Most read posts from 2017 (allllll about marriage)

When I look back at 2017, I see growth. I see humility. I see conviction.

I see grace.

When I look at the ten most read posts from 2017, I see that I am not alone in the challenges and frustrations I faced as a wife. Not only challenges as a wife, but as a believer in Jesus Christ. I see that I’m not the only one who struggles to remember her identity is found in the One who created her character and I am in dire need of a Savior. In need on the daily.

When I forget his truth, my marriage suffers. My mothering suffers and many of my relationships feel the brunt. So it was no shock to me when I saw that this past year was filled with posts written from a place of growth in my marriage.

Here is a list of the ten most read posts from 2017. I will save the most read post for last but the rest are in no particular order.

1. To the husband with a controlling wife

“You didn’t realize I was a controller in the beginning. My trait seemed admirable. At first. You saw my drive to push forward even when life around me was falling apart. You saw my persistence to succeed in what I did as determination and focus. You saw the good in me when all I felt was tainted.

Fast forward over ten years later and that persistence and determination torpedoed through our marriage and into my motherhood.” Read more...

 

2. Three ways NOT to date your husband

“I had been looking forward to the date all week. It had been quite some time since we went out while someone else put the kids to bed for us. We talked about going out to eat, maybe watching a movie or seeing what events might be happening around us. Nothing solidly set other than we knew we were getting out of the house without the kids, by ourselves, as a couple.

What a precious opportunity for us to reconnect as we let the busyness of life distance us.

And there I was in the bathroom giving myself a pep talk like a teenage girl.” Read more…

 

3. When Love Languages Collide

“So why did I find myself getting stuck in the same rut over and over with my husband?

I felt like we kept running into the same problems. Sure, maybe there were new arguments developing between us like dirty diapers and disciplining the toddler; whereas, five years ago we’d fight about our conflicting hobbies and guys night out.

But the fire behind the fights were essentially the same: we were not meeting each other’s expectations. I realized he wasn’t enough for me.

I felt stuck. I felt alone.” Read more…

 

4. How I realized we weren’t really fighting about where to eat

“But in that moment in our car, voices raise and I’m not sure what we’re arguing about. We’re not yelling about my change of mind or his irritation. Not really. What we’re yelling about is the unresolved arguments from months ago.” Read more…

 

5. Marriage/Archives

Most readers ended up clicking the marriage archives to read more than just one essay. I was surprised this showed up in the top ten stats! But here they are for your perusing.

 

 

6. When your spouse starts to feel like a roommate

“It starts when we each settle into our routines in the evening, after a long day of working and parenting, that we slowly start the change. I grab my phone. He grabs his. We think we’re watching TV together as the sound of the commercials fall on deaf ears…I then have to ask myself, how did we get here? How did we become the model marriage of robotic intimacy?” Read more…

7. Why I thank my husband for doing the dishes (and so should you)

“Having different love languages can create a lot of tension in a home if not approached with grace. For one, acts of service is NOT my main love language and two, he lives here also and I’m all about that equal partnering stuff in the home so why should I be expected to do all these acts of service just because it’s his main love language?!” Read more…

 

8. A love letter to my husband

“Was it after our first year of marriage when we realized that saying “I’m sorry” was one of the hardest lessons we’d have to learn as a young couple? Or was it learning to say “I forgive you”?

Was it when some of the lies we had told tried tearing through our vows to love each other for better or worst?

Was it when I desperately longed for you to change? For us to change?

I think of the many nights I laid in bed, crying, wishing for things to be different. I think of the days filled with anger and selfishness. I think of all the times when all I did was think of myself.

I think of when I would pull away from you, full of myself and you never strayed. You always moved towards me as I tried to move away from you.” Read more…

 

9. When I realized my past was controlling my present

“And then I was crying. Crying because I knew where this was going. I knew that I was still carrying the weight of my past and turning a blind eye to triggers that were eating away at my heart.

How could I enjoy motherhood with this kind of weight? How could I ever find peace and grace with my husband when He never seemed like enough?” Read more…

And the most read post of 2017…!!!!

10. When I realized my husband wasn’t enough

“See how quickly I got there? I went from diaper to date nights.

And that’s when I realized my husband isn’t enough.

My husband isn’t enough.

He’s not supposed to be.” Read more…

Five Ways to Forget Facebook & Focus your Faith

If that’s not a mouthful of a title then I don’t know what! Looking for some ideas to stay off of Facebook and to focus more in your faith and be present with your family? Me too. Around the beginning of this year, I decided to take control of my social media consumption.

I like social media. I hate social media. I need social media. It’s sort of a love-hate relationship, right? Obviously, social media is needed to help keep this writing business afloat, but here’s the quick and dirty truth: I battle against FOMO more than I’d like to admit.

I have a thing, called “the-world-revolves-around-me-but-I-pretend-I-don’t-think-that.” Which means that I reach for my phone a lot to see what I missed, to see if anyone interacted with me on social media, and to feel that tiny, quick surge of adrenaline to see the red notifications on my screen.

To feel validated.

Between my son pulling my arm off for my attention and dry, despondent evenings with my husband, I have discovered five tips to help me tune out the noise of social media and tune into my familial surroundings.

Tip #1

If you can, leave your phone in the other room or keep it away from reaching distance, like at the bottom of your purse or ginormous diaper bag. I’m home with the kids, so I tend to leave mine upstairs on my night stand.

Tip #2

Use an app to track your activity so you can get a grasp of where you spend your time. Before I started practicing these tips, the hours shown for how much I was Facebook and Instagram was shocking to me. Like, I basically spent a day’s work on Facebook over the course of a week. It was way more than what’s pictured below.

Tip #3

Be intentional when on social media. Before I started practicing these tips, I would scroll through my feeds, aimlessly. I have started purposefully searching for people’s profile whom I like to interact with. It saves me from seeing Betty, whom I haven’t spoken to in years, but I continue to let her dictate my value. No thank you.

Tip #4

Turn off notifications for ALL THE GROUPS. I’m part of a gazillion groups, but really only love interacting with about four of them. Less notifications = less wasted time.

 

Tip #5

Double check yourself before sharing. I ask myself more times than not, “would I be enjoying this more or be even more present” if I wasn’t thinking about how to share this on social media? Like, we’re in the middle of happy birthday and I’m snapping a photo and posting it on IG before the chorus is over.

 

Here’s the thing: being on social media isn’t bad. After all, I’m using social media to offer you some focus. But the minute I start letting it crouch into my heart and the day-to-day, is the minute I start losing myself in a world that tugs away pieces of my heart.

So there you have it: five tips to help you drown out social media so you can focus on your faith and your family.

What would you add to our list?

Peace,

Glo

What this summer taught me about my marriage 2017

1 | My husband takes me for granted sometimes.

And then I sit and list all the ways he takes me for granted and try to get all mad about it. And wouldn’t you know, I take him for granted too. But then there’s Grace. Thank God for Grace. Being exhausted with a new baby and an energetic toddler can help you forget that it goes both ways sometimes. Whew, it was a crazy fast summer, let me tall yah.

 

2 | “Opposites attract” is incredibly true and incredibly frustrating.

