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When Motherhood is Hard

I’m currently sitting outside with my little guy, just the two of us. The girls and Thomas are at the movies, where Witten and I started out. He just couldn’t handle it, so we came home. However, with only one vehicle at the moment, we’ll be heading back in awhile to get them.

We came home to no air conditioning, sink full of dishes, and my washing machine still broken after almost two weeks. I was determined I was going to be productive and get the kitchen cleaned, but with Witten crying and the heat of the house, I just couldn’t.

So here we are outside, and all I can hear in my head is everyone telling me how much I’m going to miss these days. But I wonder how I’m going to make it through the end of this day.

I’m exhausted.

I feel completely defeated.

Some days it’s a struggle to put one foot in front of the other and plaster a fake smile on my face.

No one warns you that these days come with so many struggles. No one tells you that life won’t always be a walk in the park or that you will feel completely alone some days.

I don’t know all of the answers for sure. I know that I have to rely on my Heavenly Father to see me through. And I also know that I wouldn’t make it without some amazing friends.

Ladies, we have to be there for one another. A simple text goes such a long way. My precious friends have taken care of my babies like their own. They have ran errands for me. They have gifted me and taken care of me and my family. And my most precious friend has even offered her washing machine and lawnmower to me. They have been there for me when I wasn’t sure I could make it without them.

We have to be those kinds of friends. We have to lift other women up in prayer. We have to rejoice with them and cry with them and laugh with them and listen to them. We have to learn to be a friend.

I hope that I can repay them with the same generosity they have to me.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

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The Chicken Sagas Update

Well it’s been a full week since we got the baby chickens. I am happy to report that all eight survived the weekend, and Olivia is now back in charge to my great relief.

The biggest change we’ve seen in our chickens is how much they’ve grown. They get bigger and bigger everyday and they’re starting to get feathers on their wings.

Check out those feathers!

Another thing that is unfortunate with our chickens is how much they poop! It’s everywhere y’all. They even walk through their feeder and poop. Thomas says all he can smell is chicken poop. Apparently the rest of us are now immune to it, which is a whole other problem.

Olivia is now changing newspapers and cleaning the floors daily. We’ll all be really glad when they’re outside. Thankfully it’ll only be a few more weeks.

Stay tuned for more chicken stories!

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The Chicken Sagas

So, I’ve always thought my parenting skills were pretty on point. I mean, of course, I’ve made mistakes along the way, and some days I’ve felt like a total failure. For the most part, though, I like to think I’m pretty level headed with my kiddos. I’ve seen lots of parents in my teaching career, and let me just tell you, some of those parents can make you feel like super mom.

Unfortunately, over the last few days, I have begun to question my parenting capabilities. No, nothing has happened to my children. No one is in trouble. Neither of my school aged children are failing their respective grades.

So, now I’m sure you’re wondering what makes me feel so inadequate. I said yes to something I shouldn’t have. I made a decision that has changed everything in my home. I let my daughter do something I never thought I would. I let Olivia get baby chickens.

Yes, you read correctly. Baby chickens. Ten baby chickens to be exact.

Now, let me just take you back a little bit. Olivia started 4H this year, which teaches all about agriculture and lots of other things. She absolutely LOVES it. She loves animals and would gladly acquire a farm. For those of you who don’t know me, I am NOT a farm girl. My best friend in high school even called me a city slicker all the time.

So, Liv comes home earlier this year talking all about these chickens and raising them. I think how hard could this be? Oh how naive!

Now, you had to order the chickens in February and they didn’t come in until April. Well, in March, they had a meeting about these chickens. However, I had parent teacher conferences and couldn’t go. The ladies at the 4H office graciously sent me the information for Olivia and I to check out. Obviously I had every intention of reading it all, but I just never got around to it. Big mistake.

Then Wednesday, we picked up our chickens. They start talking about all kinds of crazy stuff and I am lost. (Note to self: Always read the information sent.) Apparently these little things are like newborns. Yeah, they’re handing over ten newborns to me. 🤦‍♀️ We basically have to incubate these things like newborns.

All I could think when these ladies were talking was, “What have I gotten myself into?” I knew Thomas wasn’t going to be too happy about the extras I took 😬 but he’s used to my far fetched ideas and crazy ways.

Our afternoon was getting away from us and it was almost time for church, so we picked the other two kiddos up and headed home to eat quickly. Thomas and I decided that I would drop the kids off at church and go to Tractor Supply while he rigged up the kennel for all of the chickens.

Now, I’ve probably been in Tractor Supply maybe a total of five times in my life. I had no idea what I was doing. I even felt intimidated driving up in my minivan at the farm store. Thankfully it’s apparently “chicken season”. Chicken stuff is EVERYWHERE! Apparently you can even buy a life sized metal chicken to decorate your yard or for your chickens to hang out with. I dunno..

