In constant pursuit of coffee and Christ

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What I've Learned From My 1 Year Old

A dear friend messaged me a few weeks back saying she had a bag of coffee for me, "the coffee fairy stopped by and there is more than I can drink". I have the best friends. Today I'm drinking Dunkin' Doughnuts Original Blend. After weeks of being sick and coffee tasting horrible, I warmly welcome this glorious substance back into my life.

2.5 pounds of the good stuff


I cannot begin to describe to you the joy our son has added to our lives. While not every moment has been pleasant, every single instance has been sweetened by his being ours to love. To say that I am blessed to be his momma is a severe understatement. I am honored. I am thrilled. I am overwhelmingly, completely, and unashamedly in love with and grateful for this incredible little blond by who is currently standing beside me watching his movie.

There are so many things my precious little boy has taught me over these past, now, almost fourteen months. Here are some of my favorites.

* Cloth diapers aren't scary.
Look up cloth diapers and you will find a plethora of options. Everything from the originals that are held together by pins, to the more modern versions that include velcro/snaps/buttons... After asking several other cloth diapering mommies we finally settled on a brand and dove in. Of course, after you've decided to go the cloth route, and have determined what sort and brand is right for you, comes learning how to care for the diapers. Depending on which route you choose, they're quite the upfront investment, though the overall savings are absolutely worth it. My methods may not work for everyone but here is what I have learned being a cloth diaper toting momma:
1. You don't have to purchase specific detergent manufactured and marketed for cloth diapers. What you do need is a fragrance free, color free, and bleach free detergent. Yep, that's it. Diapers come out perfectly clean, my son has never had a diaper rash, and we aren't breaking the bank on laundry detergent. Another perk, we don't have to buy multiple kinds of detergent, one bottle for everyone.
2. Dirty diapers do not need to be soaked. I've found it much easier if you don't soak them! When baby is exclusively breastfed there is no need to soak even the dirty diapers, just throw them in and be amazed when everything comes out looking and smelling clean. Once your precious little stinker starts into solids the game changes. I tried the soaking method for months and found it, disgusting. The last thing I want to deal with is more poo! For goodness sake. So, one day I decided enough was enough, and I didn't soak the dirty diapers. What did I do? I let them sit for a few hours so the poo would dry enough to be scraped off with toilet paper and then thrown into the toilet. Did this work? YES. Is this a gazillion times nicer than soaking and scrubbing poo diapers? YES, YES. My life changed for the better after this discovery.

*Veggie Tales are a gift straight from the hand of God.
Now, before you go judging me for allowing my young son TV time, let me assure you, he is an insanely active little boy and thirty minutes of TV time here and there will not hurt him. There are so many reasons why I love Veggie Tales, besides the fact his attention is held so well:  they are colorful, educational, always positive, and teach important life lessons along with scripture. I love watching him clap along to Silly Songs with Larry, or dancing to the theme song. Several months ago my poor little guy was struggling with teething. Every day he would wake between one and two in the morning with a low grade fever, and cry until we sat together on the couch to watch Jonah - over, and over, and over again. This was our routine for a solid week. SO much better than Barney!

*No amount of love can shield my hate of snot and drool.
Years ago we were visiting with a very dear friend who owns a St. Bernard. As I'm sure you're aware, this particular breed is known for the immense amount of slobber they produce. As we all sit, quietly watching our movie, the very loving, very drooling dog came and rested his chin on my lap. For a moment I didn't realize what exactly had happened, then he lifted his head... as strings of thick slobbery drool ran between my lap and his mouth. Of course I handled the situation as any sane, dog loving, adult would and began gagging, wriggling, and making ultrasonic high pitched sounds indicating my disapproval. My reaction when my drooling, runny nosed, perfect child comes and slimes me... pretty much the same.

*"Sleep when baby sleeps" - Lies! All lies!
For the first few weeks this may ring true, but we soon find out just how deceptive this phrase is. Nappy time is my time. For the last several months I have been given one, two hour period in which to be productive. Yes, I can accomplish things while he is awake. At this very moment he is standing on my foot while hanging from my arm. I know, I'm impressed too. There are tasks much more efficiently conquered while he is napping, things like baking, anything regarding bleach (I will not use any heavy cleaning product around him due to fumes), yoga...  Could I nap while he naps? Of course! I'm sleepy! But, I am so much happier having used those most valuable minutes being productive. Bills are easier to pay when I'm not constantly instructing my son not to slam a cupboard door or to stop trying to tickle the cat (who is, as far as we can tell, not a fan of tickling). Even if he were being a complete angel, odds are he is talking my ear off or wanting to have a tickle fight. These are things I never want him to feel are unacceptable or unappreciated. So while baby sleeps, momma gets busy.

*Green beans. He loves them! He hates them! Sydney will eat them!
When the time came to introduce "real food" we veered away from the norm and started with green beans. I'm sure there is someone out there with a green bean allergy, but I've never heard of them so, I figured this was a safe starting food. Not only was he not allergic (surprise!) but he really loved them. He would gobble them down, no problem. Now that he is big enough to handle the real deal we've had a very different outcome. Our faithful pup, Sydney, is extremely helpful when it comes to cleaning up. Barrett has figured out that food doesn't even have to hit the floor for her to "clean up" after him. Every time we have green beans, unless they are hidden in another food, he will grab one, lean as far over in his chair as possible, and wiggle his hand to a anxiously awaiting Sydney. This is, of course, equal amounts of adorable and frustrating. What's the lesson here? Kids will be kids. This seems like some sort of right of passage that he has a food he sneaks to the dog. For now I will let it slide... but only for now.

*Document!
I did not keep a pregnancy journal and, while there are several things I wish to erase from my memory regarding those first 14 weeks, I wish I had. What I have been doing is keeping a journal of precious memories and events. While this is mostly for my benefit there is part of me that hopes he and his wife will want to sit down one day and read through all my little memories of his life. One of my latest entries: "you were talking to your daddy on speaker phone tonight. When I asked you to tell daddy you love him you leaned forward and kissed the phone. You are the most precious thing in this world". I'm also writing of how Ben interacts with him, memories that Barrett may be too young to create but will know happened because of my scribbles. Someday when I'm 80 years old and my children are writing their own memories I will be able to go through my journal and re-live that moment. I'm sure by the time all is said and done, I will have several journals full of memories I want to keep alive forever.

