Sunday, April 28, 2013

Monday Moments Linky Party!!!

Hey mamas!
Welcome back for another great week of Mommy Moments Link Ups! Thank you for linking up and for spreading the word! We love all of the great posts!

The most viewed link from last week's Mommy Moments belongs to Paula from Beauty Through Imperfection and her post titled, That Time I Failed As a Mom
For the days when you feel liked youve failed as a mother

What a great post Paula. I'm sure that it was encouraging to many moms who go through the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

This week we are welcoming Rachael from Diamonds in the Rough as our guest host!
 My Photo
Rachael has a surprise announcement on her blog...stop by and find out!

Now it's time to link up your posts! All you have to do is...

1. Follow Host: The Life Of Faith 
2. Link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

3. Add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up!

4. Explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 

5. Tweet or Share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!

The Life Of Faith
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P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Mesquite Tree

File:Velvet mesquite.jpg

It's been often said that trials can either make us or 'break us'.

Depending on our response to them.

I've recently come to realize that many of my trials have actually MADE me the person I've become.

In a positive way.

Let me briefly share two stories to illustrate my point:

When I was in middle school I had a heck of a time making friends, and even more so I struggled with the identity of who I was. It was a season of deep hurt and insecurity.

As a result, many of my classmates sensed my lack of confidence, and played on it. Some of them daily.

My guidance counselor at the time actually said "I have never seen a kid get picked on in my entire career, as much as you have." When she said that, all I could do was wince. Gee, thanks. How does that help me??

The teasing was relentless. Name calling. Shoving in the hallway. Encouraging other classmates to stay away from me as well.

My mom allowed me to stay home from school on occasion. My home room teacher let me work in the computer room by myself, on days it was perceived that I was particularly struggling. Kids even began "crank calling" our home. Throwing things when my mom walked by our school. One day some of them began shouting unkind words about me to my father, while he was at our local park. When I found out, I was absolutely mortified!

I look back at that time with such disdain....and yet, I know that, by the grace of God, I have a much deeper compassion for those who are picked on in life. I can see a person struggling to "fit in" and feel a burning desire to befriend them. I don't see that as a coincidence.

Another tremendously difficult season of my life was my first unplanned pregnancy. It was during my freshman year of university. I had even received a partial scholarship to enter this prestigious program, and yet in one moment I knew many felt I had 'flushed' my academic goals down the toilet.

The university staff wasn't much more helpful. When I was diagnosed at their clinic, they sent me home with a paper describing the side effects of an abortion. They could tell I was in shock, and felt it was best if I took care of this 'issue' as quickly and quietly as possible.

I am ashamed to say I seriously considered their recommendation. I was scared, and feeling very alone.

Then some AMAZING friends~ from a church I had frequented as a teenager~ contacted me and offered their unconditional support. Their loving support ultimately led me to the decision that I would keep my son.

Thirteen years later and I still tear up thinking of what damage could have been done in one emotionally-packed moment.

But I can emphasize with those in that position...I can feel their pain...and feel their weariness...their loneliness & desperation.

Their have been many a girl I've had the privilege of being able to share my story with...

"You are not alone."

Two difficult seasons of life. Two seasons that led to a greater understanding.


What does this all have to do with the mesquite tree?

Here's some interesting facts about this unique tree:

The mesquite is an EXTREMELY HARDY, drought-tolerant plant because it can draw water from the water table through its long taproot (recorded at up to 58 m (190 ft) depth). It can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability. The tree can easily and rapidly switch from using one water source to the other.

Mesquite is a phreatophyte, which means it has DEEP roots and transpires efficiently.

ERADICATING A MESQUITE IS DIFFICULT because the plant's bud regeneration zone can extend down to 6 in (150 mm) below ground level;[13][14] the tree can regenerate from a piece of root left in the soil.

(courtesy of wikipedia; emphasis mine)

Woooow! This plant is absolutely not going to allow ANY condition to cause it to die!!! 

When I read about this interesting tree, I thought: this is what God desires for us. 

Not to allow the unfathomable circumstances of this world to hold us back from our destinies... Nor to allow them to hold us back from receiving and giving HIS love....

My question to you today is: are you continuing to allow past trials to hold you back? Or are you choosing to   make your roots go down deeper?

While some trials will certainly be MUCH more difficult to work through then others, I firmly believe we should not give up! 

"Others are like the seed that fell on rock. That is like the people who hear God’s teaching and gladly accept it. But they don’t have deep roots. They believe for a while. But when trouble comes, they turn away from God."

(Luke 8:13)

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And I wanted eight pickles...the BIG announcement!

I asked for my favorite grilled cheese sandwich and wiped the drool from the side of my mouth...

"How much for some extra pickles?"

"Okay then, I'll take eight please."

My cravings were already beginning to spin out of control.

Hummus, butter & tomato sandwiches.

Grapefruits like no tomorrow.

