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Friday, December 30, 2011

Morning Grace

I'm a rule-following kind of girl. Its a great trait to have...sometimes. Sometimes it can really get in the way, though. When it comes to my morning quiet time, it can be downright dangerous. As a college student and into my early married years in my 20's, it was easy for me to get up early and spend an hour ir more with God every morning. Then we had kids, and everything changed. Suddenly I was a 22 year old stay at home mom who considered taking a shower a major accomplishment. Days went by without me ever even opening my Bible. My prayer time dwindled to, "Lord, how am I going to get this done?" I'm a voracious reader, so as my kids got older, I started reading again - along with my Bible, I read books on marriage, parenting, and being a Godly woman. I learned a lot from those books - mainly that I was failing. One book said I should spend an hour or more a day in Bible study. Another told me it should be easy to pray for an hour a day. Still others told me I should tithe my time - spend 10% of my time with God and never miss a day. I beat myself up a lot during those early years of marriage and motherhood. I knew there was no way I could live up to what those books suggested. I was breaking all the rules. Then, a few years ago, I discovered something amazing - grace. Its my morning grace - grace for my times with God. My goal is to get up early every morning and spend time with God. Most days it happens, but if not, there's grace. Some days its long, other days its just a short devotional. One day I might spend more time in Bible study, another day might be focused more on prayer, and still another might focus on journaling or scripture memory. Whatever I'm doing, there's grace. I believe that God delights in our efforts and our successes to spend time with Him, but I also believe that He's ready to wrap His arms around us and carry us when we're frazzled, frustrated, and struggling to keep up. He made us, He knows us, and He understands our ups and downs. My morning quiet time is again something I look forward to. In fact, its one of my favorite times of the day. Do you want to have consistent time with God every day? Sign up for Hello Mornings! It has inspired me so much that I'm going to be an accountability captain for the 2nd time in the winter session!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When Mom Gets Sick

The past couple of weeks have been interesting...and challenging.  I finished the fall semester two weeks ago today and threw myself into getting ready for Christmas. Despite my plans to rest, I was doing anything but resting. Finishing my shopping, taking Christmas card pictures, helping my husband get ready for Christmas events, going to church Christmas parties....

Then, while teaching my preschool Sunday School class last Sunday (the 17th), my throat started hurting. It went downhill from there. I think I just had a bad cold, but it hit me really hard. I'm sure my immune system was down from the stress and exhaustion of school. Whatever it was took me down in a hurry.

Suddenly, Mrs. "I-get-up-at-5:00-a.m.-every-day" was rolling out of bed at 9:00 a.m. Instead of running 90-miles-an-hour at work, I was rescheduling appointments and struggling to even show up at work. I think this was God's way of saying, "Look, you need to rest, and if you won't take time out for, I will make sure you get the rest you need." It worked.

Thankfully I felt much better by Christmas. I'm almost 100% now, although I'm still fighting a little bit of a cough. I'm gradually getting back to a normal routine...although I only managed a 7:45 a.m. wakeup time today. Gotta work on that... Its good to be back to even a kind-of normal life though. Back to blogging, back to planning, back to normal, and definitely back to enjoying every second of my Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Quite According to Plan...

I've been so excited about Christmas break.  I have so much I want to accomplish over this month-long break - books to read, projects to work on, cleaning and organizing to do.  I was ready to hit the ground running Thursday, my first day with no classes.  It started out okay, although I had a busy end of the week last week.

Then this week happened.  My week so far...
  • I cooked for a church dinner.
  • I almost destroyed my cake for the church dinner.
  • I went to church.
  • I got sick.
  • I slept in.
  • I went to work.
  • My washing machine broke.
  • I got sicker.
  • The dog puked on my pillow.
  • I sat in the puke on my pillow.
  • My house is a mess.
  • My presents aren't wrapped.
  • The boys are fighting.
  • I yelled at the boys.
  • The toilet overflowed.
  • ...Merry Christmas - where's my Grinch hat?
Thank goodness for God's grace, even when I'm exhausted and nothing is going according to plan!  One day, hopefully soon, I'll look back on the week before Christmas 2011 and laugh...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway!

I was very excited to recently get the chance to review My Memories digital scrapbooking software.  I posted a few weeks about wanting to be creative again and starting new projects, including digital scrapbooking. 

I had a lot of fun playing with My Memories.  It's very easy to use.  I created a couple of pages right away...




Althought was my first ever attempt at digital scrapbooking, I already love it!  My Memories software is just as versatile and fun as traditional scrapbooking, but it takes so much less time.  Plus, it's really easy to share albums and pages with others.  I also love the fact that there are so many add-on packs available for a very affordable price.  I can't wait to do more!  I'm already planning albums I want to put together.

If there was anything I didn't like about My Memories, I wish there were more embellishments available in the starter pack.  However, as I said, there are so many very inexpensive add-on packs available, that's really a minor thing.  Overall, I think this is great software that will really help me reconnect with my love of scrapbooking.

Now for the really fun part...the giveaway!  One lucky winner will win My Memories for FREE and all my readers can receive a special discount code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the My Memories store - a $20 value!  Just enter code: STMMMS56503.

To enter to win, go the My Memories website and then leave a comment here telling me which digital scrapbooking kit you like best.  For additional entries: follow me on Twitter, subscribe to Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom,  like the My Memories Facebook page, follow My Memories on Twitter, and leave a separate comment for each one.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Saturday, December 24.  The winner will be announced Monday, December 26. Thanks for entering, and good luck!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Real Women, Real Health, Real God

I am so excited about the new website/forum/ministry my blogging friend Kristi is launching! January 1, 2012 will mark the launch date for Must Love God, where women can find support for total health - physical, emotional, and spiritual. Must Love God This has been on Kristi's heart for a long time. She has covered this in prayer, and so have many others. I'm so excited and honored to be a contributor for this. Watch for updates and like the Facebook page. I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday Madness

1.  So, did you get sucked into the excitement and drama of Black Friday? If so, what deals did you snag?? And for our international gal, has our shopping madness spread to your area?

2.  Four day weekends are nice but the transition back to work can be challenging! How are you doing with the transition?














My name is Amanda, and I am addicted to Black Friday shopping.  Ever since my husband and I went on our first day-after-Thanksgiving bargain hunt nine years ago, I've been hooked.  We've landed some amazing deals over the years, and we could never pull of the kind of Christmas we have at our house without those bargains. 

This year was much more challenging in some ways, because stores were opening all night long instead of just early Friday morning.  I left my house at 8:00 p.m. Thursday and didn't get home until 7:00 a.m. the next day.  Yes, it was my first ever all-night shopping trip!  I slept for a couple of hours before I left home, and (I'm not kidding) I slept in our truck for about an hour and a half while I waited for JC Penney's to open.

As always, we got some great deals on gifts for our kids, like two video game rockers, normally $65-70, for $32 each, and tons of DVD's, video games and toys.  This year I also scored some awesome deals for our home, like a soft, fuzzy king-size blanket for $24 (which came in handy while I was napping outside Penney's); a set of 600-thread-count sheets for $20 (we won't go into the fact that I was almost trampled for those sheets at Walmart...) and two Scentsy-style wax warmers for $9 each. 

Finally, I got a few things for myself - a cashmere blend pea coat (originally $200) for $50; a pair of boots for $30; five seasons of our all-time favorite TV show, 24, for $10 each (a joint gift for my hubby and me); and (you may do a double take on this one) ammo for my gun for 1/2 price.  (Yes, I have a gun...not a rifle, but a pistol...going to the gun range is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.  My husband and I both shoot, and we'll take his .22 rifle and let the kids shoot, too.  It's a fun family hobby for us!)

I'm sure I like having stores opening on Thanksgiving night, but I love the deals on Black Friday, and it would take a lot to keep me away from it.  It's become a challenge to us to find the best bargains. My hubby and I team shop (although he just hit the first couple of stores with me this year) and plan it like a military operation.  I love it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

When the Cape Comes Off

Some women seem to have it all together.  On the outside, they seem flawless - their house sparkles, they have a successful career, they perfectly balance work and family, they spend time daily with God and they lead a small group at church.  They look like Superwoman.  But sooner or later, the cape has to come off.

