{Delight} in New Lessons

{deep breath in…and out…repeat…as needed}

Does anyone really enjoy lessons? Unless it’s something you’re interested in, but for the sake of what I usually write about (wink) are those really the kind of lessons we like to learn?

I have learned my fair share of lessons this first year of my thirties and while I will say most of them haven’t been that fun, when I look back I can see how they have helped me to grow even though at the time it hurt – a lot!

Of course, I didn’t think about writing a post about “lessons” until just a couple of months ago. The end of May marked two weeks of FUN in the form of two extra kiddos on the ranch. When cousins come to visit there is always plenty of fun, but, as my oldest found out, there are also plenty of learning opportunities!

When given the choice of playing with his cousins or with his brother, EJ made the obvious choice – cousins! And Miles, who has already been missing his brother after his first year of school, grew increasingly upset when his big brother wouldn’t play with him. He would ask to play inside (if you know Miles this is NOT normal!) and wouldn’t want to play with his cousins.

A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
photo credit: Mariah Heitzman Photography

So EJ learned the lesson of working to include EVERYONE in the game and that choosing to play with his brother really isn’t so terrible a thing. It did help a bit too that at the end of two weeks of playing “house” or the other girly games their cousin thought up started exceeding EJ’s patience. And that was a WHOLE other lesson he got to learn!

So what of my lessons?

I’m sure I will be repeating myself from previous posts, I will ask forgiveness for that now!

My biggest lesson, I think, has been that if I don’t MAKE the time for something, it will not happen. Obvious, right? And it is, but that doesn’t make it any easier of a lesson to learn and to put into practice.

Now, I’m not talking about the normal, everyday things that have to happen in order to have a somewhat sane living situation; cooking, washing dishes, laundry, etc. Which I have at times neglected those as well and really kicked myself for it later, but most specifically, MAKING time for writing. Or making time to meal prep or to workout or, by far most importantly (and so naturally the hardest!), for Bible study.

And I think what’s most frustrating for me is that when I do these things when I make the time for them, I feel better. Meal prep = eating better = feeling better; writing = accomplishing a new post/idea = confident; working out = feeling strong = more energy. And when I start my day with God it goes a whole lot smoother than when I choose not to.

So why can’t I keep with it? Why does it have to be such a constant choice to make instead of a habit to just do it?

Well, I’m still learning and working to apply this lesson of MAKING good habits. I know that I will slip up, but another lesson I’ve learned is that when I give myself the grace I always need I am a whole lot more apt to strive toward doing better. When I beat myself up and believe the lies that I’m not good enough, I give up. Why even try when I’ve already screwed up? But, if God is for me, who can stand against me? Not even myself!

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

Let us Come Boldly to the Throne of our Gracious God.

 

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FBA {Farm Boy Approved}

My favorite and go-to barbeque/potluck pasta salad!

Recipe from Britt's Farmhouse (1)

All of my favorite things – pasta, bacon, ranch!

Potluck

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. ~ Galatians 5:13

FBA {Farm Boy Approved}

I’ve been trying to get myself organized to do a bit of re-vamping on here and while I’m not quite where I want to be I’m going to go forward with my new idea!

Foodie

My goal is to have two posts per month; one being “Farm Boy Approved” recipes – some of our favorite recipes out here are Volf Ranch, ranging from dinners to sides and anything else I can get these boys to eat! The second post will follow along the lines of what I’ve been writing previously.

Now for our first FBA recipe >> Meatballs! <<

Recipe from Britt's Farmhouse

This recipe is SO versatile!

Serve with bbq sauce over rice or brown gravy over mashed potatoes or marinara with spaghetti OR teriyaki with rice and broccoli! YUM! And use flavored bread crumbs – garlic and herb – to give a taste more suited for your desired dinner! Add ginger to the meat mixture for teriyaki to give a little different flavor.

The best part?! (YES, it gets better!) They can be frozen so easily and used at another time. I like to make a huge batch – like triple – bake, let cool and freeze them in 2-gallon Ziploc bags. When you’re ready to use them, no need to thaw ahead of time just throw them in along with the sauce into the crockpot on low for the day and BAM! dinner is served!

HUGE thank you to Grammie Debby for sharing this awesome recipe and letting me share it with everyone else! 🙂

{Delight} in the Struggle

Happy Mother’s Day!

While we know that every mother’s wish (well mine anyway) would be a silent spa day to ourselves, we also know that there is another part of us – ya know the momma part – that can’t imagine spending “our” day without those tiny humans who made us into the mothers who are being celebrated.

It’s hard, we all know that and I often find myself racking my brain for the ways my own mother made it through my childhood and teenage years. TEENAGE years!!! I’ve just barely made it to elementary school years, how in the world am I suppose to keep these three rowdy boys alive and thriving for another 15-18 years?! (palm to face moment right there!)