I started to see how we move about in our daily lives with an ebb and flow that is quite powerful if you stop and watch. He steps in when I step out. I pull when he lets go. Normally we balance each other but there are times when the scales tip one way over the way. And that’s OK. When that happens we tend to have an explosive fight that brings us back to who we are and why we’re together: to serve a picture that is bigger than ourselves. To be parents to our children. To love on those around us through our marriage. It’s good. Really good. And hard. Really hard.

 

3 | Having hobbies is a huge relief.

I am learning more and more that hobbies really are life-giving. And if your husband/wife doesn’t have an outlet then things can get stuffy in the marriage department. And by stuffy I mean when you feel stuffed to the gills with all the adulting you have to do every day that when an opportunity comes for you to GET TO DO what you want instead of have to you take it. Then you come back to your relationship with a little extra umph and rejuvenation. We started giving each other time every other week to do whatever the heck we want for a couple hours. LIFE-GIVING.

 

4 | Having children brings out an entirely new side of romance in your marriage.

I know, nothing new when you hear this one. But seriously, wanna take romance to the next level? I mean like–going to the grocery store becomes a flirtatious game when you see who can pinch the other’s butt the most without getting caught while the kids ride in the basket– next level? Don’t get me wrong, all the normal stereotypical romance stuff is still great to do when we can but sometimes a butt pinch does the trick.

 

5 | The Solar Eclipse was a bigger deal than I realized.

My husband spear-headed us driving to Troy, KS to see the eclipse. I was sort of shoulder shrug about it all, but his excitement was catching. We had some bickering leading up to the event: I mean we were leaving both kids with a sitter for the first time and we were caravaning up with some other family members. So yah, you can see how all that could be stressful. But my word, it was the most amazing thing I’ve experienced in quite some time and it was pretty special to experience it with him. (Pic above marked the occasion for us!

 

6 | Tragedies really can bring you closer if you choose to let it.

From horrific shootings, hurricanes, and much more, I have seen a different side of my husband than before. We’ve taken moments to talk about these things with each other and share our fears and questions that come with these kinds of national tragedies. We’ve come together to talk about helping others and what it looks like to to be the change our world needs right inside the walls of our home.

 

I know, I know. I have SIX on my list. So unbalanced. But they were all needed so it is what it is.

This series is part of the “What We Learned” link up with Emily P. Freeman. Click over to read her list and what other writers are sharing about summer 2017.

Peace,
Glo

Three ways NOT to date your spouse

I double checked myself in the mirror before walking back out. Murmurs of friends, families and couples drifted through the walls. I tucked loose strands of hair behind my ears, wiped away mascara smudges, took a deep breath and set myself to walk back out with a different mindset.

Husband and I were on a date.

I had been looking forward to the date all week. It had been quite some time since we went out while someone else put the kids to bed for us. We talked about going out to eat, maybe watching a movie or seeing what events might be happening around us. Nothing solidly set other than we knew we were getting out of the house without the kids, by ourselves, as a couple.

What a precious opportunity for us to reconnect as we let the busyness of life distance us.

And there I was in the bathroom giving myself a pep talk like a teenage girl.

I had started the evening out a little sour. I don’t know what I had really expected but for some reason I expected the evening to be some kind of spectacular. I had wine, flowers and music dancing in my mind.

But when we left the house and had our run of the mill discussion about where to eat, my imagination went cold and I found myself running in that cycle where I start thinking about how my husband isn’t enough.

Immediately Husband sensed my change of mood and initiated where we should eat. A small step towards rectifying my disappointment but I was too self-absorbed to really notice at the time.

As we parked I took a deep breath and whispered to my heart, “just have some fun and focus on what is going right”. Husband grabbed my hand once we started making our way inside the restaurant. A gesture that went unnoticed until the later bathroom pep talk.


I’m learning that Satan likes to constantly peck at our hearts with little lies that grow into festering wounds. Little lies that try to ruin a date night to keep the marriage from moving forward. They seem small and trivial at times, but the trivial whisper can become an immovable mountain if we let it.

So there I was in the bathroom of the restaurant realizing that this evening was not what I had expected but was becoming a lovely date night because I let it.

I realized there are things we do, maybe without even realizing, that Satan uses to try to ruin date night. Date nights are the oil changes we keep in our marriage to keep things running smoothly. The more footholds he can get in there, the more damage he can try to slowly bring about.

Here are few things that can ruin date night with your husband. While I’m learning that this doesn’t mean these conflicts don’t need to be addressed, resolving them on a date with your husband might not be the best opportunity. In fact, if I need to address conflicts with my husband, we are better served talking about them after the kids are in bed on a typical evening at home; not on a special opportunity when we can try to reconnect in a setting out of the norm.

The list seems so obvious but if you’re like me, sometimes you need a nice swift kick in the heart to remember these simple truths.

1| Compare your marriage to others

As I was sitting in the restaurant, it was hard not to notice other couples around us and analyze their behavior. One husband had his hand on his wife’s leg as they sat at the bar. Another was sharing a plate of food. Maybe you notice a couple sitting on the same side of the booth. Before you know it, you’ve already labeled them as a better couple than you. Watch out for that. We can easily project ourselves onto strangers and before we know, we’ve let that couple we’ve never seen before in our life dictate our mood at dinner.

2| Criticize your husband about the date

I used to do this so easily (before we even had kids!)! Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m being critical but if I’m being attuned to him, I can see it on his face when I’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, I’ve even done it on purpose thinking that would make the next date night better (but that’s another post friends!). Instead, I try to notice the nice things about the night and make it a point to share those thoughts with my husband. Things like, “Thanks for holding my hand as we walked in. That made me feel special” or “I’m glad you picked this restaurant, I love their dessert.”

3| Bring up past arguments and resentment

I can easily do this if I’m still holding on to that sour mood after the bathroom pep talk. It’s easy to do when we’re wrestling with unforgiveness. Learning that I am responsible for my emotions and reactions is a constant daily process for me. Again, another post for another time. When I get the urge to bring up a past problem I have to say to myself, “Now is not the time” because most the time it isn’t on a date night. We’ve had a few where we needed the time alone to talk through some things but we also needed the freedom to do so. Out in public usually isn’t the space for that.

What else can we add to our list? I would love to know more to add here. Let me know in the comments.

Peace,

Glo

 

What I’ve Learned from Spring 2017

This spring was full of a lot of new for me. A newborn. A new season of writing. A new understanding of myself.

Here are ten things I’ve learned this spring. The list is in no particular order. Let’s just say it’s an ongoing list… 🙂 I got the idea from Emily P. Freeman as she and other writers are writing about what they’ve learned this spring.

I like being reflective and sometimes it’s good to look back without being super evaluative too. This list is just what I needed.

1| Being Present with a Newborn and Toddler is incredibly hard.

Eleanor has brought a light into our home that feels so complete and right. Having a newborn has forced me to slow down as much as one can with a toddler running around. The transition was hard before she even arrived actually. Saying goodbye to being a parent of one was a challenge for me. BUT I’ve appreciated the quiet moments I get to have with her (rare as they are!) and seriously, these hands. Oh. My. Heart.

2| Facebook Fasting is good for the soul. Or how about Facebook Feasting is hard for the soul.

