New Years Check In

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I am slow to post these days and I am fine with it.
I am spending my days at work a lot busier (most of the time).
I am spending my lunch hours raising the bar and lifting weights.
I am spending my evenings taking walks with my husband and recouping from the day. Cooking more. Cleaning. Enjoying my time with him when it is there.
So blogging is low on the priority list and I hope I haven’t upset you by not being here.

I realized I’ve only checked in once on my 2017 goals and now is a great time to do so again!

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

Some of these are a work in progress- like decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, and having more family time. They always will be. As long as there is progress in these areas, I am so happy.

We have been boxing up as much as we can. We’ve found a couple items we wished we wouldnt have boxed up yet, but we will NOT pull them back out. Prince Charming almost boxed up our TV, but I’m not ready for that. We like watching movies on the weekends and we love our Wii lately.

Two weeks ago I talked to my dad on the phone and somehow he suggested we do a weight loss challenge, because my entire family is overweight, unhealthy, and making no signs of positive changes. I jumped on it. I like challenges and I need someone to hold me accountable. I invited my husband to join in and he will, once school is over. So right now, my dad, husband and I are in the battle of the fittest. Except we are all going to win if we commit to making better choices. I don’t really care about a certain number that I get down to- but I did set a goal for myself. I’m happy to see myself change. The first week I lost 10 pounds! Then another five, but those came back. So i have steadily lost 10 pounds in 2.5 weeks and I am happy about that. If I know that I am eating better foods and I am working out steadily- I don’t really care what my scale says. I know that I am doing good things because I can lift more than I did last week and I can drum longer without stopping for a drink. I can see change in this short amount of time and that in itself is encouraging. I have been to the gym 12 times in 2.5 weeks and the days I didn’t hit the gym, I worked out at home or went for walks with my husband. I think there’s only been one day of inactivity and in reality, I got my butt kicked at work that day and was lifting heavy equipment all day long- I count it as a workout almost.

We have successfully paid off all but one debt (which we are making payments on) and are now working toward student loan debt, too. It is so exciting to get statements with zeros on them! It’s tough to do when both of us aren’t working full time, but I am so grateful for even widdling them down.

We have spent a LOT of time together as a family lately. So much that I have been in need of some real s.p.a.c.e. lately. or a lot of time with just my husband. one or the other is rejuvenating to me. Two weeks ago we had the younger two kids on our Wednesday, the weekend, the following Monday. Then 17 came over on Tuesday, we had the youngest two on Wednesday and 20 came over, too. The two youngest came again on Thursday. So we had them every day for an entire week and I almost lost it. It’s so hard for me to not get a break. It’s so hard to come home and be drained from work and feel no release or sense of rest. To not be able to put a load of laundry in the washer without being nagged.. it can be daunting. I feel awful about it, but I can’t help it. My Prince questions whether I truly want a family. If I want kids of my own. And I can’t explain to him enough that it will not be the same. He just doesn’t get it. There is a difference in the longing that kids have for their mother and the type of attention they crave from me. It is so incredibly different that I can’t even explain it. They crave time with me but when they realize it’s happening, they put up walls and they scoot away. I do the same thing.

They get excited and want to share with me or play with me and I sort of freak out over the type of intimacy that I’m experiencing with them. Afraid that they’ll shut me out again or their mom will rip them from me, their dad will interfere. That they’ll look up and realize I’m not their parent and they shouldn’t be giggling with me so much. I don’t want to do that to my kids. But it’s how I function.

I have mastered a few meals! I just had my dad over on Sunday and cooked Honey Balsalmic Chicken and green beans for him. Prince Charming made some potatoes and a tarte for them. My dad was so pleased. he was so impressed to see me cooking something and that the seasoning that went on the chicken was homemade, not from a bottle. That i blended spices together to get this delicious tasting sauce to coat the chicken and beans in. It was so good. I felt so accomplished.

I haven’t worn jeans since January.

I have still only read two books this year, but I am working on a third and just taking my time doing so. What recommendations do you have?

 

how are your goals coming along?

[loop devotional reblog]

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To Go Forward, It’s Time to Go Back

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me—Psalm 139: 7-10

Oh, restless one, I bring you peace now. These years go by, and I stay. These images in your memory, pages you flip through from the past, I make them beautiful. I show you beauty , and I want to show you more.

You can’t change the past, no. But you can look at it differently. You can’t change those moments when you were little, when you were the little girl with the tender skin and pink lips you used to bite. You can’t change that time, the one that hurts so much. Or, that one, the one you say you’d give anything to rewrite.

Oh, daughter, I want to show you what I see.

So, while the past can’t be rewritten, it can be made beautiful, even now, as you look back. I know what it means to not see one thing beautiful about a moment, to be filled with pain and sadness about circumstances. There are things that break my heart, too, you know.

But I forgive—and I will help you know how to forgive, too: as you look back at the pages of moments you wished you could change, the people involved. And yourself, my love. I need you to forgive yourself.

