As a Parent, I Never Thought I’d Say…

As a Parent, I Never thought I’d Say…
1) I don’t have time to laugh right now.
2) Why can’t you just stop crying?
3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
7) Let’s make a deal……..put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
8) Do not jump on your brother!
9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.
11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!
12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!
13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch).
14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again.
15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss!

1) I don’t have time to laugh right now
My oldest, Ethan, takes after his daddy. One of his main goals in life is to make everyone smile and laugh, especially daddy and mommy. We were trying to leave and were already late when I responded to his 3rd knock knock joke this way. This is not my normal view on life. I am such an easy laugher. My husband appreciates this quality as well as my boys. The stress of the morning rush took me over and I heard the words coming out and almost laughed afterwards at how boring and adult like I sounded. But, we were all late, and my angry mombie came out before I knew it.

2) Why can’t you just stop crying?

Admittedly, when I was a child, I was the one that made every little look, every little word, every little image into something bigger and deeper than it was. As a result, I was frequently offended, hurt, and crying. Ofcourse,now, I understand that not everything was aimed at me or meant to hurt me. My mother frequently laughs when I tell her stories about my children’s emotional rants and tantrums because they are just mini versions of myself in this area and to her it seems a lot like paybacks:).
As an example:
My 7-year-old either whines or breaks down into tears every time his brother gets a turn with a toy or wins an argument or (dare I say it?) gets to go somewhere or do something without his older brother. After a few of these instances I started to realize that Ethan was our more emotional child. I realized this awhile ago, but my husband still has not accepted it. He sometimes asks me “Why is he so emotional today? I have to remind him that Ethan has always been and probably always will be emotional because he is like me. I remember my tears being for different reasons when I was younger. I also remember vowing that I wouldn’t be unfair to my children. Then I found myself saying “Why can’t you just stop crying?” a few times and I learned pretty quickly that it is almost like a parental rule that I’m supposed to make life seem unfair for my children (in their eyes). Ethan’s favorite phrases when he is emotional are: “But you said..” “That’s no fair…” and “Why do I always have to…?” Some of it is inevitable, but we are working on it.

3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
If you’ve ever experienced two screaming boys for more than a minute, you understand that getting a headache is just one of the many side effects that occur afterwards. The other side effects include evil looks, throwing toys, and sarcastic comments. These occur one by one in no specific order until everyone is mad at everyone and everything. Yelling to stop yelling is the only thing a mostly sane mama can come up with in this atmosphere.

 

4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
I have one very touchy-feely son who loves to hug and kiss and cuddle. The other has to be in the right mood for it, much like his mommy. When Ethan is hugging and kissing on Shawn and Shawn begins to push away slightly, I have to call a no touching rule temporarily because if I don’t, Shawn is going to punch Ethan in a sensitive area to get away from him.

5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
Some would think this is learned immediately upon potty training. No, it is a daily reminder for my boys, especially when they go together and have “sword fights” with their streams of pee – eewwwww! I usually have a no group peeing policy. This is one of the rules that my husband and I unfortunately disagree on, so it still occurs from time to time…eeeewwwwww!

6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
There’s always one child that would prefer to be naked or half-naked and is willing to fight about it for a good 20 minutes even if it means losing privileges. My 4-year-old was probably 2.5 when his huge crying tantrums started. They were usually instigated by requests to do something to get ready to leave the house or to get ready to go to bed. Sometimes a request to wear pants or to eat his breakfast or to pick a book for bedtime sent him into tantrums and he would not stop crying for probably an hour or more. To his credit, he was on very strong steroids for Asthma and his emotions were messed up significantly (messed up even for a toddler). The roller coaster of emotions that he went through caused me to have a similar roller coaster ride of emotions. One time he had a medicine that gave him night terrors which woke him up and caused him to scream for an hour or two until he just fell over in exhaustion. I learned early on that this was not his fault, but when you have to console a screaming and crying toddler at 3am – 5am and then get up at 5:30am to get yourself ready for work, you start to fight back against a child’s persistent fight to go pantsless 24/7. For this reason, we now have regularly scheduled times when he is allowed to hang out all day at home in his underwear. We just have to remind him to get dressed before we go anywhere.

7) Let’s make a deal … put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
There comes a point when the determined super mommy wears down and the deal maker survival mode mommy comes out – let’s just be honest.  I sometimes grab another coffee and let the kid win. I sometimes hammer down and at the same time make deals to protect my sanity. It’s either make a deal or let the kid win and I have had a lot more practice at this game of being stubborn and determined than my 4 and 7 year olds!