Crackers with feta cheese.


Anything with salt in it.

How many symptoms DOES it take for a woman to know she's expecting??

A lingering 'flu'

A desire to sleep the entire day

A propensity to tears....for no good reason!

It was about 3 weeks ago that we confirmed the amazing news:


(*photo courtesy of the web)

This was something that my husband and I had long had the desire for, and we are VERY excited!!!

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Questions for the comments section: how did YOU first know you were expecting? Any weird cravings??

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Marriage Post: Learning Through Our Mistakes

I've been married for just over eight years...& I have to admit, we've had some pretty AMAZING seasons as a married couple!

However, that being said, we've also been through a myriad of trials...hardships...and overall challenging circumstances....I'm sure like 100% of other married couples.

If I could sit down with a young girl, about to enter into the lifelong commitment of marriage, and she asked for my advice...although I realize there are people WAY  more qualified to answer her questions, I could still share some principles that I've learned through my marriage.

Most of them I've actually learned through mistakes...

But...mistakes can become lifelong teachers if we allow them to.

So without further adieu I want to share with you:

***FIVE principles that will lead to a successful marriage:

1) You are NOT always right!!!

You may think you're RIGHT in a given 'discussion', but you may not be. Later knowledge that you become privy to may prove you actually to be in the wrong. Nonetheless, even if you are 'right', it is much more productive to focus on positive communication, and maintaining unity.

2) Get a LONG-TERM perspective!

Some situations require decisive changes...and others simply time & prayer! There have been some very distressing circumstances where I've felt like "things are NEVER ever going to change!!"...yet, 2 weeks, or 2 months, or even a year later, things can totally turn around. We need to watch our decision making in a time of testing. One wise person I know has said, "Don't make any major decisions when you are sitting in the dark."

3) Selfishness is the greatest killer of intimacy!

Not just physical, but emotional, and again affects the unity between a couple. Learn to serve one another. Serving one another breaks down 'walls' faster than any other activity I've found!

4) Be on guard for bitterness!

Bitterness is another destroyer of intimacy in a couple. If your spouse has hurt you (and believe me, you will hurt one another! Sometimes, & often, quite unintentionally) you need to choose to forgive. Forgiveness brings great healing, and although it takes humility, it will result in a stronger marriage. Of course deeper hurts may require outside trusted parties to give unbiased advice and support.
(***note: abuse & infidelity are much more serious, and will require more drastic measures to see if the marriage can be repaired. Those topics are beyond my scope of discussion today)

5) Learn to simply ENJOY one another!

Sometimes, life can be so busy, so serious, and so overwhelmingly stressful that we forget just how to 'play' together. Sometimes, we just need to learn how to sit together & enjoy one another's company. I have totally been guilty of NOT doing this! For us, with the very busy season of life we're both in, we need to schedule time for: date nights, short weekends getaways, and evenings alone. 

There you have it; that's the advice I would give a soon-to-be married young woman.

Question for the comments: if you've been married for any length of time, what have you found beneficial to the growth of your relationship?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Doing the Hard Things!

Have you ever heard the ole adage about eating an elephant??

It can only be

Of course you realize I'm not talking eating elephants (they're way too cute for that!), but instead I'm talking about those difficult, seemingly mountainous tasks that block our vision....hold us back...keep us discouraged and disheartened.

Since beginning our journey in homeschooling, I have discovered this one thing: if I don't want to end up going absolutely crazy by the end of the year, then I need to BE FLEXIBLE! I need to take it slow and steady. I need to constantly and consistently move my brood forward, yet not allow my 'goals' to cause our family stress, if a day, or a lesson, or a task, or whatever, doesn't go the exact way we planned it to.

Let me give you a tangible example from our home:

Two of our four children despise math...they vow that they hate the ground that math walks on! They look at their word problems, the geometry, the algebra, all the numbers, decimals and fractions and want to cry...

And I, as the parent and facilitator of our school, feel the pressure that it puts on me to try and explain the math like a gazillion ways! These times demonstrate to me that I'm still growing in the area of patience...

Well, what's the answer? How DO we eat this elephant? 

Well, for our family, what has been working is breaking down our goals into bite-sized bites.  Here's what we have been doing, and seems to be working much better:

  • our curriculum has already been purchased for the year and it has 12 booklets, so instead of getting overwhelmed with all twelve of them...we are simply focusing on 4 or 5 pages per day
  • I don't allow them to negative self-talk, they ARE able to complete their work. It may just take longer. It may just take a different way of explaining the problem...but I am confident they can get through their problems!
  • the children are being encouraged to work through the problems on their own at first, then we come back together to look over what they 'got', and what they need to practice
  • this school year we are awarding points for every booklet finished and every few weeks they get to select a small prize for their completion
While every homeschooling family will have to find their own remedy for obstacles, I have found that the old principle is true: you can only eat an elephant, one simple bite at a time!


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