This is obvious to most of us but Facebook is such a drain for me. I can waste sooooo much time on it. I’ve discovered a few ways to fast from Facebook. I’ll write about it soon but right now know I have had to separate myself from my phone a lot in order to accomplish this. Like upstairs in bedroom while I’m downstairs separate.

3| Taking pictures of the mundane can produce gratitude and contentment.

A new practice I’ve been trying is taking more photos with my camera and my phone (when I have it). Not staged photos, but photos of the everyday. I talk more about why I’m choosing this practice here. The result has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s something about seeing my son’s toes up close that reminds me of how fleeting his boyhood will be. I just want to bask in the mundane so I can fill up on gratitude and contentment.

4| I need to prepare salads ahead of time to actually eat them.

This isn’t some food fix. This is just me realizing that if I want to progress with losing my baby weight and I need to do a little bit of preparing. I like planning and seeing something through anyways, so putting my salads in containers so I can just pull them out of the fridge has been a life saver. Especially with that toddler running around me while I’m holding my newborn. 😉

5| Giving myself grace is hard. Giving my husband grace is hard.

Speaking of losing weight, giving myself grace about losing the weight is a daily decision. Yes, I want to look like my old self, but I do want to be healthy. I definitely got into some unhealthy habits while pregnant with Sister so getting over that has been hard. And since we’re talking about grace, realizing that this is the first time my husband has had a toddler and newborn too is a daily decision also. We had a groove going so well with just one kid that at times we felt like roommates, but having the two under two years old has been a new grace journey for sure. Enough said.

 

6| Sabbath rest is vital to keeping balance in my relationship with Christ.

I really need to just write a post on this. I absolutely LOVE Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest. It’s not about rules or should do’s. It’s about real relationship and what that looks like in forms of rest. And it most likely wont look like what you think it should.

Check out other writers over on Emily’s site as they talk more about this spring!
Peace,
Glo

What I’m into right now: Silicone, MMD, 13 Reasons and Tim Ferriss #fiveonfriday

I feel like when I get together with other wives and moms our conversations usually entail things we’re really into at the moment. You know, “Oh, I just found this great flourless recipe for chocolate banana bread” or I am so in love with The Betty Rocker and her awesome workout moves.” Whatever it is, we like to talk and we like to talk about what we love and share it with others. Who knows? They may find it as awesome as we do!

So here’s what I’m currently into right now. And if you identify with any of this. give me a holler!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for full disclosure.

BOOKS

I’m currently reading The Power of a Praying Wife and Igniting Faith in 40 Days. I read Igniting Faith back in November but am reading it again with a group from my church. It was incredibly powerful in marriage for me and now I’m finding it speaking to my heart about fears I have over my children. Correction-HAD over my children. If you’re looking to bolster your prayer life and renew what it means to really have hope, then I highly recommend these two books!

I love Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you don’t know much about her, you should check out her fantastic site. She has thousands and thousands and thousands of awesome fans who are literature lovers. I just signed up for her summer reading guide and I plan to read 5 books this summer. Head over to her site to see all the literature goodness I’m talking about.

THE KITCHEN

If you followed me in my previous recent writing endeavors over at Only a Season, then you know I have a serious love affair with silicone in my kitchen. I talked about these cooking sheets alllll time. My current kitchen lifesaver are these awesome silicone popsicle dealios. I make a big blender full of yogurt smoothie for Bubby, fill up all these popsicles and pull them out of the freezer for an easy peasy snack. Lifesaver while having a newborn to care for too. You’re welcome. 😉

TV

OK, right now I am trying to get through 13 Reasons Why. I remember reading this book back when I was teaching and now as I watch it on Netflix, I don’t remember it being so graphic. And all the swearing?!!? I know I’m late to the 13 Reasons train but I’m riding it now and I’m ready for it to be over.

On a lighter note, I’m excited one of my guilty pleasures started up again: The Bachelorette. It’s one of those shows that allows me to turn my brain off and just be entertained. Raise your hand if you’re a secret (or open) lover of The Bachelorette/The Bachelor!

PODCASTS

I’m currently loving this writer’s podcast called Hope*Writers. It’s fantastic for all things writing related and incredibly encouraging with a faith-based message. The hosts are sisters Emily P. Freeman (Simply Tuesday), Myquillyn Smith (The Nesting Place), their dad, Gary Morland, and the awesome marketing guru, Brian Dixon. Their quirky personalities and experience make for a fun podcast!

Another podcast I’ve started listening to is The Tim Ferriss Show. He is constantly learning and exploring all things related to improving your mental, personal and physical skills/abilities. He tries new things, interviews crazy cool people and will share science behind the newest trends and ideas. Like one of his recent podcasts is an interview with the founder of Nike to talk about speed and the athletes he’s trained while another episode is Tim interviewing Murray Carter who is a Canadian craftsman who fell into Yoshimoto bladesmith as a teenager and is now the only Caucasian to take part in the Sakemoto family tradition.

 

That’s all I’ve got for now friends! Now tell me what is something you can’t live without in your kitchen? What are you currently reading? And let me know if you like The Bachelorette! Us chicas gotta stick together! 😉

See you at the next Friday Favorites! #fridayfavorites

Peace,
Glo

 

 

 

Top Ten Most Read Posts for 2016

I get a kick looking at the past year. I like those little videos Facebook makes to capture your year. I enjoy seeing the most liked posts of my friends on Instagram. Even though, if I think about it too much, it’s a little creepy, I still like to reminisce about the past year.

And for my Only a Season Mamas, I love seeing what you guys kept coming back for on our site to get your mom tip fix. I love being surprised too! Sometimes I see a post pop up as most read for the week and I’m like “Whoa! That’s from last year!”

So reminiscing is fun for me and I hope it gives you an opportunity to look around the site a little more to see if there’s a tip or some advice you can use right now, in your mom life today.

Let’s take a look at what you’ve been reading at Only a Season this year!

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are always my own. Full disclosure here.

Most Read Posts by Moms looking for mom tips! Most read posts by moms in 2016.

 

10. Can I Just Take a Minute and Talk about Some Awesome Mom Bloggers?
I love that this post made it to the top ten list! I have made some amazing online friendships and I am so glad that many of you mamas out there stopped by to read about these amazing ladies to help support you in your mom journey!

9. Why I Don’t Shop at Gap Anymore
This post has been one of my most popular throughout the year. As I talk about my transition to being a SAHM, many of you mamas out there, whether you work away from home or at home or both! you felt like you could connect with my sort of identity crisis during that transition and The Gap.

8. What It’s Like to Grieve without God
This is one of my faith-based posts where I talk about the loss of my mother this past year. I had originally published it on Only a Season but eventually started another blog and moved it over to there. Nonetheless, it seems that grief unites many of us in many ways, no matter the journey we’re on with it. If you’ve lost someone you love and you struggle with God and grief, then this post may be for you.

7. Five Freezable Baby-led Weaning Breakfast Ideas
Apparently many of us mamas are looking for quick breakfast ideas that we can pull out of the freezer in the mornings! My son is well beyond the weaning process but we absolutely LOVE these recipes and the handiness they bring to our early, busy mornings!

6. Which Wonder Week Was the Worst for You?
So yah, you are NOT ALONE in wondering what the heck is wrong with your baby and then find out that there’s a Wonder Week for that! I remember times when Bubby would be crying or waking for what seemed like no reason and then BAM, it was a Wonder Week. Check out the survey from other moms and see what was their worst Wonder Week!

