"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." -Linda Wooten

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all

Fall is my favorite time of year!! I love the crisp, cool mornings and the pleasantly warm afternoons. I love the blanket of changing leaves that cover the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the football games, bonfires and pumpkin EVERYTHING!!

I love that life starts to slow down just a little bit. If only for a season...

I, too, find myself coming into a season of slowing down. When you have kids, a full time job, a handsome husband to care for and a household to run - slowing down seems like an impossibility. I get it - we are BUSY, in every sense of the word. But we are making subtle changes to slow down - if even for a moment, and savor this season of life we are in.

Nevaeh is in the 2nd grade and Lillian began kindergarten this year. I have learned from experience - that when kids start school - TIME FLIES!! Seriously - the years are zooming by at warp speed. Childhood is SHORT and gone far too soon - even sooner in today's society.

So we have intentionally made changes to focus on family and savor these sweet years we are in.

Thankfully - this fall season gives up a lot of opportunities to spend fun times together as a family.

What do you do to make time for family? Do you have standing game nights, family date nights, etc? Do you have special fall activities or traditions that you look forward to each year?

*Just this week we started Family Game Night - and every year we visit the Pumpkin Patch and pick out our own pumpkin to carve.

We would love to hear your ideas.

***Join me here on Monday as we resume the Managing Mama Series - we will be talking about "To Do" Lists

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stay Plugged In Mama...

It had been another one of those days…in fact – “those” days seemed to be the only kind of days I’ve had for a long time. My husband was working late – it was 8:00 in the evening and I was going on my 14th hour of work (both inside and outside of the home). Because for us mamas, it seems like the work never ends. I had a rough day at work, a busting headache, I was on my 7,485th basket of laundry and the kids were on my last nerve.
As I folded towels and looked at the clock – thankful at least that bedtime had come and the house would be two voices quieter, the first tear fell…followed by 200 hundred more. I felt defeated. I had been dealing with some health problems that kept me bedridden the weekend before – and I was behind in laundry, housecleaning, dishes, and Bible study…behind in life. I felt lonely, desperate and completely disconnected from God.
I stood there, weeping, blabbering up prayers faster than I could think, pleading for God’s help – pleading for God’s presence. As I prayed, thought, cried – I realized, I’m disconnected because I never plug in.
“But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness…” Matthew 6:33a
I have an iPhone (you other Apple snobs out there can attest to the fact that the battery life is HORRIBLE) and I have to charge it every.single.night – sometimes even during the day. Its charge dwindles fast – especially when I have several apps going at once, sucking the power life right out. Is that you mama? Are you on your last 10% with 10 more people lined up, sucking away your resources, your words of encouragement, your servitude, your joy? Are other people, things, a job sucking the power right out of your life?
When my phone dies – its done! I can plug it up and it isn’t instantly back at 100%. It takes time – in fact it takes time for it to even get charged enough to power back up. When we disconnect ourselves from God by not praying, not reading our Bibles, not going to church (guilty as charged on all 3 accounts) – our power will fade. And it takes time to build back up.
That’s why it is so important to stay connected to our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t want us doing this alone – we were NOT designed to live this life a part from Him. He has created us with a God shaped void – with in an inborn desire for Him.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that night – at the time I wasn’t sure my prayers got further than the ceiling. I know now that He heard me – He always hears us. He had been waiting on me to come to Him…
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.”   Isaiah 30:18a
It is my desire for you to know that you are not alone. All of us mamas have walked this path – or will. We are here to encourage one another, learn from one another and support one another. But you – YOU – have to prioritize your life – and make sure God is at the top.
This doesn’t mean that you must spend hours in prayer and Bible study each day. But it does mean the effort must be made. Take time to plug in so you don’t power off!
How do you stay connected? Do you have set times for prayer and Bible study?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When You Lose Focus...

This motherhood gig is tough stuff. I’ve been reading Christian blogs on parenting and marriage for more than 5 years now. I’ve been writing on my own for just as long. I felt like God had planted a seed in my heart to be shared with other mamas – but the “unworthy” lies of the enemy kept me silent. Finally – in late winter, earlier this year, I decided to take a leap of faith and join the blogosphere with a little “mama” space of my own. I was terrified – putting myself out for the world to see, and read. And then, sooner than I would like to admit, my blog became more about stats and page views and less about the message I was delivering – and I stopped. Suddenly I had made this ministry about me and not about Him, and without Him, there’s just no point.

I have days, months, seasons just like you. Times when I feel like a bad mama, a bad wife, a bad friend, a bad Christian. Times when I don’t measure up in my husband’s eyes, my kids’ eyes and I’m certain, not even God’s eyes. I lose my identity in the madness of this crazy, busy life and I lose focus.

We are taught, by society, that we have one life to live, you only live once, and all the other tacky clich├ęs go on. We are torn between what and who we are living this life for. Girlfriend, I understand that frustration, that loneliness, and that “burnt out” feeling all too well. I know all too well what it’s like to feel like all we do isn’t really making a difference. I lose sight of who I am easily. Yes – I am “wife”, “mama”, “employee”, “friend”, “daughter” – but, above all else…I am the child of the One True King.

