Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Resolutions!

I am an all in or nothing kind of gal. Mainly because I have no self control. So, if I choose to do something, I have to go all in or I have a hard time completing my goal. For example, when I decided to quit drinking Dr.Pepper I couldn't just say I would stop for a short time and then just drink a bit here and there. I had to stop drinking it....forever! I know for some that might seem crazy, but that is the only way for me. For now.

I also speak in definites. For example: I will never ever do that or I hate that. It is not a "I will try to not do that, or I will think about it, or I don't really care for that". Not really sure why I am wired this way but I like to speak the truth. "Maybes" are hard for me. That means there is a chance for a different outcome and I like to know right away what is going to happen. This may make no sense to some but those of you who are crazy  similar to me will get it.

So, when writing my 2014 resolutions, I like to make resolutions of things I will completely give up. It is hard for my brain to keep to something that will allow my lack of self-control to mess up. The ever so popular losing weight always makes my list. My losing weight resolution usually consists of completely eliminating something like sugar or bread. However, that usually has a very short run. Eliminating Dr.Pepper is the only thing I have conquered(so far it has been 1.5 years). Which is huge for me. It was my happy juice. I realized this "all in" mentality is not necessary a good thing. I became so depressed when I kept failing at not meeting my goals. Some lasted months and others only hours(like the sugar one). This year my resolutions are pretty lofty goals, but not too many require me to completely give up something.

I love the New Year. It means a fresh start. For me right after Christmas I start on the mission of getting my house organized during my usual Christmas vacation. This year I tackled Shane's room first and it took two days. TWO DAYS! After completing that mission I added another resolution to my list : stop buying so much stuff(particularly kid's over all those little toys that seem to find their way to the bottom of the toy box). But in all seriousness, I really want to focus on only bringing things into my home that I really need. I again found myself thinking about never buying anything that isn't necessary, but that would just be no fun! I definitely want to get a hold on the amount of stuff that comes into our home.

Another resolution was to get off Facebook. GASP!!! I know crazy, right. How will I go on not knowing everything someone did in a day or wonder what exactly someone's vague post meant!!! I love Facebook. I love reading everyone's posts. Seeing their pictures. Keeping up with old friends or those who have moved. I love all the pages I follow. But...there are a few things that have caused me to really dislike people. That made me sad. When people over share or you see a little more into someones life that you never really saw before, it can cause some dislike(hate) towards those people. So, it is not a "I am better than everyone and I am so righteous" decision, but a decision based on some bad thoughts on my part of some people. Also, people say things on social media or through email that they would not say to your face. Once that email is sent or that comment is posted you can't delete it(well you can but usually that other person already saw it). Sooooo, yeah, taking a break from FB. It is the best for my sanity and family.

I will however be trying to step up my blogging game. There are so many features that I do not know how to use. I would love to post more. I also want to learn how to write better. I have written about that so many times. It was on my 2013 resolution list. I am not the best at sentence structure and punctuation. It drives me crazy. I need to work on it. As I have mentioned before I love writing and it is my therapy. I can't write every day like some bloggers. I have to be inspired. I am excited to write more in 2014!

I always like to throw in a few Wild Card Resolutions:). They usually consist of learning something new. So this year I threw in: Sharpening my Culinary Skills and Learning a little French. Learning French will actually help with my Culinary Skills. There are so many great French Chefs and I love learning from them. I think they do the whole Culinary thing right! So, I don't expect to fluently learn French although that would be amazing...but I would love to be able to read some French and pick up some French cookbooks. Now, this has me wanting to go to France! Travel is always on my to do list and just never happens. We do have a few trips planned already for 2014, so maybe a trip to France will have to wait until 2015:) Au revoir!

What are your 2014 resolutions/goals? I would love to know!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grace Abounding

Don't you love grace? I sure do! I need it daily. From others and God. It is something I don't give too freely though. I think the Christmas season brings the worst out of some and the best out of others. Just try going shopping any time after Thanksgiving. The Christmas spirit fills many. From the music to being able to enjoy a hot beverage, it fills many up with joy. Others do not have the joy inside of them, but rather the devil!  For example, Black Friday...need I say more.

I have to admit I have not had much grace to give this year. I have become a bit of a Scrooge. I went to a Christmas Party recently and I was so irritated with everyone...for no reason. I can not give you one(except I was taking some new herb that is suppose to help regulate my hormones...but instead it turned me into a fire breathing she-devil) so...there's that. I do have very bad mood swings. All hormonal. One day I love you and the next I would cut you...dead. I hate blaming it on hormones though. It is a part of it..but I think it is also a heart issue. More specific a grace issue. I found myself not giving grace, but wanting it in return. How selfish and hypocritical. 

I love the song that has the line: "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking". The song is talking about how much God loves us.His grace is overflowing. There is never a lack of grace. In my life though my grace bank was empty. I was being stingy. I was looking for a grace handout, but not willing to return the favor. When I pray I always end it with: "Thank you for your love, grace and mercy". Love, grace and mercy are my favorite things to receive. Being the Christmas season I started to reflect on all the gifts God has given me.I truly am blessed. I have received so much and have not handed out too many gifts back in return.

Each new year I try to take a look at the past year and see what I need to work on. So, for 2014 I am working on showing more grace. I recently was able to put grace to work. I was going to an event where I had to see someone I have had no grace for. In fact I hated that person and they had no idea! It was just minutes before I had to leave for the event and I was hit by a thought(love when God does this). I decided to pour grace on this person. Not in a condescending way, but real grace. I decided that I had held onto the hate I felt toward this person and it was only effecting me. There was no reason for it. I arrived at the event and guess what I was sitting right next to this person(God, you are hilarious). This person was so sweet and guess was I. I asked God to take away the bad thoughts about this person. This person had grown up and  I am sure not proud of the person they were. We caught up and had a great conversation. Grace abounding!

Another example of grace abounding in my life happened around the time of the previous story. Do you have a person in your life that you have be praying for...for years? I have one. Every time my Pastor asks if there is a person that needs prayer, this person pops up every time. I have a soft spot for this person, even though they fail time after time and make immature decisions. I pray for this persons' salvation. For God is the only one who is going to change them. I recently gave up praying for them though. We had a few arguments and I was just done! I became so angry. I had no grace to give this person. Finally, I had another thought, similar to the one before, that I just needed to let go. Not to let go of praying for this person, but to let go of the anger. This person needs to be shown love. They need to know that someone has their back. That despite all their faults and mistakes that someone loves them. This is what grace looks like. This is what God's love looks like. I have to say I am more joyful than ever. I love the Christmas season. I love it because it is a time of reflection about God's greatest gift, Jesus. At church we recently read through the Fruits of the Spirit...but before that we read through some qualities that were the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit (Vegetables of the Spirit?? sorry that was horrible). Actually they were acts of our flesh. They included:sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.(Galatians 5:19-21). Wow...this sounds like an episode of The Real Housewives! When we react to these acts of the flesh there is never a good outcome. But when we respond in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control we get a much better outcome!