8) Do not sit on your brother!
I’ve said this more than once, if you can believe it. Probably more than ten times. Sometimes it changes to “We do not sit on faces in this house!” What is it about brothers that screams “Wrestle me down and sit on me!”?

9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
Do you ever wonder why daycare and schools are a breeding ground for colds and flu bugs? Sure, the kids eventually wash their hands after being reminded several times. The question is, how many items or people did they contaminate before they started washing their hands? Your phone, their back pack, their toy that they smuggled in unnoticed, the friend next to them, your hands or face when they caught you off guard? These are the things I think about laying in bed when everyone else has gone to sleep….

10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.

You would think that getting rid of the snot dripping down your nose would be a welcome experience. Not for 3 year olds, and sometimes not for 7 year olds, either. It makes me wonder if they don’t feel it, don’t care about it, or just don’t want Mommy telling them what to do about anything anywhere anytime. Hmmm…it’s a toss up…let’s move on.

11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!

My new favorite outlet for my kids’ energy is called “dance party”. This means that we forget about our worries, our cares, any arguments we had before, and we turn up the music nice and loud and dance off our energy, dance of the sugar, dance off the frustrations, etc. For me, this is a stress relief some nights when I have had way to many arguments with the boys, way too many stresses at work, or way too many dishes to clean or stains to get out of the laundry. Either way – this is a win-win solution when we can’t agree on a game or a cartoon to watch or whatever activity we thought we might do for the night.

12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!

Yes, I have been guilty many times of ignoring the growing piles of clean laundry that call to me at all hours after work.  But some days, I need to just play with the kids and get some stress relief! Making a fort is the perfect solution to ward off pillow fights, get the kids to work together on a project with a common goal, and sometimes even read books together and make it fun! I never thought that I would want to do all of the building and constructive play as a mom because part of me thought that was the daddy’s job. Now, I love it when the kids want to build forts because it breaks up the battles that they would normally have with favorite shared toys and allows them to get creative without destroying anything! Win – win!

13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch):

Okay, okay, maybe if we were running low on band-aids I wouldn’t give in to this, but I have many times pulled out the box of Minion or Avengers band-aids as a comfort tool without the tiniest visible drop of blood for evidence of the pain in my children’s eyes. It may be an owie that is inside and they don’t know how to explain their feelings yet, so a band-aid represents how they are going to try to get through the pain and move on. If that is what is necessary to stop the tears and reconcile two fighting boys, I am ready to use up the band-aids!

14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again:

Okay, I understand that children need to have veggies, need to have fruits, and sometimes need to try the pot roast or the latest leftover casserole that we, as mommies, surprise everyone with. However, I am a firm believer in choosing my battles! Organic foods are great, vitamins and minerals are great, and I give my kids a healthy of each whenever possible. But, there comes a time when it was a crazy day filled with work, school, daycare, errands, and now it’s 6:30, everyone is starving, and I have no clue what is for dinner because we just walked in the door and didn’t plan ahead due to the above mentioned craziness. In these cases, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, whatever is quick and will fill the bellies works for us! Granted, for my youngest and I, we have special chicken nuggets and hot dogs that are allergen free and pricey, but the extra money is well worth it if it saves me the headache of planning dinner 2 nights a week!

15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss! 

Okay, so my mother and my mother-in-law and I don’t always have the same rules. I have come to terms with that. If they are giving me free babysitting, they can have their own rules as long as it is not a safety issue or inappropriate for the age issue. What we have settled on is that when Grandma is around, grandma has her rules. When mommy is around, mommy makes the rules. Daddy has some rules, but they are usually more flexible than mommy’s rules. That’s a whole other story! I have come to understand the whole argument of the phrase “Because I said so!” traditional parenting line. I have used that many times because there’s just so many times that you can argue with a pint size version of yourself that you are in charge without resorting to “Because I said so!” My tolerance for questions and rebuttals before this phrase is somewhere between 10 and I stopped counting.

I hope that these comments and stories help you to feel better about your own parenting skills! If nothing else, I’m sure that you can relate to my weaknesses and remember that we are all kind of guessing and figuring this out as we go!

Blessings!

 

Proverbs 3:12

For the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
As a father the son in whom he delights.