*Boy's got reach
The routine when cleaning his room and putting clothes away is that Bear plays with his blocks while mommy works. I think he actually gets excited to see me grab his laundry basket because he knows what we are about to do. A few weeks ago I had turned my back for a few seconds to hang his pajamas in the closet. When I turned around he was holding the dish of his Scentsy warmer, wax dripped all down his arm. The warmer had been on the second highest shelf in his room, high enough that I didn't think he could reach it. Thank God for how these warmers are designed! Scentsy wax does not warm to more than 2 degrees higher than our body temp, it never gets warm enough to burn you, and is food grade so if he were to have ingested any of it he would be completely safe. I cleaned him up, looked for any signs of skin irritation (he wasn't even red) and moved his warmer to the highest shelf. I'm still amazed that he was able to reach the warmer at all. Never again will I underestimate the reach of my insanely curious, fearless, little boy.

*Cuddle, all the time
Everyone is always saying how quickly kids grown up, and they aren't joking. My once perfectly snugly little boy now wants to be put down to play, as he should, which means that our cuddle time has been severely cut back. Once upon a time I could cuddle and snuggle him all day if I chose to, and I did. Time really does fly, especially as a parent. Not only has snuggle time been reduced but it's been replaced with stair climbing, ball throwing, couch conquering, and literally running around the house. I love watching him grow up. I love his energy, his giggles, the way he loves to have tickle fights. Part of me wishes he would have stayed that tiny baby a lot longer tho. Snuggle your baby, mush all over them. When choosing between snuggle time and dishes always, always, always, choose snuggle time. They really do grow up too quickly.


*I can totally do this... with a little help from my friends.
I will not be perfect. I will not remember everything I have read or everything I have been told. I will grow impatient, weary. There will be days when I want a vacation from my child, knowing that the moment I step foot out of the house I will miss him terribly. I will beat myself up over things that are irrelevant in the end. I will feel confident in my ability only to have that confidence slapped across my face when I realize I could have handled a situation better. Support groups, whether via social media, family, friends, etc. are vital to my confidence and sanity. Google is a great tool, but, GASP! there are things you simply cannot find easily, if at all. Nurse lines may have hours but, as all you mommies I'm sure will agree, we do not. When I have a question at four in the morning or am feeling overwhelmed at nine in the evening I have someone to go to. I have surrounded myself with other mommies, those who have bravely gone before me and are full of useful advice and council. Never be afraid to ask a fellow mommy for support. Don't be afraid to make or admit to a mistake. Every mommy is different because every child is different. Learn from each other. Support each other. You'll be a better mommy for it. I know I have been.

What have you learned from your little one?



Barrett just hours old
Our little pirate is 1 year old!


Eating his pears, yesterday morning






Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Best Ever Vegetable Soup

I love the fall. The changing leaves, bon fires, snugly blankets, fuzzy socks, and soup. While my garden didn't produce the massive tomato crop I was hoping for, I was able to can several jars of the red stuff. So, when my husband looked at me the other night and asked "what's for dinner, babe?" my taste buds went straight for tomato soup, which quickly evolved into the best ever vegetable soup I have ever made.

This soup is hardy, flavorful, quick, and easy to make, as well as meat free and inexpensive.

Can you say, WINNING!

Back before Ben and I started dating, we were exchanging e-mails (yes, we are that old), during which he dedicated an entire message to trying to impress me with his cooking skills. To the best of my memory (oh, how I wish I would have saved those messages!), his email went something like this:

"After my run I decided to make dinner. Soup sounded good so I threw some together and I must say, it was quite tasty"

OK, I'm sure there was more to his message than that, but this is the part that has stuck with me these thirteen years. His cooking skills impressed me then, and impress me still.

One of the most important things when making soup is allowing enough time for all the flavors to meld together. If you don't have at least an hour, don't make soup from scratch. Ever wonder why soups taste so much better after they've sat in the cooler overnight and have been reheated? It's because all of those wonderful ingredients spent the night together and got to know each other better. This soup is no exception to the rule, though straight from the fresh pot was "quite tasty" too.

This recipe fed my family of three for several meals so feel free to cut it in half or freeze the remainder :-)



Ingredients:
2 quarts canned tomato 
(diced, halved, whatever your preference)
2 quarts water
(I like to fill the empty tomato jar to make sure I have all the flavor)
1 can three bean blend - drained 
(black, pinto, kidney)
1 can black beans - drained 
3 cups green beans*
2 cups kale*
1Tbs basil
1Tbs parsley
1Tbs black pepper
1Tbs onion powder
1Tbs garlic salt
1Tbs sea salt
1/2 medium yellow squash**
1 head broccoli**
4 carrots**
4 stalks celery**
12oz Tricolor rotini  

*Frozen
**Fresh (seeded/diced)

In a large soup pot, combine all ingredients except the pasta. Bring to medium simmer until carrots are just tender. Add rotini, lower heat and allow to slow simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. 

Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheese. 

Enjoy! 

See, I told ya it was easy ;-) 




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls


With the holidays coming up, if you're anything like me, you're starting to compile your special recipes.



I stumbled upon this recipe several years ago while looking for something to make for Thanksgiving. My mom had stacks of recipe books, catalogs, etc. and I sat on the dining room floor and sorted through all of them. Finally, I found a recipe I felt worth trying in an old Taste of Home catalog (click on link for original recipe).

Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday so I wanted my contribution to be meaningful, full of love, tasty, healthy-ish (it is a holiday after all).

I wanted to serve a little piece of me.

Not only are these rolls fun to make, they are delicious. There was not one roll left after our Thanksgiving dinner, a chef/bakers true sign of success. These rolls have been a Thanksgiving tradition ever since.

Through the years I have altered the recipe slightly from the original to better suite my personal preferences.

So, here it is, a little piece of my heart for you to serve to your family.


