On not trying so much

The thing of growing up with a chronically ill parent is that is dramatically shifts your perspective on life. Expectations for myself, my energy, my accomplishments as a stay-at-home-mother, even my own health have been formed because of this life experience. In some ways, they’ve been good, but in others, I’ve required a fundamental shift in the paradigm of my thoughts.

Over the years, I’ve tried and tried to do this on my own. I’ve read books, been to counselors and begged the Lord to help me. To take away the pressures and anxiety I’d created to be the lenses I viewed my world through. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying.

A year ago, I got my own diagnosis, one which required me to take it down a notch. To stop pushing myself to the standards I’d created. To stop trying and accept that there are limits in life. And no matter of gumption will change this fact.

In the last few months, I’ve been exploring the concept of rest. Not in the prop-up-your-feet-and-exhale sense, but in the utter stillness of the Lord’s care. As I spent my time just being quiet, not striving to change things or beg the Lord to fix things, but choosing those moments of stress to remind myself that I am where I need to be. The lessons I am learning now are hard, but I wasn’t ready for them years ago. Sure. It would be nice, if I didn’t have to learn these things now, but would I have fully appreciated them years ago?

At this moment, I’m recovering from a nasty bug. For the most part, I feel better, but the sneaky kind of better that makes you think you’ve returned to the front of the pack only to slap you down with bone-crushing fatigue after that first load of laundry. We need clean underwear. The toilet needs scrubbed. The dishes need washed. But it doesn’t have to all be done at the same time.

Maybe not for you, but for me, realizing that there is value in rest, has brought so much freedom. I do not know what will happen next in my life, but frantically scrubbing toilets will not bring an iota of control. And that’s ok. I like clean toilets, but I’d rather scrub them because I like the end result instead of using it as a futile exercise in control.


Ironic, isn’t it? The harder I work, the less progress is made in my heart. There is such a sweetness in surrendering to the Lord’s Hand over your life. The realization of sovereignty has been the greatest gift I could have been given in this season of life. It’s beautiful and captivating and touching to think that He has already laid out my life… it is up to me to live it with joy. And peace. And contentment.

And clean toilets.

Being Still

I finished reading Beth Moore’s book Believing God {aff link} this week. It took me a while, as I had a lot of digesting to do. Her writing style is very gentle and yet to the point. I like it… which makes me laugh because I honestly had no idea who she was until a few months ago. Toward the end of the book, there were a few things I wanted to remember, so I spent some time Tuesday afternoon copying them to my journal and thinking about our current season in life.

Beth was describing types of challenges in life and our responses. Not all require us to wage an internal war, but instead ask us to be quiet and wait on the Lord. I was struck… shaken… to my core.

Keep up your day in, day out fundamentals, be still in ME, and trust that I am in control – total control. I don’t want your involvement on this issue. I just want you to practice keep your hands off of it and letting me have it.”

I read this paragraph over and over before writing “This is where I am right now. With everything that has cropped up – just practicing being still and trusting.” Matt and I have talked about this several times in the last year, we have done all we can in our struggles, only to have that inner voice telling us to simply be quiet and wait. For me, a type-A action-oriented person, this is hard. Not hard. Virtually impossible.

As my day progressed, I felt more and more that I was to embrace this… that I read this for a purpose. At 4:31pm my phone rang with the news that our rental {which is for sale and therefore vacant} was broken into and the copper piping stolen. I hung up the phone and stood in my dining room laughing.

Isn’t it the Best? Despite all our efforts and precautions, someone still broke in. And yet, I chose stillness over fear. Perhaps for the first time in my life even. This year I have determined that instead of chasing perfection, I am going to embrace growth. Growth happens at it’s own rate… no matter my goals or plans, I have to just keep pushing forward and trust that the process of growth will still occur regardless of how it feels to me. In this moment, I can see the growth.

Stillness is hard for me. But this small victory of not allowing myself to panic and instead trust that everything will work out shows me that I’m learning. I’m making progress. I’m growing in the stillness, inspite of myself. Because of Him.



In the last several months, I’ve felt that I needed to take a step back and evaluate where this blog is going. Although I’ve contemplated ending this blog entirely, I love the domain name and adore the graphics my husband created for me. In a few short months, I’ll have two children who are school aged and my days as a member of MOPS will draw to a close. With that, my venue for writing devotionals for moms will also draw to a close.