Last week at church we also talked about The Ministry of Reconciliation. As my Pastor spoke I was like wow...this is for me! It was exactly what I was struggling with. The Ministry of Reconciliation, found in, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, talks a lot about grace and humility. I liked that correlation between grace and humility. Because that is really what grace is all about. Being humble in front of someone who you may not feel deserved it. But in that humbleness you will receive grace and give it. It may not be immediate or it may never be given, but God sees and his grace is upon you.  I encourage you to think of someone who may have hurt you or you have any ill feelings toward and pray that God shows you a way to reconcile with them. Maybe it is a family member you will be seeing this Christmas. Show them grace. It may be the only time they see it. It is so hard to forgive someone, but the burden and ill thoughts you carry around are so much greater. I like being a cheerful person, far more than being a bitter, angry person.  Be in The Ministry of Reconciliation. Show abounding grace. After all, God sent His son, Jesus, to be born and then to die for our that we may have everlasting life. This is His greatest gift and one that was meant to be shared. When we share the love of Christ with others they take note and hopefully they too want that gift. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

3:Our perfect Number

I have always wanted two kids. Seemed like a sensible number. I come from a family with three children. The Hubs from two. I think it is awesome that people have large families. A big family was never something I desired though. Once I saw how awesome it was to have our son, how could I just want one? Well truth is that is what God had planned for our little family. Sometimes, it doesn't make sense and other days I am totally at peace with it.

I am at the age in my life where all my friends are having babies. I can name about 10 friends who have had babies just in the last month. Babies are everywhere! My sister is due in a little less than two months. Which is good. I will get to love on a baby girl and then hand her back when she cries or poops. It is a glorious thing!

I think we all get that question after we get married of :"when are you going to have a baby?" Then once you have the baby it is: "when are you having your next child?" I am not the type to get upset with that question. It is only natural to expect a couple to have another child. What gets me going is the response back when I say we are only having one child. Here are just a few:

"What? But Shane will be so lonely"
"Only children are spoiled brats usually"
"Don't you like kids?"
"No, you have to have will regret it"

I understand... really, I do. I would think some of these things too. But, that is the key..I would think them...LOL. People like to express their thoughts about how they think you should live your life. I hear it with people with multiple children. I have a friend with 3 boys and someone had to nerve to say to her: "oh, so were you trying for a girl". As if she just kept popping kids out hoping one would be a girl!

I came across this picture once and thought it was so funny and true

Each family is unique in their own ways. I have prayed and prayed about having only one child. Thankfully, God has given me a peace. Do I still question it? Yes. It is hard. I do think about Shane being lonely...not having siblings. I am very aware of him being spoiled. I try to make sure we do our best to not make him spoiled and to be a thankful child. It is easy to do though when you can give all of your attention to one child and you can spend all your money on one child. It is something I will always have to be aware of.

I have talked to many "only child" adults. Some say they loved it! Others hated it. So we take the risk. We make sure he has plenty of friends and family around that he never feels lonely. I think about when we are gone...who will he have? Sometimes, brothers and sisters never get along. They have their differences and probably wish they were an only child! It is a hard thing to decide but, for so many reasons...we will be a family of three,

What are those reasons??? I know you probably want to know. I am writing this also to be encouraging to those who only have one child and are struggling with it. I have searched high and low for some encouragement and it is not easy to come by. As I mentioned before, we always wanted two children and that was the plan before I had to spend my last month or two of my pregnancy in and out of the hospital. My doctor told me that if I wanted any more that I would have to lose weight. Well, yeah......that did not happen. In fact, I did the opposite. If I were to get pregnant at the weight I am now, I could risk the life of my baby and my own. I had such high blood pressure with Shane. I would most likely be put on bed rest and would not be able to care for Shane, as I should. I feel very guilty about not losing the weight and therefore not being able to have another child. It is my fault. But, I love my little family and am blessed to have one child. Some are not able to even have one and that is how I look at it. I was able to have a child with just a few hiccups at the end. I am blessed. Even though it isn't the "norm" is our norm.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Flea Market Finds

The Hubs and I had another wonderful day together at the Long Beach Flea Market last weekend. It really is so much fun when your husband is in on your treasure finding adventures. We had a few more small pieces we needed for living room before it was complete and we found them both from one vendor! I have been on a mission to find a cluster of orange grapes. You know the ones your Grandmother had(if you are my age). The ones that were sold at garage sales and thrift stores for a few dollars because no one wanted...just a few years ago. Yeah...those now are super duper expensive. Our colors in our living room are orange and green. So, I was so excited when I spotted this beautiful cluster of grapes:

We also spotted some brass and wood geese(I think they are geese???)! These guys have been on our radar since we moved in. Our walls are now complete with the addition of our new friends.

We usually have a pretty good idea of what we want when we go to these flea markets. Sometimes we purchase a few items that we did not intend on buying and are usually our favorites. The Hubs spotted the Zenith AM/FM radio below. The seller told us some cool info about the radio. He said the small triangles on the radio were the war stations. People would just turn the dial to the triangle and could be updated on the war. The Hubs and I used our ninja flea market bargaining skills to talk this guy down a bit. We have become pretty good at figuring out the whole flea market business. They always start out super high. We never act like we are super interested or they wont go down. We have found a few who are fair from the beginning but those are hard to come by.

The hat was a great deal for only 10.00. The lady who sold it to me was so sweet and said it was from the 40s. It is the start of my vintage hat collection. It has fur on it so I was sold. There were so many fur coats at the flea market I was in heaven. I want one soooooo bad. It just really isn't a necessity...especially in maybe one day. 