From my kitchen to yours.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls


Ingredients:

2C water
1C Quick Oats
3 Tbs Butter
2 1/2 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/3C Warm Water
1/3C Packed Brown Sugar
1Tbs Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
4 3/4 - 5 1/4C All Purpose Flour

In saucepan, bring water to a boil; add oats and butter, cooking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Add sugars and salt. Let oat mixture rest until lukewarm (about 20 minutes).

In a large mixing bowl combine warm water and yeast, stirring gently until all yeast is dissolved.
*Don't use hot water as it will kill the yeast

Add oat mixture to yeast and stir gently, then add 4C flour and combine until smooth. 
*Too much flour will result in a very dense roll. You can go up to 5C if you wish, but tread carefully
Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
*Give your hands a quick douse in non stick spray to prevent the dough from sticking

Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to grease both sides. Cover and let rest in a warm, draft free, place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into balls ( bigger gets you more, smaller gets you less... you get the idea) and place in greased baking pan (round, square... you want them to just be touching). Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until desired level of golden has been achieved.

Remove and let cool on wire rack.

** Try adding some cinnamon to your dough or sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over them just before baking

ENJOY! :-)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Social Media Part 1 - Our Weekend Without

I remember my very first day on The Facebook (as it was originally called) back in 2004. I was greeted by a very two dimensional blue and white page with designated areas for your profile picture, about me section, and the ability to connect with students from your university as well as select others. You were not permitted access without a .edu email address. Everything you could possibly imagine doing on The Facebook could be accomplished in under five minutes - and that was if you were really bored and needed to stretch your time. Soon I was connected with over 500 students, all of whom I knew personally through a shared class or exchange of an originally overpriced, underused, text book. There were no hours spent scrolling through the news feed, no games to play, etc. just a clean and simple way to connect with other students.

The Facebook 2004

Ahhh... back when life was less complicated. 

Today I not only maintain my Facebook account (they dropped the "The" back in 2005, probably because nobody ever said it) but also spend time on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat. I am almost always involved in one or more of these forms of social media. Now, I will say, that it is not always for personal reasons but because I am a Scentsy consultant and rely heavily on the involvement of others.

Family time is precious in this household. Rarely do we have an entire weekend with no commitments. When we realized how little Ben would be home for the month of September, and how hectic all of October was destined to be, we decided to set an entire weekend aside to just be "us".

As Friday approached I started thinking of how nice it would be to have as little distraction as possible for our family weekend. After checking to see what Ben thought, we agreed that we were going to un-plug from all social media starting Friday afternoon. We let our friends and family know that all communication would need to be via phone and then completely un-installed social media from our lives. 

Friday night was football night! Ben played TE/DE throughout his high school years so deciding to attend the homecoming game of his alma mater was a give in. While at the game we were completely focused on being together, letting our little man be as involved as possible in all that was going on.

Barrett on the field with daddy 
We walked a few laps, reminiscing about our high school days and how much we've missed the field. I attended every game I could, sitting in the same general spot on the bleachers and at half time enjoying a sour apple blow pop. 
Sharing momma's sucker 
Not only was this our sons first football game, but his first taste of halftime tradition.

Saturday we left Bear with grandma and headed off to one of my most favoritest places, Cedar Point.

The Gatekeeper

Without the distraction of social media, we talked the entire drive, both ways. In place of browsing through news feeds and pictures while standing in line we talked, we stood in silence observing everyone else being "together alone" or "alone together" or however you want to phrase it when nobody is paying attention to anyone else because they're staring at their phones. For an entire 15 hours we only looked at our phones to check up on our boy or for directions to Starbucks. 

The Mantis
Sunday after church we ran home to grab our sweet boxer girl, Sydney, then off we went to our favorite orchard for apple picking, Branstool Orchards. Barrett was able to pick his own apples, with some help from daddy, and we all enjoyed the perfectly sunny day.

My little family 

Bear and the first apple he picked

After an entire 48 hours (plus a few on Friday) without any of the distractions we have come to welcome into our lives, I can honestly tell you that we did not miss social media at all, and I don't think it missed us either. 

Monday came and with it the re-installment of social media to our lives. We aren't on nearly as much as before our sabbatical, and I intend to keep it that way. Now when Ben gets home from work our phones are placed on a shelf, where we will check them from time to time. Instead of being so concerned and giving so much attention to what's going on everywhere else I want to be fully present here, in my home, with my perfect little family. Don't worry, I'll still be bombarding your news feeds with pictures and video of my son and random facts about our day, just not as often. 

In the weeks since our little experiment we have made great sides in removing ourselves from being as dependent upon social media and even television (we don't have cable, just Netflix and Hulu and are still parked on the couch way too often!). The difference has been so refreshing!

Ben and I have decided to replace our TV time (normally about an hour after the kiddo is asleep) with craft time. I am trying my hand at wine bottle art and he has taken to stippling. We make tea, sit at the kitchen table, put on some music and let the creative sides of our brains take over. Conversation is fluid as we bounce ideas off of the other and will pause randomly to sing along to one of our favorite songs.

Even if you're not into arts and crafts, even if Football and amusement parks aren't your thing, I encourage you to "un-plug" for a day, or three. Be fully present in your here and now.

Who knows, you may just like it.

Messy fun is the best 



Saturday, September 20, 2014

9 Things I Wish Were True of Myself

Today's mug choice was an easy one. Ben always brings back a surprise when he travels, this round produced a coffee mug, my new favorite.

Siren by Starbucks 
Our routine when Ben flies out is simple: arrive at least an hour early, grab coffee, hang out and wait for flight to take off. Nothing special but having this time is essential to my sanity while he is away.

I am always picking up and oogling over coffee mugs and accessories while we are in the shop. I had picked up this gem and gave it an approving nod while we waited for my Cinnamon Dolce Late and his Double Barrel Late and didn't think he'd noticed. We hadn't even pulled away from passenger pick up when he handed me a bag containing my new mug and a 75% dark chocolate bar. He remembered, after being gone for a week, and gave me chocolate.

Whether your husband travels for military, recreation, or business, if you're like me, having our guys away is never a fun time.

Here are the nine things I tell myself every time we're preparing for him to leave, that I wish were true. 

