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

Friday, February 20, 2015

When It All Goes Wrong...

It has been one of those days - the kind where you just want to shut yourself up in a room - cut the lights out and make the world disappear for a little while.

We were running late (as usual) - the girls were fighting, tattling and just driving me up the wall. I responded with yelling and threatening and complete chaos ensued. I rushed them to the car, I rushed them to put their seat belts on, I rushed them to school, I rushed them out of the car and the I rushed myself to work.

I unlocked my office door - thankful that I was, at least, the first one there - dropped my stuff beside my desk and started my morning.

Checked my email

Checked my to-do list

Checked my calendar

Checked my attitude...

Checked my phone

And all of these posts regarding Lent filled my Instagram feed. I sat there - feeling like a total failure! 

Here we are 40+ days out from the recognized crucifixion of our Savior and I am drowning in the mundane, every day, 'makes no eternal difference' madness.

I am side tracked, unfocused and missing the mark.

My priorities are totally out of order. For a minute I felt sorry for myself...and then I remembered...

We have brothers and sisters in Christ giving their lives up for Him - facing persecution every day - and living for Him despite the risk - and here we are...HERE I AM in America -

with freedom...

And we're restless, we're bitter, we're angry, we're rushing...why?

Because my jeans are snug and I've gain ANOTHER pound. Because the kids pick at their breakfast and at one another and I'm late for work. Because it's 5 degrees outside today and its inconvenient for me...and the list goes on...

Friends - I confess - my priorities are SO out of order. God often ends up at the bottom of my list - I put everything else, everyone else, first - I get frustrated, and upset and cry and at the end of my day I go crawling to Him, complaining about the mess I'm making of my life - when what I really need to do is start off my day in WORSHIP of the one true King.

Thanking Him for hanging on that cross and taking on My sin...

Thanking Him for conquering death...

Thanking Him for returning on that 3rd day - proving He is the one true Messiah - and offering us redemption for our ridiculous ways.

I am convicted and shamed with tears running down my face as these fingers desperately hunt for the keys on this keyboard.

I am feel like a farce - I write blog posts hoping to encourage you as a mom - today I want to encourage you as a child of God.

I, too, am guilty of putting husband, child, job and ministry first - when Jesus is the ONLY one who should hold first place in my heart.

So, during this Lenten season - I will spend more time at the foot of the cross. I will spend more time today - and each day hereafter - seeking His face first!

Will you move your focus to Him with me? Have you become distracted? What changes will you make in your life to seek God first?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Soup

 This potato soup is so EASY and everyone in my family 
(even my super picky Lillian) loves it!!

1 30 oz. bag of frozen, diced hash browns
1 32 oz. box of chicken broth
1 10 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (do NOT use fat free)
Bacon bits
1 package of dried Ranch dressing mix
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add frozen hash browns to a crock pot sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • Add in chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and small handful of bacon bits
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours
  • An hour before serving - add in cream cheese (cut into small cubes) and the packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
  • Mix a few times, while cooking, to get the cream cheese mixed in well
  • Top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits (to taste) when ready to serve!!
I like to serve this soup with salad and Pillsbury honey crescent rolls!

Winter Finally Arrived in the South

I apologize for my absence this week!! I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the past for days - and then, over night, an ice storm hit our area.

We spent today outside playing and sledding - so I have not gotten around to posting yet this week!!

I will be back this afternoon with our Tasty Tuesday recipe!! Believe me - it is worth the wait :)

Wednesday - I will post the next entry in the 'Managing Mama' series (that usually goes up on Mondays) and hope to get back into my somewhat normal blogging routine.

How is the weather in your area? I would love to actually see some snow before spring hits - but if the snow isn't going to come, bring on the warmer weather!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

We all like to save money!! And I know if you are a savvy mama like me - you are always on the lookout for new ways to save - well look no further!!

Ya'll - this little app makes me so happy!!

I don't shop at Wal-Mart that often. In fact - I've only loaded 10 receipts onto this app since September 2014 - but...

I got back $23.60. In fact - just this week I earned $0.76 on a receipt I uploaded back in December. The Savings Catcher retro-ed back (without me having to do anything) and found even more money to give me!!

What To Do:

*Go to your phone's app store and find and download the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app (IT'S FREE!!!)

*Shop at Wal-Mart :)

*After your purchase - open the app on your phone and scan in the receipt.

*After 3-4 days - your prices will be matched. If the app finds ANY advertised price at another store - you get money back!!

