[still here.bonus mama updates]

Standard

hi friends

Sorry i have been so quiet.

I am someone who cannot handle a pause. I like to have my hands dripping in sweat because I’m involved in so many things, so here, in nutshell, is what life has looked like as of late:

-Slingin’ Makeup (Younique babies- if you need a refill lemmmme know!)
-Keeping up with the chickens
-Dog Mommin’
-Photographing everything and everything (9 sessions in June, 4 in July)
-Working full time
-Church/soul searching
-House Cleaning aka finally making sense to the boxes of our stuff that have wound up on shelves
-Beating the heat (or trying to)
-Loads and loads of laughs.

So last year, at the beginning of summer- you might remember me having a little bit of a meltdown about going week on/week off with the kids. I was terrified. It was daunting. Well, I had similar feelings this summer. In the midst of trying to acclimate myself to new scenery, churches, towns, I wasn’t ready to take on kids for that long. Selfish? Maybe. Self- Aware? Definitely.

I know that when I get overloaded, i either crack or i burst. When it’s with kids, it’s usually bursting. As in I burst my emotions all over everything, I yell, i cry, I fight, i everything -not- productive. So i was terrified to have this huge switch. This back and forth-ness that we experience. The drama, the headaches. i was terrified. I couldn’t do it again.

This summer has been different.

I’ve been telling my Prince that I have noticed some huge changes. Some weird little things that honestly, make my day.

Prince and i have stopped carpooling, due to overtime schedules and me not wanting to wake up at 4:30AM for my 7:30AM start time. No shame in my sleep game. So we get home at different times. Almost every day that I get home, 14 will stop what he’s doing and come to greet me. A few times, he’s been mowing the lawn and will wave at me from the moment I get in the driveway until I stop and can actually call out a “hi!” to him. Sometimes he even gets off the mower and comes to say hey.

WHAT?

10 isn’t as excited, but certainly does come to say hi and acknowledge that I’m home. They give me a recap of what chores they did and wait for their “good job!”s. or critiques, whatever there is.

Even more of a wow, 14 has been himself lately. He finally broke up with his crummy girlfriend that we are convinced was the reason he failed 7th grade and barely scraped by in 8th, even though she is a successful student. He laughs again and seems to have fun with his brother- which is so neat.

But most recently, the most amazing thing happened.
14 and i were standing in the toy aisle at Wal mart, they were shopping with their chore money, and he just looked at me and said “Stepmomma, I think we should keep doing the week on/week off thing.”

See, we mentioned it ONCE about 3 weeks ago. Just to get a feel for how they like this setup. there was no push back. They seemed fine with it. 14 suggested we do a ‘trial’ once school starts… little does he realize that the summer is the trial.

We haven’t talked to their mom about it. There is always some fear in approaching changing schedules. It has never gone our way.

Last year, my Prince wanted to take a course that was on Wednesday nights. I told him I’d handle the kids but it wouldn’t really be fair because they’d only get to see him to say goodnight, so we inquired with their mom if we could trade nights for just one semester. Her response? Find another class. and that was it.
No matter that this class was only available in this particular time slot and is required for graduation. That doesn’t matter. What mattered is that she has a beer league she plays for and didn’t want to change that up for us for 8 weeks.

Here’s the thing:

14 has failed school the last 2 years
10 isn’t required to read at all this summer, even though their mom enrolled him in a summer reading program.
They don’t have chores at her house
They don’t have responsibilities at her house
they cook for themselves most of the time and have no limit on sugars/sweets.
They don’t have a bed time
And they have a caring, supportive, involved dad who deserves more.

So as scary as it is to say, I think if she disagrees, there might be court to come.

Pretty soon, 14 will be driving and I’m certain we will see less of him. We want to take advantage of the time we have left before girls and cars become the most important things in his life.

When we were at the store on Sunday, we were teasing in the aisles, and he said “You’re a great step mom you know that?” sarcastically.
And I said, “Yeah. I know. Or you wouldn’t have made a replica of me out of legos for Mother’s day.”
His response was finger guns.
Which means “you’re right.”
At lunch on Sunday, which the kids prepared for US, 14 led us in prayer and thanked God for helping us to find a church, find a home, and for being where we are.

He has been warming my heart so much, lately. I surely hope this lasts.

For 14,

fcbecaea-303d-469f-9dd9-958e92c6b8b1_2.2fc7e919e989fd819bec92fce0b3e30c

love,

“bonus mom”
As he affectionately calls me.

Advertisements

[reblog: What It’s Time For You To Do]

Standard

What It’s Time For You To Do

 

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22).

My daughter, hear the song in your heart for Me. Hear the song of longing, of beauty, of self-forgetfulness, for the sake of joy.

Surrender and receive more joy.

What is it you need to surrender? What is it you need to believe more deeply about Me? What is it, child?

Oh, come, be rescued.