The truth is, every woman, every day - no matter how long she's followed Jesus or how much she seems to have it all together - fights battles.  For some, it's depression.  For others, it's habitual sins they struggle to overcome.  For others, it's addiction, haunting memories of abuse, loneliness, feeling overwhelmed, a negative attitude, or any number of other battles.

There are who people who think that, because I'm a pastor's wife, I'm automatically a super-Christian.  They think that I have it all together, that I have all the answers, and that I don't fight the same battles everyone else fights.  WRONG!  There's no cape.  There's no "S" on my chest.  I'm a messed up, sinful person, saved only by the grace of a God much bigger than my faults.

None of us have arrived.  None of us are good enough.  I love Paul's words in Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB): "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  If anyone had a right to claim the status of super-Christian, it was Paul.  But he didn't wear a cape either - he was as flawed as we are.

We all know we're weak and flawed, but here's the scary part: we need to let people see our weakness.  The world is crying out for real, authentic people with real faith.  Think about it: if someone is struggling in their faith, do they need to see someone whose like they think they can never live up to, or a real Christian?  It's okay to take off the cape and stop pretending.  We need to admit that we can't do it all.  When you take that first step, you'll be amazed at how many others do the same.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cilantro Lime Pot Roast

A friend of mine shared this yummy new slow cooker pot roast recipe with me recently and I wanted to share it with you...you can find it here: Cilantro Lime Pot Roast.  I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just What I Needed

The past few days have been amazing.  Today the fun and relaxation ends, and its back to reality, but this short break has been just what I needed to give me the 'second wind' I need for finals week.

I had both school and work Monday and Tuesday, but from Wednesday on, I had neither.  Tuesday my youngest was at the doctor's office - they thought he was in the beginning stages of strep. So we took it easy this week, staying home almost the entire time.  He's feeling like his old self again now, thankfully.

Wednesday I stayed home and cleaned house while Robby visited church members in the hospital.  When he got back, the boys stayed with him while I bought groceries and picked up our smoked turkey.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning, cooking and prepping for Thanksgiving, and watching movies.  (Unknown was awesome!  The kids saw Rio and Spy Kids 4.)

Thursday we ate, slept, and watched movies.  (Soul Surfer this time.)  At 8:00 p.m. we left home for the madness of Black Friday. Robby and the boys got home at 1:00 a.m. and went to bed.  I slept for an hour and a half in the truck outside of JC Penney, waiting for them to open, and got home at 7:00 a.m.  It was wild!  A few highlights: from Penney's - a cashmere-blend pea coat (originally $200 - I paid $50) and boots (originally $100 - I paid $30); from Walmart - tons of toys, DVD's and video games, including 4 seasons of my all-time favorite TV show, 24, for $10 each, and Scentsy-style wax warmers for $9; and from Target, video game chairs for the boys for $32 each.

We got almost all of our shopping done for the boys, and got lots of stuff for our house too.  We spend a lot of money on Black Friday, but we plan for it every year because it saves us so much money.  Its really fun, too - I guess its the ultimate shopping trip for a bargain hunter like me.

Yesterday we slept (a lot) and watched another movie (RED).  I also finished a book I was reading (The Brotherhood by Jerry Jenkins).  Today its back to reality - buy groceries, clean, do laundry, work on school assignments, study.  I'm ready to wrap up this semester and get to Christmas break!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time to Get Creative

I used to be a pretty "artsy" person.  I did a lot of drawing in high school and took several art classes.  My time and interest for art fizzled when I hit college, and I never really picked it back up.  When my oldest son was born, I decided to give scrapbooking a try.  I loved it, and kept it up while we lived in several large parsonages.  I could have a room set aside just for scrapbooking, where I could leave all my supplies and works in progress out, and just close the door when I was done.  Once we bought our own (small) house in 2007, it became too much of a hassle to pull all my supplies out, work on a project, then have to pack it all back up until next time.

For the past several years, I haven't done anything artsy - I've gone to the occasional scrapbooking or cardmaking party, but that's been the extent of it.  I've really missed it, but I just haven't had the time or found my niche in the crafting worldy.  Lately, though, I've been craving craftiness.  (Maybe it's because I've discovered Pinterest...doesn't it make everyone feel crafty?  Don't you love it?)

For several years now, I've wanted to learn to knit.  I dabbled with it once, but never really got past a basic knit stitch.  This past week, I finally did it - I bought myself some knitting needles and yarn, and I printed off a free ebook from Lion Brand Yarns.  So far, I've just learned to cast on, knit, and purl, but it's a start, and I'm loving it!  It's so soothing and relaxing.  Once I get some more basics down, I plan to start with a scarf, then move on a tote bag, and finally to a beautiful throw, like the one below.  (The colors shown here are a perfect match for our master bedroom.)

I've also dabbled with the idea of digital scrapbooking for quite a while now, and I think that my upcoming Christmas break may be the perfect time to dive in.  We have Photoshop...it's just a matter of me learning how to use Photoshop.  It may be a long process.  I really miss scrapbooking, but when time (and money) for buying supplies are limited, digital seems like the perfect solution.

I'm excited about both ideas of mine.  (I'm not sure how enthused my hubby will be, but thankfully they're both cheap hobbies!)  I hope to start sharing photos of completed craft projects with you soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ready to Hide His Word?

Today I'm starting a new challenge with Katie Orr at Do Not Depart...



Scripture memory was, for a long time, been something I knew I should do, but somehow never got around to.  Earlier this year, I took the plunge and decided to start it after reading a great post on A Holy Experience, one of my favorite blogs. 

Memorizing God's Word is life changing.  When you're memorizing scripture, you're truly meditating on it, feeding your soul with it day after day.  I don't know why it took me so long to grasp the importance of it, but now it's a vital part of my quiet time.  I hope you'll join us - you won't regret it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Things I Want to Do on Christmas Break

Top Ten {Tuesday}

This semester of college is the hardest I have ever done...I'm counting the days until my Christmas break.  Here's what I'm most looking forward to doing...
  1. Get lost in my favorite author's new book (Forbidden by Christian suspense author Ted Dekker) plus several others that are downloaded to my Kindle app
  2. Take my boys to the library
  3. Lapse into a coma Sleep in
  4. Clean house (Well, I'm not exactly looking forward to the cleaning, but it's got to be done)
  5. Learn to knit (or at least start learning)
  6. Spend long quiet times catching up on my Bible studies
  7. Snuggle up and watch movies with my family
  8. Blog more
  9. Try some new recipes
  10. Get back into my running routine

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The First 5K That (Sort Of) Wasn't

Saturday was the big day - the day I planned to run/walk my first 5K.  Let's just say things didn't go quite as planned...

Friday night, my husband told me that he was way behind on his work for the weekend, and desperately needed to catch up.  He had errands to run and things to do, and he couldn't watch the kids Saturday morning as planned.  I texted my boss and told her I wouldn't be able to make it after all.  She suggested that I bring the boys - it's a family-friendly event and there would be lots of kids there.  Obviously, my boys are not ready to run a 5K, so plans changed a bit.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we headed to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event.  It was so fun, although I think my boys were traumatized when 1,200+ women opened the walk by singing "I Will Survive" and doing Zumba!  We started the walk with the group, then doubled back at around the half-mile point, when my youngest started to tire out.  We headed back to the start/finish line and cheered on our team as they crossed the finish line.  Even though it didn't work out as planned, it was fun.  Best of all, my oldest son is already wanting to go back next year and walk the whole thing.  (BTW - My boss took some great pictures - I'll post some as soon as I get them from her.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On my "I can't wait to read" list....



I was so excited when I logged onto Booksneeze this afternoon and found this on the availabe books list!  I immediately loaded it our iPad.  It may be slow reading, since I still have six weeks of college left before Christmas break, but I can't wait to dive into it!  I've heard so many awesome things about Heaven is for Real.