The last piece was a no brainer for us. First, it was sold to us by one of our favorite vendors. The owner always is super nice to us and gives us such great deals. All of his pieces are amazing. I wish I could be a picker. The thrill of it would never get old. Lucky for us he is close to us and delivered the beautiful credenza below to us. When he brought it I could not believe how perfect it fit in our room. The size and wood tone were perfect! I immediately had to style it. The picture in the frame most likely won't stay but, I loved the frame and it was only a few bucks at Goodwill. I have such a hard time not decorating everything in the room at once. I have learned with Mid Century Modern design it has to be a slow process. Each piece is so unique and takes time to find. The great part is MCM design is very minimalist so there are not a ton of pieces to buy. We are still on the hunt for a headboard, some night stands and lamps.

It was a great day with my man. Can't wait to go again!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Local Shop Love

Every year... around this time, my Mom, Sister and I go to a Holiday Open House put on by some local antique/gift shops. It is my kick off to the Christmas season. I always find so many treasures. In years past it was a combination of shops all around town. This year they were just a few shops in one area. They also used to provide a limo... taking the shoppers from one shop to the next. It was super fun! There are a few new shops that recently opened up in the same area so, I think there wasn't a need to have it open to all the shops who previously participated. Those were downtown and they ended up having a separate open house on another day. We honestly could not have fit in one more store so, it worked out for us. We first stopped at my newest fav- Embellished Nestings. It was filled with so many pretty serving pieces. I love glasses, plates and platters. If I had more room to show it off I would have more pieces. I really liked this store because I found a few Mid-Century Modern pieces! It is such a popular thing now. Which is a bit of a bummer because with fame comes a hefty price. However this shop had amazing prices on everything! Many times small shops really jack up their prices and it just isn't worth it to me to pay so much. I like to be the one to find treasures for a great deal and not pay someone else for looking. This shop was fairly priced on all their pieces. Their displays were all well done and the people who worked there were super helpful. I hope they are around for many years. I hate seeing cute shops like this go. I think with great prices and unique pieces they have a great future. Stop by soon if you are looking for some cute Christmas gifts! They are located on 3756 Elizabeth Street, Riverside, 92506.

This picture is from their facebook page which I linked above:). Isn't it beautiful?

I found these plates and instantly fell in love. They are super retro. I don't know anything about them. They have a little circle indentation that appears to look like a spot for a cup. I would love to have the matching cups! They also had a clear set that I am tempted to go back to see if they still have. I got the four of these for 20.00.
Next up is a shop called Vintique Alley. Such a cute name! The shop owner is super sweet and always there to help.  She has a large section outside that was filled with vendors the night of the open house. One of the vendors had vintage hats that I was drooling over. We talked about how we wish women still wore hats. We decided we needed to bring them back! Although I was super bummed because I made a rookie mistake and didn't bring any cash. DUH!!! So I was not able to purchase one of her beautiful hats:(. I have been searching Etsy and such for some. I picked up a retro clock at Vintique Alley for just 10.00! It is perfect on The Hubs nightstand.

Vintique Alley is located at 3758 Elizabeth Street, Riverside, 92506 (right next door to Embellished Nests).

Finally we visited one of my old favorites Forget Me Not Antiques. This shop is filled with many unique vendors and I always find something interesting. The owner is always there! I don't know if there is anyone else who works there as I have only seen her in there. I like to look for records at this shop and I hit the jackpot this time. I found a few great records that were in perfect shape. One was never was the Chipmunks' Christmas Album. I knew Shane would love it and Mama too. I also got a Johnny Mathis record. I love having a record player it takes me back in time(even though I was born in the 80's). Being in our 1959 home I like to pretend that it is still that era. Things were so cool and chill back then:). Forget Me Not Antiques is located at: 3774 Elizabeth Street, Riverside, California 92506.

 Overall, it was so much fun! If anyone wants to go I will be your shopping date! Shop local:)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Summer Lovin'

As Christmas approaches my eyes are seeing way too many cute things in the stores! Tonight, Shane and I, made Snickerdoodles while we listened to the Chipmunk's Christmas Record. I am officially in the Christmas spirit. I know! It is not even Thanksgiving. I want Christmas to last as long as possible. I also get so busy and I end up not enjoying it as much as I want. I really want to focus on not getting so busy this year and focus on the celebration of Jesus' birthday.

Today while shopping at Target I spied with my little eye...something sparkly! Have you seen the E.L.F. Holiday line? I snatched up the nail polish set. It had the prettiest shades. I already painted my nails. If I have something new I have to use it right away. It is a problem I have. The formula is surprisingly great. I was not expecting much from a 5.00 gift set, but I love it! It dries super fast. If you have any girls on your Christmas list I am sure they will love it. I really want to try the eyeshadow palettes next.

It is no secret...I love makeup. My Summer Lovin' posts usually are all makeup related. I recently signed up for a monthly makeup bag service by ipsy. Yep! Every month for 10.00 you get a cute makeup bag filled with lots of goodies. I mean how wonderful is that. Makeup and mail..I was sold. Every month they have a few different products that they fill your bag with. Not everyone gets all the same items. This was my first month receiving the bag and I am in love. First off they send you an email when your package is on its way to you. I was sooooo giddy. I couldn't wait for it to come. Then it arrives in a pink sparkly packing envelope, because a manila envelope is just not acceptable! Then inside was a pink and gold makeup bag. My two favorites. Inside that were six products! Some are full size and others are travel size.

This is with the packaging on each product. I just love packaging!

Look at that makeup bag back there!!! The back top left is a beautiful  nail polish by Nailtini in "Champagne", then a gorgeous lip crayon(my newest obsession) by: be a bombshell, then a small little TRESemme hairspray. Most people might not be too thrilled with this, but this is the hairspray I use and I just ran out so I am excited! In the middle is an orangey lip balm in "pillow plush" by em (Michelle Phan) I believe she is the Co-Founder of ipsy. This is her new line and we are the first to receive a full size product. I already tried it(of course) and it is really moisturizing. Next to the Lip balm pot is a bronzing powder by Pixi in "Subtly Suntouched". I see this line at Target all the time, but have never tried it(kinda pricey). Finally, in the front is an eyeliner in "Topaz" by Starlooks. I have never heard of this line. I tested it out on my hand and it is actually a really pretty silver. Once it is on it stays put. Super excited to try them all out!!!

If you are interested in signing up for this monthly service I highly recommend it. I can't wait for my next bag! You can use my link You will not be disappointed!!!

Work is finally settling down for me. Only working 8 hours a day instead of 10-12 is a glorious thing. Since I was working so much I had very little time to do anything extra. One of the things I missed most was reading my favorite blogs. I have a few new ones that I L.O.V.E. Come look:

I first read a blog post from this blogger about anxiety. I instantly bonded with the writer. I then found out her name was Summer. We fellow Summers have to be instant is a rule. Then.....I found out she loves God and makeup and has a You Tube channel talking about it all. She reminds me of Rachel Zoe:) minus the selfish part.

