Friday, September 7, 2012


[I'm joining in on Five Minute Friday!  Thanks to Emily for introducing me to this, because I have indeed had quite a bit of writer's block lately.  The prompt is graceful.  And in 5 minutes, with no over thinking, and no editing, here's what came out...]

So many times when we hear the word graceful, we think of beauty, or the way someone presents themselves.  But when you really take time to think about that word, it goes much deeper than the outer appearance.

I have been learning so much about grace lately.  Parenting is hard.  There are so many decisions.  And it seems as soon as you make one, it opens up a box of a million other decisions to make.

But one decision I have made is to be graceful in my parenting.  Full of grace.  Leeland may only be 2, but I  do not think it is too soon to teach him about the graceful God that loves us and cares for us.

I looked up the definition of grace one time and this is what Webster's dictionary said: "The freely given, unmerited love and favor of Jesus Christ."  Wow.  That definition has always stuck with me.

Freely given.


There is nothing we could do to deserve the love and favor of Jesus.  But He gives it to us anyways.

I love love love Leeland.  And a lot of times he is so much fun, and I love being around him.  But he is 2.  He has a temper.  And there are some days that all I want is to get away.  To sit at Starbucks and sip coffee in silence.  Heck, I'd even settle for getting to go to the bathroom alone.

Yet, I love him and I favor him anyways.  Even though he has done nothing to merit that.  I give it to him freely. Because that is what Jesus does for me, and that's what a graceful mama does.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

there had to be a change

I know that most of my posts are all spiritual and encouraging, but I just can't do that all of the time.  I put a lot of pressure on myself for these posts to be all Godly and inspiring and whatnot, and sometimes I just don't have it in me!  So, it's not always going to be that way.  I'm telling you this more for my sake than yours, because I know you probably don't care.  But now I'm taking that pressure off of myself.  Whew, glad that cat's out of the bag!

So I'm doing a little experiment.  We are at a point in our lives where we REALLY need to limit our spending.  We keep trying and trying to whittle it down but nothing seems to be working, so I had to do something drastic.  I tracked every single dollar we spent for about two weeks.  I was going to track it for the whole month of August, but after the first 2 weeks, it was sickening how much money we had spent.  So I stopped.

But while I was tracking, there was one thing I noticed.  We spent a lot of money on food.  I would spend a pretty good amount of money on groceries every week, and then we were still going out to eat a few times a week, which adds up to a lot.  There was one day when I was going to try to be good and fugal and make lunches for all of us as we were out around town.  But I pulled out the loaf of bread (which was about 3/4 full) and it was moldy.  So we went to chick-fil-a instead.  And spent $17.  Yuck.

$17 might not be a lot to most people but when you are trying to save and when you are conscious of your spending, $17 that you weren't planning on spending is A LOT.  And we won't even talk about the loaf of bread (and other groceries) that I paid good money for and then threw out because we didn't eat it. (because we were going out)

So I decided to break the habit.  If you had asked me, I would have said that our family didn't eat out much.  But we did.  It was just habit.
It was also a treat.  Oh, we had a good day?  Let's eat chick-fil-a.
It was also therapy.  Oh, we had a bad day?  Let's eat chick-fil-a.
It was also socialization.  Oh, you wanna get together with me?  Let's meet at chick-fil-a!  (are we noticing a trend here?  I promise I do eat at other restaurants sometimes...)
And it was even many more things.

So I decided that for the whole month of September, I'm not going to eat out.  I am not going to spend a dime at a restaurant.  That even includes Starbucks or running through the drive-thru just to get a coke.  (yikes!)  In fact, I even started before September.

It has been 10 days and I have already had so many revelations!  Yes, we have been saving money.  I am spending about the same amount at the grocery store, yet not spending the money at restaurants.  We could be saving several hundred dollars a month.  But also, I feel a lot better!  I can't tell you how many times I've gone through a drive-thru and then called Weston and said, "Fast food makes me feel yucky."  Yet I would do it again two days later.  After 10 days of no fast food, I just feel better!  And I think I'm even skinnier :)

I'm also more excited about cooking.  I used to not care about cooking.  I'm not a bad cook but I would just make mediocre meals just to get food on the table.  If we wanted really good food, we would go out to eat.  But I realized, why can't I make really good food in my own kitchen??  I know this may not be a revelation to some, but it was to me.  So I'm on a quest.  I've already tried imitation chick-fil-a nuggets, but my main goal is to make really good tex-mex!  I'm starting with salsa, pico, and guacamole and will be trying a new fajita recipe tomorrow.  There have been times that I've made food, and it was not good, but I kept the recipe and made it again just because it was easy.  Why would anyone do that to themselves and their family??  I'm a doofus.  So from now on, I'm throwing bad recipes out, and tweaking good recipes to make them better!  If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.

We are also dealing with some health issues in our household so we are making a transition to lots more  fruits and vegetables and way less processed food.  I'm considering the transition to a whole foods diet. I am about to attempt to make my own bread (what??!) and even looked up a recipe to make homemade goldfish crackers.  We are convinced that our bodies will feel better if we put better things in them.  I've already gotten a small taste of that with one small change in 10 short days.  [small taste- see what I did there?  sooo punny....]

Ya'll, I have read all those blogs about people that eat like this and it was always SO NOT ME.  I thought those people were crazy and there was NO WAY I could eat like that. But I'm taking baby steps and have actually been enjoying the journey so far.  These are big changes for us and I'm hoping that this won't be just a one month trial run, but it will be a lifestyle change. [although I'm pretty sure I'm never going to make my own kefir.  whatever the heck that is!]

For those of you that are already so great about not going out to eat all the time, and cooking great food at home.  Don't judge me!  :)  I know you probably think I'm crazy.  I just assumed that's how everybody else lived too...??  But I know that's not the case.

And if you want to get together with me, don't invite me out to eat. :)  You can come to my house.  We can drink coffee brewed in my coffee pot, or experiment with the homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe I found.  Oh, and I won't charge you $5 for your cup of coffee ;)