1. The house will be in perfect order when we leave for the airport

Rarely is this the case, and in all honesty, is almost always quite the opposite. The last thing I want to do in the day(s) before he leaves is spend our family time cleaning/doing yard work. All those things can be taken care of while he is away and I am by myself while our boy is asleep. 

That pile of laundry - it can wait
Those dirty dishes - they will be there tomorrow

2. I won't be grouchy

Maybe it's just me but preparing for my husband to be away for more than a day is far from my favorite thing. Will we survive, yes. Will I be happy about it, no. 

3. I'll conduct myself as the "perfect military wife" 

You know, gracefully floating through the air with my hair perfectly done, in a classy dress, arm in arm with my SeaBee, while our son showers him in hugs and kisses; no evil look will phase me, disrespect at TSA will be brushed off my shoulders, and everyone will read my demeanor as "she's got her act together".

How things really went down: I wore a tee shirt and jeans, my hair up in one of my worst attempts at a cute messy bun, because our son is a grouchy, teething, mommy-clinging mess and I had to rush to get ready. I did walk arm in arm with my man, while our son showered both of us in drool or cried because he was in his stroller (how dare we not let him run amuck through the airport, putting his mouth on everything and everyone... I HATE teething!). 

The judgmental glances of onlookers bothers me, to the point where I would love to go over and smack it right off their faces. Babies cry, they make messes - get over it! The TSA agent who waved my husband through the gate then watched, disapprovingly, as I struggled to take my shoes off (I shouldn't have had to), and place the stroller, diaper bag, shoes, and baby toys that fell from my bag, into buckets and onto the conveyor. During which time the other TSA agent repeatedly told me to remove all liquids from my bag (not my first go around buddy, I didn't bring any liquids!) and did all but step directly in front of me while repeating that sentence over and over. They deserved a good smack too. 

Nobody was thinking I had my act together, because I most certainly did not. 

4. I won't choke up when he kisses me and our son goodbye

I do. Every time.

5. I won't wait until the plane takes off to leave the terminal

I stand there, or in this case walk in circles pushing my fussy boy in his stroller praying he doesn't start screaming because I just may join him, and wait to see the plane move away from the gate. There is no way I want to be on our way home should his flight become delayed after boarding. This has already happened once and we lost over two extra hours. Never again. 

6. Things around the world are not as bad as the media makes them out to be and he will be perfectly safe

They are, if not worse, and I am not a fan. 

7. I will confidently enter my house and go on as if he were simply in another room

What really happens: I slowly pull up to our house, watching carefully for any sign that we have been tampered with. I park and lock the doors, watching in the windows for flashlights, movement, anything that is not as it should be.

*I just wrote, and quickly erased my system but, trust me, there is one and it is extensive. Let's leave it at when I say we are locked down, I mean it. 

8. I will not check to make sure we are locked and secure 3+ times before being able to fall asleep

I will. I just will. 

9. I will not fall asleep running my emergency plan through my brain

There are alternate versions of this plan but it always ends the same: Do not let them reach the baby


I'm so grateful to have been brought up memorizing scripture. Here are some of my absolute favorites, especially when home alone.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

"A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."
~ Psalm 91:7 







Thursday, September 11, 2014

It Is Time, a 13th Anniversary Reflection

photo taken from www.politicalears.com


As I sit here this morning, sipping my coffee and reflecting on everything going on in the world, I am saddened and almost feel guilty that my precious son will have to pay for the mistakes of a past generation. That is, if the current one doesn't get their heads screwed on straight and demand America to be what she was intended for: equality, opportunity (notice not equal opportunity - you get what you work for), growth as individuals and as a nation brought together by one commonality, the desire for freedom to live and believe however we chose - without consequence.

It's time to throw political party aside and come together because we want what is best for our country and the brave men and women who defend her.

It's time to worry less about if your neighbor goes to church or not and focus on simply being a good neighbor.

It's time to stop the "it's all about me", "I do what I want", and "who asked you" mindset and look for ways we can be helpful to one another, to be willing to take direction from someone who's already driven the road, and take constructive criticism without harboring offense.

It's time to respect each others decisions and stop trying to tell everyone how we feel they should live their lives. How about we focus on living our own lives, and living them well. Then, if someone likes what they see in us, and they want it too, they will be more willing to hear what we have to say.

It's time to take pride in our nation again, pride in ourselves, and pride in what we accomplish for ourselves and for our children. Not in a gloating manner, but rather as motivation. Motivation to be better the next time, motivation to create the best world possible for the future generation.

It's time to take responsibility for our own lives and stop waiting for a 'miracle' or, the government or, a job to turn our lives into what we've always wanted. WE control our destiny.

It's time to take responsibility for our own nation and stop waiting for a 'miracle' or the government to do their jobs and turn our land into what it once was and was always meant to be. WE control our children's future nation.  WE can make this great nation the greatest it's ever been.



Of course, this is all just my opinion, and you have the freedom to disagree :-)






  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Worth The Change

Due to the nature of today, I've only just had time to write. My coffee has been replaced with tea and I'm sipping from a mug you've already heard all about.


The Republic of Tea: Red Tea = Amazing in a mug

So we'll just jump in.


They say one of the most difficult things a person can change is what they believe to be true.

To say I have always had a positive self image would be a lie. To say I currently have a positive self image would also be a lie, but I'm working on it.

I can remember my first crush, way back in kindergarten. My little girl friend and I each had a boy we were crushing on and had decided that we were going to kiss them on the cheek. I remember like it was yesterday. We looked at each other, gave the nod, and off we went. I watched as she leaned in and planted her sweet little kiss on her crush and he blushed and smiled. This gave me confidence, so I went over and kissed the cheek of my crush. My response was much different. He was NOT happy with me, quite frankly, he was mad and it was all my fault.

Thus started my feeling like a boy would never like me because every other girl was better than I was. Yes, in kindergarten, as early as that. This is my first memory of comparing myself to someone else. There must be something wrong with me. She must be better than me. I'm not good enough.

As we all know, crushes come and go, and GASP! there were even a few times when I was on the receiving end of someone else's crush. Thank God my last and final crush just so happens to be on the love of my life, whom, I am most blessed to say, loves me back just as much (if not more it feels at times) as I love him.