My next favorite blog is actually by a friend of mine. My friends are so talented!!! This blog is all about doing fun activities with your kiddos. Clarissa is a former teacher and she has some awesome ideas and is a great mama to her two sweet little boys she adopted! I love a great adoption story and boy do they have one!
This is a super short list. I am working on a Summer Lovin'- Christmas Wish List edition:). I am really into giving unique gifts this year and am scouring Etsy and other little shops on the internet. What are some of your favs this month?



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lil' Pumpkin Baby Shower

My sister is having a baby! Annnnnd it's a GIRL!!! I am super excited. I have a boy and it just isn't as fun to shop for a boy. It is easier having a boy as I can put a plain T-shirt and some Levi's on him and he is good to go. Girl's on the other hand have hair bows..tights...sparkly shirts and tutus. So, needless to say I am glad my sister is having a little girl and Auntie Summer can spoil her. I have even had two dreams about her! Can you tell I am excited????!!!

I was also very excited to get going on planning a shower for my sister. I can't believe it is already over. My Mom and I were in charge. My sister being the creative one made a collage with inspiring items that matched her theme. She decided on a Fall themed shower with a hint of Cinderella. Mainly the pumpkin turning into a carriage part. It was perfect as it is Fall time and we were able to add a bit of whimsy to make it look like a baby shower.

Event planning is in my blood and I couldn't wait to get started but, I had the busiest time at work weeks leading up to the shower. I was so bummed. All I wanted to do was stroll up and down the aisles of Joann's and Michaels!!! This was not fair. So, I did a lot of online shopping instead and enlisted the help of a few people. My Mom did most of the work and did a wonderful job.

The shower was at my home. We had around 25 women. My sister got so many cute things! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, Each person is so special in my sisters' life and soon will be a part of the Lil' Pumpkins' life. My sister is not 100% sure in a name so, I will refer to my niece as a pumpkin. My sister's best friend took all the pictures. I can't say how happy I was to have someone who knew what they were doing to take on that task. She is super talented and thinks of all the great shots that I always forget. They will be pictures my sister treasures forever! You should check out her blog Polka Dotted Blue Jay and see all the cute things she has made! Here are some of my favorite shots:

My Mom and sister found this at Hobby Lobby. Isn't it perfect for our theme? 
I just had to use a white pumpkin as the centerpiece. I was able to find flowers in all of the colors that we were using. I used an empty chili bean can inside the pumpkin to fill up with water and keep the flowers in place.
I can not even say enough about these cookies. Not only were they beautiful...they were delicious! I have been FaceBook stalking a page called Beautifully Delicious By Danielle. Which the name is perfect! You have to click the link above and check out her work it is amazing. She did exactly what I had in my mind, which is very hard to do. I am super picky and I knew she would deliver. They were almost too pretty to eat....almost!

This cake was actually made by Target! My mom has become friends with the bakers there and they really did a great job. They went above and beyond what they normally do and made two beautiful cakes. One was pumpkin spice and the other was white cake with strawberry filling. Again, beautiful and delicious.

Overall, we had a wonderful day. Being in November we were afraid it might be too cold, but the weather was gorgeous! Thanks to all who attended. I can't wait to meet my Lil' Pumpkin!!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fakin' It

As a working mama I some times have to "fake" it. By that I mean that I don't always have time to make something fully homemade for a party or get together. I sometimes feel guilty as I went to Culinary School and many times people expect a lot from me. I have learned that using short cuts like using a box cake(gasp) is a huge help. Even just displaying your food in a fancy or clever way really adds to a dish.

I recently had three different groups of people over in one week!!! It was so much fun. I felt like I was an Event Planner again. One night I had my girlfriends over for a craft night. I made Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup(minus the tortillas, sorry girls totally spaced it). I also made an easy pumpkin dessert. Soups are great because they just require a little bit of chopping and then it all goes in one pot and you are done. I knew that I would be working and they were coming over just an hour after I got off. So to make it a little easier I added a rotisserie chicken that was already cooked for me! I normally cook the chicken myself, but there was just no time. The dessert was super easy too. You make a pumpkin mixture, sprinkle a yellow cake mix on top and then some butter and pecans and you are all set to bake it!

The next night I had some of Scott's friends/clients over for dinner. I had leftover soup so I just added some more chicken stock to it and set out some toppings and in minutes had dinner for them. Then on Thursday I had a group of Realtors and Affiliates over to our house for appetizers and drinks. This was a little tricky as I needed to have a variety of appetizers but, nothing that took a super long time to prepare. I wanted it all to look really nice and wanted them all to enjoy what I prepared for them. I decided on Shrimp & Chesse Wontons from a great site I found through Pinterest called: High Heels to Hot Wheels. These took a little bit to assemble but since they were a little "fancy" I thought that was ok.

Take your wonton wrapper coat three edges with egg whites and put a tsp of the shrimp and cheese mixture in the center

Fold over, making a triangle and then press edges with a fork to seal in the filling. And then they are ready to bake. I forgot to take a picture after they baked but if you go to the like you can see how they look baked:). Yum!  

Next I decided to make a cheese platter. I love cheese platters! I think cheese is beautiful on its own but then when you add salami, crackers and grapes it can look really elegant. It only takes minutes to put together and everyone always enjoys it. I add some rosemary to fancy it up even more!

Next I needed some veggies. Veggie platters can be beautiful too. They don't take a whole lot of time to put together either. I know a lot of people like the pre-made platters but I prefer the real deal.  To make it a little more festive for the fall season, I carved out a hole in a pumpkin and took out all the seeds. I used a sour cream container that I made my dip in and used the lid as my guide to cut the hole. Once I was done carving the hole I dropped in the container and had a cute dip container.

Finally I needed something sweet. I wanted to keep with something fall but didn't have time to bake anything. I decided on caramel and chocolate dipped apples. Instead of dipping a whole apple I dipped slices. It is easier for party guests to enjoy. I dipped some in just caramel and some in just chocolate. Others I dipped in both and some in chocolate and chopped peanuts!

With a little cheats and box help I managed to pull this all off and was able to enjoy my company. It is always a joy to be in the kitchen. Fall usually means a lot more baking which makes this girl happy!