It has been my heart’s desire to write devotionals for women since before I knew what it even meant. I hear other women who have similar goals say they want to be just like Beth Moore or Lysa Turkhurst. I only learned who those women are this past year. I can see the draw to that level of a goal. It would be wonderful if my words, typed with a pug at my feet and children building legos {or fighting} could ever have that impact. But at the heart of my desire I don’t have that urge. The older I get, the more I appreciate the small. I long for the quiet and the intimate. Large groups, while never my “thing” were always something I did so I could fit in. I don’t want to fit in any longer. I want to do what I was created to do, even if that involves me taking a deep breath, drawing up all my bravery and stepping away from the norm.

I met with a dear friend for coffee this morning. She is one of my closest friends in the entire world and telling her about this dream came naturally. She wisely mentioned that when God has something for you, it’s like the nagging of a toothache… ever-present and demanding attention until you finally see a dentist and take care of it. She quickly added that the analogy of a toothache isn’t there to assume following God’s will for your life is always painful, but to tell you the truth, I feel uncomforatble. I feel like I’ve been trying to continue walking around in the size 8 1/2 heels I bought pre-kids even though my feet are now a full size larger.

My life has changed a lot in the past year. My heart has changed and grown. I have finally been able to set aside all the pain and struggles and the bitterness I felt at God’s {percieved} abandonment and realize that while everything I’ve ever known has changed – radically– God has been the one constant. Always waiting for me to, in effect, get over myself and be brave enough to be humble. Now, at the age of 33, I finally get to learn lessons my heart wasn’t ready for years ago. Lessons I wish I could have been ready for, but am grateful to be where I am.

My blog has always been about food and family. But you know what I learned in 2014? Physical food had become my comfort even without an obsession. It took several months, but following that realization, I discovered that when anxious, if I chose to spend time in the Word, instead of crying into a piece of chocolate cake, I could actually rest. I want to share this with others. Mothers, singles, Grandpas… I don’t care if you are in my demographic, I want people to understand that there is a way to feed your soul that doesn’t always involve butter or cheese. And as much as I love my dairy products, I love peace even more.

In the coming weeks, there will be some design changes with this blog, so please bear with me. I am excited to move beyond myself and share what I’m learning. I am thrilled to be brave enough to shift the emphasis from our bellies to our souls. Will you join me?

4 Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to Glasses

I started wearing glasses when I was in college. Textbooks with tiny print + the lousy lighting in the Biology department meant I spent a lot of time squinting. I wore them throughout college, got a “nice” pair of glasses when I started my first real job and then never went back to have my eyes checked again. All those years of squinting made me adapt to an impaired vision – I quit driving at night and always sat close to the front of the room. Two years ago, I went in for a routine exam and the doctor was horrified at my prescription. Horrified. I now wear glasses on a regular basis and it is amazing how clear things are! {please note the mockery in my tone… it’s directed at the condescending nurse who asked me how I didn’t walk into walls without glasses… ahem}

4 Tips for Helping a Child Adjust to Glasses

We figured our kiddos would have to wear glasses at some point in life since both of their parents do, but I didn’t realize how difficult it was for Liam to see until one day this summer a friend watched him trip and fall and promptly told me to take him in. Sure enough the next day, the eye doctor sweetly explained that because of a significant difference between his eye prescriptions, Liam’s depth perception was off adding to his already challenged eyesight.

A week later, the cutest little pair of black framed glasses were on his face and he noticed just how BIG the world is! {Also, he stopped falling 20+ times a day.} Since I hadn’t had my glasses all that long, I remembered how uncomfortable it was to adjust to them. Their constant presence on my nose, the headache for the first week while my adjusted to seeing things normally and gosh darn it, the desire to toss them in the trash and continue to spend my days squinting.

The first day Liam wore glasses, I counted 17 times I had to remind him to put them back on. The next day it doubled. Adjusting to glasses is hard. Add in the desire to rough house or play in the pool in the summer and you really need to take some extra steps to help your child stick it out. Our eye doctor explained that because children often don’t realize that their sight isn’t clear, their eyes adapt so that they can function, but when you introduce glasses, the eyes are forced to relearn how to see.