Let Me come for you like you need Me to. You can’t even know how much you need Me until you get a taste of what I have to offer you: healing for your heart, a past washed white. I make you clean, my daughter. I bend low and wash you clean with my very hands, my heart beating for you, my love. My grace covers you. My love covers you. My life restores you and makes all that you carry so light, so light.

You are made to be free. You are made to see and live in the beauty of you I created. You are beauty because I made you, and you were not meant to live in fear and regret and sadness—especially about the past. Close the old book now. A new one is written for you. I have new pages to show you. The pages of your past are in this new book, with a fresh, clean cover, white pages, pressed new.

And then turn the page.

There is so much more to write in this book, so many more stories and pictures to add these pages are not flat; they are not one-dimensional. For you are in the story, my love. You are the story I am writing. You are the love I have made. You are the daughter who stirs my heart and who I have redeemed and who I show is worthy and beloved and whole.

So, grasp hold of my hand. For the new book to be presented to you, you need to let Me take you back to the places where you haven’t let Me go with you before. You need to let Me show you the light in the dark places, the hope in the despair, the presence of Me in all the times you felt so hurt, so sad, so alone.

And I will be holding your hand the whole time.

The whole time.

I promise.

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The Liebster Award!

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okay guys. I love this stuff. i love that you take 30 seconds to read my blog, let alone a few minutes to try to learn more about me ❤ i love it. thank you for the nomination Sissy Mack!!

Finding bloggers that have less than 200 followers is tough!

Mack’s Questions are as follows:

1.  What is your favorite thing about yourself? I really like that i’m not judgmental and that I think I try my hardest to see the entire situation before I figure out how to approach it.

2.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Germany ❤

3.  What is your favorite creative medium? Photography and painting. but i’m really bad at painting.

4.  What is your geeky secret? Geeky? I have no idea. I’m really crazy about office supplies.

5.  How would you describe your style? colorful and fun. clean and tidy.

6.  When did you start writing? ive always written and it’s always been a secret.

7.  Why did you start writing? i wanted to be famous like Anne Frank and have one of my diaries discovered, but because i ended up doing something really cool. (this is my geeky fact, i guess haha)

8.  What is your favorite dessert? I really love mint chocolate chip ice cream but i am lactose intolerant, so i guess… cookies?

9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? oh gosh it depends! i love it all.

10.  What was the last movie you watched? Logan. it was grusome.

11.  Which continent do you live on? North American continent!

 

***Eleven Random Facts About Me***

1.  Mustard is slowly becoming my favorite color.

2. I am overly addicted to the clothing line LuLaRoe

3. I don’t have a lot of close friends

4.  I’m a 26 year old grandma.

5. The craziest thing i’ve ever done is become a step mom.

6. I really want to raise goats.

7.  My husband and I are working our way to become DeBt FrEe!

8. House hunting is actually one of my favorite things to do

9.  I am obsessed with my dogs.

10. I really love reading, now that I’m no longer a student.

11.  Cleaning is therapy. Clean house = clean mind.

Now I get to nominate some of my favorite small blogs.  I love following each of you and just want you all to know that you inspire me.

1.  Redneck Lena

2. Newish Wife

3. Marajudah

4. Dorky Mom Doodles

5. Not From Your Average Joe

6. The Canadian’s Wife

7. The Opinionated Dad

8. Stepmom Warrior

9. Tilly The Blogger

10. Single Dads Are Cool

11. The StepMomster

 

Now it’s my turn to ask the questions!

1.  Dogs or cats?

2.  What’s your DREAM job, no strings attached?

3.  When did you start writing?

4.  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

5.  What’s one thing you’d like to improve about yourself?

6.  What is your favorite movie?

7.  What’s the first vehicle you owned?

8.  Do you have any creative hobbies (aside from writing)?

9. Do you have any children?

10.  What’s the one thing you’d like to be known for?

11.  Where are you from?

Finding the Middle Ground

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Okay steps. How do you do it? How do you balance the excitement and joy that comes when you realize that the kids are finally taking to you in new ways? How do you not let that exude out of every part of your body and scream it off rooftops?

The littles sit closer, sometimes on top of my head. They pull me down the hallway by my hand and don’t flinch when they realize they are touching me. They compliment things that I do.

Here’s the best one: 17 invited me to an event with her next week. Just me.
She goes with her boyfriend’s mom and some of their family. And she wants me to join. So OF COURSE I’M GOING.

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So on Monday night, I’m going to be a Cardio Drummer. I guess. Whatever. I’m going to be hanging out with my SD.

She’s recently committed Tuesday nights to us. We get to see her, her boyfriend and gbaby every Tuesday. Just us. Just them. And she will also come each Friday night that the other kids are here, to ensure that they can see their nephew. My heart is so full. I am so incredibly happy that they want to spend time with us. me.