This is going to be my first ebook to review, and I've got to say, I love it!  Nothing can beat getting a book immediately instead of having to wait a week or two for a hard copy to come in the mail.  I love books.  I love technology.  When the two are combined, can it get any better?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Just a Season

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is full of seasons.  There are seasons of new beginnings, like marriage and the birth of babies.  There are seasons of transitions, like starting or leaving a job or moving to a new town.  There are easy and hard seasons, seasons you enjoy and seasons you can't wait to see pass.

This is a strange season for me.  It's exciting, because I'm following my dreams and transitioning into a new phase in my life.  It's hard, because, honestly, going through dental hygiene school while working and raising a family is the hardest thing I've ever done.  It's frustrating, because it's hard balancing my roles as a wife, mom, manager, and student. 

It's a season of tears and joys, highs and lows, exhaustion and exasperation.  It's a season of questioning my decisions (and my sanity).  It's a season of wondering if it's all going to pay off or all go up in smoke.  It's a season of pushing myself beyond what I ever dreamed I was capable of, then having to dig down deep and push myself more.  It's a season of begging God for fresh strength every day, several times a day, and learning to rely on Him like never before.

Right now, I'm focusing on finishing this semester strong.  I only have six weeks left, then I get a month off for Christmas break.  I'm looking forward to relaxing with my family, reading some books, and maybe working on a couple of crafty projects.  We'll probably watch some movies, maybe take a mini-vacation, and just enjoy time together.  We'll all need it, because my spring semester will be the hardest of the entire dental hygiene program.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My latest addiction...

I guess it's about time...I've discovered Pinterest.  (Like I needed another way to spend hours online.)  I completely and totally love it!  I'm having so much fun looking for new recipes, reading inspiring quotes, or finding my inner fashionista.  (I sense a shopping trip to Ross and Marshal's in the near future - I've seen some adorable outfits I'm going to try to piece together.)

I'm still in the process of setting up boards and learning my way around.  I'd love for you to join me!  Check out my Pinterest page...

Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Upcoming 1st Ever 5K

I'm so totally NOT ready for this...I'm excited, but between school and my husband's recent health scare, I haven't run in about three weeks.  Then on Facebook, a friend posted this, and I had to steal it.  It sums up exactly how I feel...


I really do feel like the top picture when I run...if only I looked the same! 

I am really looking forward to getting back into my workout routine.  I love to run, even if I'm not good at it yet.  I love the way it makes me feel, the peace and quiet of being alone with my running shoes and the street (or treadmill), the feeling of doing something I never really thought I could do.  Plus I've already heard about another 5K in November, and a friend of mine is going to make that her first...I think I see my second 5K on the horizon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Cardiologist and a New Perspective

Life can get pretty stressful for me sometimes...and then something can happen that puts it all in perspective.  That's what has happened at our home during the past three weeks.

It all started with my husband having sudden chest pains about three weeks ago.  We thought he'd pulled a muscle while working on his truck.  After a couple of days, the pain went away.  Then it came back.  Finally, a week and a half ago, he made a trip to our family doctor.  The doctor did an EKG and set up an appointment with the cardiologist.  Last Monday my husband went to the cardiologist, who didn't seem too concerned but planned to schedule him for more tests.  Then Wednesday hit...

Robby's truck was in the shop, so I dropped him and our boys off at the church before I headed to class until lunchtime.  At 9:00 I left class for a break and checked my phone to find a message from my husband.  He told me that something was happening, and he thought it might be his heart.  A church member was driving him for an emergency visit to the cardiologist and he wanted to tell me that I might need to leave class and head over there.  He told me that he loved me.  I honestly didn't know if I would hear his voice any more after that message.

Panic doesn't even begin to describe what I felt.  I rushed into class in tears.  Classmates helped me get my things together and I sped to the doctor's office to be with Robby.  To make a long story short, five hours and two tests later, we found out that my husband's heart is in great shape.  Apparently he suffered a massive anxiety attack, and may have some underlying minor medical problems causing them.  Our family doctor is trying some different treatments until we find what works.  He's still having daily attacks, but he's finding ways to manage them a little better.  I've been giving him a little advice - I struggled with anxiety attacks for about a year in 2006/2007.

It's been a really scary week and a half for us.  I want to say thanks to all my Twitter friends, especially my Hello Mornings #mym2 girls and my Good Morning Girls group, Sisters in Spirit, for all your prayers and encouraging words.  All I can say is, I'm so thankful my husband is okay.  School is important, but I have to admit, whether or not I make an A on a test isn't quite so important anymore.  Life has a different feel after a crisis.  Gratitude reigns in our family right now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Many Sides of Motherhood

Some days a mom just needs some extra encouragement...this past week, it came from my blogging friend MommaKristi.  We had some lists going on Twitter this week, and between the two of us, we came up with a good list of the many sides of motherhood in this season of my life...


Don't you love it when God sends you just what you need, just when you need it most?  Thanks, Kristi!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No More Excuses

I found this today and love it...


It's a perfect picture of my thougts lately.  This week, I've really been trying to push myself.  I have a 5k coming up in just a few weeks, which is a BIG motivator.  And to be honest, I got tired of making excuses for why I don't have time to work out hard.  I need to push myself more than ever.  With my stress levels at an all time high, I need to get rid of a lot of stress or one day, I'm going to snap. 

Sunday I put in my best run ever - running more than walking for the first time - and yesterday I did a boot camp class at work.  I want to get in two more runs this week, tomorrow and Saturday.  Hopefully boot camp will become a regular feature at our gym, because I LOVED it, but if not, I'm going to put together my own at-home version of it.  I've tried our Zumba classes at our gym, and while they're fun, I'm not a dancer - I have no rhythm at all.  Boot camp doesn't require coordination or rhythm.  I can't shimmy or cha-cha, but I can do jumping jacks and kickboxing.

Fitness and healthy eating are going to have to be priorities for me.  Its worth the time because it will give me an edge.  If I'm fit and healthy, I'm less likely to get sick, and I'm more likely to have the energy I need to get through my crazy days.  I can't take care of everything and everyone I need to take care of if I don't take care of myself, too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Touches a Momma's Heart

Last week was a really hard week.  If you read my post Tuesday, you know that I've been struggling with "mommy guilt" and the heavy load of balancing college, work, and family.  I was pretty down, but God always knows what we need.  I found my oldest son's prayer list on the floor a couple of days on it.  On it were two requests - Mrs. Jackie's uncle (Mrs. Jackie is a lady in our church) and Mom.  He knew I needed prayer, and he was praying for me.  That touched this momma's heart in a way he will never know.  God knew exactly what I needed, and He sent it by way of a precious nine year old boy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don’t You Love It When You're on a Roll?

Friday I was totally out of motivation, but something happened overnight, because I found it yesterday.  I was on a roll!  I love days like that.

I worked until 1:00 yesterday.  It was a busy day with lots of workouts and two Zumba classes.  I was chatting with members, checking people in for classes, and selling merchandise like crazy.  We just received new breast cancer awareness t-shirts, and they are a HUGE hit! 

After work I headed home to my guys.  I had planned for us to eat leftovers, but my latest experimental slow cooker recipe didn't turn out too well, so we picked up lunch instead.  After lunch I headed to the church with Robby and boys.  While Robby worked and the boys rode bikes and watched movies, I worked on school assignments - a journal entry, a medical terminology quiz, an article we have to do a group project on, and a study guide for a big test on Tuesday.  I got so much done.

I headed home around 6:00.  I cut Robby's hair, then loaded the kids up for our weekly grocery shopping trip.  I was the master of multi-tasking, walking through the store shopping and selling Crest white strips via phone for school.  (Great deal on professional strength white strips - I can ship them, in case anyone is interested.) 

At home again, I unloaded groceries, cooked dinner, studied, make a Jello salad and started cheesy chicken in the slow cooker for today's church dinner, and finally collapsed into bed.  Whew!  What a day, but I got so much accomplished.  Today will be more relaxed.  I'm going to try to get to the gym, too - I desperately need to run off some stress!  I can't imagine why....

Friday, September 16, 2011

When Motivation Just Isn't There

I don’t want to do anything right now.  Nothing.  Not housework.  Not studying.  Not exercise.  Nothing.  Except maybe crashing on the couch and mindlessly watching TV.  I have zero motivation.  Even my eating habits have slipped this week, and the scale shows it.