“26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-27

When this life gets to be TOO MUCH – when you feel like you are falling short in all areas of your life – sometimes you have to go back to the starting place. Before you married that handsome man of yours, before you birthed those beautiful babies, before you entered this world as an infant yourself – you were God’s.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 5:1

I can only offer advice that I have used and benefited from. And I know this – these things work. When you start to feel isolated in your own world, often times it’s because you have relinquished connection with The Most High. I understand you are busy – we all are. This time of year is especially chaotic. But, if you keep plugged into the Word, stay on your knees in prayer, and stay connected to your life source – you will find the strength to wade your way through the busyness without losing your sanity and your joy.

I challenge you (and myself) – to make reading your Bible and going to the Lord in prayer a priority EVERY DAY. Set your alarm 30 minutes early so you can get up, have that coffee J and begin your day with God. Use your lunch break as your study time, or, have your quiet time after the kids go to bed.

You can’t be your best for everyone else if you aren't taking steps to BE. YOUR. BEST. And you are only your best when you are living in obedience to Him.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Weekend Warrior: The Laundry Lady Edition

I should have taken a picture of the mess - so you could fully appreciate the madness that had become my laundry pile over this past week. This photo popped up in my Face Book newsfeed this week - and I laughed, hard, out loud.
I don't think my husband really got the irony of this until he walked into our bedroom yesterday and it looked like a laundry bomb had exploded.
Clothes. Were. Everywhere.
You see the weather here in the south can be a bit unpredictable in the spring. For instance - next week in ONE day - our local meteorologist has forecast for the morning temp at 11:00am be 60 degrees - with temps in the 30s and a chance of sleet by 3 pm - that same afternoon!!! (I know all you other southerners can join me in my frustration.)
So I have been forced to start pulling out spring clothes for the girls. My kids grow like weeds, so I know most of the stuff they wore last year just won't fit. So I had the bright idea to go through ALL of their clothes, have them try on ALL of their clothes and sort what doesn't fit anymore. That's ALOT of clothes, two girls, 4 seasons - you get the idea.
To make this easier, I thought I would just let their clean laundry accumulate over the week, thinking if it all stayed in the clothes basket it would make it easier to try on and sort out.
So...Saturday I dump two laundry baskets, 8 dresser drawers, and a closet full of clothes in my bedroom and let the party begin. It was a fashion frenzy. Keep piles here, donate piles there, mend piles over here. IT WAS MADNESS!!
Two hours and two exhausted little girls later...this was all that remained.
Most of the stuff Nevaeh out grew was passed down to Lillian. So I had the pleasure (note the sarcasm) of folding up and hanging up all the stuff we decided to keep; which didn't really give us any extra room (but will save me a ton of money since Lillian is stocked and ready for warmer weather.)
I guess this is just the beginning of the inevitable "spring cleaning" - but it was a huge "To-Do" I was able to mark off my list.
What are you to doing to prepare for the upcoming season change? Do you have any tips on how to make this process less hectic?!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

We Had Started Out So Well....

This week has gotten off to a good start. Monday was anything but "manic" – the girls on their best behavior, eager to be helpful around the house.
Yesterday – we had a great evening enjoying an art and music class at the local community college with Nevaeh’s 1st grade teacher, and then…
It happened. This morning –
Chaos! Attitudes! Back-talking!!!!
I guess I know that we WILL have bad days. One of the 4 of us Collins folk will wake up in a bad mood and that bad mood is likely to infect the whole gang. There will be mornings of rushed chaos, evenings of sisters fighting and nights of no sleep (yeah – that happened last night too!!) But one bad day doesn’t mean I have failed.
One bad day doesn’t mean you have failed. By God’s grace – we are given more time. More time to improve OUR attitude. More time for hugs, kisses, and apologizes and grace, for them and for mama.
If your day started out less than stellar – you do not need to "start over". There are no "do overs" in life – only "do betters". Learn lessons in those moments of frustration. Pray for strength, wisdom and in some cases, (in my case sometimes) a restoration of your sanity.
There will be bad days. Those bad days may turn into bad months or bad years – but God’s grace is sufficient.
He sees you right in the storm you are going through – and he will carry you through.
Even though my day didn’t start out how I had planned – I can make the decision that right now – I will be the change. I will change MY attitude. I will change MY reaction. I will show love and grace to my family, just like Jesus does for me every. single. day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Crescent Chicken

Feb. 25, 2014
Crescent Chicken
Credit: Recipe found at www.comfyinthekitchen.com

  • 1 (8 or 6 count) package of refrigerator crescent rolls (Use the Big & Flaky kind)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I use an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli in our local grocery store. I pull the skin off, pull the meat from the bones & chop it up)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large can of cream of chicken soup (I use the Family Size can)
  • 1 soup can of milk (judge to your taste how much milk to use. The recipe calls for one full can – but I usually use ½ to ¾ can)
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Prepare soup using milk and set aside. Combine chicken & cheese and set aside
  • Separate crescent rolls
  • Spoon chicken and cheese into each crescent; roll and seal to enclose filling
  • Place in a 9x13 baking dish
  • Pour soup over the rolls
  • Bake at 350° uncovered for 30 mins. (I always take a peek around the 25 minute mark to make sure the rolls aren’t starting to burn. My oven tends to bake things too quickly)
I serve this with mashed potatoes & green beans or peas. It’s a family favorite!!
Check out www.comfyinthekitchen.com for more awesome recipes!!


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