There I am standing in the middle of the chicken section looking around lost as a goose. There’s chicken feed, chicken treats, chicken toys, chicken coops, and baby chickens. There’s also a lady buying some baby chickens. This lady was a chicken expert, y’all. She was all pullet this and red tailed feathered big brown bear chicken that. I was a little amazed at how much she knew and that she was buying these chickens of her own free will.

So after chicken lady left, the sales lady asked if I needed help. I mean I’m pretty sure she could see the look of fear and confusion on my face. This was the super chicken expert. She grabbed everything I needed and even talked me into a 50 pound bag of feed. As I waited for my bag of feed at the checkout another chicken expert (obviously you must know all about chickens to work here) filled me in on all the things to do with these chickens.

Much more knowledgeable, I headed home. Thomas had the kennel ready and after getting the girls from church, Olivia helped set up their food and water. We were a little concerned about one, but they were fed and watered so we went to bed.

Thursday morning we woke up to to a sad discovery. One of the babies passed overnight. Now, I’m not sure if this is one that Ann Elizabeth picked up and dropped or one that Witten squeezed too hard. It could have also gotten into the Jolly Rancher Witten thought they needed.

We soon learned that there’s nothing quite like trying to get a dead chicken off of some cardboard. Thank the Lord for Thomas! After the chicken was disposed of we tried to get ready while still fretting over chickens. I kept asking myself a million questions:

Are they warm enough?

Are they too warm?

Is their food okay?

Is their set up okay?

Is it too drafty?

Definitely like newborns!

As we rushed out of the house, I noticed another one that was looking sickly. I spent the day worrying all about those chickens. I decided I should run home before getting kids, and I’m so glad I did! I walked into a scene I never thought I would.

Six chickens had escaped and the sickly one was dead. Now, getting the dead one wasn’t nearly as hard as catching the other six. I immediately called Thomas as he’s coaching baseball like he was going to save the day. Ha! He talked me into calming down some and then I worked to catch chickens. I caught four, tore my dress, and finally went onto get kids.

After getting back home, Olivia helped catch the other two. She put down clean newspapers, and I made sure they couldn’t escape again.

Thankfully this morning we woke up to all eight of our chickens happy and healthy. Now, Liv is at her dad’s house this weekend, so that leaves me in charge of chickens. I’m just hoping she comes back home to all eight still alive. Say a prayer for me. I’m going to need it!

Stay tuned for more from the chicken sagas.

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Keep Singing

Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5b

As I lie in bed this morning trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep before my alarm went off, I could hear the soft patter of the rain outside my window. As I listened wishing I could sleep the day away, I heard something else. I heard the birds singing. I’m sure I’ve heard the birds singing during the rain a million times before, but today the thought hit me, “We should be more like birds.”

How many times do we wallow in our troubles? We start to focus on the rain on our backs. We spend so much time dwelling on our problems that we forget how to sing, and we forget to trust the One who has promised to bring us through.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.”

Never does He tell us to dwell on our problems. God tells us to think on the things that are praiseworthy. Trust me, I know when everything seems to be falling apart I have a really hard time thinking on anything else, but we will never see the victory if we don’t start thinking about the Victorious One.

We have to claim His victory in our lives as well. It starts with our thoughts, but our thoughts overflow into our mouths. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” We have to be careful what we are proclaiming.

There is a song by Casting Crowns titled “Praise You in This Storm”. This song portrays exactly the way I think so many of us feel when our feet are against the fire. We don’t understand what we’re going through. We don’t understand why God hasn’t taken it all away, but despite our finite knowledge, we have to keep praising Him. We have to keep worshiping Him because He is the One who will bring the breakthrough.

You can purchase the song here.

I pray today that if you are walking through something that seems to be impossible, that you give it all to a God. I pray that you will trust the One who can bring you through.

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Fake It Til You Make It

We’ve all heard fake it til you make it probably more times than we can count. We’ve probably all tried to do just that at some point or another. I know I’ve put a smile on my face when it seems the whole world seems to be falling apart. I’ve tried to hold it all together on my own, but that’s not what God tells us to do.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” When you cast something, you are essentially getting it away from you. Dictionary.com defines cast as “to throw or hurl; fling”. When’s the last time you threw your cares on God? That’s what He tells us to do.

If you’ve followed me at all, you know one of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” If you want peace, you’re going to have to give it to God. You have to take the time to spend with Him. Not only do you need to be talking with Him, but you need to be listening for what He wants to tell you.

There’s a song by Chris Tomlin called “Home“. The first verse says:

This world is not what it was meant to be

All this pain, all this suffering

There’s a better place waiting for me

In Heaven

You can buy the song here.

This world is not going to be perfect. There will be hurts and pains. We have to remember that this is not our home. Our eternal home is in Heaven. We also have to remember that these things we are faced with are spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” And with these things being spiritual, we need to understand that we can’t face them alone or in our own finite power. We need the power of Jesus Christ.

We have to know where to put our hope and trust. Psalms 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Our trust is not in men. It is in the Lord. We have to know where to put our trust.

Quit faking it til you make it. Put your trust in the Lord today. Let Him fight your battles for you and receive His peace in your life.