Matthew 6:34

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Top 10 Tips to Adulting Like a Pro

My hubby and I sporting some sophisticated mustaches to look all adult-like:)

1) Clothes folding party: Fold clothes with your hubby and/or kids while watching TV – we call it a folding party – mostly to psych us out and make us motivated to do exactly what we don’t want to do while we also do what we want to do – watch TV:)
2) Make 2-3 meals at once: If I am making a Roast in the crock pot one night – I keep in mind that I can use the broth from that Roast to make soup the next day. If I am making Spaghetti one night, I double the sauce recipe so that I can save it for pizza topping for the next day. If I have 3 lbs of meat and I only need 2 for a casserole, I make all 3 lbs and set aside 1 lb to make taco salad for lunches for the next day. Use your leftovers and save your precious time!
3) Use your lunch break! I have used my lunch break about a million different ways – but here are my top favorites: working out – shaving my legs and stretching in the gym shower – reading – bible study – catch up on email and voicemail – pay bills or budget – catch up with an old friend – R.S.V.P. to all of those invites I’ve received the last 3 months:) – make my grocery list and clip coupons – and keep an eye out for deals online.
4) Make your chores into games so that your kids don’t waste time whining and make you mad in the process. We do one called “Whoever cleans up the most”. My boys are highly motivated by competition, so this is perfect for our house, but use whatever niche your kids have. The boys have a timer – probably 5-10 minutes – more if it’s for more than one room. While I am cleaning something else, they have to pick up all of the toys or clothes on the floor and put them where they go throughout the house. If someone is caught cheating or hiding things, they don’t win. If both boys give a good effort and do their best, everyone wins and gets a prize or treat. If one is slacking off or whining the other one wins by default.
5) Take “get ready” items on the go: I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time to do everything I’m supposed to do in the morning. This is one of the many reasons I carry a huge purse. I can fit deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, a travel mouthwash, a razor (for shaving during lunch remember), my makeup, my vitamins, and of course my to-do list. I get a ton of things done in the car on the way to work while my hubby drives. Sharing cars is amazing if you can make it work!

6) I keep snacks and drinks in the car at all times. You never know when you’re going to be stuck in traffic and your kid suddenly needs a fruit snack fix at the same time. Here’s the hack part, though. I always use the snack as a bribe for behavior purposes as well. If it has been a rough morning and the kids are crying in the car about how mean mommy was rushing them out the door, the snack is set aside but they are always reminded that it is readily available when they are polite and respectful, do what mommy and daddy say, and treat each other nicely. If they come into the car nicely, they can have the snack right away, or you can set up a rule that they have to stay behaving well for at least 5 minutes before they get it.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Did I mention that these little people are ALWAYS EATING?

7)Do you have to race from one event to the next and can’t get a good family meal in? After you grab your snacks to tide you over, turn off the radio and have a conversation in the car in between your errands or activities. Our favorite thing is telling each other’s “High-Lows”. That means, we say one “high” we had for the day (a good thing), and one “low” we had for the day (a bad thing). On long trips we play “I Spy” or we blast the radio and sing in silly voices.

8)Do you have problems designating who does which chores in the house? Don’t want to get strict and make a fancy chart to follow or seem like a nag to your hubby? Do a trade-off deal like my hubby and I do. A long time ago we figured out the things that we each hate to do or pet-peeves that we have individually so that we could avoid petty fights about chores. For example, I know when I have to do laundry because it usually involves potential stains that need to be laundered quickly, so I am great about starting laundry, but not great about putting it in the dryer. He usually doesn’t remember that clothes need to be cleaned :). Therefore, I always start the laundry, he always puts it in the dryer when I tell him ahead of time that it needs to be done soon. I can not stand taking out the trash. He cannot stand refilling all of the garbage bags. He takes the trash out, I refill the garbage bags in each container.  We both hate dishes so we usually go every other night but sometimes make deals with each other so that one of us bathes the kids and the other does dishes. He likes that we don’t use a chart (although I would love a chart) and I like that he is willing to do his share without complaining!

9) Allergies to Dust and Mold? Cleaning Constantly? I hear ya! My youngest has too many allergies to discuss right now, but two big ones that have me cleaning constantly are dust and mold. Wood floors or laminate wood-looking floors are a definite life-saver in this situation. Also, machine washable couch covers, machine washable curtains, and dishwasher safe toys are a life saver. I am telling you, it is hard to find bath toys with no holes in them, but we found them! We usually vacuum everything once a week, sweep sometimes twice a week depending on how often we are home. We change bedding once a week, and run an air purifier that switches rooms all the time. Stuffed animals are never allowed in the kids’ rooms as they will sleep with them and start coughing like crazy! This is tough to keep up with, but if you write it down and keep track, you will get through it!

