thought- how do we make these priorities happen?

Priorities can screw up just about anything can't they? They ruin friendships, they can break up couples, and they can be the demise of a family. (No, this is not a law, this is my idea… but I don’t feel like saying I think… before every phrase, just saying.) You know, if one friend prioritizes another friend, poof, first friend is gone. Or if a boyfriend prioritizes sleep over growing in faith, one woman may walk away. What if mom's priorities are to make money and have a big house, and dad's are to spend time with the family and play over working- will either get what they want- probably not, and someone will walk away.

All of these systems can easily break down when people have different priorities: activities, people, family, religion, clubs, work, hobbies. What order we put these into can make a huge difference in our lives.

Jon and I spoke a lot before we got married about what was more important to us, if you will. What a journey we have been on these past almost 6 years, but our priorities have stayed constant.

We never had the dream of a castle, or fancy cars, or lots of money. It really just is not in our character. We had big dreams to us, a large family, a comfortable home with just enough space, and jobs that we loved, regardless of what they were. That means that we live differently, and a lot of the time, we just don’t fit in, and that is hard sometimes- but we know that the choices that we are making, are glorifying to God. (AND- in no way am I saying that when people live in castles, or have fancy cars, or lots of money are they NOT glorifying God- we just don't do it that way.)

I’m thinking tonight about what Jon and I do prioritize, and I think it goes something like this, but not perfectly. Family comes first- and this can be really hard. A lot of the time, it means not going out like we’d like (well, really we DO like being home!), because our family needs to be home for bedtime, and our family needs to make money the way that we can and that means that mom has to work at night sometimes, and dad has to take care of Brooke. We prioritize faith- church, studying the bible, loving on others, praying. Time together- oh my heart swells from this. It may seem crazy, but I go mad every day that Jon is away at work, I love the man with all of my being and my heart yearns for him when he is gone- when he is home sometimes we just sit together and do nothing, and I hope our family will spend a lot of time “doing nothing.” My being a stay-at-home mom has been another huge priority for us- a majorly sacrificial priority. We made choices in our early life together of saving with specific goals in mind, and we were able to meet those. And then, instead of jumping, we waited for things, and we have certainly reaped the benefits of that- but we easily could have not. We chose a modest home, in a modest neighborhood, with what we wanted: within 15 minutes of family, 3 bedrooms, room to expand, good schools, a basement- and NO, we were not willing to sacrifice any of these things because of the “IFs” in life. What IF the market crashes and we simply CANNOT get out? (Yes, we thought this before the major crisis that is our world today- we have some wise family members who have ALWAYS made us think like this.) What IF we have a horrible medical emergency that makes us really poor? What IF Jon loses his job? What IF, what IF, what IF… I could go on and on. I would love to have a 4 bedroom home, with millions of square feet (and a cleaning lady to come with it), but with the priorities that we have, we just don’t HAVE what it takes to have that. Does that make sense?

We don't have the money to have the priority of a BIG house, that is close to family and friends, with room to expand, and good schools. We can have a modest house with all of our non-negotiables.

My being a stay-at-home mom is another priority we had before we knew if we'd be able to have kids, before we knew where we'd live, and before we knew how much money we'd be making. If we had to live in a one bedroom apartment to make that happen, we gladly would have. It is just more important to our family than having a big house, or a nice car. Having our kids in a GOOD school district, not just an okay one, is more important to us than living in that dream home. Living near family is far more important than driving a beautiful new SUV. And so that means we have to make choices- with what we can afford! We could have bought a beautiful home- in KENTUCKY… or even Boofoo, Illinois, which maybe isn’t that far to some families. But, it is not close enough for us.