4 Tips for Helping a Child Adjust to Glasses

In light of our experience, I thought I’d share with you what helped us make the adjustment to glasses simpler!

  • Make sure they like their glasses – There are so. many. options. these days when you choose your frames. So many. Thankfully, on the first tray of frames, Liam spied a pair that were miniature versions of what Matt wears. He snatched them up and declared them his favorites. You wear what you like and this boy likes to look like Daddy!
  • Make sure that your child understands that they can complain about the fit – Liam didn’t say anything about how uncomfortable the glasses were on his ears until we were almost 3 weeks into wearing them. It was a simple fix, taking them back into the office and having them stretched a tiny bit and once it was done, no more pinching! But before that appointment, I reminded him that he’d been uncomfortable for 3 weeks… far longer than necessary. If it’s not comfortable, tell me so I can fix it. If I don’t know, I can’t help!
  • Establish safety guidelines – Liam’s lenses aren’t supposed to ever break. But even still, if he wants to wrestle, play in the pool, wear his super hero costumes or do anything rough, he has to take them off. Additionally, when they come off, they are to be placed somewhere safe {I prefer his bookcase}. I didn’t express how serious I was about that rule and that is how the glasses were left on a bed that they were jumping on and got crushed… at just one month of having them.
  • Reward the little victories – because I knew that he was going to have headaches and feel like his eyes weren’t “right” while they were adjusting, I wanted to make sure there was an incentive to continue wearing the glasses. For the first few days, I gave him an awesome rock at lunch, snack, supper and bedtime if he’d been good about keeping the glasses on. By the end of the first week, he was getting four rocks a day so I knew it was safe to switch over to only getting one rock a day. I did that for another week and by then only had to remind him to put them back on after he’d taken them off for rough play. These days, if I see that he’s being responsible or I don’t have to remind him even in the morning to put them on, he gets an awesome rock just because I love him!

Now that we are adjusted and the safety guidelines have been established, glasses are a piece of cake. Although, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by giant smudges or finger prints on the lenses, he is doing a great job taking care of them. Even Sylvi is aware and will remind him to take them off if she thinks their play might get “crazy”.

When we had Sylvi’s eyes examined, the doctor told us that she’ll be in need {more than likely} in a few years of her own pair of glasses. I’m glad that she has such a great example to follow. And I feel more prepared to help her adjust when {if} her time comes!

**Of course, today, Liam took his glasses off before gym class and left them with his teacher. We almost left without them. Adjustment has been smooth, but he’s still a 5 year old!**

Mighty Mommy Monday – Yard Work Edition

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year! Join us!


We have lived in this house for 4 Falls now. This is the first one I’ve really had to do much with the yard. I didn’t do much the first year because I was pregnant and had activity restrictions. Every year since the wind had been our friend and blown the leaves away before I even thought about tackling them. Such was not my luck this year. Oh no.

For two weeks I’ve been battling the yard not only at our home, but also at our rental. HOURS of raking has been involved. And leaf blowing when I got too sore. I never realized how many muscles raking employs! Since I’m not really doing aerobics, I was surprised to discover soreness even in my calves and hips as though I’d been to a Zumba class!

Did you know that raking your lawn can burn up to 300 calories an hour {depending on your weight}? Bagging them also counts as a workout at 280 calories an hour. Suddenly I feel like a fool complaining about all that work! {I still have the blisters to whine about though.}

So as I raked, cleaned, hauled furniture, hiked around a Christmas tree farm today, I certainly earned my exercise! Sitting down to eat supper, my legs and arms ache… but fun fact, my arms are a little more toned now 🙂 As winter approaches, and along with it the Ohio snow, I know I’ll still be getting in a little exercise outside. For a person who weighs 155 pounds, an hour of snow shoveling will burn about 422 calories – the same as if you’d gone hiking for an hour!

Outside exercise isn’t all work though… once the shoveling is done, I’ll be sledding and building snowmen! Although I know people are dreading the return of the cold weather, I’m looking forward to fresh ways to challenge my muscles and stay active!