This has been a very long and tiring week, and it still isn't over.  I think that's probably the reason behind my strong urge to do nothing.  I'm exhausted, stressed, and hormonal - not a good combination.  I'm also feeling pretty overwhelmed.  When I feel overloaded I sometimes want to procrastinate, not knowing where to start.

Thankfully my Good Morning Girls group begins Monday.  I'm looking forward to their support and encouragement, and our Bible study on 1 John.  My 5k is just weeks away, so I'm going to make myself get back on track with my training.  I'm going to keep tackling college one day, one class, one assignment at a time.  I'll get there, slow and steady.  I'll find my motivation day by day as I dig in and keep going.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Your Heart Breaks...

A few words broke this momma's heart last week. We were all in the car, and we were talking about marriage and how we hope our boys don't marry too young. I was telling the boys that it's important for them to finish college and get a good job before they get married so they can take care of their family. My six year old said, "I don't think I'll like college." I asked why not. He replied, "Because you have to be away from your family for five or six days."
It hurt so much it might as well have been a knife in my heart. My husband immediately looked over at me. He knew it hit me hard. He assured me that Spencer didn't really mean anything by it. I grabbed for a tissue in my purse, hiding my tears from my kids. Even now, a few days later, it still makes my heart ache to think about it.
I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I'm doing exactly what God wants me to be doing right now. That doesn't make this road an easy one, though. I miss my kids when I'm away from home all day. When I want to just go home after classes, I have to go to work, because we still have to pay our bills, including my tuition. When I get home, exhausted beyond words, and want to just relax and have fun with my family, I have to study and do homework and cook dinner and wash clothes. On the weekends, I struggle to play catch up, getting groceries and doing housework, and studying - always studying.
This weekend, I tried to remind the kids of why I'm going back to school. I was off work, so I took them to a friend's birthday party. They went grocery shopping with me. They watched cartoons and skateboarded and played in the backyard while I did housework. We had dinner together as a family. They told me how much they loved our weekend. I reminded them that one reason I decided to go back to school is time with them. When I graduate and start my new career, I'll be home by 6:00 every night (instead of 8:00) and I'll never have to work weekends. I'll have lots more time off, more flexibility, and more money. I reminded them that it will be worth it. Hearing the joy in Spencer's voice when he realized that this isn't forever started to heal the ache in my heart.
I have to remind myself of that a lot. I have to sacrifice now to make things better in the long run. The sacrifices are hard, and they hurt. All I can do is cling even tighter to God and trust in His strength to see me through. It will be worth it all in the end.

Monday, September 5, 2011

When Living Simply Isn't So Simple

Simplify.  Just saying the word makes me feel more relaxed.  I see myself with less to do, less to worry about, and more time to relax.  I see myself sipping raspberry lemonade on a private beach...okay, that's just wishful thinking, but you get the point.

But what happens when you're at a place in your life where you can't simplify?  What happens when you have too many irons in the fire, but you can't take anything out or it will all fall apart?  That's where I am now.

Work is going well - extremely well, in fact.  We've worked hard to get it there, and we're going to have to work harder to keep it moving in the right direction.

School is great.  It's amazing.  I love it, and I know that dental hygiene is the career I was made for.  It's a perfect fit for me.  It's also extremely demanding: five classes, required community service hours, numerous online assignments, a group project, rotations in senior clinic, choosing a topic for my freshman research project, two case studies, a patients education simulation, and finding my own patients to meet radiology requirements...and that's just this semester!

A lot of the girls in the program have already quit their jobs, but that's not an option for me...and honestly, I wouldn't want to even if it was an an option.  I enjoy my job, and most of my patients on my list are work contacts.  Cutting my hours back would be great, but that's not an option either.

Simplicity is not an option for me right now.  That won't come until I start my new career in 2013.  So I try to juggle and find all the support I can get.  My husband is my biggest fan - he does all he can to help me out.  My boys are chipping in more and are such great helpers.  I'm so excited about my new Good Morning Girls accountability/Bible study/prayer group.  I'm also an obsessive planner, so that helps too.  I'm hanging on to God with all I have, trusting Him to give me the strength and wisdom to get through this very un-simplified season of my life.  With Him, I know I'll make it!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Special Guest Post - 21 Days for Sons

I'm so excited to share a special guest post with you today from Brooke McGlothlin!  I did my first 21 Days for Sons prayer challenge, and bought Brooke's ebook, Warrior Prayers, just after it's release.  It's life changing!  I hope you'll enjoy Brooke's encouragement as much as I do...

Waiving the White Flag



Are you the mother of boys who often finds herself ready to waive the white flag in defeat?





Do they drain you, overwhelm you, steal your heart, break your heart and cause you more anxiety than you ever dreamed possible?

Maybe you only have one boy amongst a sea of estrogen and you just can’t figure out how to respond to him in a way that affirms all that is good about his masculinity.


You're not alone.



Last May, over 1300 women and a few dads in SEVEN different countries joined together to pray purposefully and passionately for the hearts of their sons in a challenge called 21 Days of Prayer for Sons. 21 Days is based on the best-selling eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most.





Even our best parenting efforts don't come with a guarantee. As much as we might wish we could change their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), we can't. But we serve a God who can. Knowing this, it becomes quite clear that there is only one thing we can do…


Plead with God.



Pray.





“The fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:17.




It’s our hope.
The next 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge starts September 6 and ends September 26, 2011. How can you participate? Easy!



  1. Purchase your own copy of Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (just $5.97 as a PDF download or on Amazon Kindle!) You could, in theory, participate in the challenge without a personal copy, but your experience will be much deeper and richer with it.
  2. Commit to praying for your son(s) or grandsons 10 times a day for 21 days straight. This is a huge commitment, so if you feel God leading you to participate, pray and ask Him to give you the strength and endurance you need.
  3. Consider leading your own group on your blog or in your community!
  4. Sign-up HERE!



Get inspired by recent participants!



“This challenge…has given me my joy back in mothering” ~LaToya

“Thank you for giving me a tangible method for transformation in my family!!” ~Anne

“Thanks, Brooke for your help. I’ve always known that God was listening; I just didn’t know what to say!” ~Laurel

“So many heart changes are going on in our home and I’m just so thankful…” ~Ashley

************************
Brooke is a mom of two young boys who leave her desperate for God’s grace. Her pursuit of being a better mom has left her at the foot of the cross, knowing that if God doesn’t show up … nothing happens. This dependence upon God to turn hearts of stone to hearts of flesh leads her to her knees in prayer. She’s the author of the best-selling eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge and co-founder of the well-loved online community for mothers of boys, the M.O.B. Society. She offers hope for change to the hearts of women at her main blog, A Life in Need of Change.





Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Review and a Brook McGlothlin GIVEAWAY!

One thing I've learned in my life is that life rarely goes as planned!  When I was a kid, my career plans and goals changed as often as my hairstyles, but one dream never changed - I dreamed of being a writer. Not just any writer, but a bestselling mystery author who lived on a huge farm with her husband, her five kids, and her many pets.  I would write, always full of fresh and new ideas, and I would enjoy life on my farm all day long.

Fast forward twenty-some-odd years, and you'll find me - a working mom of two, pastor's wife, and college student with a blog, living in a small town and nowhere near a farm...the closest thing we have to a farm animal is our teacup Yorkie.  Let's just say that childhood dream didn't pan out quite the way I expected.  I love my life, and I wouldn't trade this reality for any childhood dream.  But the dream of being a writer is still there...it's just grown and changed with me over the years.

I was so excited to get a copy of Notes to Aspiring Writers to review!  Brooke's new books isn't a "theory" book or a "technical" book - it's a heart book.  It digs deeper than the writing itself, and goes to the heart of writing.  It's about letting go of our dreams and embracing God's dreams for our lives.  It's about learning to accept our circumstances when God says "no."  It's about following God's leading to your real life's mission.  With study questions and a resource list included, you can go even deeper into your reasons for writing and find great ways to sharpen your skills.  This book was so inspiring and challenging to me!