Oh, come, hear the thunder in the distance, the rolling of the beat, my own heart speaking your name.

Lay down, my girl.

Lay down the future.

I’ve got you.

Lay down the past.

I’ve got you.

Believe I am for you, that I come for your heart in ways you don’t yet even know.

But you want to know, don’t you?

You want to see Me coming for you, running, my arms spread open. Daughter, turn it over again, that place in your heart that I touch, that I reach in and grasp and show you what it is you need to lay down.

Lay yourself down, my love.

It won’t hurt too much. I promise. And what is pain? Come—come deeper now.

Lay down.

Come closer.

It is only painful when the old self dies. Let it die again.

Oh, the thunder rolls. My heart beating still. Let that self be killed to receive more of Me. I promise—it’s worth any temporary pain.

Standard

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals [RECAP]

  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.

 

I set a lot of goals last year. I’m really happy that 10/14 of these are marked off. Here’s my annual update.

1) We decluttered SO MUCH while we were moving. and now that we’re HOME, we can see what we really.. still don’t need. and it feels SO GOOD. I have a box of dishes I’m giving to 21 when he gets his house, he and his girlfriend are working on it.

2) House A is fixed up and SOLD in October

3) House B is fixed up and has been on the market since opening week of Deer Season. 11 showings. Hoping someone will love it and call it home soon.

4) making healthier choices is a daily choice. Yesterday I ate pizza rolls and pretzels. Tonight I’m eating soup for dinner. It’s a choice every day. But this time last year, I never would have touched a bowl of freshly made turkey soup. Ever.

7) We’re still working on this. But the first year my prince and i started talking, not even dating really, he got me this Beth Moore devotional, i don’t even remember what it’s called. but we’ve started reading it with the kids every night they’re over. It talks about the birth of Christ and is real simple. It helps us to spend 10 minutes with them and get their thoughts or opinions. or just tick them off. Either way, we’ve started.

10) CHECK

11) Now that we’ve moved, we get to hang out as often as we want. it’s so nice.

12) I can make  several chicken dishes. I made a B.A. Lasagna, I make a few pasta dishes. I need to keep learning.

13) I probably wore jeans 2 total days in 2017. I win.

14) This is also a daily struggle. but most days at work, i begin with a few blog posts about topics that are intriguing to me and appealing. I count this as reading, even if it’s not hard, physical books. Now that we’re moved and settling, i want to finish the Magnolia Story and the rest of the other couple books I’ve got open.

 

2018 goals to come.

[she reads truth–review]

Standard

current8817

GUYS. ITS HERE.

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

23515574_10210798770226389_170536338_n

I can’t tell you how excited I was/am to be chosen to review this Bible. Because first, me? My little blog? And second? I’ve been dying to have it for as long as I’ve known about it. I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media.  While I was given the Bible for free all thoughts and opinions are my own and I can’t wait to share them with you. I carried it around with me for a week because I was so proud to have it! haha.

20171125_084329

Okay, I failed miserably and always left my real camera somewhere else (except in this picture it’s just tucked away in my backpack on the table) and never took good pictures and it’s shameful because I’m a stinkin’ photographer and I love using my camera. nonetheless, here’s my blurry cell phone pic.)20171125_084348
Things that I adore about this bible:
1) the color. I was secretly hoping I’d get the coral one and when I tore open my package, I about squealed. They grey one is gorgeous, too but……… CORAL!
2) I love that it has a case. I really enjoy preserving my bibles- I really enjoy keeping them beautiful. I love that I can keep it in a case when I travel with it and keep it solid and as it should be. I also love that it’s a hardcover and I can’t wait to break the bind on it some day!
3) I love that it is simple to use- the glossary is laid out simply, I absolutely love the introduction to each chapter- how there are graphs, maps, charts- everything the visual learner needs.  (See below)2
4) I love the size of it and the room left over on the margins- I’m a note taker/doodler and need that space! I wish i could transfer all my old bible notes into this one and keep it all in one place.

20171125_084658
Morning study of Matthew- I can’t ever get enough of hearing the way that God has/can/will/DOES miraculously heal His kids.23548184_10210798770666400_783487580_n
I promise this is a different book, it just happened to be chapter 10 as well. In church, we are walking through Ecclesiastes- here’s a snap of my set up during the sermon.23549606_10210798774546497_394324692_n
I love these little devotions on the side. They tie directly to the scripture at hand, they’re simple enough but also have enough punch to stop you dead in your tracks. I’m someone who NEEDS simple application placed throughout my Bible. I struggle with reading, applying, comprehending what is written sometimes because of the verbiage and I struggle with determining what is a parable and what is a true story that Jesus is sharing. These devotions pull me out of my confusion and help me to apply the lesson right then and there. It’s 100% what I look for in a bible when I’m choosing my own. 23549743_10210798774106486_421303398_n

Each Book of the bible comes with artwork and it’s BEAUTIFUL. I get excited to find new books so that I can see what piece of art they included. Here’s some examples.