OK, OK, yes, I am head over heels crushing on Robert Downy Jr. but celeb crushes don't count in the real world, right?

I have lived most of my life comparing myself to others when the only person I should be comparing myself to is who I was yesterday. She is the one I need to be better than. She is my competition. She is the one I need to beat.


While taking General Psychology my freshman year of college we had to participate in experimental studies. I was chosen to participate in the comparison study. I was the perfect subject. I was given a notebook in which to write every single time I compared myself to someone else and why I had done so. There were categories such as Physical Appearance, Personality, Intelligence, etc. Wow, did that notebook fill up fast! And by fast I mean within days, in every single category.

I found that every few minutes I had to open my notebook and jot down what was wrong with me, because that's how comparison works, it doesn't exist to distinguish how we are different from another, it exists to make us feel inferior to another person.

I do feel that things such as constructive criticism, goal setting, pushing yourself, etc. are perfectly healthy and acceptable things, as long as they are being done out of wanting to better yourself, and not out of trying to be someone else.

Since becoming a mother I have grown more and more aware of how damaging this mindset can be.

When my son and future children hear me talk about myself I don't want them to hear such negativity as "I look fat today... I hate my hair... I'm not smart enough to understand that... How dumb am I?... I wish I was as charming as "so 'n' so"... my voice sounds terrible... my butt is too big... my eyes are too small..."

I want them to experience their momma being the woman God has created her to be - me, myself and I! I want them to see me walking in the confidence of knowing that I am a one of kind, daughter of The King. I want desperately for them to never, ever, struggle as I have with self image and feelings of inferiority. I desperately desire for them to focus on bettering themselves, on being the unique, perfectly and wonderfully made, person God has created them to be. In a world where aging is looked down upon and status holds more value than it's worth, I want them to be confident in themselves and it starts with me being the example.

My opinion of myself is setting the standard for how my children view the world. That is something worth changing your beliefs over.

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~ Psalm 139:14

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;..." 
~Jeremiah 1:5

Bear and me earlier this evening 



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A New Adventure

This morning our quaint little town finally updated to include a Panera, and I love, love, LOVE, it! This morning my youngest sister and I set out to make sure were were part of the first 500 customers in order to receive our free travel mugs with 2 weeks of free refills. We split a pecan roll and cinnamon roll and sat and sipped our free coffees under the soft morning sun.


I grabbed a mug full of their dark roast and my sis grabbed their hazelnut blend. While this was not my first visit to a Panera, this was my first experience with their regular brewed coffee. Neither of us were disappointed. Of course, we tried each others coffee picks, so I can tell you that, while I am not always the biggest hazelnut fan, I did enjoy their blend.

Both Ben and I have five years of university under our belts, an experience I cherish and a degree I am proud to hold. With those five years, however, comes a rather hefty student loan debt. Yep, that ugly, nasty, four letter word: D.E.B.T. and while school loans are the only form of it we have, they are driving us crazy.

Being blessed with the ability to stay home and take care of our son is one of the most amazing things in the world. Not only are we saving a ton on childcare, but I am experiencing all of his 'firsts' first hand, something I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. In no way am I being negative towards the working mom, she is amazing and I admire her for all she does.

While we are able to stay afloat on one income there have been several sacrifices made, primarily the stress placed on my husband of knowing he is our only source of income. So, today I made a move to help relieve some of that pressure. I became an independent Scentsy consultant. Not only am I thrilled that I will be able to run my business completely from home, with our little man by my side, I actually really enjoy the product.

I am anxious and excited to see where all this new adventure takes me. So! Here I go, jumping in head first! You can help by visiting my website: https://amandabpotter.scentsy.us and by liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/potterscentsy?ref_type=bookmark for updates on my personal goals and product information.

Proverbs 31:24 "She makes linen garments and sells them..."

Ok, so not quite a linen garment, but a business none the less.

Whew! I'm already wondering what I've gotten myself into!




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

13 Reasons Why I'll Never Ask When You Plan to Start Your Family

This morning I grabbed my Dollar General mug. This mug carries no great significance, other than the fact it contains coffee, but was so cute sitting on the discount shelf that I had to snatch it up.



I've been testing out different brands and blends of coffee, in attempts to find one that only requires cream or sugar but not both at the same time. I still have a few pesky baby pounds to lose and with as much coffee as I consume, this should do the trick. Anyways, I'm drinking Seattle's Best No. 5 with just a little sugar and am really enjoying it. Their cinnamon blend will forever be my favorite but this will do.

My Love and I were married for just over six years before our perfect little man was born. In those six years I cannot count the times we were asked, in variable forms, "so, when will you start your family?" a question that brought me near tears on more than one occasion. There was a time when I wasn't sure we would ever be able to have a child. Not everyone publicizes their struggles, this does not mean that they don't exist.

 Here are 13 reasons why you will never hear me ask this question:

* The answer is simply none of my business.

* You have already started your family by getting married. The size of which is to be determined by you, your spouse, and God.

* Maybe you don't have the desire to have children, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

* Maybe you are not able to have children.

* Maybe you and your spouse are having marital issues that you want to resolve before having a child

* Maybe you're saving to adopt

* Maybe you and your spouse have been trying, you're both perfectly fine, and it just hasn't happened yet

* Maybe you have not yet achieved personal goals that you desire to accomplish before becoming a parent

* Maybe you're scared

* Maybe you already have one child and have decided that he/she is enough

* Maybe you've tried every fertility drug out there and nothing has worked yet

* Maybe you've been pregnant and experienced loss

* Maybe non of this matters, because, as stated before, this is none of my business!


If you're a family member or a close enough friend to be 'framily' (hating myself for using that term but it's just so stinking catchy!) and feel you have some sort of right to ask, do everyone a favor and ask your questions privately and face to face.

Maybe the question that we should all ask a lot more often is "how can I pray for you?"



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Worthy of The Call

Today I grabbed what I refer to as my 'drama mug'


This mug was originally given to my sister, Jules, by a guy that was crushing on her in high school. How I attained it I'm not quite sure! She knows I have it and I have offered it back several times. Every time I drink from this mug I am reminded of how much I love my sister and how far our relationship has come. We were far from friends during my high school years. What we have now is a beautiful, loving, trusting, friendship that I would value and protect even if we did not share DNA. I love my sisters!