***Note I add 1 red bell pepper chopped and a jalapeno, chopped and de-seeded to the garlic, cilantro and onion mixture. I also add a can of corn and black beans when I add the chicken in. You can crumble some tortilla chips on top or if you have a bit more time I like to julienne corn tortillas and fry them in oil. Sooo goood!

Friday, October 18, 2013


I have a disclaimer before I get started. Disclaimers usually mean to me that I may say some things that not everyone will agree with so, I am diffusing what I am about to write with a disclaimer. This is my last post in my "respect series"(sounds like I am all professional and stuff). I want to talk about people respecting themselves. I will focus mainly on females as that is what burdens me the most and well I am a female! So my disclaimer goes as follows: I too struggle with respecting myself. I hope I do not sound too judgmental as that is not my intention in this post or in any of my posts. I try to have humility when I write. People are more responsive when I write that way, than when I am just ranting and writing out of anger. God has given me the gift of discernment. I have know this for years, but a few years back I realized I was using my gift wrong! I was using it to judge people. I was losing a battle of right and wrong and became angry and had no compassion for people who were living in sin. God gave me a wake up call. I found out I was not perfect! What??? How can this be? Yes, He basically told me to check myself before I wrecked myself. I love when God gets all ghetto with me. So, I hope this post does not sound judgmental.

I tend to look back at generations before us and think about how they acted. I look at what they wore and really just how they reacted to situations. I think there is always room for improvement. You can probably see that in your own family as your parents learned from their parents mistakes and you learned from your parents mistakes and so on. There is still a part of me that wishes I did not live in this "era". Even more so I am afraid of what my child will have to face in his lifetime. Back in my don't remember there being so much pressure for me to dress seductively. I graduated 13 years ago and I really don't remember it being a struggle. I have to say it has become a more recent struggle. I am 31 years old, have been married for 10 years and am a mother. Why is it a struggle now? I have two words: Carl's Jr. Yep, it is all Carl's fault! By Carl's Jr I mean media in general. I mean leave it to a burger chain to make you think eating a cheeseburger needs to or can be sexy! I mean there is nothing sexy about eating a cheeseburger. Especially a Carl's Jr cheeseburger. Their slogan is: "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face" ! Yet, somehow by getting a super gorgeous girl taking a bite makes us feel guilty for not being able to stuff our face in a sexy manner. Those commercials are just ridiculous. It shows just how disgusting the media can be. It shows the lack of respect for girls and also the lack of respect for guys.Guys are visually tempted daily. They don't need a burger commercial to add to that temptation. This may seem like a silly illustration about respect, but I wanted to show you that disrespect is everywhere these days. I am disrespected as a woman as other women sell themselves on tv and around town. I am disrespected by other females for trying to push their sexiness on my husband on tv and around town. Have you been to the mall lately? The Hubs and I love to people watch. It is so sad though. Girls, who can't be more than 12-14 years of age have shorts on that show their bootie!!!! Sometimes they are even walking with their parents! Ugghhh, I have been known to be a prude but come on girls, don't disrespect yourself like this.

Halloween is coming up soon. Yay! National time for girls to dress like a prostitute day! I wonder how girls choose their costumes. I imagine it going a bit like this: "let me see....I really want to be a bumble bee...but bumble bees are not let me get some knee high yellow and black striped socks and a little tutu and a leotard. Oh, and of course bumble bees don't have boobs but let me show all of mine. Yes, perfect! I will be a sexy bumble bee!" The costumes that bother me the most are the ones that are manly costumes that a girl turns sexy. Like a sailor or a soldier. I was looking at Pinterest and there was a picture of a "sexy jungle soldier". Hahaha...who comes up with this? A jungle soldier? I am sure they thought they were being very creative...bless their heart. Now, before I start to slam all these young girls I really do feel sorry for them. They have been blasted with images of sexy women all over the tv and in magazines. As a woman, I feel the pressure too. The world is saying you need to be a piece of meat and lure your prey. Instead of being a prize to be won and cherished. When we dress immodestly we are "luring" in our "prey". Guys are visual. You are sending out a message of come get me and then you wonder why you are surrounded by a bunch of sharks! Dressing modestly is a sign of self-respect. I am guilty of trying to dress up in order to lure my husband but guess what married girls this also lures the eyes of other men. I need to be respectful not just of myself and husband but other men, married or not. I get attention but at the end of the day I may have caused others to stumble and as a sister in Christ I have failed.

Bottom line is this: If you don't respect yourself, do not expect anyone else to respect you. There are still plenty of ways to look beautiful with out showing your lady parts and making guys stumble. You may think, yeah, but you are married, you don't have to "lure" anyone anymore. Although, I am not in the dating scene any longer(thank you Lord) I still need to look good for my man, right? But, just my one else. Put on some red lipstick and high heels. Take your hair out of that pony tail and curl it. Put on a cute dress. You can still be fashionable without being trashy. And you can be beautiful without looking like you are working on the corner...mmmkay. I am being super sarcastic but this is something very heavy on my heart. I pray for my husband daily and for my other brothers in Christ. I also pray for young girls and women. It is hard times to live a life pleasing to God, we do not need any more distractions. So, girls don't lure, be pure.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

RESPECT: In Marriage

“I, Summer, take you Scott, to be my husband, to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”
Scott and I said our traditional vows and also vows we wrote on our own. I have to be honest I rarely think about what I promised to my husband ten years ago. The Hubs would tell me "words have meaning" and he would be correct. I was only 21 when we got married, but I did know that I wanted a marriage that was built on trust and would last a life time. I still had a lot of growing up to do. It was a hard adjustment. I needed to be a grown-up. I needed to be trust worthy and I needed to respect this new man in my life. I have to say not until recently have I taken my marriage seriously. Yep, it is true. I have a very laid back personality. I am pretty sure I should have been Hawaiian. I have a very passive thought process. I don't think much about what I do. In some areas of my life that works, but with relationships that does not all.

I began to not talk about my feelings..because it would just cause trouble and who wants to cause any conflict. I held everything in. This caused me to lie about my feelings and compromise or let certain things go that in reality bothered me. Compromise is good in a relationship, but not sharing your feelings for a long period of time causes some resentment. I have a husband who is always open with me and wants me to be open. He encourages me to talk to him. There was nothing he was doing that was making me hold back. It was my own insecurities and fears.

So, what does this have to do about respect? I was not being truthful about who I was. I became a very fearful person. I honestly didn't even know myself. This caused me to not want to be involved in anything outside of our home. I became depressed and lonely. The Hubs would go and do things on his own. We were living our lives as two and not one. It hurt, but it was also hurting The Hubs and that was the worst! I decided that I needed to wake up! Ten years had passed me and although I would say we had a wonderful marriage it really was mediocre. Not engaging in activities with The Hubs and living in this fear was disrespectful to my husband.

