Embracing the Mess of Me {#WholeMama}

Mess. Today I find myself away from home. (You can follow me on Instagram to see pictures as I adventure in Greece!) Removed from life with my littles. Far from the everyday mess. The everyday crazy and blessing that is life with littles.

And for me, it is easy to say that life can be messy with my littles. It is easy to push that mess aside and onto life with children. Instead of accepting any of that mess as my own. Instead of taking responsibility for my mess. Instead of acknowledging that the mess is mine too.

But, really, being away doesn’t mean I am away from the mess. No, instead I bring some of that mess with me. Even though I am exploring. Intentionally choosing to discover Chania, to see it with my own eyes. Through my own lens. Even though I am an adult and should have my act together. I bring along my mess. My good and my bad. The areas I am still growing. And I make a mess. In relationships. With people. With family.

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Courage In My Too Much: Over-Sharing

Have you seen the (I think) new Taco Bell commercial? It is for a personal nacho thing. I think. Honestly, I have no idea, it doesn’t really matter. All I know is I love the commercial. It is a guy talking about how tired he is of sharing. We grow up being told to share: you share the sink when brushing your teeth, you share your toys. And now, you share your feelings, baby pictures on social media, selfies, the road… I laugh every time I see it. Probably because I am that over-sharer. And a mom that reminds my littles to share, to be a team, every.single.moment.

But do we? Do we over-share? Am I guilty of too much? Of sharing too much. Of being too much.


I already admitted that I am an over-sharer. I love sharing pictures of my littles, tales of their antics. I love to share life; the funny parts, the messy parts, and the grace-filled beautiful parts. I love to share my home (you can read more about my heart for my home, here), to share my time, to share a meal. I love giving gifts. Okay, that’s giving, not sharing, but giving is kind of like sharing…right?

I am also terrible at sharing. I don’t like sharing my food. My desserts. My candy. Wait. That’s all food related. Okay. I’m also terrible at sharing “my stuff.”

So maybe I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m probably being too generous with that statement. I over-share in some regards and in others, I am still learning what it means to extend myself. To truly share.

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Do the Hard Work

WHERE I WAS

This is our last week of school and the week before we leave for vacation…so naturally my to-do list is gigantic. I was excited to actually shower this morning and thought the day was off to an amazing start. I envisioned excess time, smiles as we worked, and even the wildlife helping out. You know. Cinderella style.

Work Hard

Seriously, I was delirious.

Instead, I got nothing accomplished and had to put myself in a time-out. As I sat thinking about my heart, I was feeling terrible. I had been scolding my daughter. The one that wants to help me clean and prep for our trip. Why?  Because she wouldn’t stop talking so I could think. I get it. I’m the same way. But now the tables had turned and I was annoyed.

Instead, I sat. Accomplished nothing. Too overwhelmed to move forward.

TODAY

Today, it’s crunch time. Seriously. I have a lot of work to do. And instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel motivated. Excited to begin. I can see the future, what is coming, what I am preparing for. And it looks wonderful!

Do you have those days, too? The days that seem like there is too much work. Too much mess. And you can’t see the glory in it. The wonder. The beauty that will come from it.

If you do (because you are a human!), I want to encourage you. Press on, dear friend. Keep moving forward. Seek where God is moving and follow. Walk on. Do the hard work. Sow the seeds. And then be prepared to rejoice.

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Marriage & Learning What’s Important: Part Two

Welcome back! I loved sharing part one of what I have learned through 10 years of marriage. If you missed it, be sure to check out: Marriage & Learning What’s Important: Part One. I am back again today with Katie from Hot Tea and the Empty Seat for Part Two.

Part Two. Part Two is kind of like my marriage. Right now, we are in part two. We have kids. Four of them. And they are glorious. But they are little too. And they need us. All.the.time. And so I start to forget Part One. I start to shift my focus.

But Part Two is so much more than a marriage with kids. It is about the importance of marriage. Period. It is about the importance of your spouse. So today, Part Two is for you, just as much as it is for me. I am taking time to remember. To refocus.

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The Reality of Quiet Time

After my last post, This Is How We Do It: Me Time, I realized I need to share a few things. So here we go, Me Time Part II.

ME TOO

So many have commented that they squeeze in me time during naps and bed times. Me too, friends, me too! Are you kidding, I think the only way I have any sanity left, are those glorious breaks in the day, where technically my children are supposed to be quietly napping! The last 5 years have been like that for me too. I even switched my 1 year old to one nap/day earlier than he really should have so that my two youngest could nap at the same time. That is how much I needed need naps/quiet times to happen. Right now, I find myself in a strange place where my eldest is in school every day, my second is in school 3 mornings a week, my third is in school every morning, and I am left with one child. That coupled with the strange 1-2 hour break in the morning, basically waiting to pick up the kids from preschools, has given me this glorious time that I can intentionally carve out for me. Well me and a few random errands, diaper changes, laundry, and dishes. But mostly for me. (Truth time, right now, I am also using it to go through a box or two that never got unpacked from our basement.)

And come summer, I will have to start again with finding a perfect time for me. Sadly, with my 2 olders, nap time is less about me and more about the older kids. I pray I can still find a way to carve out some morning time for me, and some independent time for the kids. If I’m honest, having them all home with no plans FREAKS ME OUT. I love having slow mornings, and I think I know quiet time is so important. So this is me, honestly telling you, I may have a great quiet time schedule right now, but in a month, I will be back in the old boat – scrambling trying to scavenge a few minutes from our day here and there, that can be just for me – to help me grow and find rest.