While flipping through the pages in Bears kids Bible I stopped on the story of John the Baptist, a passage I am more than familiar with and have even done studies and taught on several times. I'm not sure if it was the simplicity of wording, the fact I was reading aloud to my son, or my current heart and mindset, but this passage hit me in a new way.

100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs
 created by Stephen Elkins 

John did what Jesus asked of him, despite his feelings of inadequacy. In John 1:27 we hear John the Baptist say " He (Jesus) is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie".

What would have happened if John had looked at Jesus and said, 'I'm not worthy Lord, don't make me do this. I don't want to fail you. I'm not good enough. What if I drop you in the water and make a fool of myself? I won't be able to show my face out of shame. Pick someone else'.

John wasn't exactly new at baptizing. Matthew 3:5-6 tells us "People went out to him (John) from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan river". He was comfortable baptizing those he knew were not the Christ. He had developed a comfort zone, one that was demolished, or at very least expanded, when he did what Jesus asked of him.

How has the Holy Spirit been asking you to step up and out of your comfort zone? Will you be willing to place your fear and self doubt aside and trust in His calling? You can do it. Trust me, it's worth it.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mopping the Kitchen Floor

This morning I chose Ben's blue mug. 





Ben shares in my affinity for coffee and their receptacles, so he is always on the look out for our next mug just as much as I am.

For the last several days I have been brought to the passage of scripture where Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his execution. Seriously, for at least four days, I have fallen asleep and been awakened with this passage on my heart. Until yesterday, I really wasn't sure why either.

Correct me if I'm wrong but, I believe we're all guilty of not accomplishing something because we 'don't feel like it'. For me, this is almost always mopping the floors. I could vacuum all day, brooms are OK, but hand me a mop and all of a sudden I've lost all motivation. Why? Not a clue. I just really hate moping the floor. Maybe because having wet socks is such a pet peeve of mine. Whatever the reason, the fact remains, the floor must be mopped.

'Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.'  ~ Luke 22: 39-46

Jesus didn't feel like being crucified (who can blame him!), and earnestly sought out the face of God for another way for our sins to be forgiven. BUT! He submitted His will for the plan and purpose that God had set before Him, taking up the cross and dying so that our sins could be forgiven and our souls gain unending, undeniable, access to the throne of the Father. WOW!

Another passage that means so much more to me now is the passage that speaks of how we are to operate as a Christian household, specifically, Colossians 3:23 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not people', and in Ephesians 6:7 'Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people' and again in Colossians 3:17 ' And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.' 

Whatever we do, whether we feel like doing it or not, no matter how trivial and mundane the task, we are instructed to proceed as if Christ himself had asked us to accomplish it. Yes, even mopping the kitchen floor!

On that note, I have bathrooms that need a good cleaning so I'm going to dust my mop off and get busy! 








Monday, July 21, 2014

A Seabee Wife's Beginning

Today I chose my U.S. Navy Seabee mug.




Drill weekend is never convenient. I was not feeling myself yesterday and knowing that Ben had to leave for the weekend wasn't helping. When he decided to leave early this morning, in place of last night, I was elated. Yes, even with the 4:00am wake up. I would love to sit here and tell you that I am fully prepared and confident for when "the call" comes and we're pushed into deployment mode, but in all reality, I don't think there is ever a way to be fully prepared. 

For those reading who may not understand the contract, a reservist is active reserve for 6 years, during which they must take at least one deployment, and inactive reserve for 2 years of an 8 year contract.

Ben and I celebrated 7 years of marriage on July 13th, we have been a couple for almost 13 years, and have known each other for over 20 years. The idea of an entire year without him home, especially now that we are parents, is a difficult thing to wrap my head and emotions around. The 7 months he was gone for basic training and A-School were hard, and that was back when it was just me and the furry babies. 

Back in high school we started discussing our post graduation options. When Ben said he would like to be a Navy Seal someday I knew right away how great he would be (he still would). I also knew that I did not want that type of relationship. I expressed that he would have my full support, I would write, I would pray, I would always be a listening ear, but I would not be in a relationship with a Seal. I wanted a home, a family, a husband who was around and that I was allowed to know where he was when he wasn't home. Their lifestyle simply does not align with having a successful family life (for most, not all), and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you're aware of what you're getting yourself into. He decided not to join, and I always felt like I had done both him and our military a great disservice.

I went through a time where I was jealous of his desire to join the military.

Why isn't our life enough? Why can't he be happy and fulfilled without joining? Aren't I good enough, exciting enough? Why does he want to be away from me? Don't I make him happy?...

I was struggling with my own insecurities and feelings of being insufficient, and could not see that his love and relationship with me had nothing to do with his desire to join.

Being in our military is part of what God has called Ben to do. Once I got over myself enough to realize that, that his desire to join had nothing to do with me or his happiness with me, that God Himself had placed those desires in his heart. I was humbled. I was corrected. I was mortified at the thought that I was holding him back from achieving his full potential as a man of God. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of supporting, edifying, praying for, and pushing (by positive reinforcement) your spouse. Don't take it personally when they have desires you don't understand, instead pray about how you should respond. The idea for Ben to join the Navy after college was not his, it was mine. He had given up, "I'm too old", "they probably wouldn't take me", he said. "You're never allowed to be old" I would say (Ben is a little younger than me, so if he's old, I'm old and that is just not ok with me), "they will love you. You're exactly what they're looking for".

We started doing our homework, researching the different rates (jobs) within the Navy and where he felt he would best fit in. We contacted a local recruiter and the process began. Let me encourage you, if you or someone you know is considering joining. DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK. Talk to others who are already serving, don't just take the rate they offer you. Know your options, know your rights.

Ben needed to join to be complete, a fact I wasn't ignorant of and am, finally, not intimidated by. I'm by no means taking credit for his success. He has gone above and beyond, as he always does, and there are no words to express my pride, love, and admiration for the man he is continuously becoming.

*This does not mean that I am always thrilled with how our government functions or appreciate the continual change of schedule. 