123574266_10210798774506496_1568224678_n
My pooch, Lyla, hanging out and trying to soak in some Jesus with me.

Win 1 of 5 Copies SRT

Want a chance to win your own #SheReadsTruth Bible? Enter here!:

https://www.blessedfreebies.com/she-reads-truth.html

Overall, I seriously LOVE this bible and can’t wait to dig in more. Do you have a #SheReadsTruth bible? Want help learning how to #readyourbible ? THIS ONE WILL HELP. It’s helped me.

Need your copy today? Here’s the link:  http://shereadstruthbible.com

[more book reviews]

Standard

 

I’m excited to say that I’ve been asked to review the She Reads Truth Bible.

It hasn’t shipped yet, I just got approved. and I. Can’t. Wait.

Genesis

As a visual learner who also needs to hear, touch, feel things before I really get it, I think this Bible is going to be amazing. I’m posting my hopes for this Bible before I even get to feel it with my own hands. Maybe you’ll get one of these first copies, too?

They’re equipped with things like devotionals- which is something that I NEED. and i can’t wait to dive in.

Who is looking forward to hearing more about it?

 

[closing time]

Standard

Image result for semisonic closing time

 

You guys remember this right?

“So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits, I hope you have found a Friend. Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
I feel every ounce of this song. Though I’ve usually thought of it as the bar keep saying “Get out of my bar, I’m tired” and not in the sense of Closing on a house, packing up our belongings and moving along. Making an end at one residence and allowing it to be someone else’s new start.

We got the e-mail that we can close next week and I SCREAMED when I read it and called my husband to make sure he saw it (he didn’t. he was driving.)

1 down. 2 to go.
We should be able to close on the house we are moving to in just a few days after we sign the documents on house 1.
We should have house 2 up to snuff in a week or two and have that on the market, then we will cross our fingers and keep praying that God will show us some mercy and good grace and sell the house quickly. It will be hard to manage a second house from an hour away. Please join us in praying that we sell my college home quickly.
WE ARE SO EXCITED.

[things to come]

Standard

1020206629.png

We’re getting ready to close on the house that we have lived in for the past two years, our first years as a married couple and as a family. There’s an eensy weensy little spot of me that is sort of sad to see it go. Most of me is relieved. I had these huge fears that we would be trapped there for the rest of our lives and I would feel cramped and tired and stuck. But we’re not even living there now. And it feels like I can breathe again.

We’re staying in the house that I owned before we got married. Sleeping in a room I’d never slept in before, remodeling rooms I’ve dreamed about but didn’t have the know-how to be able to do. Painting, cleaning, continually boxing items. Always finding out that we have TOO MUCH STUFF and our storage unit is TOO full. There have only been a handful of items we have *really* wished we had on hand, that were packed away. one of them we bought to replace while we wait to unpack all our items- a mini food processor, from an estate sale, in mint condition with all the accessories for $2. It was really hard to pass up. And I mean, we’ve definitely desired to have two of them a time or two before. So now we have two.

We’re trying to renovate and continue living our lives, but really, we’re tired. My husband especially. Because my Prince is a dreamboat and he works all day at his office and then comes home, puts on his boots and goes upstairs to build walls, tear out dividers, hang mirrors, paint things, put in trim and more. I ache from sitting at a desk all day, to a point that I don’t WANT to do physical things unless it’s as simple as walking. I clean the house and then I’m over-exerted. Depression and anxiety are running high right now and are never more than an arm’s length away, hello fall season- i see you.

We’re also only three weeks away from closing on our dream house. our farm. we’ve met the owners of the house and fell in love with them. the wife is so sweet. she cried when we met and reached out for a hug but realized we’d only known each other a few seconds and pulled back. I hope she comes back to visit in a few years. The thought of moving is dreadful. I can’t envision spending one more day messing with our belongings and moving them again. It feels so laborious. I just want to be settled in our home.

It feels like we are always busy. Always doing something, even on the nights that we have to veg out and watch a tv show and eat on the couch because we are so tired. Our emotions are tired, or mine are at least. I can’t deal with my overworked husband who spits out words like fire and doesn’t realize how crushing they can be. I can’t handle it. And I can’t handle the ins and outs of parenthood right now. I just can’t. I am at a point where I need a safe place and I need a cozy chair and blanket and a book or 10 to curl up with and recoup, but there is no time for it.

I’m looking forward to learning to garden and learning to be the canning queen of 2018.
I can’t wait for goats, chickens and some day cows, even though i don’t really want cows.
I can’t wait to build the photo studio of my dreams, right on my land.
I can’t wait to take walks in our back yard through our hills.
To wake up and see deer feeding from our trees.
To have our home.
To create our farm.
I can’t believe we’re really doing it!