Now for the best part...the giveaway!  I'm very excited to offer a FREE copy of Notes to Aspiring Writers to one lucky winner!  Here are the rules:

1. MANDATORY ENTRY:  Like Notes to Aspiring on Facebook (here) and leave a comment letting me know you did.

2. ADDITIONAL ENTRIES: 
* Share this giveaway by Twitter, Facebook, or your blog - leave a comment for each method you use to share the giveaway.

Entries will be open until Saturday, August 27th at midnight and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 28th.  Thanks for entering, and good luck!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Altars to Remember


I stole a great quote from Rambling Heather on Twitter recently...we were discussing spiritual journaling, and she described it this way: "It's how I build my altars to remember."

I read a devotional recently on memory stones, like the ones Joshua placed in the Jordan where the  priests carrying the ark stood as Israel crossed over.  That's what spiritual journaling is to me - it's my memory stone.  It's where I can point and say, "This is what God has done."

I want to lay stones not just for me, but for my children, too.  Over and over in the first few chapters of Deuteronomy, God tells Israel not to forget, and not to let their children forget, what He has done.  My kids have to see and hear what God has done in my life, and remember what He has done in their lives.  We have to lay memory stones, altars to remember, for generations to come.

One memory stone for me came on a recent Sunday when a church member asked if she and a couple of other ladies could pray for me - they knew what a toll juggling this summer class and an almost full-time job was taking on me.  As she was praying, she started saying that God is going to use this for something so much bigger than just career advancement, that He is going to answer prayers prayed in the midnight hour. 

I started crying, because I know those prayers...I can get very specific.  Prayers for my sons, that they will have a faith like Daniel, that they will put Jesus first in everything all their lives.  Prayers for me and for ministry, that I will make a difference and leave a legacy for Christ.  Prayers for our family, for dreams that have been in my heart since childhood.  Those midnight prayers have been intense and tear-filled and desperate.  Most of all, they've been heard.  He is listening, and that prayer was confirmation for me.  God is going to do amazing things in this family, and my journal will hold the memory stones for what He has done.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time to Change

Its time for some changes. Life got more than a little out of control during my summer class. My house is recovering, my laundry is almost caught up, and I feel well rested again. This class took a toll on me, though, and my body paid the biggest price.

I'm just going to be totally honest...when I'm stressed out, I don't want healthy food - bring on the comfort foods! I don't always have time for lunch either - the $1 drive- thru menu and I got to know each other too well. (Yes, I know about McDonald's snack wraps and yogurt parfairs, but I was stressed, remember?) And my love affair with rich, flavored coffee creamers and McDonald's carmel frappes isn't helping me either.

The sad truth is that even though I manage a women's fitness and weight loss center and teach women how to be healthy all day, every day, I don't always follow my own advice.I've gained some weight. Not a lot, but I'm getting too close for comfort to my all time high. I don't want to lose a lot - honestly, if I drop 10 pounds I'll be happy. For a long, I was just too thin. I look back at my younger pictures and realize that I looked almost sick because I was so thin. I want to be at a healthy weight.

Its time for some changes, though. Not a diet, but its time to reverse some bad habits. I'm giving up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper's except on rare occasions, because even though they're calorie free, they don't make me feel better. I'm drinking more water, making healthier choices when I eat out, and tomorrow I'm getting back to my 5k training. I've missed running the past three works and I'm so ready to get back to it! My Christmas I want to be slimmer, healthier and in better shape than ever. I haven't been giving God my best when it comes to taking care of my body, and its time to change that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Favorite Last-Minute Meals

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Last-minute, emergency, quick fix...whatever you want to call it, we all need to pull out a quick and easy dinner plan sometimes.  If hot dogs, grilled cheese, and canned soup have overstayed their welcome on your menu plan, here are a few easy favorites of my family's...

1.  Quesadillas
2.  Omlets
* I love both of these because you can use whatever meat and veggies you have to whip up a healthy, easy meal!  They're also great if you have picky eaters because you can customize them so much.
3.  Soup from the freezer (My favorite soup to freeze is my taco soup - I always make a double batch and freeze one.)
4.  Breakfast
5.  Fried raviolli
6.  English muffin pizzas
7.  Stuffed chicken breast (I buy these at our local grocery store when they go on sale for $1 each.  Small kids can split one, so this is a very budget friendly meal.  There are lots of options like chicken kiev, chicken cordon bleu, and buffalo style chicken.)
8.  Mexican hamburger casserole
9.  Chicken and pasta (I use individually frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and Philadelphia Cooking Creme.)
10.  Taco salad (No meat?  We love chili beans and Spanish rice.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simple Joys Weekend - 8/14



I am loving my time off from school!  A few of my simply joys weekend highlights...

Meeting my friend Kathy's new "grand-puppy" at work on Friday...

Making English muffin pizzas with my boys...see the smiley pepperoni faces?

Snuggling with my boys while watching Phineus and Ferb (this is a self-portrait, so excuse the sloppy photography)...


And finally, for the Angry Birds fan addict like me, seeing these at Walmar was the ultimate...


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer, Laundry, and the OMG Class

Wow.  No other words come to mind as I look back on the last five weeks...except maybe boot camp.  I can see why this class earned the nickname "the OMG class" - oh my goodness how did I make it through that class?

I made it by the grace of God and nothing else.  Thursday I finished the hardest class of my life with my first B ever and officially moved on in the dental hygiene program.  It was brutal.  I shed many tears the past five weeks.  I questioned my sanity and why I decided to do this in the first place.  I was barely keeping my head above water as I attempted to balance work, classes, studying, family and home.  "Home" got the short end of the stick, so on my few days off before fall, I'm going to give it some TLC and catch up on laundry and cleaning.

I'm also looking forward to lots of fun time with my boys.  Thursday night we snuggled up together to watch "Phineus and Ferb. "  Last night we made English muffin pizzas when I got home from work.  Today I'm hoping to squeeze in some geocaching.  They just a couple of more weeks before homeschooling starts anew, so we're going to have some last-minute summer fun while we still can.

Unfortunately my Hello Mornings time and my Hide His Word efforts also got the short end of the stick.  My times were very short.  I feel drained and exhausted mentally spiritually and look forward to spending lots of time in my Ephesians study and my Psalm 143 memorization during the next few days.  I also need to figure out how to make things work better, like my quiet time and my housework plans.  Fall is said to be much easier than summer but I know that none of it will be easy.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keeping My Head Above Water

That's pretty much all I can do right now.  This class is a killer!  Everyone assures me that school gets much easier after this...my word, it has to, or there would be no dental hygienists!

I have been missing in action from my blog recently, and unfortunately, that's going to be the norm for the next two weeks until this class is over.  After that, I hope to get back into a schedule.  Two weeks - eight classes - three more tests - can I ignore that last part?  It's just one more hurtle on the way to my dream...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Today's Special Guest - Our Good Life

I am so excited to have my first Working with Delight guest post today!  Aurie Good from Our Good Life is sharing some great tips to help busy moms.  She has a beautiful blog (click on her blog button below to check it out) and the most adorable little girls!  Thanks so much for joining us and guest posting today, Aurie!




Welcome to Our Good Life


As a momma with 2 busy little girls, keeping on schedule is pretty important. Add in my husband’s schedule as minister, and my schedule working part time as an administrator at a neighboring church and our day to day lives can be down right chaotic!

My girls do not thrive in chaos. At all.

My husband gets stressed out by chaos.

Me – I live for chaos! The more the merrier – but in order to have our house filled with happy people, I needed to find a way to rein it all in.

In an attempt to streamline our days we implemented a few simple tools {which are free or very inexpensive!}

• We signed up for Google Calendar. This has been a huge help for us! We can access it from work, home or even my phone to make sure we are all on the same page.

• I purchased a dry erase weekly calendar board from Kohl’s on clearance. On it I have spaces for hubby, each girl, and myself so we can see at a glance what is going on each day.

• I plan our dinner meals a week in advance and post in the kitchen. This has been a wonderful way to take the stress out of figuring out what to toss together for dinner. Better still, my adorable husband can look at the board and get dinner started. Another bonus: having our meals pre-planned has cut back on the amount of spontaneous trips to the grocery store and eating out.