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Peace in the Storm

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The thunder shook the house and my eyes popped open. I could hear the patter of little feet before I saw my middle child round the corner into my bedroom shaking in fear. As Thomas went to turn on her television to hopefully drown out the sound, I quoted one of my favorite Scriptures with her that I have tried to instill in instances just like tonight.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Still shaking with fear, clutching her bear and blanket, she said that verse with me. I then asked her if she knew what a sound mind was. My sweet little seven year old shook her head no, and I just whispered peace. Peace that passes all understanding. I told her that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Then we prayed. I prayed that the mighty peace of God would wash over her and that she would experience peace that passes all understanding. She went back to bed a much braver little girl because she knew she had Jesus on her side.

So many times in our lives, we do the same thing as Ann Elizabeth. We start to focus on the storm in our lives instead of the Peace Giver. In Mark 4:35-41, we read the story of Jesus crossing over in a boat. Jesus was sleeping as the wind and waves became stronger. The disciples run to Jesus. The first thing He does is command peace (v. 39). Then He went on to question the disciples about their faith (v. 40).

It’s so easy for us to question the disciples and wonder why they didn’t trust Jesus, but don’t we do the same? If we’re a born again Christian, we have access to the peace of Jesus in just one simple prayer. However if you’re anything like me, you’ve searched for the answers in so many different places dwelling too long on the storm instead of the Prince of Peace.

I want us to look at our verse at the top of the devotional. If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you know this is one of my favorite verses. I have clung to this verse when the storm has threatened to toss me out of the boat. But today we’re going to look at it in a way I never have. We’re going to dissect and see what God is telling us.

That first part says Do not be anxious. I am anxious most of the time. I worry about things to the point of making myself sick. According to dictionary.com, anxious means 1. Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. God tells us not to dwell on those what ifs.

But in everything by prayer and supplication. So in this next part God is telling us that instead of worrying about it, we need to bring it to Him. Are you talking to Jesus about your storm today? Are you humbly coming before the throne of God with your request? We have to pray about our situation.

With thanksgiving. This part always gets me because I am guilty as charged when it comes to thanksgiving, especially in the midst of the storm. But dear brothers and sisters, you better be thanking your Savior. No matter how bleak life seems to get, Jesus went to that cross for you and me. If you can’t think of anything else to thank Him for today, start with your salvation. If life looks bleak everywhere you turn, thank Him for those past victories. Trust me, if you’ve been walking this journey for anytime at all, you have something to thank Him for.

Let your requests be made known to God. One thing I am convinced of is that we should pray specifically. You need peace? Then pray for that peace. You want Jesus to calm that storm? Pray He speaks to the wind and waves. Now, I’m not saying that He will always answer the way we want, but I know from experience that praying specifically may lead to God answering just how you ask.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Never in this verse does God promise to fix it all. He never promises to grant every prayer request. No, he merely promises peace. But let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the peace of God. He holds us even when the winds and waves are threatening to capsize our boat. He gives us the confidence to rest in His arms no matter our circumstances, just like He did for Ann Elizabeth tonight.

If you’re facing storms around you today, why don’t you bring those to Christ. Thank Him for the things He’s done and present your requests to Him. Then watch as He fills your life with His peace.

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A Grateful Heart

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

My family and I sat around the living room the other night. Witten was in my arms with his little head against my cheek. Ann Elizabeth sat next to me on the love seat. Olivia and Thomas sat together on the couch. The girls had their devotionals out and were starting to read. As I looked around at that scene that you can see most nights in my living room, I was overcome by thankfulness. I realized in that one moment just how truly blessed I am.

I’m not always that way, however. I become discouraged easily. There never seems to be enough money to go around. We need a bigger house. Everyone keeps making messes in our house. It’s as if they think we live here or something 😝!

And then there are some battles I face each day that are too personal to put on this page. Things I deal with that can get the best of me if I allow them to,and I’ll just be honest. I’ve let them get the best of me far too often. This morning, though, as I read my devotional, God spoke clearly to me through Scripture. The Quest

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

No matter what we’re going through or what we’re facing, if we’re a child of the King, then we will not be crushed. We will not be destroyed. Life may not be easy, but in the end, we have the victory.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Life may look real grim right now. The diagnosis from the doctor might be saying death. The checkbook may look bleak. Your marriage might be in shambles. But that’s not the end of the story. Child of God, you need to get on your knees and trust in the Savior. Trust He’s going to bring you through whatever He brought you to. And even if He doesn’t do things the way you think He should, He is still on the throne. He is still the Almighty God and still worthy of our praise.

James 1:1-2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Not only is God working through you in those trials, but your trials are a witness to those around you. The world is watching us. They see how we react when faced with adversity. Let God use that test for a testimony. Let your light shine no matter what you’re facing.

I’m choosing today to have a grateful heart no matter what I’m facing. I’m choosing to use whatever God brings me to for His glory. I’m trusting His plan for my life.

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