SOME DAYS ARE JUST PLAIN HARD

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This is How We Do It: Me Time

I am so excited to be co-hosting this link up, once again, with my friend Lori from The Boutelle Family. Especially on a topic so close to my heart – me time, quiet time, crafting time, writing time…whatever you want to call it – that time when you are doing something for yourself.


DEFINING ME TIME

For me, me time has looked like a lot of different things: I enjoy reading and writing, so when I make time to do those activities – that can be me time. I also enjoy crocheting and scrapbooking – more me time. I have enjoyed exercising and really, need to start that up again…but that’s a discussion for another day. My most important me time, is the time I spend in the Bible. 

Though these actions can occur during my me time, the sole act of them happening does not mean I am enjoying me time. Having an Etsy shop, I have had to find time to crochet. However, there were times that my crocheting time – which is usually a me time – became more about my small business than about my rest, my growth. The me time hobby was there, but the growth and rest were completely missing and were replaced with deadlines and stress. 

Your me time may look similar or it may look completely different – and that’s great! Because me time is such a personal thing, everyone’s me time will look different. In the end there are two characteristics of me time that apply to everyone. 

I like to think of me time as a time where I am doing something that is growing me. Me time is also about finding rest for your soul. 

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This is How We Do It: Grocery Shopping

HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL?

Have you ever been asked how you do it all? No matter what you do: work, work & home life, or as a stay at home parent; how do you do it? ALL of it. 

I know people mean this as a compliment. It’s said to those that seem to be handling juggling life pretty well. It’s said to those who must have finally figured out the perfect way of managing time to complete everything and make everyone happy.

I am going to ruin this for you – but I am not that person. I know, it’s kind of a shock. I am amazing. (I am also ever so slightly sarcastic.) But really, I am NOT that amazing. I most definitely do not do it all. And if I did, I really would not be doing it very well.

In fact, I am writing this as I sit on the couch, staring at piles of clean but unfolded laundry. Laundry that is now strewn around the family room floor because my 18 month old is slightly unhappy that I ignored his requests for endless snacks. But how I do laundry is for a different day.

So why am I telling you this? Why am I breaking down whatever “competent, do it all, stay at home mom” image I had?

I’m sharing my messy life, because I want you to know that I don’t know what I’m doing. Yes, I may have figured a few things out. But if having four kids has taught me anything, it has taught me that I have a lot to learn and that I need to constantly adapt and learn new ways to make life work. I am always re-evaluating what to prioritize each day. And really, when I should just scrap it all and go play outside. If I’m honest, that happens the most.

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THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: GROCERY SHOPPING 

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Road Trip

THANK YOU

Before I begin, I need to start by saying: THANK YOU. Thank you for reading and encouraging me. But more than that, thank you for sharing the stories of YOUR JOURNEYS with me. The kind messages I received since my last post were examples of the community I wish for this blog. So THANK YOU. Thank you for taking the journey with me and for allowing me to come alongside yours.

THE ROAD TRIP

This weekend, my husband and I decided to surprise our oldest 2 kids with a winter getaway. It equated to 14 hours of driving for, basically, one full day of winter fun. Some of you may think I am completely insane – and really, I wouldn’t argue with you! But somehow I convinced my ever wonderful husband that this was totally and completely worth it!

Can you tell? I LOVE road trips. My love began when my husband took me out west after we got married. We would drive west and visit National Park after National Park for 2 weeks. Something ignited in me. I felt ALIVE and FREE!

There is something about the FREEDOM of the open road. There is a PEACE, a QUIET, and BEAUTY there.

The night before we left my heart was bursting with excitement. The anticipation of the road trip was killing me. I was like a child before Christmas. Seriously. I hate mornings, and the morning of our trip, I was practically begging my husband to just let us leave!

THE DRIVE

Driving on the straight expressway for miles upon miles, I was struck by just how HAPPY I was. The burdens my heart had picked up over the last month were lifted and I was at PEACE. I felt LIGHTER. My heart REJOICED. I was FREE. I DELIGHTED in the journey, the scenery, and the beauty all around me.

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The Journey

I had today’s post all figured out. My husband and I surprised my 2 eldest children with a Winter Weekend Road Trip! There is something about the freedom of a road trip that just speaks to my heart. My soul sang; my heart ran free with arms wide open as I drove my family up north. It was what we were designed to do, to be. FREE, full of JOY. No wonder my heart and soul longed for it so! And rejoiced when I found it – I was FREE!

But then today, I re-entered life. And my soul got bogged down. My heart grew heavy. And I realize, now, that I cannot write about the freedom in the open road. Not right now. It wouldn’t be honest. Or real. It would be planned.

Instead, I am going to share a piece of my heart. A glimpse into my journey with my sweet boy-child. This journey is difficult and beautiful all at once and I pray that it finds you, that it speaks to you, and that you find encouragement from it.

MY SWEET BOY-CHILD

Today I had an appointment for my sweet boy-child. His role in our family is: child 3, lego-lover, sister’s friend, cuddle-giver, and screamer. He is a sign of GRACE to me each and every day. His beautiful smile can make anyone’s heart melt, and it frequently does mine. He also is a special needs child. At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with Developmental Delay. (Early intervention began our assistance for Sweet Boy-Child. The growth he had in the year of EI, was amazing. Please, if you live in Illinois, please take a few minutes to write to your state representative to save Early Intervention!)

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