• Laundry. Ahh…the dreaded laundry. I do 2 loads of wash everyday except for Sunday. One in the morning, and one in the evening. The girls are each on Monday and Thursday, hubby and I are Tuesday and Saturday and Wed is reserved for sheets and towels.

It was amazing to me how much better our days flow when we know what is going on, and how to plan for each day. There are still days when I rush out forgetting the diaper bag, or remember that the library books were due yesterday – but we all have those moments, right?


Bio:
Aurie Good is a minister’s wife, a retired youth minister and quite possibly the most relaxed mom you will meet! She is married to her best friend and considers the simple life they have created together absolute bliss! She is a momma to Sophie (3), Isabelle (20 months) and 1 angel waiting in heaven. Her blog is full of the crazy fun adventures that the Good family embarks on each day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Strong One


People tell me a lot that I'm a strong woman.  They think that because I'm juggling so much, I'm naturally strong and organized and able to do it all.  They see me going to school, working, helping my husband at our church and raising a family and they think, "Wow, she's confident, she's strong, she's energetic, and she really has it together."

Let me set the record straight right now: they're wrong.  Really, really wrong.  I'm not strong and I'm not confident, and I don't have anything together.  I'm a mess.  I'm weak.  I'm afraid.  I'm a natural born worrier.  I stress out and freak out about little things.  I have no confidence in myself.  And most of the time I'm really, really tired.  I'm not at all what people think I am.

I'm not a strong woman.  I'm just a woman who has faith in a really strong God.  Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  When I feel like I'm falling apart, I know that my Daddy has me wrapped in His strong arms.  When I'm weak, He gives me all the strength I need to get through the day.  When I don't have the energy to get through another minute, He gives me rest.  He's my life, my breath, my everything.  He's the strong One.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are You Busy?


Join the party, write about one of the topics below and link up!


1. What invitation would you love to receive?
2. Does your life feel too busy or not busy enough?

I love Hobby Lobby.  I could myself into soooo much trouble in that store!  By the time I leave, I find myself wanting to resume my old scrapbooking and drawing hobbies and learn to knit, make jewelry, decorate aprons, and design my own flip flops.  The running joke among my family and friends is that I can do all that...in my spare time.  They all know that I don't even know what spare time is anymore.

Right now, I am completely, totally, and entirely too busy.  To be honest, I'm running on fumes right now, just trying to keep my head above water and survive from week to week.  A demanding college program and a demanding job equal one exhausted mom. 

Three days a week, I am away from home for 13 hours.  I leave my house at 7:00 a.m. for two to six hours of college classes, depending on what day it is.  Once class is done, I head to work, where I wear every hat from equipment tech to custodian, from office manager to trainer, from cheerleader to counselor.  After getting off work at 7:30 p.m., I arrive home at 8:00 to eat dinner, then hit the books to study until I collapse into bed around 11:00.  Thankfully this summer class only lasts three and a half more weeks, but then I only get a few days to recover before the fall semester starts with basically the same demanding, fast-paced schedule.

I'm trying to prioritize my days.  Thankfully, I have my amazing husband - he's helping with the kids and cleaning house so I can focus on school.  I'm trying to make sure I carve out time for quiet time each morning and working out several evenings a week - those are my sanity savers!  I eat dinner with my family around the table most nights, and I spend my weekends at home.  I wish I could take some things off my list, but it's just not possible right now.  I'm definitely way too busy, and I often question my sanity for deciding to go into the dental hygiene program, but I'm reminding myself that all the "busyness" will pay off when I'm done.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Week Down...

One week of dental hygiene school is now behind me.  I thought I was ready.  To a certain extent, I was, but wow - this is even harder than I expected.  The class is intense - think of it as anatomy and physiology on steroids.  The pace is frantic.  The stress is massive.  I'm still reeling from this week, preparing for my first test (Monday) followed immediately by my second test (lab, on Tuesday), and trying to figure out how to balance full-time school with almost full-time work and still have a life somewhere in there.

Thank goodness for blogging!  I'm so glad I have an outlet.  I can talk about school, or I can avoid the topic altogether...which is probably what I'll do the most, since it consumes pretty much every waking moment.  Sometimes I just want a break from it.  I've been so scattered with my blogging lately, but I promise, I am working to get it all together.

Right now, my major focus is going to be on consistency with two things: Working with Delight on Mondays (all about being a Christian working mom) and Faith Lived Out on Fridays.  I've dabbled with having a second blog called Faith Lived Out, but juggling two blogs with everything else is too much, so I'm combining them by making it a weekly feature on this blog.  More so now than ever, I feel like I'm focusing in on exactly who I am and what I want to share when it comes to blogging, and I can't wait to bring it all into my blog.

On that note: During the craziness of my summer class, I'm looking for guest bloggers for Working with Delight.  If you're a Christian working mom and you'd like to guest post, please drop me an email at amandablogs79(at)yahoo(dot)com.  You can write on any topic you choose related to being a CWM - how you balance it all, time saving tips, the best advice you've received, a devotional, books or other resources that have helped you out, etc.  I need guest posts for August 1st and August 8th.  I have a great guest post lined up for next week - I can't wait!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do You Need to Refocus?

It's so easy for families to get overwhelmed.  With Mom and Dad both working (in many cases), the kids in school and sports and other activities, church activies, managing your home, and more, it doesn't take long to feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew.

Years ago, I found a great resource...honestly, it's been so long that I'm not sure where I found it.  Over the years, I've added to it.  The Family Assesment is just a list of a few questions to ask yourself to help you refocus your family's time and activities. 

Up until now, I've used it mainly for major life changes for our family - for example, when we started homeschooling and when I returned to work.  My goal now is to use this once a month, during my weekly planning time, to make sure that our family is staying focused on what is most important to us. 
You can download the PDF here.  It's nothing fancy - this is the first time I've ever done a PDF for download on my blog - but I hope it will help you as much as it has helped me over the years.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Working Mom Wrap-Up - 7/9

This week was hectic, and I didn't do as much blog reading as I normally do, but here are two great posts from the past week...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creatures of Habit


#1. How important to you, as a working mom, is a schedule/routine for your kids?

#2. Given the opportunity, which would you accept - a bigger salary and less benefits OR a smaller salary and top-notch benefits?

I am such a creature of habit.  In fact, my entire family is like that!  We love vacations, but we're always so happy to get home and get back into our family routine.  Since we are also a homeschooling family, and because as of Monday, I will be a full-time college student, we need routine even more to keep everyone on track and to keep things running smoothly.

We don't have to be as strict with routines as we did when they were litte - at 9 and 6, my boys are way past nap time - and because of my husband's job, they can be pretty flexible.  He is more laid back with their schedule during the day, but I look forward to our routine each night when I get home from work.  We definitely stick to a pattern.

If I get home early enough, we eat dinner together as a family.  Even on the nights I get home late, after everyone has eaten, sometimes my boys will come sit with me at the table and we'll talk.  We sit down together before bedtime, too, to read the Bible and a kids devotional together, and to write in our family gratitude journal.  I pray with each of them and sing our special song as I tuck them in.  It's nothing fancy, but each of them has their own special song that I made up for them when they were babies, and they still love for me to sing it to them.  Our evenings together are the highlight of my day, especially on my three "long days" each week, when I'm away from home for 13 hours.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ten Mommy Myths

Top Ten {Tuesday}

There always seems to be such a huge debate, at least online, between stay at home moms and working moms.  I've walked both sides of that line, and I know first-hand that there are so many misconceptions about moms in general.  I've broken down my top 10 list this week into two lists:

Five Stay at Home Myths

1. SAHM's don't "work."
They may not work outside the home, but if you've ever chased an active toddler or bounced a fussy baby all day, with no help, while caring for older kids and attempting to prepare meals and clean house, you've never really worked.  SAHM's don't sit around eating bon bons all day - they work all day long, every day, with no vacation days.  I love the quote I read in the book Don't Make Me Come Up There - the author, Kristen Welch, said that she got tired of people asking, "Oh, you don't work?" so she started telling them, "I'm a mom - what's your superpower?"