And beyond! You know a mother’s “job” is never done, no matter the age!

Recently, I read a few articles that offered encouragement and insights on motherhood and I’ve decided that if I can’t learn to delight in the current struggles I’m facing, then I won’t be able to appreciate these stages when the next stages become difficult. And I won’t be able to rejoice when we (my family) overcomes a struggle together.

10 Things a Mom Must Always Remember
10 Things a Mom Must Always Remember, crosswalk.com

A recent struggle we’ve been having is our oldest (not even six, yet) having anxiety issues. In his short life, he has already shown to be a people pleaser and when things don’t go how he thinks they should he melts down and wants to give up. Originally, we didn’t think much about it, but when he started having stomach aches we started to put the pieces together.

While this is hard right now; hard to see him struggle with uncertainty and him not knowing how to explain it and us not knowing how to help – I need to remind myself that this is one more way for us to grow as a family and to find joy when we overcome (and continue to overcome) these obstacles together.

So how do we “delight” in struggles? That is a fabulous question! Especially since I’m still trying to figure it out. I usually have to talk myself into finding the joy of an inconsolable child who can’t tell me what’s wrong. And even though I know it doesn’t help, I hear the words, “Just stop crying!” come out of my mouth and all I want to do is kick myself for doing it all wrong…again.

But then I remember. I remember that even though I love my son more than I can say, we have a God that loves both of us more than we could ever imagine. And He hurts with us both; a young boy confused about why he feels unwell and a momma worried she’s only hurting her sweet boy more. It is easier said than done and I’m by no means an expert, but when I remember these things about my God, I find myself letting go of my doubts (or at least trying to) and focusing on my child. What does he need? Even if I don’t understand him, I do understand how I find comfort and all I can do is try my best to offer him that same comfort.

GodsTruth
“Hope When You’re Hanging by a Thread,” Alicia Bruxvroot, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Finding joy in day-to-day struggles can sometimes feel like another chore and searching for a reason to rejoice during the harder moments of parenting can seem downright impossible. But can you just imagine how much more fun life would be when we can accomplish this feat?

Thank goodness for laundry! We have appropriate clothing to wear and a way to keep it clean!

Thank goodness for dirty dishes – we’re eating!

Cliche? Maybe, but so important to remember, because when the harder struggles throw themselves at us we will be so much more equipped to rejoice instead of wallow in the depths of despair.

And as mommas…that is what our tiny humans need; the example of joy even when things get hard.

And please know I am writing this TO MYSELF as a reminder! Just the other day you would have taken one look at me and known I was wallowing and not even trying to find any sort of joy. And you would have been right! It is a constant choice that has to be made; a hard choice that often feels like “just one more thing” that is added to our momma to-do list, which is already never-ending.

But when we can focus on that joy – that small amount of delight that shines through the ugly struggle – our to-do list won’t feel as daunting. We can throw some fun into the day and help it to go by a bit smoother and calmer and cheerful. Our sweet little babies will see a momma willing to fight to the tough and they will learn that struggles only make a stronger when we remember know we don’t have to go through them alone.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  ~Romans 5:3-5

{Delight} in 395(ish) days

Everyone knows a lot can happen in a year. And sometimes it takes longer than a year for things to happen, but why do we think a year should be the limit? Why don’t we still delight in our accomplishment even though it took an extra 30 days to get there?

The past 395 days have taught me plenty, but my biggest discovery has been that “me time” really is what you make it. I completely embrace this concept; if I can figure out a way to go grocery shopping on my own, I will jump at that opportunity (in fact I usually try to work it so I most definitely CAN go alone). Or, if I can lock myself in my bedroom to write – after the baby is in bed – I will relish in the quiet seclusion.

But what about during the day? When my brain has taken it’s maxed limit of baby screaming – how can I find a few minutes for myself amongst the chaos of busy boys and chores that keep stacking up? I had to learn that recharging my batteries doesn’t always look like reclining with my feet up.

In rewiring my mindset as to what is “me time” I’ve decided to think of the different things that I NEED to do during the week and find how to use the time I make for those chores into ways to recharge my batteries. And two concepts I have embraced, too: Progress over Perfection and Enjoy the Journey.

Progress in any area at any capacity is a win; instead of trying to make everything perfect and developing the right routine, but then exhausting myself when things aren’t “just so” I’ve chosen to delight in what I am doing right and just try to do a little bit better next time.

Enjoy the Journey – I’ve learned to laugh at myself; whether it’s a difficult new exercise or the irony of cleaning a space just have rowdy boys destroy it again. Also, to give myself grace. Didn’t get the toilets cleaned this week? Pretty sure the world will still turn! Sandwiches for dinner…again?! At least they got food! *wink, wink*

Effort

So how have I worked self-care into my crazy days? It isn’t taking a nap while the boys sleep or it isn’t always going to bed early, but working out has come to be my ultimate “me time.”