Embracing my Introvert

I chatted on the phone with a friend this morning. I’ve know this friend for 10 years (whoa! 10 years went fast!), we’ve been pregnant at the same time twice and had our first borns within weeks of each other. We know each other very well and tend to be very honest with each other… even the ugly honest.

As I was relating what I had done with my time since we had last seen each other, she stopped me to tell me that she was surprised at how much socializing I had done. She then quickly followed it up with a comment that for her, that would be a dream to have that much social time, but she knew it wore me out. And I am really am. I had a crazy busy weekend: lots of talking and spending time with people. This week wasn’t initially better for me, but I actually breathed a sigh of relief when the fevers showed up and I knew I would  have to clear our week.

Growing up, I can remember looking at my parents’ calendar and wondering when the day would come where I would be able to stay home for the evening. Because I was homeschooled, I was able to keep to a relatively peaceful daytime schedule, but all those after school activities sure add up… they look great on a college application, but when you are a type who needs quiet to recharge, you wonder if it’s even worth it.

All my life, I have come up with excuses to not attend an event. When Matt and I got married, I tried my hand at hosting events at our home… I thought if I ran the helm, I’d like parties more.  Because I am an organized person, things always went well… but oh my gosh, I couldn’t stand to even talk to someone for three days after all the chaos left my house. Happy chaos, good chaos, funny chaos; it still drains me.

I happened upon the book – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and actually devoured it. It was so freeing to read through why I need quiet. WHY I need a break from social events and crave the quiet. If you’re in the same boat, I strongly recommend it! Our society celebrates the loud and busy and if you don’t celebrate it too, well… people think you’re odd. I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while I sew and I’m really appreciating how they wrote the character of Rory. I understand why she plans a whole weekend of aloneness. I plan whole weekends of aloneness. It’s awesome.

The best part was that I actually live in a house full of introverted homebodies. And it’s amazing. I don’t know what I’d do if my children were the types who wanted to go and do every single day. Instead I get the chance to nurture our little family… to help my children learn their own limits and then respect them. Instead of pressuring them to participate beyond their comfort in the socially acceptable busy that is everywhere, I get to show them how to have a life that while quiet, is fulfilling and successful!



Balance Bath

I have always used the bath as a method to reset the day. Grumpy baby? Bath. Defiant toddler? Bubble bath. Sick child? Bath. Worn out Mama? Definitely a bath. In my last order from DoTerra, I bought their Balance oil blend… I was thinking it would be helpful on those days when everyone was too grumpy to focus, but then one night, as I was mixing up a bath soak for cold and flu I realized that I was missing out.

A few nights later, after a particularly rough day, I put some of the mix in my bath and I tell you… 20 minutes later, I felt like a new woman. In general, when I take a bath I get out feeling droopy and ready for bed. Nothing productive happens after a bath, but at least I’m relaxed, right? This time, I felt calm, relaxed and mentally sharp. I had actually hidden in the bathroom while the kids played with Matt {No shame!} and after we put them to bed, I was able to sit down and do a great deal of work! I work from home editing and doing some writing, but since I do spend my whole day communicating with the little people, sometimes when the quiet time does arrive, it’s just too much for me to focus!

I’ve added it to the kids’ bath after long days full of activities… everyone deserves an opportunity to feel grounded and mentally fresh. And even though there aren’t any sleep-specific oils in this blend, the little ones still snuggle up and go right to sleep. When you’re balanced, it’s possible to actually rest!

Balance Bath Soak

  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 15 drops Balance Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Mix together the Epsom salt and baking soda with a fork. Then drip in your oils. Mix again and store in a Ball jar. {I use these Storage Caps.} When you’re ready to use them in your bath, scoop out about a Tablespoon and sprinkle it in the water, swishing to dissolve into the water.

Note: I only make small batches at a time, but you could easily double/triple/quadruple this recipe! Or swap out the Lemon for Lavender!

Mighty Mommy Monday

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year! Join us!


You know how when you make a decision that you honestly believe in your heart of hearts is for the best even though every one thinks you are nuts and your heart aches a little bit over the decision? Were you right? Did you wimp out? Could you have pulled it off? And then… days, weeks, even months later, you realize that there was a purpose for your odd decision. Things begin to fall into place and suddenly you want to go back and tell all those eyerollers what’s up.