"To have and behold". Ok first of all I always thought it was "to have and to hold"??? Maybe that is another version or maybe I really do not pay attention. Words have meaning Summer! I do like the word behold though. It means to "see with attention". I think of "Behold Christ". It is not just.."hey look when you get a chance there is that Christ guy". No, it is" LOOK...right now, it is JESUS CHRIST...the SON of GOD!" I needed to "see with attention" in my marriage and I thank God for grabbing my attention. I am battling through some growing pains, but I see that The Hubs is so proud of me. He even said "It seems as though the longer we are married, the more you love me". It is true. I told him truthfully...that I am learning to love and respect myself and it is allowing me to love him and others more.

I feel all grown up now. It is so weird!!!! I still have a ways to go, but I find so much joy in respecting and loving my husband. I thank God everyday for putting The Hubs in my life. He has been patient and he loves when I open up to him. I only hope that I am what he needs as well. Marriage is such a beautiful thing when God is involved. There are ups and downs...but thanks be to God, my marriage has been filled with mostly ups:). Every husband and wife needs to be respected and loved in different ways. I challenge you to think of ways you can love on your wife today and wives think of something you can do to show respect to your husband. It could be something as saying thank you for all you do or husbands taking on a chore your wife does everyday. I am sure it will be greatly appreciated!

***As promised next up I want to write about respecting yourself. This is a hard one for me!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

RESPECT...find out what it means to me

You know you are singing Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T now, aren't you? She meant business in that song! Have you ever read the lyrics? I just did and first off I was totally wrong on a few lyrics. This is no longer a shock to me as I have absolutely annihilated many a song in my day. One line that was funny to me was the one that goes like this: "Your kiss is sweeter than honey.
Guess what? So is my money". You tell em girl! You can tell that she was disrespected and unfortunately for her Boo she was a famous singer and put this guy on blast! When I am disrespected sometimes I wish I had a bullhorn.  I would make everyone aware of the disrespect that occurred. But I am assuming that is not the way I should react.

I took a little look in my ever so handy B-I-B-L-E. There are actually quite a few scriptures that talk about respect. Respect towards your parents is one and respect towards the elderly is another. I really wanted to find a verse that spoke about a more general respect. I believe this is something that is lacking in our culture. More on that later, but for now this is the verse that I really enjoyed:

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free man, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone:Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king".
1 Peter 2:13-17

The word submit ruffles many feathers. We live in a world that has very little respect for authority. You see that with our President, past and present. You see that with children and their parents. You see the lack of respect for Police Officers. And you even see it among believers. Not just towards non-believers, but even among their fellow brother and sisters in Christ. I love Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Peter. I have to say many times I get even more confused as to what a certain verse means after I read his commentary, but this one I got!

"As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gathered in their long and loose garments, that they might be ready in their business, so let Christians do by their minds and affections. Be sober, be watchful against all spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate in all behaviour. Be sober-minded in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves. A strong and perfect trust in the grace of God, is agreeable with best endeavours in our duty. Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people. We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined. The written word of God is the surest rule of a Christian's life, and by this rule we are commanded to be holy every way. God makes those holy whom he saves".

This was actually the commentary for the verse that preceded 1 Peter 2:13-17. I wanted to dive in a little deeper than finding one verse with the word respect in it. I wanted to know how to show respect to everyone. "Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people". Man, that is a tough one to swallow. I kind of want to stomp my feet like a little girl and say, "I don't wanna". I don't want to show respect to our current President. I don't want to show respect to my husband when he is not showing it to me. I don't want to show respect to that lady who cut me off or that guy who didn't open the door for me. Respect is about humility. There is nothing more refreshing than someone who is humble. Forgiveness is also a big factor in respect. My Mother in Law always says " Maybe they were just having a bad day". We make fun of her but it is a great attitude to have towards those who wronged you. This is not to say we need to let people walk all over us., but we need to show mercy and not be so quick to anger.

I write mainly about things that I am convicted about. Respect is something that is very hard for me. When you have a kid there are little ears listening at all times! You become very aware of the nasty words that come out of your mouth or if you have a little more control you are aware of them before they fall out. I was driving the other day and someone was driving super slow. I was saying something like: "Hurry up dude! Are you kidding me"?  Pull over"!!!! Then honked at him. Shane, who was in the backseat, says "Mama, maybe that is as fast as their car goes". Oh my! Talk about feeling like a big meanie head. Although, I know this guy could have gone faster, I also know that I did not need to be quick to anger and that I just need to show him some grace.

I was in an accident when I was younger. It was my fault. I was driving my sister to school. I looked over for a second to see if I could park somewhere and bam, I hit the car in front of me. I was barely moving so it wasn't a huge accident, but being that it was my first accident I was so embarrassed and scared. I got out and the lady was so nice to me. She reassured me that it was just an accident and that it was ok. Nobody was hurt and that everything would be taken care of. She displayed so much respect. What could have been a moment for her to be super angry, turned into a moment of grace and mercy.

Now fast forward to a time I felt the most disrespect. I lived in Orange County. I could probably stop my story right there as many Orange Countiers(??) are not known for thinking about anyone but themselves. I was at Mervyns(oh how I miss that store). I was going into the dressing room. I had one of those small carts and my purse was stuffed on the very bottom. I walked through the doors and at the same time I am trying to grab my purse from the bottom. It is stuck and these doors had one of those bells that dings to alert some one to come help in the dressing room. It probably dinged ten times. I was so concentrated on getting my purse out that I wasn't  aware of anyone near by. A fellow customer looked at me with the most annoyed look. She didn't have to say a word. If looks could kill! I said sorry and quickly moved away from the sensor. I still got a eye roll and a head shake.  To this day I still get so upset about it. I thought about pretending I was deaf to make her feel really bad.....but....remember that part Matthew Henry writes about: "We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined". Yeah, that part. In order to get respect, you need to give it. I may have not received any respect from that annoyed lady but my inclination towards shaming her was not the correct response. I have been shown respect though many times over. It is so refreshing. Try it. It usually throws people off who are usually prepared for disrespect.