A bit of backstory…(I know this is getting long, but please stick with me!)

I was always fit and “in shape” growing up and even through college. After EJ was born I worked at losing the baby weight, but when Miles came along (sooner than “planned”) and I became so overwhelmed with my 2 year old and newborn that I just let myself go. I figured chasing after two little boys should be exercise enough, right?! When I had a doctor appointment when Miles was about 18 months, I couldn’t believe how much I really had let myself go! I worked at getting back on track and found motivation in training for a 5K race.  About the time I think I’ve figured out how to take care of two little boys and keep on track by eating healthy and exercising, I find out I’m pregnant again…

But I vowed to do it differently this time. So last February I messaged a friend of mine. I had watched her share ideas of staying fit and being healthy on Facebook and knowing she had three young kids, I figured she would be a good example to follow and learn from.

She gave me exercises to do before baby was born and ways to prepare a little better for labor. (Side Note: You’d think the third time around would have been a bit smoother, but once again we had to issue an “eviction notice” and he wasn’t overly compliant.)

Jump ahead 3 months and the real work began. Jen (Owner of Front Range Fitness & Health) gave me weekly post-baby workouts and when came time to add running to the regimen, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run a mile without walking! It had been 4 years since the last time I had fully committed to training and running a 5K race; to say I had lower than average expectations is no understatement.

FrontRange7

When that first race came and went and I did much better than I anticipated, I knew it was time to get a consistent workout plan figured into my weekly routines. And this is where my “me time” really needed to turn a corner; stay healthy and keep up with the workouts or pat myself on the back and return to afternoon naps? Let’s just say I got stuck somewhere in the middle. Not completely sold out for consistent workout regimens but I didn’t let myself go, completely, again.

The New Year rolls around and I decide to take a huge leap and sign up for a 10K. A bit more ambitious than normal, but with a couple of girlfriends committed to run with me I stuck with the decision. And when Front Range Health & Fitness reached out to me again to join a year-long nutrition journey I jumped at the chance to get help to retrain my brain when it comes to not only my fitness but also my health habits.

We’re three months into the Precision Nutrition program and not only have I developed new habits, but I’ve learned why it’s important to make these habits. I’ve learned to CHOOSE better foods and which foods are the BETTER choice, but also not be super guilty for having a yummy juicy burger every once in a while! Learning new habits and also learning WHY I need these habits, has given more focus and understanding when it comes to my health than I have had my entire life. Oh, I’ve always known the gist of it, but having someone explain it all to me has helped immensely.

Continuing the journey…

I’m not big on weighing myself, but when I started noticing my clothes fitting differently and other people noticing a difference, I figured maybe three months of hard work had paid off! So, I pulled out the scale and the tape measure…it was definitely a pleasant surprise to find out I’ve lost 9 pounds and 2 inches! I haven’t been this weight since BEFORE I was pregnant with Miles.

WOW!

And while seeing those awesome results is a HUGE boost, my most favorite part is how much I’m learning about HOW to make the right choice and that it’s not the end of the world when I screw up; I just try to “do a little bit better” the next day!

There are still days that I can’t seem to scrounge up the energy for a workout and days that I eat too much chips and guac (ssshhhh…don’t tell Jen!!) but those days are becoming fewer and farther between because I always feel crappy later that day or the next day and I don’t like feeling like that, so I get back on track and make a better choice the next time!

What can you delight in about the last 395 days? Does it really matter that it took an extra 30, 20 or 10 days to reach that accomplishment or can you have a little celebration that it HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?! Every goal, situation, or dream will always be a work in progress and as long as you do a little bit better – even 1% better – each day to help reach that result there will be something to delight in and maybe you’ll even learn a bit more during the journey when you focus on all the good happening right now.

Matt6.34
credit: Bible.com

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

{Delight} in the Small Things

The month of February (and yes, into March) was a trifle trying to those of us in the wonderful state of Montana (I know North Dakota and the midwest are in the same boat!)

Snow and cold have kept us cooped up inside and away from planned activities that are part of our normal routines. With snow drifts the size of small hills and temperatures low enough to cause harm with limited exposure, there’s nothing that can be done outside – except for those hardy souls in the form of farmers and ranchers who brave the extremes to take care of the livestock that is our livelihood.

Blowingsnow
Just a day of blowing snow making life a wee bit miserable!