I’m not saying that you should change your priorities or that if you choose to live in Boofoo that you are wrong, please don’t think that.-- I’m just talking to myself here about my family- and considering my husband doesn’t really read this often… and Brooke can’t work a computer… I don’t expect anyone else to agree with me. (And yes, living close to friends is a priority of ours too, but it doesn’t seem many are rooted yet in where they are going to be… so we’re planted, like REALLY planted… where will you be friends?! :) )

How on earth did I get from working out to my families desires for our life? Simple- Jon and I are working out together, not with anyone else competing(women! Hehe)… ya… I dunno either! :) But- if we’re always competing with others about what we have and who we are becoming, I think that it becomes the whose _________ is better.

And clearly, our plans are best. :) Just kidding!

I’m wondering, what are your priorities? What drives your family? What are you willing to sacrifice, and what isn’t worth it? Who are your priorities made for? How do you plan to get there?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baby I'm amazed by you.

I started dating my husband in 2005.

I got engaged in 2007.

I got married in 2008.

I found out I was pregnant in 2009.

I became a mother in 2010.

I know that 2011 will hold many wonderful adventures for my sweet family. I cannot wait to see where we end up, what we're doing, and who is along for the ride.

I'm sitting here chuckling to myself thinking over the past few weeks and all that Lyn has done. On Christmas Eve morning I set her down and she began crying out, "Ma ma, ma ma mom!" Um... seriously? Sometimes I beat myself up for Brooke not crawling yet, or whatever... I know, don't worry, I tell myself to shut up. (But, she is army crawling, and it is PRECIOUS) But when that happens, I think about how AMAZING she is... she calls me Mama... and she is only 6 months old. She cries it out when I set her down, or leave the room. Sometimes she just babbles it... but I think she may know that I am Mama. Good brain babes, goooood brain. (And, we did get a "Papa" out of her once, I think Jon was pleased!)

This little girl has such a personality, she is so sweet laying her head on my shoulder, wrapping her arms around my neck and squeezing tight, and being so still for loves. She is friendly, and will let people pass her for hours pretty much, honestly, on Christmas at my mom's, I wasn't quite sure where she was for roughly 2 hours, but I knew she was in hands that love her very much. She was passed down the table, then snuggled with her adoptive Grandma Randall and Papa Steve, and did so well! Oh sweet love, I love who you are becoming!

Right now, we're going through the, "Wait, you're my mom, and I don't think I want to be away from you." However, this has REALLY developed over the past 24 hours or so... and I was away from her for a good 9 of those hours, then with the 8 hours of sleep she did in her bed... she needed some momma love, and I needed her too. My heart aches for her when she is not with me. But, I do know that I need to let her explore the world around her, be loved on by others, and it warms my heart to see that. So, I gladly hand her over to anyone who asks... and even those who don't. :) We're all about sharing this baby love that we have been given.

I just figured I'd update you a little on our lives.... and here are a few tid bits, if you care:

1- We started bananas a few weeks ago, have added in sweet potatoes, along with apples. Tomorrow, we will do carrots. And yes, I am a freak, I make my own baby food, and yes, it is organic, and I LOVE doing it.
2- We have taken to calling our girl Lynie... but usually Brooke and Brooklyn... but seriously, you might think her name is Lynn if you spend a day with me!
3- We bought Brooklyn one Christmas gift, and it was used- and she likes it!
4- We lost our Jeep a few weeks ago, boooo, so, we bought a super sexy wagon from our grandparents, we tried to be a one car family, and it DID work, I cannot lie. However, after debating the fact that some days I will have to take Daddy to work, Brooke would then be screwed up on naps, and honestly, we value sleep more than money. Oh Money.... I could go on and on and on... money is evil, and we will not be slaves to it. We also put Brooke in her big girl car seat in this car, she likes that she can see around, however, she is not thrilled with the in and out, and I do not blame her.
5- We have vaccinated Brooklyn a little bit, but after how lethargic she was from her last Pertussis vaccine, we aren't sure if we will do that second one in a few weeks, we are blessed to have a very traditional doctor, who loves to converse with us about these choices, along with help us make the best choices for us.

And that is all for tonight... because I'm pooped!