10)Make your responsibilities fun and do them together and you will get through them much easier! No, you won’t instantly have the urge to scrub pots and pans before bed every night, but at least you can blast your music and get your jam on while you work. It’s better than letting them sit for days while you avoid the stench!

Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

Colossians 3:23 ESV 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Blessings,

Aubree

Shark Week Survival Kit

IMG_20160105_224534

Hi,
It was a stressful week for me to begin with, so, of course…

Duh duh…duh duh…

Duh duh, duh duh, duh duh, duh duh…

Shark week! Awe man!

For any male subscribers – who are clueless right now, see the urban dictionary at this link if you do not understand: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shark+week

Doesn’t it always seem like Shark week happens to appear on the worst possible day or time? Just when you ran out of chocolate, just when your husband had to work late and your kids had tons of sugar, just when you have no possible moment to huddle into the fetal position and hide from the crazy that awaits your day. Well, my survival kit is not going to take away all of the emotional roller coaster or the crappy side effects that come along with the visit from aunt flo. However, it will help you to deal with everything a little better and come out of this with your sanity in tact. I consider that a success!

Here’s my go to list of Shark Week Survival Kit Items that I need to make it through the week without hurting people – my family included! Some of these are sugar-free items because I am a THM follower, but if you do not have any dietary or allergy restrictions, do what you have to do – your sisters understand and pass no judgement!

Chocolat Stella Stevia sweetened dark chocolate bar – see: HERE  (or Lilly’s sugar-free chocolate bar – see: here
Skinnygirl liquid Stevia sweetener: click here and butter for Bulletproof coffee!
No Bake cookies THM approved by: Sherri Graham: http://sherigraham.com/trim-healthy-mama-fudgy-no-bake-cookies-s

iPhone, phone charger, iTunes access and ear buds for seclusion from the world
fuzzy blanket, fuzzy slippers, heating pad if necessary
Netflix and laptop or TV
PUR gum: sugar and aspartame free (have to gnaw on something 🙂
Clubbin with my Soda or GoodGirl Moonshine from THM – stay hydrated! See my recipe : http://www.lovingthejourney.org/clubbin-with-my-soda-thm-style/
peanut butter in any form
yoga pants or sweatpants

Midol or Tylenol

iron pills or iron rich foods

chick flicks to watch alone or with hubby if he dares

a good novel

That should do it! Here’s to keeping our cool (as much as possible) and getting through Shark week with our sanity in tact!

Blessings,

Aubree

 

 

The Morning Rush

Has it been awhile since you spent time with God one on one?
Has it been awhile since you spent time with God one on one?

If there was ever a perfect example of why I needed a morning devotional time with God, it was today. The morning rush attacked me this morning, once again. Anybody else out there stressed out in the morning with all that you need to do? I hear you! I think I wake up with instant visions of my ever-growing to-do list and this is why I get preemptively stressed. Is anybody else like that? I don’t choose to be this way – but I immediately see everything that needs to be done and everything that could possibly screw it up before it happens. For this reason, I admit that I have had some days in the past that I completely skipped my morning quiet time with God because I had convinced myself that I was too busy. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but on those days, my patience is nearly non-existent. I yell at the kids and at my hubby out of anger over little things that don’t matter – I definitely do not use my “customer service smile over the phone” at work – and my co-workers probably notice that I am missing my usual ability to smile easily and handle complaints calmly.