How can you encourage your spouse? Whatever their life's desire is (as long as it's healthy for them, their relationship with God, and with you/family), SUPPORT! Pray for them, encourage them, pray together. Don't let your fears, insecurities, vulnerability get in between your spouse and what God has called them to do. Let me encourage you in this, their calling will complement your own. I have always been very patriotic and even considered joining the military myself several times ( I even had a pretty incredible offer! ), I am incredibly sensitive towards our troops and will befriend and defend them all if I can. Now I realize that this patriotism is not just part of my character, it is part of my calling. I support our great nation, I support our troops, past and present, and I support my husband.


"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11





Friday, June 13, 2014

Love is a Battlefield

Today I'm drinking from my teal Christmas mug.


My family knows how to bless me. This past Christmas my youngest sister gave me this lovely mug, filled with chocolate (second best thing to being filled with coffee and much easier to wrap).

Growing up my sister Julia and I fought all the time (she is almost 4.5 years younger). Our poor mother. Stacey (11 years younger) and I, though we've had our arguments, never had a full blown fight. Now the three of us share a love and relationship that can withstand any disagreement and opposition.

One of the things, I feel, a lot of couples get wrong is the idea that love and happiness go together 100% of the time. Don't get me wrong, happiness is a great part of being in love but, let's face it, being truly in love may make you miserable from time to time too.

"... for better or worse..." maybe they (whomever "they" may be) should consider changing this to "for better and worse" because, I guarantee you, you will see both.

I'm not being pessimistic, it's not in my nature. Personally I fancy myself as more of a rational/realist who errs on the side of romantic/giddy/nostalgic/sentimental with a strong dash of don't-mess-with-me.

For those thinking this is about my personal life, well of course it is! Nothing is more personal than love and your opinion on the matter. To set the record straight, and I mean in stone, concrete, without wavering, etc., etc. my Ben and I are as solid as they come. We have attained a level of open and honest that only comes through hardship. When I tell you that he is my best friend and we know everything about each other I'm not just throwing out lovey dovey BS, I mean it. I will also tell you that we have not always been this way but had to learn some lessons and grow together the hard way. Take it from me,while learning from others mistakes may be the easier route, learning from your own mistakes, you'll never forget the lesson.

When I think about true examples of real love, one of the couples I think about, and am so incredibly grateful for and blessed by, are my grandfather and late grandmother.

They used to drive down to visit us in their motor home and stay for a few days. We would always go grocery shopping and buy BBQ beef, BBQ chips, buns, bagel chips, cherry pie, lemonade, and potato salad. After our shopping was done we would all sit around the little table in the back of the motor home, say grace, and dig in. My grandpa would cut one piece from the pie and then say "I see my piece" and gesture that we all had to share the small, cut piece and he was going to eat the remainder of the pie. Of course, as little girls, we would fall for it every time.

We would drive back home (I even was allowed behind the wheel a few times!) and everyone but one of us girls would be evacuated so that we could spend time with grandpa. We all knew what this meant: the big bad wolf wanted to steal all of our Cracker Jacks so we had to eat them all before he could get to them! This was done with all of us, one at a time. Our special time with grandpa as he told us stories and we ate our Cracker Jacks.

Grandma always had stories too. We heard all about how she and grandpa used to go out dancing and singing with their friends, she told us Bible stories, and all about our mom and aunts and uncle when they were our age. Our grammar was corrected, our speech perfected, our singing appreciated. Grandma could quote every movie she had ever watched, which was a lot, and she could sing every song she had ever heard. Grandma gave all her attention to you when she spoke with you, and you knew better than to interrupt when she wasn't! She conducted herself with a grace and love that I aspire to attain. She also operated under the don't-mess-with-me standards. I have had the greatest examples in my life. I am so blessed.

All these lovely memories of my grandparents together are intermingled with the memories of them fighting. I mean FIGHTING. Not physical fist fights of course, but verbally there was blood on the ground. Grandpa would try to tell Grandma that she remembered something wrong or said something wrong, "No, Helen, you've got it all wrong..." to which my grandmother would reply, with great robust and authority " I most certainly do NOT!" and it would escalate from there. Lots of yelling, doors slamming... we were removed from the motor home on more than one occasion. Every time, after a few minutes or so, they would come out, all smiles as if nothing had happened.

How is this relevant? How is this not relevant??

Knowing how to love fully goes hand in hand with knowing how to fight and recover. You're two different people, with two different sets of thought patterns, emotions, skills, interests, etc. If you're not having disagreements than that means one of you is conforming to avoid confrontation. Now obviously you don't have to fight the way my grandparents did. Sometimes all you need is a nice sit down over a cup of coffee to express your feelings and get everything out on the table.

I'm the angry passionate one in the relationship. When I'm upset with you, you know it. Ben, on the other hand, is very internal. He can be upset about something for

"days, weeks, months, who knows" 
~ Eeyore 

and nobody would ever know. There have been times when I've had to pry his frustrations out of him. What I have noticed, which is a lovely thing, is that we are rubbing off on one another. While I'm still very open about my feelings, I will give myself some time to calm down and consider why I'm upset and if it's really worth the fight. Ben has started to voice his frustrations more frequently, venting about everything from work to well, that's pretty much it as of late.

It seems today love is just a feeling. Everyone is walking around looking for someone to make them feel "all warm and fuzzy" or "butterflies" or whatever kids are saying now days. Well, everyone is wrong. Love is a decision, a way of life, a mindset. Love is a painful, beautiful, difficult, life altering, way of living. Love is not something that can be confused with fever or indigestion.

To listen to my grandparents argue one might have made the assumption that they didn't really love each other. What a horrible misconception that would have been.

My grandparents were married for 69 years when my beautiful grandmother passed. Never have I witnessed my grandfather so quiet and meek. He wrote a beautiful letter that the pastor read aloud at my grandmothers funeral, a letter full of love and memories. He wrote about her kindness, her faithfulness, her generosity...

"Her smile is adding to the glory of Heaven now" 

I'm not one to cry, but I teared up there.