2. SAHM's aren't well educated.
I have several friends with college degrees who decided to stay home with their children or work only part time while their children were small.  They know that the financial sacrifice is worth it - you will always have time to build your career, but you won't always have those early years with your kids.

3. Housekeeping is easy for SAHM's because they're home all day.
Yes, they are at home...with small messmakers running around the house all day, making housekeeping dramatically harder.  Then get old enough to "help" - and it gets even crazier.

4. Friendships are easier for SAHM's because they have more time.
When your schedule revolves around small children, it's hard to find time for anything else.  Other SAHM's are busy with their families, while working mom friends have a totally different schedule than yours.  One of the hardest parts of being a SAHM is the lonlieness that you experience all too often.

5. SAHM's have lots of free time.
Babies and small kids have a way of completely absorbing every waking moment of your time.  You go and go all day, until the kids are finally tucked safe and snug into bed.  Then you collapse into a comatose state...at least until the baby gets up for a midnight feeding or the preschooler wakes from a nightmare.  Being a full-time mom is exhausting, and it's hard to find time for yourself.

Five Working Mom Myths

1. Working moms choose to work.
I heard that for years, and was even guilty of feeling that way myself - until I had to go back to work.  Every working mom I know works because she has to, not because she wants to.  Many of my friends are the co-breadwinner or the primary breadwinner in their family.  Their husbands work, too - the wife just happens to be in a field that earns more money or is in higher demand.  Or in some cases, she is a single mom, and is therefore the sole source of income for her children.

2. Working moms could cut back their standard of living and stay home.
Again, most moms work because they have to.  They struggle to stay within their budget, just like SAHM's.  They clip coupons, shop from clearance racks, and plan their shopping trips carefully.  They are working for living expenses, not extras and "toys."

3. Working moms don't put their family first.
If staying home means your family going under financially, then going to work is putting your family first.  As a working mom, I put priority on spending time with my family on my days off and in the evenings.  Family mealtimes are important, and I spend every moment I can with my husband and kids.  I even chose a career that allows a lot of flexibility so that I can be with my family more.

4. Housekeeping is easier for working moms because no one is home all day.
Same amount of chores - drastically less time to do them.  Enough said.

5. Working moms have lots of support.
Do a Google search for Christian working mom.  You'll find a great website by Kimberly Chastain on the first two links...on the third, you'll find an article stating that a woman's only roles in life should be to "get married, have children, guide the house, and live a perfect testimony so not once can the adversary (Satan) say anything reproachful about you."  There is so little support out there for Christian moms who work outside the home.  Critics are everywhere...support isn't.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mark it "Done"

I had a huge list of things I wanted to accomplish today.  I hit the ground running this morning, and I'm happy to say I got almost everything done!

1. Laundry caught up
2. Grocery shopping
3. Living room cleaned
4. Cooked dinner and a huge batch of meatballs - the start of my "once a month cooking" experiment
5. Kitchen cleaned - partially anyway
6. Dog cleaned - she hates bath day
7. Shopping for new clothes with my nine year old

Tomorrow I'll finish my OMAC ambitions with a layered meatball casserole and some breakfast burritos.  I'm tired, but its a happy tired.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 4th of July Edition

I'm trying out some recipes this week that sound promising.  I'm hoping they taste as good as they look!


Monday:  Mexican hamburger casserole (a family fave - get the recipe here)

Tuesday:  layered meatball casserole (I'm cutting the recipe into two dishes - one for now, one for the freezer)

Wednesday:  grilled chicken and chorizo sandwiches
Thursday:  NEW RECIPE - slow cooker Tex-Mex chicken
Friday:  meatball minestrone

Saturday:  cheesy chicken and pasta (I'm trying out the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme)
Sunday: special meal at church

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Working Mom Wrap-Up

I'm starting something new...while my title isn't overly original, this fits right in with my goal to provide great resources for working moms.  Each weekend, I'll post my favorites reads from the week.  There are so many great bloggers out there, sharing such great information.  Here are this week's highlights...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pressing In

Today I'm feeling the pressure...to be everything to everyone, to balance it all and do it all.  It sounds good, but its an impossible goal, and I know it.  So I do the only thing I can...I pour my heart out to the Savior, to my Savior, asking for His perfect strength, telling Him how scared I am by the load I'm carrying.  This week its all pressing in on me...wife, mom, employee, student.  I can't do it on my own.  I can't even come close.  I need Him every step of the way.  So I pour my heart out to Him, and I feel peace at last, because I know He will give me everything that I need.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Weird, Wild and Wacky

That pretty much sums up my week...its been absolutely bizzare!  All my schedules and plans have been thrown totally off track this week, it seems.

I'm one of two managers at the gym where I work.  The two of us split the responsibilities and get a LOT of things done each week.  Well, this week the other manager is taking a much deserved week long vacation, so I'm trying to cover some of her work, as well as my own.  If anyone has perfected the art of cloning, now is the time to let me know...I need multiples of me right now!  Today I'll do everything from membership sales appointments to first workouts to inventory and the daily deposit.  Definitely a wild week...

Its also coming down to crunch time for college deadlines.  Tomorrow I have to pay my tuition for my summer class, to the tune of $600...ouch.  Today I have to order my lab coats and name tags.  I ordered yet another book yesterday for fall.  That gives me 4 of the 8 books I need.  The remaining books need to be ordered by mid- July so I don't have to pay extra for rush shipping.

Throw in the fact that my husband is working on a mega church event for Saturday.  We're having our annual Freedom Celebration, which includes a big car and motorcycle show.  Its a ton of fun, but you can see that this is definitely not a boring week.

Yesterday brought major excitement, too, as my baby lost his first tooth.  As I write this (via my Droid X...gotta love technology) I'm waiting for him to get up and discover what the tooth fairy brought.  I love being a mom.  And that ends today's totally random post...  (For the record, one last random thought - I always tell people that my brain jumps from topic to topic - my husband tells me it works in spurts - I'm not convinced he's wrong...lol.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where Do You Find Support?

It's tough to find support as a Christian working mom.  Have you ever Googled "Christian working mom"?  I have, and it doesn't get you far.  You'll find a really good website listed first and second, and third you'll find an article saying that a woman's only roles in life should be to get married, have babies, stay home, and "live perfectly."  Even on Christian book websites, shortly down the list of working mom books, you'll find books telling you that it's impossible to be a good mother when you work outside the home.

One of the reasons I wanted to start my blog feature Working with Delight is because of the lack of support for Christian working moms.  There are so many voices telling us we should stay home, but so few telling us how to manage it all when we can't stay home.  I finally decided that if I can't find that voice of support, then I'm going to become a voice, because we all need one.

One of my goals is to compile a resource page just for working moms.  I have some great stuff listed on my resource page already, but I would love to add more!  Please share your favorite websites, books, and more.  Help me compile a list of the best resources out there to support and encourage Christian moms who work outside the home!  I'm going to start with a short list of great resources that I've already found...
  1. The website I referred to above, Christian Working Mom - be sure to subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter!
  2. For the domestically challenged, like myself - 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae - this ebook is only $5, and so worth the money - simple, practical, and very helpful.
  3. One of my all-time favorite books, Taking Care of the Me in Mommy by Lisa Whelchel - this book is so full of practical ideas for every mom - I consider it a must have.
Please leave comments to share your favorite working mom resources, or email me at amandablogs79(at)yahoo(dot)com. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where I'm From...

I saw this on another blog and was just mesmerized by it!  I love this...you can find more, including the template, here.