Here’s a little peek into the start of my day this morning 1)Wake up – get coffee ASAP! 2)Spend time with God for at least 5 minutes – reading verses and praying – hopefully more like 15 minutes if I didn’t snooze too long 3)Shower and get dressed 4) wake up hubby 5) start packing lunches and getting breakfast out 6) wake up boys  – FEED all of us ASAP (we are a cranky group before we get our coffee (for me) and food!) 7) Clean up spill #1 from my 2.5 year old – thankfully this time it was an accident 8) Remind boys of the routine – again – have hubby pass out meds and give breathing treatment and vitamins – send boys to get dressed and brush teeth  while I attempt to actually do my hair today 9) make sure that daddy and boys don’t have any major wardrobe clashes then get everything done just in the nick of time – uugghhh! I forgot my ½ finished coffee – I’ll get some at work 10) Do make up on the way to work while hubby is driving – didn’t get to brush teeth once again, but I  store a travel toothbrush and toothpaste at work because this is a frequent occurrence. 11)Discuss with hubby how we are going to get our morning routine down better tomorrow – hopefully 12) Get to work with 1 minute to give hubby and boys kisses and walk in the door. 13) Try to hide the stain on my shirt that I just noticed with my ID badge strategic placement (Yes boss, if you are reading this, there is a reason my ID badge is always clipped somewhere on my shirt) 14)Get my hard-earned coffee and try to gulp down before I realize the lid is not secure 14) Proceed with spill #2 down the front of my shirt – well I don’t have to worry about that old stain anymore – the new one covers it nicely 15) Put my hair up in a pony tail that didn’t last long… 16) Thank God for the peace that He gives me that allows me to still smile and sometimes even laugh at myself because I made an effort to thank him this morning and to praise Him for my blessings instead of scrolling on Facebook like I have done so many times in the past when I get my precious alone time.

Some of you may be thinking – “well geez – you only gave God 5-15 minutes”. Yes, that’s correct, and that is all that I am able to give in the morning. However, that is not the only time that I have for God. Have you ever worked in Customer Service of any kind? Some of my deepest and most sincere prayers are silently pleading with God while I handle one more complaint. I also frequently pray while working out on my lunch break – pray that I can make it running 5 more minutes without stopping – pray that I don’t spend the whole time comparing myself to that skinny girl on the next treadmill because if I focus on Him I can remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Sometimes I pray while creating a post on my lunch break, such as right now. I pray that someone other than my hubby and my mother will read this so that my voice may reach to other busy working moms out there – other women who doubt their worth – other athletes who sometimes feel unmotivated or unworthy in the gym – other women who sometimes question their purpose – other parents who sometimes wonder if their kids allergies will ever get better – other cooks who sometimes wonder if it is worth all of the time and energy to prepare a homemade meal that the whole family will agree to eat – other Christians who sometimes want to hide in a cave away from the evils of this world. I hear you! I am you or have been you at some point! You know what’s going to get you through that struggle? Time with God! He may not be your best friend right now, but you still have the chance to change that! Time with God is not just one more thing on my to do list – it is what relieves the stress and the pressure of the to do list – so in a way, my time with God determines my view – not just my view of myself – my view of the world. I don’t know where I would be without my God time – but I would be a much bigger mess than I just displayed for you with the start of my day.

Let me know how you are doing with your God Time in the comments below. Feel free to email me at krautfam3@gmail.com for recommendations of good daily devotionals that can keep you on track or good hints to sneak in more God time throughout the day. Whether it’s sticky notes of verses on the bathroom mirror or on your desk at work, or a full-out prayer closet, whatever it takes!

Here’s part of my devotional today that protected me from a bad attitude and a gloomy mental state:

James 1:19: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Blessings,

Aubree

Loving the Journey

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When Suffering Smacks You in the Face…

When Suffering Smacks you in the Face - What can you do?
When Suffering Smacks you in the Face – What can you do?

We all dread that call from the school, the one that may leave the parent crying as much or more than the child. I still remember getting the call from my son’s school last Spring, informing me that my 5 year old at the time had fallen off the monkey bars, had landed on another child, had lost two teeth and has a large gash but they are not sure where it is on his face because there is too much blood to tell.  I am normally a calm person, but when you tell me that one of my children is in pain like this, I tend to turn into a raging lunatic / emotional basket-case / deer in headlights, which is not a good condition to be in while driving.  Thankfully, I was blessed with a husband who remains calm in crisis. He was able to go to the school, take him to get checked out, eventually get stitches in his lip, and turn the whole thing into an adventure that ended with ice cream. Don’t you wish that all  pain and suffering could be done in a day and end with ice cream?

Then there are some illnesses or struggles that creep up on us slowly, that started out small and then turned into an unbearable crisis.

This has been a rough couple of years for my family and I. We have had many hospital visits, many allergist visits, many doctor visits, many chiropractor visits and for some things, we are still praying for healing, still trusting in healing. Sometimes it was our youngest son having allergic reactions and severe asthma attacks, once I had to have surgery, and once had a horrible case of the flu, a few times, my husband threw his back out. I will admit. I have sometimes gotten to the point that I wanted to keep my family in a bubble and never come out. However,  I need to remind myself that God never promised that we would have healing the minute we ask for it. He never promised that we would even have complete healing in this life. We live in a broken world, a world with germs, with disease, with allergies, with less than ideal food options, and sometimes, honestly less than ideal finances to purchase the best food options. God did promise us that in this world we would have trouble, but also that HE HAS ALREADY OVERCOME THE WORLD!