Y’all, I thought it was going to be crazy being a 26 year old grandma, but its not. its so perfect and i love every second of it.

So now I’m trying to balance how to respond- over eagerly? non-chelantly? or do i just tell her, TAKE MY MONEY, I’M COMING!?!

 

let’s be honest, i asked her how much, when and where and what it would take for me to get there. I am so happy.

The Blog-aholic Award!

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Y’all, Angela Campbell just nominated me for the “Blog-aholic Award” which just made me smile from ear to ear! I am new to the blogosphere and am still trying to gain my audience and readers. THANK YOU for your nomination! I love it!

 

The Blog-aholic Award is an award for bloggers addicted to blogging with creative, ingenious and inspiring posts. They mesmerize their followers with their posts, keep them captivated and riveted to their blog. The Blog-aholic Award is also for bloggers who ‘share and inspire others’” –The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy)

Rules

  • Put the above logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog (it can be to the post in which they nominated you or any other post or you can even link to their ‘About’ page)
  • Mention the creator of the award and please provide a link to The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy)
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Share a link to your best post(s)
  • Share 3 interesting and different facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-10 bloggers, or more of you wish
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

My best posts:

3 facts about me:

  1. I’m sort of wildly obsessed with flowers of all sorts (especially sunflowers) but have the furthest thing from a Green Thumb. Send me pictures of them or come and plant some for me, I am obsessed.
  2. I run a small time photography shop and am so excited to start expanding!
  3. My husband and my dad are my absolute best friends in the entire world. I don’t know what I would do without them cheering me on every day.

My nominees are:

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Challenge: Day 3/Verse 3

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Day 3 of this challenge has me feeling good. Mainly because I have a way to measure how often I have actually stuck my nose in my bible instead of saying “last week” or something related. I’m terrible at actually reading my bible. I’m good about reading Christian books that take me deeper, good about spending time in worship, prayer life is either on fire or cold, usually no in between. Something I am constantly bad at: Reading my bible. I don’t know why. I hate that I struggle with this. So I’m always looking for new ways: new devotionals, new times of day to study, new anything. The Matthew Challenge has me 3/3. Hopefully I’ll keep on the right track. After all, it’s only one chapter per day.

I love when John the Baptist says his famous line from verse 2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

I love it because he has a sense of urgency in this statement. The kingdom of heaven is near now. So get it together. This was HOW many years ago? I love that he is encouraging us to seize the time that we have. We can’t wait any longer. It’s coming. A beautiful reminder that the Lord will come like a thief in the night, that not one of us on earth knows God’s timing. We need to be prepared.

I imagine him walking over to the nearest people, to proclaim this news. He must have looked like a whack job. His clothes were made out of camel’s hair and was tied with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey. He probably had little locust legs sticking out of his beard and remains of honey on his teeth. yuck. But the people listened. They went to repent. They were baptized in the Jordan.

And the final verses of this chapter just leave me feeling nothing but the presence of beauty. In a way I can’t describe. Imagine the opportunity to baptize JESUS. To have the Savior of the world come to you to be cleansed (though He is clean). Heaven opens. The Spirit of God descends like a dove and then God says He is WELL PLEASED.

I long for the day He calls me His good and faithful servant. This passage is so beautiful.

Are you reading with me? Are you doing the Matthew challenge? What other Bible challenges have you done? How did this speak to you today?

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on here yet, but my step dad of 19 years was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer over this past summer. He was a smoker for about 40 years, worked in a shop most of his life, likely to be a recipient of this awful disease.

When we found out, the doctors had us convinced he had the equivalent of Stage 5 cancer (which doesn’t exist). They made sure we knew that it was bad and to prepare for the worst. So we did.

When we heard that lovely little “3” it was oddly relieving. Most people would grieve over stage 3, but we thought they were going to give him a death sentence.

Two weeks ago, my step dad had a scan done do see how his first round of treatment took to his body. The cancer doctors told us there was no change. We were shocked, but at least it hadn’t grown.

5 days later, his regular physician came back to town from a vacation, reviewed his charts and declared him CANCER FREE. They found a spot of something on his stomach, but didn’t know what it was at that point. And we decided to ignore it until we learned more about it. We were going to celebrate that he was at least lung cancer free!

Until today.

When my dad texted me.

It’s gone.

IT’S GONE.

The spot on his stomach was an “irritation” from having bronchitis and pneumonia. and it is gone, too.

My step dad is cancer free and on the road to recovery, starting today.

My God, I am so grateful that you hear my tiny voice. I am so grateful that you hear the voices of my friends and family who have cried and prayed and begged for his healing. I am so grateful that You see his sinful heart and You still love him through his brokenness. God, i am so grateful for your healing powers. That You are bigger than a monster like Cancer. You have the victory. You have the glory. You are bigger than even the radiation and chemo used to treat him, I don’t give them any thanks- i give all my thanks to You. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for hearing me.