5. Four Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Toddler
I’m thinking that food may be a common theme for many of us moms as we are searching for tips to help us thrive as we parent our little ones! From Universal Meltdown Hour to the screaming baby in the grocery store, these handy snacks will make you feel good about what you’re giving your little to snack on during the day.


4. Five Items Under $20 Your Kitchen Needs
And here we are, another food related post that we all seem to want tips on. ALL of these items are in my kitchen and I absolutely love being able to grab them when I’m whipping us up something to eat. These are great deals and they will last in your kitchen for a good amount of time too! Check them out here!

3. 20+ Tips from Real Moms for When You Have a Toddler and a Newborn
There’s strength in numbers. And that means when you have more than one kid, they outnumber you when you’re home with them all day. But it also means when you receive tips from other moms who have been where you are, then you find strength in their advice, knowing you WILL survive. This post came out only a couple of months ago and it is the third most read post on the site this year. That tells you something, Mamas.

2. 45 Daily Activities to with Your Toddler (12-18 months old)
I remember being inspired to write this post when I found myself constantly scrambling during playtime with Bubby. I finally decided to make a list and then it dawned on me that other moms could use this list too! Apparently many of you feel the same way, making this the second most read post on Only a Season. This post is also one of my higher pinned posts too. For someone who still has a young blog, that’s pretty exciting! 🙂

1. How to Transition Baby from a Rock n’ Play to the Crib
It was late in the night and I started Googling “how to transition from the rock n play to the crib” and the results were pitiful, like there was hardly anything out there to help me figure out how to get Bubby to sleep in his crib. I scoured Pinterest but came up empty handed. So I used some of the principles for nap transitions and viola! I got Bubby to transition sleeping in the Rock n’ Play to the crib. And many of you mamas out there faced the same dilemma, making this the most read, most searched post on Only a Season. And what’s better yet about this post, is if you have a friend who may be going through a similar battle, you can refer them to the post! Whoot!

JOIN THE TRIBE!
There you have it, ladies! I would love to hear any thoughts you might have on other posts we’ve had here that encouraged you! Tell us below! If you’re interested in getting posts like this sent directly to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe so you never miss a post!

I look so forward to 2017 and what it will bring to us Only a Season Mamas!
Cheers!
Glo

Mistakes to Avoid This Thanksgiving

Ladies, as the holidays approach, I can’t help but have the biggest bag of mixed emotions stirring around. I absolutely love this time of year and will admit that I struggle to keep the Christmas decorations put away until after Thanksgiving! Ah!

In fact, sometimes I get so excited thinking about Christmas and the family traditions that I let Thanksgiving creep up on me. I find that I let myself get easily stressed or overworked and feel just plain exhausted when I hit the mattress after a day full of turkey and family.

This year I plan to be proactive and self-aware of what stresses me out or what might bring conflict about this time of year. Here are my quick, some serious and some fun tips for you to avoid.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and end up buying something, I get a small small commission to keep up my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks Mama!

Tips to avoid mistakes for Thanksgiving. Mistakes to avoid this Thanksgiving.

 

 

Keep Talk about Politics at Bay (if it’s going to cause strife, for sure!)
I have had several friends mention to me that they are worried about Thanksgiving this year because they know political beliefs are at what seem to be an all time clash. If you know that one mention of the President will send your Uncle Bob into a frenzy and possibly ruin the day, then leave the strife stirrer at the door and focus on connecting with your family on a deeper level. Is it really worth it?

Don’t Turn Into a Martha Too Much
I can’t help but think of Martha this time of year. If you’re unfamiliar with who she was, then take a quick look in the Bible in the book of Luke, chapter 10. Martha was so worried about cooking, keeping things in order and running that she overlooked the powerful affect of just relaxing as the hostess and connecting with her guests (particularly Jesus!). It’s a powerful story about not letting the stress of hostess take away the joy that can be found this time of year and by fellowshipping with your guests.

If Grief is knocking, don’t be afraid to let it flow and have grace with others.
This will be our first series of holidays without our mother this year. I am part of a big family with six kids total and my mother had 14 grandchildren. It will be impossible not to think of Mama and all the memories around this time of year. Shoot, I’ve been thinking about it already. One thing I’ve learned with my family through our grieving process is that we all grieve in different ways and at a different pace. Remember to stay sensitive to each other’s needs and don’t be afraid to remember together either, no matter the loss you’ve experienced. Sometimes remembering brings healing.

When Hosting, Devise a Plan for Leftovers
I think more often than not, we overcook for Thanksgiving and then have an abundance of leftovers. If this seems to be the case for you, take a quick minute and do a Pinterest search on how to make more meals out of Thanksgiving leftovers. Or better yet, buy some easy aluminum foil pans and send home food with your family and friends. OR EVEN BETTER, if ya’ll hang around the rest of day, have it for more eating later in the day! Whatever the case, don’t forget about this part of the day and take a few minutes to plan it out so you can have one less thing to worry about as the day settles down.

Better yet, when hosting, don’t be afraid to let go of some control…eeeek!
This might mean using paper plates! Or maybe delegating who brings what. With my big family we delegate who makes what dish and then everyone chips in. Or maybe you have family who love to help in the kitchen. If you’re like me and you like to control everything (Yes, Hello, I’m Gloryanna and I’m a Controller) then use this as an opportunity to let go of that control and let others help and participate in the day with you. It might not look like how you would’ve have done it, but you also may find you’re less exhausted and tired and stressed during the day! Tap into other strengths in your family and friends and let them operate in those as they help with the day!

Last but not least–Tight Pants
This may seem like a no brainer and silly to mention but SERIOUSLY, more times than I not, I have this cute pair of pants that would look great with this festive top I have and I talk myself into wearing those cute pants that aren’t the most comfortable. You don’t have to leave fashion at the door to be comfortable. Just think twice before you pack your bags or travel to see family. I’m going with the big, chunky sweater and leggings (after all, this is the pregnant mom’s staple fashion trend 😉 ) If you’re comfortable, then you can spend less time thinking about how uncomfortable you are and be present with those around you.

Alrighty, what do you think? What would you add to our list? I know there are so many things we could have also covered here.

Let us know below in the comments! And don’t forget to pass the word along if you want to remind others too!
Peace,
Glo

20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

Five Items Under $20 Your Kitchen Needs for the Holidays

The holidays are coming and the cooking is happening. Holiday party at the office, party at your neighbor’s, cookies for your son’s first grade class and the list goes on and we haven’t even hit December yet! Not to mention the annoyance that happens when I go to make those mentioned cookies for my son and my husband did not clean off the sheet from his pizza from the night before. Thankfully, I got a hack for that. Read more below, you’ll thank me later.

Find an awesome recipe online, but it calls for a food processor? I don’t know about you, but food processors are a tiny investment, so many folks don’t have one and you need to make cookies NOW. Don’t worry, I got a tip for that too to help you “process” that dough.

I am always looking for ways to make my life easier in the kitchen. When it comes to managing food for your household and you’re on a budget, we all need the little help we can get. I thought you’d like to see some of my favorite kitchen items I use ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. And guess what? They’re all mostly $20 or LESS. So without further ado, here are some items you are going to want to check out to make your kitchen life a little easier this time of year.