So, as I pray for healing for myself, for my children, for my husband, and for many other loved ones off and on as all of the struggles come and go, I will trust in the Healer, trust in the one who made us. I will trust that He sees the big picture. I will trust that He knows what is best in the grand scheme of things. No, I don’t believe that God wants us to suffer, don’t misunderstand me. I do, however, believe that when suffering comes, whether in physical pain, emotional pain, in loss of a loved one, or in other ways, God can use that pain and turn it into something better. He can use it to remind us to trust in Him. He can use it to remind us that He is all we need. He can use it to change me into a better person, a more compassionate, a more loving, a more generous person.
Do you know anyone who is a spoiled brat? Do you know someone who has never had to work hard a single day in his or her life? Do you know anyone who has had life handed to them on a silver spoon? And what do you think of that person’s character? Is he or she a pleasant person to be around? I didn’t think so. Suffering comes in all forms. It can be health, it can be finances, it can be failed relationships, failed jobs or businesses, addictions. You name it, somewhere, someone has suffered through it. But if they went through it, that means it is done. That means there is an end to it, and more than likely, that person is stronger, braver, more compassionate, or has learned something from their suffering.

Let’s make a promise to each other today. Let’s promise to pull together and love on each other when we are going through suffering. Let’s not point fingers, or blame someone, or make up some lame excuse for not helping like “That’s because of their sins”. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Let those with sin, (everyone on this Earth), show compassion, band together, and help each other through our suffering, continue to pray for healing, and continue to grow stronger together.

Blessings,
Aubree

References:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4
Jesus Referring to those who wished to stone the woman caught in adultery:
When they kept on questioning him (Jesus), he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Lesson Learned….Again…

Lesson Learned...Again

This is a record of the number of times I have learned the same lesson over and over again in the following areas. I am attempting to memorize the verses that match each one in order to get better with age:

1) I will never please everyone, and that’s okay – I just need to do my best to please God

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

  • Psalm 146:3-4 ESV 
  • Lesson Learned 1,556 times

2) My toddler says “no” constantly because I have to tell him “no” constantly. Although sometimes he needs to be told “no”, I also need to find ways to reward him for good behavior and feed positivity into him if I want him to act positively toward me.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV 
  • Lesson Learned 589 times

3) My husband needs me to laugh at his jokes and will continue the repetitive dialogue until I either laugh or say “You’re so funny!” This is a sign of respect and love for him!

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

  • Proverbs 17:22 ESV  
  • Lesson Learned 25,899 times

4) I do not have to compare myself to other women, I just need to be the best me that I can be and love others for being the best they can be.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.                

  • Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

  • Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.           

  • 1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) 
  • Lesson Learned 199,999 times

5) Worrying will not do any good. If I always jump to the worst possible conclusions, it’s like I’m always waiting for the next bad thing to happen instead of enjoying the good things happening right now!

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.                   

  • Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)  
  • Lesson Learned 205,000 times

6) God is my boss and He overrules everyone else, including my boss at work, my family and friends, my government, my pastor, etc. There is a reason that he gave me the Holy Spirit and the Bible, so that I can know He has great plans for me and gain the ability to discern his message to me personally.  If I do not understand this, God will be happy to remind me with a more challenging lesson the next time to learn and grow from.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

  • Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT, second edition) 
  • Lesson Learned 8 billion times

 

Blessings,

Aubree

Many Best Friends allowed!

Hi,

I don’t know where this idea came from, but many people are under the impression that a person can only have one best friend. Maybe it’s because we use the word “best” as the number one spot in many other things in life – the best parking spot, the best seat in the house, etc. I have honestly struggled with this classification process of my friends and I don’t think I’m alone in this….

I had a conversation earlier this year with my 5 year old that actually ended up solving some things in this category for me. Imagine that! Parenting – so weird how it changes us!

Here’s how it happened….

Ethan: Mommy, Harlen wants to be my best friend, but I really want to be Christian’s best friend, and sometimes I want to be Robbie’s and Heath’s best friend, too, but I kinda still want to be Harlen’s best friend, too. And I’m always gonna be best friends with Reece because he was my first best friend!