I’m writing this post after an afternoon of raking leaves. Muscles I haven’t noticed since my college anatomy class are aching. I am counting the minutes until my littles head to bed. I had planned to work on a quilt tonight, but nope. I’ll be propped up in my bed with my journal and maybe a little bit of Gilmore Girls until… 9? I don’t know. I’m kinda wishing it would be cool for me to crash before 8.

I dropped out of several activities a few weeks ago and started turning my phone off in the evenings. I stopped answering emails after 9 and my texting dropped off dramatically. I am re-focusing on creating a peaceful home for my family and protecting myself. From what? Drama. Sick. Over-extension. Resentment. Oh yes. I decided that it doesn’t matter how many times I week I’m at the gym if I’m not taking care of my spirit and soul. And for someone like me, the recharge time is very important to my inner health.

Wouldn’t you know it that in the last two weeks we were given some news about my son’s health that is overwhelming? As in, hyperventilating while I paced the house overwhelming.

BUT, I’m going to bed at a practical hour every night, I’m eating breakfast {!!!} and I’m slowing down. I’m learning that we get a warning before we need to listen to our bodies… in my case, the warning is an unsettling when I look at my calendar and it’s too full. I’m glad I listened to my body and took the time out I would to draw from later! Tonight, I won’t be in bed by 8, but I won’t be stretching myself to the limit.

Come back tomorrow so I can share my “Balance Bath” essential oil recipe with you!

Bitty Ballerina


On November 3rd, 2010 an ultrasound tech told us we were going to have a little girl. Matt’s brother had died the night before, we were exhausted and emotional and mustering up a response was almost too much for us. As she went through and identified each body part on our little girl, I remember thinking that her legs were nice and long… perfect for ballet.


Last night, my little one finally got to attend her first ballet lesson. She’s waited for weeks and weeks for this night and I tell you, she was practically bursting with excitement. She was supposed to wear a costume instead of her leo, but I couldn’t talk her out of it. 🙂  Halfway through the class, she took off the costume and happily danced and stretched.


Her little face was filled with a mixture of concentration and awe as she watched the teachers demonstrate throughout class and I could hardly hold back tears of excitement watching her finally find something she enjoyed so much. As we left she sighed a deep, dreamy sigh and told me how much she loved her dance class. Thursdays are going to be a wonderful day for all of us!


In the weeks to come, I’m looking forward to lots of twirls and pliés. Mom bonus? Watching every single version of the Nutcracker suite I can find before Christmas. I didn’t realize how long I’ve waited to have a little one in ballet until last night… and I’m so happy to be soaking up every moment!

Thursday night rush

After this soccer season I was looking forward to having my evenings back again. {But as you are aware, when we look forward to things going as planned, it rarely does.} I love soccer as much as the next mom, but I’ve been feeling terrible about how much time Sylvi spends sitting, waiting for Liam to finish his awesome activities. She has spent so much of her life on the sidelines, simply because she’s the little sister. Thankfully, she is finally old enough to take ballet classes! I could hardly wait to sign her up this Fall only to realize soccer was on the same night and since I’m involved, it wouldn’t work.

Instead, we have had almost a month long break and this coming week, ballet begins! It’s only one night a week and only a half hour class, but it’s still right during the supper rush. So I’m back to employing the crock pot to have supper ready for me when we pirouette through the door!


I live an hour away from the Smucker store and cafe. Which means that I am able to get my hands on a lot of nifty products… I came across the Orchard’s Finest Orange Marmalade when I was making the Pioneer Woman’s sweet rolls. I live in Ohio. Citrus is something we don’t come by easily, so I appreciate when a local company can make something amazing. Marmalade chicken is fantastic to toss in the crock pot before running out for afternoon errands, knowing that you’ll have a fully cooked supper ready to roll when you return. Bonus points if you have a rice cooker!


Marmalade Soy Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce {or if you’re in my position and need a gluten free option, use Braggs Liquid Aminos!}
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked Basmati rice

Place the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot and season with ground pepper. Mix together the remaining ingredients (except the rice) and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred it up. That’s right. Shred it, don’t chop it. Then return it to the crock pot and mix with the sauce. Serve over cooked rice… broccoli or green beans are a fantastic side!

This recipe does reheat well and can even be prepped in advance and frozen.