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂

5-items-kitchen-needs-for-holidays-pin

Silicone Cooking Sheets
I seriously do not know how I survived this long without these genius cooking sheets. I can put the stickiest cookies known to man on these puppies and when they are done baking, the crumbs and crusted goods just wipe right off with the dish rag. Forget crusted cheese pizza you have to scrape off with some heavy duty elbow grease! Forget worrying about your baked chicken sticking to the pan. No joke. These sheets alone will save you time in the kitchen. Dare I say, they may make you WANT to bake cookies…

Handheld Mixer (Beaters)
I didn’t even know what a food processor was until a few years ago. Yes, I lived in a box, apparently. I guess I heard of it but it seemed like a mystery to me. I remember reading recipes that called for a food processor and I just shrugged my shoulders moving on to the next recipe. I remember watching Martha Bakes and she used one to make some cookie dough. It dawned on me that I had been using hand-held beaters for as long as I can remember to basically do any job a food process does (within reason, obviously you can’t chop carrots with beaters!). My tip for you is to have these on hand for that recipe that requires mixing with a food processor. They take up little space and are awesome to have for a quick go-to in your kitchen to speed up the mixing process. Your Thanksgiving snickerdoodle cookies will thank you. And your friends will love that homemade cheesecake you whipped up with these bad boys.


Hand Blender
If you have been dying to make some homemade soup, or need any sort of quick blending, pureeing of any kind, then you seriously need to consider having one of these in your home for the holidays. And better yet, I bet you use it throughout the year too. I use mine to make baby food, a quick yogurt smoothie, or a yummy berry glaze for my waffles. This little guy is so versatile, don’t be quick to shrug it off as a waste of space. It will help you make the yummiest broccoli and cheese soup. Trust me.

Handheld Slicer & Dicer (with storage container attached)
I absolutely LOVE this and I would guess this is another one you’ll use more than just for the holidays. I HATE chopping onions for a wintry chili. I can’t stand cutting up carrots for stew. I just want it done quick and fast. I received one of these as a Christmas gift from my mom a few years back and I don’t know what I did without it. The clean up is easy. I can move it around wherever I need it in the kitchen because there are no chords. This is definitely one of my staple kitchen items that gets used even more than during the holidays!

Pan Organizers
I don’t know about you, but during the holiday season I tend to cook more. Shoot, during the fall and winter alone I find our stove and oven use triples! It’s during these times when I grunt and groan because pans and sheets don’t get put back where I’d like and I can never seem to find that one small skillet I love to use for breakfast sausage. This feeling of angst increases during the holidays. There’s no time like the present to make your kitchen as accessible as possible so you can enjoy baking without the searching and groaning. I bought one of these a few years back and it has made grabbing pans so much easier. I bought this one too to organize my cookie sheets and muffins pans. It’s fabulous.

Here are a quick few more of my favorites in the kitchen to cut down on annoyance, because hey, wine can only do so much 😉 and to help cut down on the budget if I need freeze or reuse items.

Extras
silicone muffin cups–because you can freeze any liquid in these and reuse them for all your baking needs!
2 cup pyrex with lid–becuase measureing 1 and 3/4 cup never felt easier.
silicone ice cube trays–because I’m addicted to freezing leftover turkey, chicken, or beef broth to reuse for later.
cooling rack–because I get tired of using parchment paper to cool cookies
gallon freezer bags–did I mention I have a freeze-the-leftovers problem??

What about you? What are some of your favorite, staple items in your kitchen that are fairly inexpensive? Tell use below!
Peace,
Glo

Five 80s Movies You Need to Watch for Back to School

When I am starting to get that itch for fall, I have a few movies in my stash that I pull out just for this time of year. When peppermint candles burn in my house and garland adorns our mantel, I pull out my favorite Christmas movies. Spring in the air? I’ve got a movie for that. It’s sort of a tradition really. I do this with music too. And food. Can’t forget food. Hot dogs. All the hot dogs for the 4th of July. Hot dogs and The Sandlot. Who doesn’t love the Sandlot? If you don’t like The Sandlot, then you might as well move on buddy. You clearly are not a true patron of all things pre-teen that is Patrick Renna and duh, baseball of course.


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When Labor Day weekend approaches, there are two things happening.
1) Summer as we know it has ended. Kids are pretty much back into the full swing of school. Parents are usually singing Hallelujah. Kids are typically in denial about how much they missed their friends and put up a fight about going back.

2) Starbucks brings the annual street crack Pumpkin Spice back and all is right in the world. Last year it came back as early as September 8th, so we’ll see what’s in store for us this year.

As you transition to this awkward time of year that is not quite fall but not so much summer anymore, and if you’re lucky to have a pumpkin spice in hand, you need to have these five movies on your watch list. I couldn’t imaging this time of year without the mass movie production that came from the 80s. I don’t know where I would be in life if I didn’t know “Hey, you guys!” existed.

Five 80's Movies Everyone Should Watch. Fun movies from the 80's.

Watching them all on Labor Day weekend is not a requirement, but if you’re looking to kick off the change in the weather and get through your the whining of your kids, then pop these movies in and I promise, everyone will be a little bit happier.

If there was only one movie I could pick for this time of  year it would The Goonies. The movie is totally geared for the end of summer with hilarious one-liners you’ll be muttering to your kids when they complain about chores or what’s for dinner.

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Just remind them that there are three things they need to know in this life:
1) “Goonies never say die!”
2) “Hey, you guys!”
3) “The marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroin goes in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs.”

If all else fails and they are begging you to chauffeur them around, use this opportunity to teach them that they can’t always get what they want, unless the learn the value of the truffle shuffle. Oh and if you can’t get them to quit obssessing about the movie, use this as an opportunity to do a little history research to see what the cast is up to these days.


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There’s all this great advice going around on social media about teaching your children to be open to new friendships and to “unwrap” that special gift that is a new student. Yah yah, that’s great but all kids need to know what life is like when you become the little ripass in class and that Saturday Detention is real. At least, it used to be. Enter The Breakfast Club. I am not sure how you get through life without watching this movie and learning that Simple Minds pretty much sparked a teenage rebellion. Plus, you can still teach them about that special gift you might find in a student they never would have considered giving the time of day to.


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If anything, you could use this opportunity to reflect on how amazing 80’s music is and that Judd Nelson had great hair. Plus, who can forget Molly Ringwald applying that lipstick?

I have decided that I might lose some of you here with this one but I feel the need to remind us that John Travolta was a dancing/singing machine who also had amazing hair. And I just can’t help but think of Grease when I think about the end of summer and everyone going back to school. Not to mention that I have a soft spot for musicals  movies that have fun music.

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(For you movie buffs out there, I know, I know. Grease came out in 1978, but to redeem the value of the 80’s, feel free to pull out Urban Cowboy or Staying Alive. Talk about steamy Travolta.)

Wanna remind yourself of some sweet nothings to whisper in your loved one’s ears? Need a refresher on Summer Lovin’? I’m pretty sure any husband looking for a good time from his wife would like to be called “stud” and taken down to the beach to get frisky in the sand. Just don’t take off your pants. Gotta watch out for that sand. Ah, teenage summer romance.