Me: I know, hun, sometimes we have more than one best friend at a time.

Ethan: Yes – he will always be my best friend because he’s my cousin!

Me: Yes, that’s great, honey.  Harlen, Christian, Robbie, and Heath probably all want to be your best friend, and we already know that Reece is your best friend, but why don’t you just have lots of best friends?

Ethan: Are you sure that I can have more than one?

Me: I am sure it’s okay!

Ethan: Okay, I think I will….

Immediately I flashed back to a day as a young girl when I wondered how the heck I was going to pick out and categorize my best friend, my next best friend, etc. I think I was in 6th grade and the cliques were forming rapidly. I had a set of church friends and a set of school friends and got very confused going back and forth who I liked more. I never figured it out then. I kept pushing it off to figure it out another day. I eventually moved and by default my church friends became my best friends.

After having this conversation with Ethan, I realize I am able to make up my own mind about who and what type of friends I have and they don’t have to stay the same all the time. They can grow and change and get better through the years. Here is my best friend list, because I am a list addict and must keep lists of everything in life to remain sane (yes – it’s a real thing!).

Categories:

Jesus is my ultimate best friend of course –

Of course – as a christian, Jesus Christ is always the bestest of my best friends because he is my savior and King. This is my list, if you do not like that, go make your own list 🙂

Soulmate best friend – Then my hubby is my soulmate best friend . I know that not every marriage is made up of two best friends, but I have been blessed beyond imagination with my husband, whom I don’t just love, I actually like him and enjoy spending time with him in addition to the romantic side of love! (what a concept, huh?).

Then I have a group of best friends and none of them are “bester” than the others – just different depending on what’s going on in life :

Sister best friend: We are sadly not close geographically, but we try to email/IM/text or call whenever possible. We were frenemies growing up for a while because she liked to copy me (as most younger siblings do) and I liked to hide from her with my cousin so that she was not able to have a playmate. We started growing closer when I had to start driving her to school every day and then we were soon giggling at all hours of the night and sharing clothing instead of stealing it. Who knew that God gave me a built-in bestie right in my home?

Cousin/more like a sister best friend: We were tight from the beginning because our mommies were great friends and sisters. We played for hours outside long before cell phones, computers, or ipads ever existed. We planned out elaborate schemes together at church camp and spent hours laughing at youth group, in camping tents, on a trampoline, in a pool, or huddling behind the deck hiding (again) from my sister and congratulating each other on a great new hiding spot (Sorry sis – we’ve come so far and promise not to pick on you anymore!). She is famous for making me shoot every kind of pop out my nose and making me laugh during serious prayer time (apparently not appreciated in Sunday School). We can not see each other daily like we used to just because of crazy schedules, but she still knows my heart, knows how to make me laugh and hold me when I cry. Our children have become best buddies as well, which is fun to experience!

Stick together at work best friends:  No matter where you work, you have to have some girlfriends that know what the tough days are like. They cry with you when your personal life spills over into your work, or when that rude customer yelled at you again when you did not change every policy on the books just to please her. This friend managed to get you a box of Kleenex when you couldn’t walk out of your office to the bathroom. She takes you out to lunch for your bday. She helps you figure out what the heck that email is saying because it looks like it is in Japanese and Spanish and Russian. She helps you to make sense of people who really don’t make sense on a daily basis. (As we say “Common sense is not so common anymore”). She is there for bouncing off ideas and for patting your back when you try, but you don’t really have the best ideas.

Church/Prayer partner best friend: This girl has faith like a rock and tends to have strong faith when you are weak and you tend to have strong faith when she is weak. We all need one of these supporters in life. Whether you are a Christian or not even the slightest bit religious – you need a sister friend who at least believes in you! My prayer partner best friend always seems to know what to say when my faith is shaky and always knows how to pray when I don’t have the words. She sometimes needs to turn to me and somehow God gives me the words when I have no words of encouragement at the time. It is a necessary and amazing friendship that I am so thankful for!

Fellow mommy best friend: For you mommas out there – if you don’t have any mommy buddies – you need to get some! My mommy best friends are sometimes at work, sometimes at church, sometimes in my neighborhood. You are especially blessed when you have a mommy best friend who has slightly older children than you who has been through the sleepless nights and the “worries about nothings that might be somethings” phases that we go through as mommies.  She drops everything and comes over to help out when you need her. Although life gets crazy and you don’t always have time for mommy night outs, you somehow stay in touch and pick back up right where you left off last time.