There is so much more I can talk about on respect. I plan on breaking this up into a marriage post, a parenting post and a respecting yourself post. Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions on upcoming posts let me know. I haven't done a whole lot of cooking/baking posts. With Fall here I am hoping to have more posts on my favorite recipes. So, what you want? You know I got it. Oh man, that was all kinds of cheesy:).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Balancing Act

Step right up, folks and be prepared to watch the most spectacular balancing act of all time! A balancing act that is like no other! In one hand she juggles the schedules of all her children and husband and in the other hand whips up breakfast, lunch and dinner. And in the other...yes folks she has more than two hands...she cleans...she dusts and she vacuums like no other. Who is she: your mother!!!! (The crowd erupts in grand applause).

 Daily life as a mother can seem like an amazing balancing act. If only we did get that grand applause everyday. But sometimes it goes without notice. That is ok. We don't need constant praise, but a little appreciation bouquet of flowers would be nice, right? When we leave the hospital we are taught a few things like: how to feed your child and how to change them. But, beyond that we are on our own. There are many resources like books and other mama's advice but every ones schedule, personality, beliefs and children are different. It can seem so overwhelming. There are many decisions you have to make and you want to do what is best. At times we may fail and other times we succeed. Right off the bat we need to make decisions like Natural birth or Epidural, cloth or regular diapers, breast milk or formula, shots or no shots and on and on.

I remember going to register for my baby shower at Babies R Us. Holy moly! That was the most overwhelming and stressful event I have ever experienced. I felt my mommy hood was on the line. What if I chose the wrong bottles? What if I chose something that was not organic? What if the stroller I picked out was not safe and would eventually be recalled? I can't help but think of way back when before internet and before Babies R US. What did those mamas worry about? Probably Rubella or Scarlett fever! Or not having an Epidural. Oh the horror!!! But, hey they had no idea what they were missing. It just seems like we are so over inundated by the mass amount of stuff and ways to parent. While scrolling through Pinterest I see all these great sources for making my own play dough, making homemade fruit snacks without all that yucky stuff in them, learning activities to help with your child's motor skills...and on and on and on. This pretty much sums up my feeling as I see this:

It is easy to try to measure up to other "Mums". You have the "Healthy Mama". You know that one that shops at Whole Foods and makes her own baby food from organic vegetables and uses only organic baby products that have a magical fruit found only in the Artic where they are harvested by hand and whose company also gives back to help fight against GMOs. Or the Active/Activity Mama..the one who is constantly on the go to Disneyland, schedules regular play dates, has all 4 children in different sports/music lessons and so on. Oh and we can't forget the "Holy Mama". The mama who has her 2 year old reciting all ten commandments, involved in AWANAS, MOPS and VBS. And finally, the "Educational Mama" who has her child reading by age three, writing their name and making all the other Preschoolers look like failures:). I am saying this all facetiously but in reality all these mama's are doing what is best for their children They are sacrificing there time chopping up all those fruits and vegetables. Sacrificing their time to take little Jimmy to Soccer practice and then running over to drop of the next child at guitar lessons...all the while not having time for their own activities and wouldn't change a thing.

As mothers we are all unique in our own ways. I do not have it all together. Neither do any of us. But what I have learned and keeps me motivated is that I need to be present in my child's life. I need to be engaged. Continually comparing myself to other moms who appear to have it together will get me nowhere because chances are they are doing the same thing. We are a nation of busy people. Just this week I had to work my normal 40 hours and week and then on top of that I had to put in 16 hours of OT!!!! I begin to feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. Then Shane got the flu...dundundaaaa. I had to miss work on Monday not making the boss very happy. I was up every hour from 4:30am until 5:30 PM cleaning up puke and doing 5 loads of laundry. He puked on every surface of our home. It was lovely! Luckily, he had puked up so much that it was just water after awhile. He even said to me at one point, "Don't worry Mama that one was just water". Poor kid. I think he could see I was tired. But, guess what I would do it everyday. Which made me thankful for a normally healthy child. Some parents have to take care of a sick child daily. They are the ones that have a true balancing act! No matter what challenges we face they are all worth it. Seeing our children grow into their own. Seeing them learn new things and accomplishing a new task is what it is all about. So be present. Be engaged. If you are a working mom I want to encourage you. It is so hard! Trying to balance work and home life. Something has to fail. Unfortunately at my house it is house cleaning...which may not be that bad of a thing...just kidding. I would tell friends who came over, "Don't look down" referring to my dirty floors. As a working mom there is a lot of guilt that we feel. We miss things like first milestones or events at school. It is hard to be present when you have to work long hours or maybe need to bring work home. I am in a bit of a different situation as I work from home. I am blessed to be here with Shane. I do have to miss somethings at school. The biggest struggle I have is time. Time spent teaching him how to write or reading to him. Taking him to play dates during the day can't happen. I find myself telling him quite often to "hold on" or "wait a sec". Usually I completely have to ignore his requests because I have an obligation to my work. I feel guilty even doing things I love like writing this blog or reading a magazine. I feel like any free time I have belongs to him. No matter if you are a working mom or a stay at home mom two things for sure are that we all need more time and we all fall short.

Don't be discouraged you are doing a great job. Your child may not be able to read, write or tie their shoe but they enjoy random dance sessions with you or a tent set up in the living room. Or maybe they have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches far too often but they get to enjoy music lesson or horseback riding lessons. I love watching all my friends parent. I learn so much from them. Children are a blessing and so are Mamas:).

For a little laugh today:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fear, step aside!

I can not tell you how many times I have tried to sit down and write this blog post. I began questioning if that was a sign that I should not even write it. I truly believe that this might be helpful to someone out there. It will even be helpful to understand me more:). I feel blessed to be able to share with the few who read this blog. My blog is a mis-mash of all sorts of subjects. Whenever I post something a bit more personal I get the most I hope you enjoy reading this one.

This year I turned 31. Blah! I have mentioned before growing older does not excite me. This year though I really felt the need for some changes. Getting older never excited me as far as getting older physically. I mean what is good about getting fine lines and grey hairs??? Nothing! But, emotionally and spiritually getting older is actually really super! It is painful at times but the end reward is awesome.