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Everyone once in a while I find myself quoting Back to the Future. “Great Scott!”

“Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” I used tell that to my students during the first week of school. Good way to find out who my movie buffs were and if you’re a good parent, you’ll teach them to your kids. When I’m looking for some serious emphasis on what’s about to happen…

And who can forget the power of advertising in movies during the 80s? Back to the Future pretty much sparked the revolution that is using name brand products on screen. Pepsi and Nike are still sending Spielberg thank you letters to this day.

I don’t think you can begin the school year without reminding your kids how lucky they are to go to a school where they are free to express themselves and enjoy the luxuries of extra curricular activities that kids used to have to fight for. And if they don’t get what you mean, you show them Footloose. And then you play the soundtrack for them. Small town kids oppressed by crazy parents who forbade dancing sounds like an uprising all teens should be made aware of. If anything, it might teach them some better dance moves than twerking.

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Oh, and don’t forget that Pumpkin Spice. It’s the best crack gift you can give to yourself this time of year.

What about you? Do you have any movies that you like to watch during a particular time of year? Do any of these movies make you think about going back to school?

Peace,
Glo

 

 

78 Songs That Should Be on Your Summer Playlist

 

My back is damp as I lean forward in my seat. My shirt pulls away from the leather and I hang my arm out the window. There’s something freeing when you are driving 55mph on a country highway and the windows are down and you brave the wind with your torpedo hair flapping out the window.

If you would have been out in the middle of nowhere-Iowa this weekend, you probably would have seen my little family and I driving, bringing this summer driving scene to life. Asher was getting fussy, I was getting tired of the curvy roads, Mike was tired of driving, so we rolled the windows down and cranked out my Summer Music Playlist.

I am a lover of music and I am a lover of lists of all sorts. But when it comes to music, I am particularly a lover of music playlists that connect with a season or a mood. If you were to scroll through my iPod you would see quite the variety of playlists. I have traditional playlists, like Christmas or Classical Music. Then I got my “Dancing-In-The Kitchen” list. Or “Spring Break.” If I am feeling lovey-dovey, I play my list titled “LURVE.” I even have a list I like to call “Purple.” I love to have playlists that tie in with the change of the seasons. I tend to associate certain songs with certain times of the year. And as we were making our way up to Iowa, I knew I would need my summer playlist. After all, Memorial Day is an official season setter for some of us!

78 Songs that should be on your summer playlist. Songs for the summer.

So, for fun, I am giving you my list of 78 songs you should have on your summer playlist. And if you don’t have one, then don’t be afraid to start! They are fun to make and an easy tradition to start! My husband has even gotten into the habit of asking about different playlists as we are traveling or hosting a party or as Christmas time approaches. (And if I’m being honest, I even have sub-Christmas playlists!! Eeeeek!) I couldn’t bring myself to put these in any particular order besides alphabetical, so enjoy them as they roll!

(I did exclude Christian songs because I have those as a separate list for the summer! Maybe another post?? 🙂 And I can’t guarantee clean language or videos in all of these either.

I know, some of these might seem cheesy, but when I hear them, I think of summer and I just can’t help myself!!!

By the way, some of these videos are pretty fun to watch–The Cranberries with the eclectic wave on the screen?!?! Or Billy Idol’s hair!

What about you?? Do you have any staple summer songs? Share in the comments for the rest of us to check out!!

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough — Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  2. All These Things I’ve Done — The Killers
  3. America the Beautiful (cuz of 4th of July 🙂 — Ray Charles
  4. Any Man of Mine — Shania Twain
  5. Anything Could Happen — Elli Goulding
  6. Are You Gonna Be My Girl — Jet
  7. Below My Feet — Mumford & Sons (by the way,  if you seen them live, they sound just as good!)
  8. Black Dog — Led Zeppelin
  9. Blood — The Middle East
  10. Born In The USA — Bruce Springsteen
  11. Boot Scottin’ Boogie — Brooks & Dunn
  12. Can’t Hold Us — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  13. Dead Sea — The Lumineers
  14. Difference Maker — NEEDTOBREATHE
  15. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
  16. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
  17. Don’t Worry Baby — The Beach Boys
  18. Dreams — The Cranberries
  19. Elephant Love Medley — Moulin Rouge Soundtrack (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)
  20. New York (Empire State of Mind) — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (struggled to find a good one here)
  21. Express Yourself — Charles Wright
  22. Fall In Love With The 80’s — Reliant K
  23. Feel Again — One Republic
  24. Fishin’ in The Dark — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  25. Footloose — Kenny Loggins
  26. Friends in Low Places — Garth Brooks
  27. Get Lucky — Daft Punk
  28. Gloria — Them ( This is from the movie The Outsiders and has part of my name, so I’m biased 🙂
  29. Go Do — Jonsi
  30. Good Life — One Republic
  31. Hangin’ Tough — New Kids on The Block
  32. Have You Ever Seen The Rain — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  33. The Heart — NEEDTOBREATHE
  34. Her Man — Gary Allan
  35. Ho Hey — The Lumineers
  36. Hotel California — The Eagles
  37. How Far We’ve Come — Matchbox Twenty
  38. I Believe in a Thing Called Love — The Darkness
  39. I Get Around — The Beach Boys
  40. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — U2
  41. I Want It That Way — Backstreet Boys
  42. I Will Wait — Mumford and Sons
  43. If I Ever Leave This World Alive — Flogging Molly
  44. It’s Tricky — Run DMC
  45. Keep Your Hands to Yourself — The Georgia Satellites
  46. Kokomo — The Beach Boys
  47. Learn Me Right — Birdy & Mumford and Sons
  48. The Man — Aloe Blacc
  49. Me & My Friends — Tim Myers & El May
  50. Mony Mony — Billy Idol
  51. Moves Like Jagger — Maroon 5
  52. My House — Flo Rida
  53. Old Pine — Ben Howard
  54. Oye Como Va — Santana
  55. Party in The USA — Miley Cyrus
  56. Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
  57. Praan — Garry Schyman
  58. S.O.B — Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  59. Say Hey (I Love You) — Michael Franti & Spearhead
  60. Shake It Off — Taylor Swift
  61. Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  62. Shower — Becky G  ( I know, I know…)
  63. Slow Ride — Foghat
  64. Spirit In The Sky — Norman Greenbaum
  65. Suit & Tie — Justin Timberlake (feat. Jay-Z)
  66. Summer of 69 — Bryan Adams
  67. Summertime — Kenny Chesney
  68. Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
  69. Team — Lorde
  70. This Magic Moment — The Drifters
  71. Thunderstruck — AC/DC
  72. Ticks — Brad Paisley
  73. Til Kingdom Come — Coldplay
  74. Uptown Funk — Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  75. Wanna Be With You — Hootie and the Blowfish
  76. Wink — Neal McCoy
  77. Winter Winds — Mumford & Sons
  78. Young Blood — The Naked and Famous

Don’t forget to share you favorites for Summer in the comments below!!!

 

 

Word for the Year 2016: Focus…and Cultivate

I couldn’t decide on one word for this year. I had a few goals and thoughts that I was mulling over for a couple of weeks and I just kept coming back to these two words. Focus was the dominant word. Each time I would delve deeper, the word cultivate kept swimming around my thoughts. So there you have it. My two words for the year are FOCUS and CULTIVATE.