As all stay-at-home mommas know there’s only so many things to keep little humans entertained while stuck inside. Even when “the sun is out!” – my middle firmly believes that if the sun is shining it’s nice enough to go out! – the temperature is freezing, which makes keeping them satisfied inside even harder. While cartoons, coloring, and crafts (these are very few and far between in my house; I mean have you ever tried to get little boys to do a craft nicely?) may help, there is no way to fully exhaust their unlimited energy. And on top of all that, they share germs. Even if they hate sharing toys their snot, coughs, and slobber is freely given to everyone.

So, what’s the secret to surviving the cabin fever?

I could give you any number of ways; ways that work for me, but would that really help? I know my methods probably don’t fit into everyone’s lifestyles and this really isn’t a “how to” blog. But I think one thing that can work for everyone is finding (and I mean looking and sometimes searching) for the little day-to-day moments that we can find delight in.

Trust me, this does not come easily for me. When my plans got thwarted due to the weather (which had been like the 4th time in two weeks), I hid in my bedroom and cried. (Thank you hubby for loving me despite my crazy emotions). But if I had attempted to drive that day the chances of me ending up in the ditch were very high.

So please know that I completely understand how some days finding delight in anything feels like one more task on our never-ending list of things to do. Sometimes the search for our delightful moments seems to exhaust us more than picking up the same toys over and over again, but that moment that you experience that delight and decide to savor it then comes the refreshing your soul needs. Then comes the renewed energy to get through the day.

I am so grateful that my sweet baby has two older brothers that thoroughly enjoy entertaining him; that my wonderful hubby understands my need for quiet time and makes a point to find ways to help with that when he can; amazing friends who are willing to listen to my venting; and family close by who are so wonderful about watching the boys when I am able to get out of the house, whether for only a couple of hours or for a whole day – I know there is so very much I should be thankful for and to find delight in.

cabinfever
Roughly a week of being cooped up, but we were making the most of it with dancing during breakfast! pc: the Hubby

“Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. ~ James 1:2-3

One Word {Delight}

Last year instead of a New Year’s resolution I decided to choose one word that I wanted to focus on during the year. It was TIME and I’m not entirely sure that I did much better with my time but I do feel like I thought about it more (and ended up being convicted more often than not) and how I was using mine.

When the beginning of December came around I started thinking of what my new word would be. I had been leaning toward JOY (and that’s where the title of the “Christmas Card” post came from!) and then I saw a quiz on Facebook (imagine that, right?!) that was to discover what your word for 2019 should be and decided to take it! It was through DaySpring, the Christian card company, and the Facebook post was sponsored by Max Lucado, so hey, why not?

The month of January got away from me and now as I sit to write this post I’m convicted again for not working harder to be DELIGHTed more during my day-to-day life. I always seem to find the “problems” I’m facing before I realize how much more there is to be delighted about.

And isn’t that the most frustrating part?

I have SO MUCH to be delighted about or to find delight in or to delight someone, so why can’t that be my focus? How about when the problems come rushing in I stop, take a breath and find the good?

DELIGHT (v) – to please (someone) greatly; (n) – great pleasure.

I love that “great pleasure” (Pleasure (n) – feeling of happy satisfaction); great, happy satisfaction. Another word for satisfaction is contentment and isn’t that really what everyone longs for? To be content; to feel full-filled; and to be happy all the while, too.

So what’s the secret to finding that?

CHOOSING to be delighted and to BE a delight to those around us. It isn’t easy. Our human nature tells us to look for the bad, whether in other people or our own circumstances. And on top of that, the recipe for delight is different for everyone.

We understand our need to be grateful (aka delighted) for what we’ve been given, but has it ever occurred that BEING a delight to others could, in turn, give us delight?

“When we show up with compassion for others, our own disappointments won’t ring as hollow or sting with sorrow nearly as much.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst, It’s Not Suppose To Be This Way

Talk about a New Year’s challenge (in February! HA)! I’ve been trying to work on this – progress over perfect – and I’m asking all of you to keep me accountable.

Despite the laundry, dishes, tantrums, colds, teething, choosing healthy (instead of easy!), working out, house cleaning, and whatever else that’s on my plate I will CHOOSE to be delighted in all of these aspects of my life. Not an EASY task, even if it sounds simple, it will be a choice I need to make every minute, every shirt, every dish, every “momma” cry, every snuggle, every apple, every run, every broom sweep that I undertake each and every day.

And when I get the chance to delight other people I hope I can recognize that opportunity and take it to show them that love does still exist in this crazy world. From teaching kids the love of Jesus, to assisting in the young mom with a crabby baby, to simply smiling at the elderly man having to shop for himself (maybe for the first time? Or lady shopping only for herself) – amazing how a person can brighten up with a simple, sincere smile from a stranger. And when they smile back you feel good, right?!

Beautiful how that works out!

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For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. ~Psalms 149:4

If that isn’t an example to follow than I don’t know what is!