We usually start off any new year by making resolutions. Hoping to start fresh and accomplish some goals. I personally love the new year. Being able to start over is a wonderful thing. One of my favorite things about being a Christian is receiving God's Mercy....they are new every morning! Boy, do I need mercy. I heard this song that described exactly what I felt when I was in a "woe is me-nobody likes me-I guess i'll go eat worms" moment: 

This must be it
Welcome to the new year
The drinks were consumed
The plants were destroyed and the hors d'oeuvres dismantled
I'm not smiling behind this fake veneer
I am often interrupted or completely ignored
But most of all i'm bored
I'm trying to find out if my words have any meaning
Lackluster and full of contempt and it always ends the same
Why won't she listen to me
Why did i come
Oh why did i come here
These humans all suck
I'd rather be home feeling violent and lonely
I'm not trying to sound so insincere
But the postcard that's taped to the freezer reads "wish you were here"
How i wish i could disappear
I'm trying to find out if my words have any meaning
Lackluster and full of contempt and it always ends the same

This song is so depressing and I wanted to hug whoever wrote this. This how you can feel when you are shy and don't deal with it. When you don't pick yourself up and ask God for help.

This year The Hubs and I celebrated our 10 Year Wedding Anniversary! There is nothing I love to do more than to make my husband happy and proud. Most of you know The Hubs. Many of you have probably read a few of my posts about how different we are. completely opposite. He can talk to anyone. In fact, he enjoys it...weird!!! It is an act of God for me to engage anyone in a conversation. I about have a heart attack every time I have to. God is funny...isn't He? Making me fall in love with a guy who would love nothing more than to just talk all day with people and get to know them. Hang out every night with someone new or old friends. Be in an industry where you are constantly meeting new people and going to events. But, you see this is what I need. I need to be exposed to new people and settings. It is not what I fact it is my biggest fear. God knows what He is doing and I am enjoying growing a tad more wise and seeing Him work in my life.

Fear is not from God. It is something I have had to get on my knees and ask God to take away from me. He did...but I found it again and again and again. I am pretty worn out over this whole ordeal. I have lived 31 years as a shy person. When you are younger it is a bit more acceptable to be shy. By now though people expect you to have it all together. I mean I have been married for 10 years. I am a mother. It is not that simple least not for a shy person. I thought one day when I hit my mid twenties that I would just wake up and the fear would disappear. I would magically become the person I wanted to be. The fear would be gone and poof I would be changed. naive. It is the hardest process I have to go through, each and everyday. I remember in 11th grade a girl who I thought I was pretty friendly with asked me out of the blue " Summer, why do you hate me"? She laughed but she said I never talk to her. Those words hit my heart like a ton of bricks. I told her I am shy and I do not hate her. I apologized and she said she was just kidding, but there was some truth there. She was feeling unloved by me. The very thing I was afraid of people doing to me I was doing to others. That statement changed me.

Do you struggle with fear? It can be crippling at times, I know. It makes you question your worthiness. I have cried out to God..."why did you even make me..I am worthless?". It causes depression and even illness. Fear is God is more powerful. He has shown me His love and mercy over and over again. My husband is such a gift from God. Although we are so different in personality and times it is hard for us to understand each other...we are what each other need. The Hubs helps me to break free from this fear...on a more regular basis than I am comfortable with:). And being friendly is a great thing. On the other hand...I am able to help my husband take a step back and relax. Sometimes he has meeting after meeting. He is such a helper. Always volunteering for things. Again this is all good, but I am there to let him know that sometimes he needs to rest:)

I have found so much comfort in God's Word. I always do. My "life verse" is Philippians 4:6-7(I added verse 8 too...because it is another favorite)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I have had the privilege of meeting some great people in my life. Unfortunately, I don't get to really "know" anyone that I meet. The Hubs and Shane are the only people I really know and even then I put my guard up at times. Being shy, for me, is two parts.

Part 1: Rejection!!!
I think it is safe to say that no one enjoys rejection. How I handle it is the real issue here though. Or how I don't handle it I should say. I am in constant conversation with myself...yes I talk to myself a lot! The conversation usually goes as follows: "Do they really care what I have to say"? "Am I right" "Will they think I am stupid" "Is that going to be funny" "Should I say something now...or maybe now...ok...I should probably say something now...opps they have moved on to the next topic". It can be quite exhausting. So, what is the big deal if someone does reject me? As I sit here, thinking, there have been very few times where someone has been cold to me or unfriendly when I try to reach out. Guess what? That is ok! There are plenty of other times when I have met wonderful people who are genuinely interested in me. Who want to know about me. This can't be one sided though. It isn't fair if they are the ones interested in me and I do not return that same grace.

Which brings me to Part 2: Perfection
Perfection or the illusion that you are perfect is my family curse. I feel like we put on the "nothing to see here...everything is wonderful" face when we have struggles. That is a whole other blog post so I will spare you all that business. But, when you feel like you need to present yourself as perfect you will always fall short...because one is perfect. God is the only one who gets that title. Physically..I like to wear makeup and nice clothes. I am fat....lets just put that out there. So, I never physically feel perfect. Emotionally...oh Lord...very far from perfect in that area. So, why do I feel the need to make it look like I have it all together..when I am falling apart? Again, fear is the answer. Fear that I will have to open up about a struggle. Fear that I will look like a hot mess of a person. Fear that people will judge me. Fear that no one would want to be friends with me. Judgment is never good. God has given me the gift of discernment but at times I have messed that up by turning it into what my flesh thinks is discernment..but in reality is judgment. I believe when you see things you don't like in people many times it is things you don't like about yourself.

I don't want this to be a depressing post. This year I have made it a goal of mine to reach out and make new friends.Also, to work on the friendships I do have. To go to events that I would have earlier stayed away from. Just last night we had an event at our home. I knew maybe 3 people there besides The Hubs. I thought of ways to make myself look like I was busy or to attach myself to Scott's side. Then I had a moment of...this is my home and I need to make these guests feel welcome. So, I put my big girl pants on and went outside and talked to not one but almost everyone at the party. It may have just been a "hi, thank you for coming" or a long conversation, but man did it feel good. The best part was knowing that I made The Hubs happy and myself. Also, everyone was so nice and no one punched me in the face or threw anything at me! It is still a really long road. It is a daily battle. People are all not mean and scary. I have some wonderful people in my life as I mentioned before. God is so good. I love when he reveals these things to me. I love when I can feel His presence in my life. So many times I wanted a guarantee that what I was doing was going to be ok. For instance, talking to someone and knowing that they were going to accept me. That is not how faith works though. That is how fear works. I recently read this from Brennan Manning "Insisting on some divine guarantee before yielding to God's word. That is NOT faith".  So, have faith that whatever you struggle with God is right there. It make take you 31 years to get yourself together or maybe 70 years!!! No matter what the time is I love that I have peace knowing God will be there for me. Patiently seeing me through it.

And because the lyrics of music are so important to me. This is the song I love when I am needing some encouragement:
By Jonny Lang