Every year I tend to fill the need to change something in my life. One year I allowed myself to watch TV/Movies for a total of three hours in a one week period. Another year I wanted to run everyday. Ha! That was the year I got bronchitis AND laryngitis. (If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t end up running everyday that year.) Another year Mike and I pledged to eat at one new restaurant a month. One year I decided to read a new book each week. (I was close. I ended up with 50 on my reading list that year.) You get the idea. I have never picked a word to focus on. This will be a new endeavor.

I got the idea from Frank Viola. He posted a great article about getting ready for 2016 and I decided to run with it. If you’ve never heard of or read any of his stuff, you should head over to his site and check it out. Once I decided to pick a word for the year, I started to pray about it. I plan to take this seriously, so it seemed natural to ask God for help.

I knew I wanted to be on social media less, run more, eat healthy, read more, write more, be angry less, spend time with people I care about more and be purposeful in my relationship with Mike. I wanted to focus on them, but not just that, I wanted to grow these things. Improve upon them somehow. Enter cultivate. So here’s my list of focus and cultivation for the year 2016 and how I plan to “implement” them.word2016

1) Facebook less. I plan to turn off all my push notification on all my social media apps (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). I have found that I have great excuses to be on these all the time (while I’m nursing, while Asher is napping, when I’m going for a walk…you get the idea). I keep missing the present because I’m so focused on someone else’s “present.” Who wants to spend life on Facebook. I don’t even want to know how much of my time is spent either surfing social media or the Internet in general. So, I’ve decided to allow myself two times in a day to check these things. I get up early and like to do emails, etc. so morning seems natural. I’m not sure when the other time will be, but it will be minimum.

2) Run More. I like to run. I feel healthier, stronger, and usually mentally stronger when I’m running. Especially if I have a plan for my running. I plan to run a half marathon this spring. That’s as far as I’m taking it right now. The fall gets pretty busy for me with coaching, so we’ll see what it brings. I already try to run a few times a week, so this isn’t new, but I am cultivating this habit. See what I did there.

3) Cook More Wholesome Foods. I believe I’ve mentioned before how I love Lisa over at www.100daysofrealfood.com. I use her site as my go to when I want to make wholesome, less processed foods. I’ve decided to use my blog to help me with this goal. I’ve got some ideas turning but I’m thinking of a “Supper Sundays” post. I’ll post what I cooked, how it went over, the recipe I used and any other resources. I don’t know if anyone will read it, but it will help keep me accountable to cook at least a wholesome, non processed, possibly all organic meal, once a week. I’ll most likely cook this on Sundays, hence “Supper Sundays.”

4) Read More. If you check out my side bar, you can see that I’ve signed up at Goodreads.com for the reading challenge this year. I plan to read 40 books this year. If you are a struggling reader or like to read, this is fun to do. You can join others and check out who’s reading what. It’s an easy way to find some accountability for your year of reading. I love it!

5) Write More. I’ve thought about using my blog to help me accomplish this. Obviously it’s two-fold with the Supper Sundays idea. I’ve thought about other “day themed” writings. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers do this and it seems like a good idea. I wouldn’t have to keep it up every week, but when I get an idea, I could tie it to one of those themes. I also have realized that I want to schedule more time in for writing. This can be tricky. I have two prime times in a day to do this, but I use that time for a lot of other things too, so I’ll have to decide maybe what days to do what. Book ideas keep floating around my head. Right now, their just floating. I’m trying to get the sail up still.

6) Relationships. I would definitely consider myself and my husband an introvert by definition. We have friends we see every now and then but nothing consistently. I tend to easily run in my head that “I’m introvert. I don’t need to see people to get energy.” This might be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way God intended things for all introverted people. I plan to invest in some of my relationships more this year and spend time with people I care about. I’m pretty sure Mike will go along with this 🙂 I also have a big family, and we can go a long time without talking to each other. This bothers me when I think about it. So, I’ve decided to plan a phone call/text to my family members more often throughout the week.

7) My marriage. I can easily see how married couples lose their intimacy and friendship when they have a child(ren). I can see this slowly happening to Mike and me. He works fairly long days and it’s easy to fall into the roommate mode and give all  your energy to your kids. I’m thinking we need to implement two date nights a month or something. I haven’t worked out all the details of this because I need to talk with Mike about it. but I plan to be proactive in this. We’ve got a great babysitter that we trust and Asher doesn’t have any issues going to bed at night, so we just need to plan to go out together!

That’s my list to help me FOCUS this year and CULTIVATE some things that are important to me. Have you thought about your year? I really like Frank Viola’s idea of making a list of your “Dream Year.” How inspiring! I would like to sit down with Mike and do that. I think it would be a cool idea to see how those dreams pan out for the year. What would  your word for the year be? Why?
Thanks for reading!

Crying in the car and being a control nut: What is your top ten list for 2015?

I know many are focusing on New Year’s resolutions, but before I jump in to looking ahead, I like to sit back and look at the year and all the things I experienced. I like to make a list, (shocking, I know) and reflect on what had an impact on me as a person. I like to try and narrow down these experiences to ones that seemed most impactful to me. These “experiences” could include a book or music or even a movie. So before you jump into the new year, I would encourage you to reflect on your year in 2015.

WHY make a list?
It’s good for the soul to remember things that have helped mold you into the person you are. As a society, I feel like we’re always looking forward to the next date we have marked on our calendar that we forget to reflect on important things that have happened to us.

HOW to make your list?
I tend to be a “free writer” myself. I don’t start out with a number one and then try to perfect my list right away. I generally sit down and just start writing about the year in total free form. Sometimes I go through all the pictures on my phone to bring up reminders of special events. Sometimes I go through my music play lists to refresh on my favorite songs. I also keep a journal. I like to go through it and reflect. You might even want to talk with someone you spent a lot of time with throughout the year. They might have some interesting perspectives on how the year went.

WHAT to put on your list?
Of course this is very general and can vary greatly depending on the person and what they experienced during the year. Some might find this reflective process liberating and motivating as they move into the next year. We can’t forget the struggles that the year brought. There are many who may have had a tough year who wish to leave it behind and never look back. Think about how your experiences could or may have made you a stronger or more considerate person than before. Your list may include a relationship that ended, a lost loved one, a new loved one, a book, a song, a trip, a concert, a restaurant your family was addicted to, maybe a TV show.

This list is wide open. Be serious. Be funny. Be thoughtful. Be gritty. Be honest.

MY LIST FOR 2015

1) Having my first child.
Of course, this seems like an obvious one, but I must say that it seems almost all my experiences this year revolve around this little guy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Mike and I would have kids. God opened my heart and now I don’t even know how I used to think that! I could live without the labor part, and really skip the nine months pregnant part. A stork delivery would be nice. But I would do it all over. Words can’t express all this, really.

2) Becoming a stay at home mom.
If you would’ve asked me a few years ago what I thought I’d be doing the rest of my life, I would have said teaching in a school somewhere. I never would have thought that I’d be a SAHM. Now, I can’t imagine working away from my little guy. The transition had its and still does have its emotional moments, but I am so grateful that I get to be with Asher for all of his “firsts.” Wearing leggings everyday does have its perks.