He also wrote of his new theme song, which is beautiful and so perfectly fitting:

Where the blue of the night
Meets the gold of the day
Someone waits for me

And the gold of her hair
Crowns the blue of her eyes
Like a halo, tenderly

If only I could see her
Oh how happy I would be

Where the blue of the night
Meets the gold of the day
Someone waits for me
~Where the Blue of the Night

So, don't let Disney movies fool you (though Frozen was pretty accurate, from my standpoint and relationship with my sisters anyways). Love is not a fairy tale. Love is more than shivers up your spine and wet sloppy kisses. Sometimes love is a pain in your rear, a tear down your face, a smile from across the room that melts your heart. 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 
 *Notice it says "not easily angered" not "never angered"  

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 
~Friedrich Nietzsche

“You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” 
~Jodi Picoult

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."
~James A. Baldwin

photo taken from dailypicksandflicks.com







Friday, June 6, 2014

I Will See You Again

This morning I chose my 'I love you' mug.


When I was somewhere around the age of 7 years old, my mom bought this mug for me while we were out grocery shopping. I was sitting in the cart, you know, up by the handles, and I dropped it before we even made it out the door. I was crushed, she could tell. Without making a fuss that I had wasted money, caused a scene, and made a mess, my mom simply turned around and bought the mug for me again. "I'll hold onto it this time" she said. I have very few memories from that age, but my first coffee mug... it's only fitting that I would remember this story.


To say the last eight days have been hectic would be like saying D Day was a cake walk. HOORAH! to all our active duty, reservists, and veterans. Thank you for your service!

*Thank a soldier. You will never regret it, they will never forget it.

All at the same time I have everything and nothing to say.

Within a 72 hour period I went from fearing for my mother, to grieving the loss of my grandmother (my mothers mother).

The grieving process is sweetened by the knowledge that she lives still, in the splendor of His glory, in Heaven. No longer suffering, no longer bound by the confines of this world. My grandmother passed with the peace of knowing that she was going to meet her Heavenly Father, knowing that, some day, we will all be together again.

Maybe I need more coffee (when do I not?), but I am so happy for her. Don't get me wrong, my heart is heavy for my grandfather and those she left behind, all of whom miss her terribly. She passed knowing that her family was happy, healthy, and serving the Lord. She passed confident in her relationship with Christ.

I cannot think of a better way to honor her life than to ask the following question

If your life ended today, would you get to meet my grandmother in Heaven?

Jesus' blood has the power to cover all sin, ALL SIN. When we ask for His forgiveness, and welcome Him into our lives, that blood covers our sin, giving us the key to the gates of Heaven.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

Lord knows I'm not a perfect person, but I have been forgiven by my loving Heavenly Father and have been shrouded with the Blood of Jesus. My life has a purpose and peace that is beyond my understanding. 


"Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
~ John 14:6

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that whomever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
~ John 1:16


 Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” 
~ John 10:10

If you need Jesus in your life, if you're ready to be forgiven, if you're ready for peace beyond understanding, if you're ready for the craziest ride of your life, follow this link and click the blue tabs at the top of the page. 

http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/?


I love you grandma. We shall see you again!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let Go - One Mans Trash Should Probably Just Be Thrown Away

No, this post is not dedicated to the ever popular Frozen movie, nor it's theme song. Honestly, I've not even seen the movie or heard the song yet, though I expect this to be fixed soon. 

Today I was blessed to spend several hours with my beautiful sister-in-law and cutie pie nephew on a bargain hunting adventure. 

Every year one of our local communities, Apple Valley, holds their garage sales. There are literally sales on every corner, full of all sorts of things from antiques to, well, TRASH.

The saying goes, "One mans trash is another mans treasure" Well, I'm here to tell you, that one man should probably just throw his junk away and stop trying to shove it on everyone else. 

There's another saying that comes to mind that, I feel, is relevant "ain't nobody got time for that"

I cannot tell you how many people were trying to sell things that should have just been placed in a dumpster (several years ago, at that). I'm talking about worn out shoes, broken coffee mugs, stained clothing... Give these things away, sure - if someone wants to take them. But trying to sell them... not even I am interested in your chipped black coffee mug for $0.50 or your worn to the soul shoes for $2

Every year AV holds these sales and every year you see people put out the same things as the year before. This begs the question, WHY? Their basements and garages must be full of items they no longer want but aren't willing to admit that no one else sees any value in. These items could be donated to homeless shelters, or simply thrown away, but instead they are held onto - kept alive to fight another garage sale. 'Maybe next year we will get our $0.15 for that broken picture frame.'

*I will say, we found some sick deals today. I spent less than $40 on three DVD's, a like new walker, two toys, two dressy outfits (pants, button down shirts, vests), a sweatshirt with his daddy's number on it, and a nice top for Barrett along with a sweet leather jacket and Adidas running jacket for myself. My sister bought a motorized Hummer for my nephew for $20, among the many other deals she found today.  Ahhh... shopping high. Nothing like bargain hunt success! - Oh, and hunting in a pack is that much more satisfying :) 

Anyways, back to my point. 

We are all holding onto things that we should be letting go of. Whether it's time to pass them along to the next person who can use them or time to throw them away completely. The fact is, it's time to let go. 

No, I'm not just talking about that pair of shoes you haven't worn for the last five years or those pair of jeans you've convinced yourself you'll fit into again. Not the power tool given to you for Christmas that you have every intention of basing a project around. Not that god awful necklace that matches nothing...yet. Though you may want to consider having a garage sale yourself if any of this rings a bell. 

...Did I mention we will be having a massive garage sale ourselves in the next few weeks?...

I'm talking about attitudes, mindsets, experiences. 

We all have experiences we've learned from, advice that has seen us through many a hard time, treasured memories and lessons learned, that we want to pass along to others so that they too may benefit from them. These are sale table worthy things, the type of things that people are searching for, that are desired, collected, placed on a shelf with a light hanging over them to accent their importance... you get the idea. 

We also have junk -  hurt, painful experiences/words, that we carry and, sometimes, try to unload onto other people. These things need to be placed where they truly belong - in the dumpster. 

Spring cleaning dons an entirely new and, let's face it, more satisfying meaning when we apply it to more than just our home. It's time to clean out our personal lives, polishing what we value enough to hold on to, releasing what my benefit others, and throwing away all that hinders us from moving freely in our lives.