Where I'm From

I am from spiral-bound notebooks, from Hershey’s hot chocolate and curling up in a cozy chair with a book.
I am from the crisp mornings, the small house, waking up with the windows open and the smell of fall in the air.
I am from the oak trees, the wildflowers.
I am from Sunday family dinners after church and naturally curly hair, from Benny and Joyce and Rosie.
I am from the worrying too much and working hard at everything I do because it’s the right thing to do.
From “You’ll find someone who loves you because of your sweet personality,” (from a friend’s mom…because obviously she didn’t think I was pretty enough) and “One day you’ll be a great mom because you’ll learn from their mistakes,” because my parents didn’t raise me – my grandparents did.
I am from grace and salvation and love so amazing, saved by grace, loved by my Heavenly Father, made complete only in Him.
I'm from Arkansas from 200 years back, before Arkansas even became a state, and from Ireland and Scotland and England and the Cherokee nation before that, from fried chicken and Mississippi mud cake.
From the baseball games with my dad and grandpa, the hot summer sun, and the cheers from my dad as Nolan Ryan struck another one out.
From curling up in our chilly house with my space heater in my room, roasting marshmallows on a fork while reading books and writing stories and drawing.
From walking country roads and riding bikes on gravel and grass and learning to drive in my grandpa's beat-up pickup.
From walking to the barn as the sun came up to ride my horse, then groom and feed her before breakfast.
I am from sticky albums and boxes of pictures and cedar chests, from the little girl who dreamed big dreams and prayed big prayers and still stands amazed that God did so much more than she ever dreamed of, whose heart is full and happy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something's Missing...

Tonight I'm home sick...our oldest son and myself both woke up during the night with a stomach bug.  He recovered quickly.  Its taking me a little longer.  So while they're at church tonight, I'm home sick.  The quiet house has given me time to think.

I've been thinking about things I love, things I'm passionate about, that I've let slip away because of busyness.  One of them is cooking.  Maybe its because all I've eaten today is dry Fruit Loops and chicken noodle soup, but I realized that I don't have fun in the kitchen anymore.  I don't experiment or try new recipes.  I don't pour through foodie magazines anymore.  I miss it.  Its time for a change.

I've been working hard on couponing, and now I'm dabbling with meal planning a month at a time.  One thing I'm going to include is one night a week to try new recipes.  I'm going to rediscover my love of cooking.  Since I'm home sick, tonight's the perfect time to start on the stack of Bon Appetit magazines a friend gave me...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fab 5



#1. My go-to ______ is .... (pick any 5 things... go-to movie, go-to snack, go-to book, go-to song, go-to vacation spot... ANY 5 things!!)

#2. Your "life" interview in 5 sentences. (If someone asked WHO are you... tell YOU in five sentences.)

Drumroll, please...here it is, my "fab 5" go-to's...
  1. Any book by Ted Dekker - if I only have time on a vacation to read one book, it's one of his.  I've been reading him for years, and he still keeps me on the edge of my seat, still surprises me with the twists and turns, and has me totally addicted!
  2. Starbucks skinny caramel macchiato - it's as good as the real thing, with only 140 calories in a grande (160 in the venti...you know, for those really tough days when you need an IV drip of caffine...)
  3. Sabrina, my all-time favorite movie - it always makes me smile
  4. Blogging - when I'm stressed, when I'm worried, when I'm bored, whenever, I love blogging!  I love reading them and writing my own.
  5. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, especially the mini's...there are very few things in life that coffee and chocolate (especially chocolate wrapped around peanut butter) can't make better.


Monday, June 13, 2011

T-Minus Four Weeks and Counting...

It's coming much faster than I expected it to...four weeks from today I'll begin the killer summer class in the dental hygiene program - Orofacial Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology.  My books arrived, and so did my first patient, although I won't actually work on him until the fall...

For the record...yes, he is upside down.  In my excitement, I snapped the first photo I could and posted it on Facebook, where it was pointed out to me...and where the director of the dental hygiene program saw it.  She thought it was hysterical.
I'm excited.  I'm terrified.  I'm wishing these last four weeks would last forever, and I'm wishing they would hurry by.  My life and my schedule will make a radical shift when that first class day rolls around.  My family's financial stability will take a leap when I walk across that stage and get my diploma in two years, ready to launch a new career.  My first career, really - not just a job, but a lifelong pursuit.  I want this so bad.

I'm waiting.  I'm praying.  I'm hoping.  I'm shaking in my boots.  I'm ready.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Momma Trauma


Last weekend, I experienced something traumatic, something no woman should ever have to go through.  It was an experience that will be burned into my memory forever.  I went swimsuit shopping.

We live an hour from the beach, but we haven't been there in more than two years.  It dawned on us lately that we're crazy.  We used to plan vacations to the beach as a special treat, and now that we're so close, we don't go.  So we decided that next weekend is the perfect time to spend a day in the sun.  The only problem with that is that I didn't own a swimsuit.  I haven't owned one for a long time.  Having children inspires me to do a lot of things, but squeezing my "baby pooch" into a spandex suit is not one of them.

Last Sunday, I headed to my favorite store (Ross...I love a good bargain!) and chose a few to try on.  I decided to go with a two piece "tankini" style that would cover as much skin as possible.  (I found a shorts-style wetsuit that I thought seriously about, but I'm not sure my hubby and kids would want to be seen with me if I wore that.)  I took the suits and headed to dressing room.

Words cannot describe it.  Do they intentionally design swimsuits to hug the ugliest, flabbiest areas of your body?  Ugh.  I think I burned calories just trying to get into the awful things.  I stood in front of the mirror thinking back to my skinny, 120 pound college body.  Back then I thought I was so ugly in a swimsuit...too bad I couldn't go back and trade bodies.  Two babies and thirty-plus pounds later, that college figure looks pretty good...

I was brave.  I was strong.  I picked a cute little striped halter top with black bottoms.  I'm going to find some cute shorts to wear over that and cover a little more of my "pooch."  I'm going to stroll down the beach with my baby flab and my ghostly white legs and have fun with my kids.  If I get jealous of the skinny, tan college kids strolling the beach with us, I'll just remind myself that it's nothing that 15 years and two or three kids won't change...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Much Means Too Little

Do you ever feel just too overwhelmed to blog?  Lately I've been much more absent than I'd like to be.  I have so many ideas rolling around in my mind that I have a hard time narrowing it down and getting it on paper...I guess I should say getting it into cyberspace.

I'm going back and forth again, thinking of going back to blogging just two or three times a week here, and reviving my other blog, Faith Lived Out, which I started a few months ago.  Sometimes I want to blog about the craziness of motherhood, other times I want to dig deeper, and sometimes I feel torn about which one to focus on more.  I wind up doing what I've been doing recently and not focusing on anything.

So what do you think?  What would you like to see more of on Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom?  I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Goals


My summer looks a little different than most, because mine ends when my college classes start on July 11.  (By the way, my summer is Orofacial Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology...also known as the OMG class.  Rumber has it if you survive this, you'll graduate.  Fun, huh?)  I actually started on my list a few weeks ago, with a post called 9 Weeks to Get It All Together. 

1.Master the art of couponing - okay, I may not master it, but I'd like to figure it out enough to cut my grocery bill in half every week. All that extra money can help me pay for books and supplies.

  • I am on my way to becoming a coupon queen!  This is the goal that I'm doing the best on.  I'm building my stockpile, and I think I'm about to see my grocery bills drop.  Best of all, the whole family is getting involved - my husband and boys are shopping with me, helping me look for coupons, and finding deals in the papers and on the shelves.
2.Work through Sarah Mae's "31 Days to Clean" ebook - we're going to have to be super-organized to manage this, and I want my house ready.
  • This one's still a work in progress...a slow work in progress...with a lot of setbacks...but we're getting there.  I think.  Maybe.  Ummmm...check back at the end of the month.
3.Finish the Bible in 90 Days challenge - I am woefully behind, but I know I can still catch up and finish on time.
  • This one needs a sound effect...the sound of Taps playing softly.  This goal is dead.  I love the idea, and want to do this in the future, but I just have too much going on right now to give this the 45 minutes to an hour of daily reading time needed to accomplish it.
4.Read Ted Dekker's new book, The Priest's Graveyard, because he's my favorite author and it will be the last book (other than textbooks) that I'll be able to read for a long time.
  • Okay, this is the goal I'm doing best at.  Done. :)  It was awesome.  Nothing like a great novel about a priest/serial killer to make a girl happy.  (I'm so not your typical pastor's wife!)
5.Have a yard sale. It won't be very big, but again, any extra money will help. My supplies are going to cost double what I expected.
  • Not even close to being ready...not even sure I have enough stuff...we'll see.  I might settle for selling a few things on eBay.
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