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3) Love and War by John Eldredge.
This book has brought a new foundational meaning to my marriage. If you are struggling in your marriage and are interested in faith-based insight, you really should check this out. I feel like this book gave me a huge reminder that we are all under attack by the Evil One and prayer is a powerful thing for your marriage, for any relationship, really. Marriage is hard and having a child and being parents is icing on the cake! This book saved us! I really should write a review for this book.

4) Since I’m on the topic of marriage, the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns rang true for me this year, especially after having a baby! There were many car rides, with a lot of tears upon hearing this song. Pregnancy hormones didn’t help either! (Come to think of it, there was lots of crying in the car this year…) There’s nothing more humbling than you and your spouse caring for this new little life (or lives) you’ve been given and realizing how utterly flawed you both are as you walk your parenting journey together.

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5) Organic and less processed.
This year I have tried to cut out processed foods and create a more “whole foods” shopping list. I am addicted to Lisa’s site www.100daysofrealfood.com I first decided to really pay attention to ingredient lists of foods I buy and I try to buy organic when it’s feasible. I really try to go by the dirty dozen. We certainly don’t always eat healthy, but I feel healthier knowing I’m making more educated purchases at the grocery store.

6) Being a control nut.
I have realized this year that I like control. I like to control as much as I can and when I can’t, I feel like a failure or I feel unstable. Again, having a kid can do wonders! I always knew I liked to plan and organize, but I feel I really saw my controlling flaws within my marriage and my relationships and the unhealthy side of control. I think control can be a good, healthy characteristic, but like anything, too much can become a problem. I certainly haven’t mastered dealing with being too controlling but I feel that being more self aware has already helped tremendously.

7) Learning to laugh more.
Laughter instead of anger. This practice has helped me a lot in my marriage. It could help in any relationship. There are several occasions when Mike and I could easily get snippy or rude with one another, but we’re finding out that sometimes. things can be pretty funny and laughing instead of getting angry can calm a storm very easily.

I could probably add Taco Bell, KLOVE Radio, and the public library to this list, but those are long enough for a post of their own! By the way, I realize I only have a list of SEVEN! I’m working on my controlling deficits.

The new year is almost here. Take some time to reflect before diving in with new resolutions or before planning away all your time. Remember those closest to you and how they have impacted you. Most of all, enjoy the season of life you’re in. We all know things can change so quickly.

16 “Must-Dos” That Should Be on Your Holiday Tradition List

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I love traditions. Now that my husband and I have a little guy, I am gushing with excitement about traditions to start as he grows up and as we add to our family! The more people I talk to about traditions they have for the holidays, the more I realized that traditions are what make the holidays fun for me! Some of these traditions I still do even though a holiday isn’t attached, but I would dare say they don’t quite have the flare and excitement as they do when it’s holiday time! Whether these are your guilty pleasures or typical family fun, you really should add some of these to your holiday tradition list.
I know my list is 16. I can’t help it. I tried to make it 15 so it was more balanced but I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of one.

Having fun establishing holiday traditions. 16 holiday traditions you should add to your list!

1. Eat Little Debbie Christmas Cakes. Yes, they’re the Devil, but evil has never tasted so good.

2. Wear your pajamas all day. I would probably still wear underwear…well, then again, maybe not.

3. Have a big freaking breakfast with your family or close friends. I’m talking create your own version of the IHOP gigantic breakfast platter. I feel like gluttony is allowed here. Wait, let me think about that…

4. Better yet, have those family members or friends bring a bag full of food. Take the food and pile it in your vehicle and head down to your local Food Pantry and give someone else a breakfast they may be in dire need of.

5.Take a big nap in the middle of the day. If you have kids and this is impossible, you could always dream about it…

6. Binge watch something (OK, this might be more for me, but do it. You know you want to…)

7. Read something new and different than what you would normally read. Try a different blog or nonfiction instead of fiction. You never know, you might realize that fishing in Wyoming might be pretty cool to add to your Bucket List.

8. Watch a Christmas classic. There’s nothing that gets the Christmas juices going than a movie like It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s OK if you need the Kleenex. I find holiday movies can put your significant other in the mood. You might even get a little lucky…

9. Listen to some Classic Christmas music. I love Bing. Bing Crosby. Or Bubble’. He’s classic enough, right?

10. Stay up late with your family or close friends playing board games. Try not to kill each other. Apparently, Catan can cause uprisings.

11. Stay up late watching all the Star Wars movies…AGAIN.

12. Cook or Bake something new. You know you’ve always wanted to try your snicker doodle cookies with actual Snickers chunks. Would someone please make these already!

13. “Check” your phone less. The world will still go on without us glued to our phones. Unless that means you quit reading my blog.

14. Teach your kids how to shovel snow out off the driveway, the sidewalk, the porch. Better yet, show them how to do it for their neighbors too.

15. Buy yummy scented holiday candles. Olfactory can create a huge “sense” of holiday buzz!

16. My favorite one: Create a “Family Top Ten List.” Take a look back over the year and reminisce with your loved ones about the highlights of the year that everyone experienced. Maybe it was a trip, a movie, a song or a show or a book or a restaurant you’ve discovered you guys can’t live without.

Have fun with it and feel free to eat Little Debbies while you’re at it.

 

Can You Guess the Christmas Movie? #christmasmovietrivia

I LOVE this time of year. I am a hard core Christmas enthusiast. Shoot, my husband and I got married two days after Christmas because we both love the holidays!

I have always been someone who associates movies and music with a certain time of year. Favorite movie during fall time: You’ve Got Mail. Favorite Movie to watch at the beginning of summer: The Sandlot. Favorite movie to watch on Labor Day weekend: The Goonies. Who wouldn’t want a little truffle shuffle and end-of-the-summer adventure as school revs up. You’re mocking me, aren’t you? I was a middle school teacher and I’m pretty sure being in middle school all day as an adult for a period of time stays with you for life.

I am also someone who loves to make lists. I have the most organized iPod you’ll probably ever see. Playlists galore. I have a planner with a “to-do” list for everyday. Love, love, love it. I get a kick out of categorizing my lists.

Enter the “Christmas Move Watchlist.” Apparently “Watchlist” is supposed to be two words but I don’t like the Feng Shui of it. What movies do I love to watch and associate with the holidays? Here we go and in no particular order.

I know this goes against the organization gods but I just can’t bring myself to pick one over the other… Instead of making this some ordinary list, let’s see a photo for each one I enjoy and see if you can guess. Honor code people. I didn’t create these pics myself so I had to borrow them. Clicking on the source is cheating. Sheesh.

Can You Guess the Right Christmas Movie? Christmas Trivia fun. Christmas movie trivia.

 

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I feel like a renegade having a list of eleven, instead of a traditional list of ten. It really could be more, but these are definitely on my list of movies I always try to watch around the holidays. I also just realized that Nicolas Cage is popular for me this time of year.

Answers:
1. Home Alone
2. Family Man
3. White Christmas
4. Elf
5. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
7. The Family Stone
8. The Muppet Christmas Carol
9. The Santa Claus
10. A Christmas Story
11. Trapped in Paradise

What would your Christmas Movie Watchlist be?