Workout partner best friend: Sometimes my workout buddies work out with me. Sometimes they just encourage me from afar when our schedules do not line up. Either way, we can talk about weight loss, we can talk about battles with health or self-image, we can talk about anything in a women’s locker room, right? It is especially beneficial for me to have a fellow Christian workout partner because she believes that we both can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength!

These are just some examples of the many best friends that can pop up at any point in your life!  These are where my biggest blessings and best friends have shown up, but yours could be different!

Blessings,

Aubree

Words of Encouragement

Hi guys,

Have you had one of those weeks that seems to last for a month? I have been there for a few weeks – okay maybe it has actually been a month….. It seems like it took forever to get all of the bugs and allergies and asthma cleared up in our house and finally get to the nice weather and the ability to get out in the fresh air again!  Just like always, I turned to God much more when I was stressed out with all the crazies going on. I’m not sure why, but I know it’s human nature so all of us have done this from time to time. My goal is to remember to turn to God even when things are going well, to make time with God a priority, not just when I am desperate for His peace, but also when I am thankful to already have peace and joy in the moment.

If you are going through a rough time right now, remember some of these words of encouragement and wisdom from the Lord and know that this too shall pass!

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isiaiah 40:30-31  (This one is taped to my desk as a constant reminder – I also take it with my while running sometimes!)

“For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13 (Another good one for working out! It does not say “I can do easy things” – it says I CAN DO ALL THINGS – not by my power – but through Christ! If you don’t have faith in you yet – cling to your faith in Christ – knowing that He can give you the power as well!)

Have a blessed week!

Aubree

The Slow Girl

The slow girl in class:
I attend a Zumba class 1-2 times a week and we have a few regulars, but every now and then, some newbies get started. Usually they quit after it gets hard or just after a few weeks of giving it a try. One time we had a girl in there that was trying really hard to get the movements down and she kept getting lost. The instructor tried to slow things down a bit so that she could catch up and get back in to the swing of things. I tend to not have patience on the inside even though I’m smiling and going with the flow on the outside.  So, inside I was getting frustrated because I knew this girl would probably quit in a week anyways and we were spending all of this extra time on some basic moves just for her.
At the end of the class , the girl came up to me and said “You give me such hope!” I asked her why. She said, “Every time I get down on myself for missing a step, I see you still going and I remember that you have been doing this for longer than I have and I just need to have patience and trust that practice will help me improve.”
Needless to say, I was incredibly humbled and felt rotten for my thoughts just moments before. How dare I look down on someone who is just trying to get in shape and needs a little extra practice.
Then I realized something even more humbling. This could be an analogy for my faith walk with Christ. Only this time, I am the slow girl who just can’t catch on to what I’m supposed to do. I keep stumbling, I keep making the wrong move, but then after awhile I start correcting it and improving when someone takes the time to slow down the pace and work with me on it. That someone is always God. He never shames me, never laughs at me, never tells me “If you don’t get it this time, I’m giving up on you!”. When I mess up, God calms my stressed out, hot mess of emotions and reminds me that I am not supposed to be perfect yet. He is slowly making me into just the right person that I am supposed to be. I will not reach perfection until Heaven. Until then, there will be many times when I am the “slow girl”. And if I happen to be good at something and catch on quickly, I should use that gift to reach out to the slow girls in class and help them instead of judging them. I am supposed to be an example of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control! Why would I think for one minute that I can act like I’m better than someone?

Thank God I am not in charge of things around here!

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

Blessings,

Aubree

Red Hot Mama

Did you ever have a bad hair day? How about a bad hair color day? So, I was dying my hair last night. I chose to get a little adventurous…. I usually do medium or dark auburn and it covers up the small amounts of gray I have been getting lately but it doesn’t look that much different from my regular hair color. So this time, I went with light auburn. Apparently when I purchased the hair color I ignored the part that said “intense”. The title is “Light Intense Auburn” but should really be called “Red++++++++”.

Sam, my husband, jokingly said to me “Can I call you Red?”

Um, no, that will not be tolerated…….. Don’t make me get my sassy pants on!

I’m gonna chalk this one up to an oopsy and pray that God takes pity on my poor noggin and lets the next few shampoos wash most of the red out!

Um ... yeah... epic hair dye fail......
Um … yeah… epic hair dye fail……