*You can let your amounts accumulate - and when you're ready, just press "get it back" on the 'Your Rewards Dollar' screen.

*You will be emailed an eGift card that can be used at check-out like a gift card.

It's that easy!! If you EVER shop at Wal-Mart, this.is.a.must.have!!!

Do you use this app? What's the most money you've gotten back?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Is the Focus of Your Family?

The modern family – what exactly does that mean? (I wasn't around – but according to my grandparents) the family unit looked much different 60 years ago.

A lot has changed over the past several decades. We've seen the divorce rate climb, more and more children are being raised in blended families, by only one parent or by parents of the same sex. We've seen the power struggle between the father and the mother. We have fathers who refuse to lead and mothers who refuse to nurture. But more than anything – we have seen the central focus of the family move from God, to the child.

I am a “millennial” – so really, I am ignorant to what a God centered family would look like. My parents didn't come to know Christ until I was a pre-teen so the central focus of our home was NOT Jesus. I was the common goal – the only child – their central focus. (Thankfully I didn't grow up to be a spoiled rotten adult – no really!! I didn't!)

To be honest – this is a struggle for me – for my family. Society tells us that the child is what’s MOST important. Every decision made, every action taken must be in the interest of what’s best for the child…how can we really disagree with that??

Let’s be honest here – I want what’s best for my two daughters. I want to give them every advantage I can in this life – it’s a tough world out there.

And what’s the best thing we can give them? What one, single, solitary gift can we give them that will provide them with the ONLY advantage they could ever need…


If you are like me – you have felt the pressure to get your child involved. (after all – idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right???)

We send them to the best preschools, we put them into sports, we sign them up for music lessons, karate lessons, art class and AWANA. We read to them, take them to the library, do crafts at home, have family game night. We speak life into them, we encourage and motivate them. We have them do Bible study and memorize Bible verses. We teach them manners and how to save money. We sacrifice date night for family fun night – Saturday mornings are full of soccer practice, ballet practice and basketball games. Travel sports consume our schedule all for what…

To give them an advantage?

To prepare them for the real world?

To make them better? More skilled?

While all of these things (even the ones directly pointing them to Christ) may be good – what is the eternal value here?

Whose approval are we seeking? Are we trying to please our children or please our Heavenly Father?

When we fill every second, every spare hour of our schedule with activity we leave little room for relationship.

Relationship between mom and dad.

Relationship between parent and child.

Relationship between Savior and self.

We are creating adults who will never know what it means to be STILL - adults who are pre-programmed to live overwhelmed and overstretched.

What we need to do is take the focus off of the child and put the focus back on Christ.

We need less soccer and more songs of worship. Less TV and more family Bible study.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

We need more discipleship and less distraction.

We as parents should be seeking God FIRST! Our children need to see us on our knees, in our Bibles, giving in offering. (Believe me, I am preaching to myself here!!!)

We can cheer them on, on the sidelines of the soccer field – and still pour into them, Godly wisdom.

We need to teach them humility, sacrifice and kindness. That’s a hard lesson to learn when every part of their day is spent being catered to.

They do not NEED every new toy, to play every single sport, to have every second of their day spent doing something!!

If we’re being honest here – that’s a lesson most of us adults need to learn. We focus on work, that next promotion, the new home project, our next committee meeting – but we can’t take 30 minutes every morning to meet with our Savior – we fall asleep during bed time prayers – the Bible on the shelf collects more dust each day.

We have lost our focus…

I encourage you today – look for areas in your life – where you can make improvement. Make Bible study and prayer time in your own life a priority. Come alongside your kids every evening and meet the Father with one another. Sure – teach them free throws, field goals and front hand springs – and teach them the 10 commandments, what it means to love others, and how to meet Jesus.

And just in case some of you find yourself in this position – seek what God wants for your child rather than what YOU want for your child.

Is your home child focused or Christ focused? How do you keep your priorities in order? Any suggestions for the rest of us trying to shift the focus in our homes?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Mama's Meatloaf

recipe found at www.comfyinthekitchen.com

3/4 c. ketchup
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. mustard

1.5 lbs. ground beef
1.5 c. plain bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. prepared glaze
1 egg
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine all of glaze ingredients and set aside
3. Combine meatloaf ingredients and 1/3 c. of prepared glaze

4. Shape in a loaf pan (or an 8x8 casserole dish will suffice) & bake for 1 hour
5. Pouf off fat & cover with remaining glaze and bake for an additional 15 minutes

I like to serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and the Candied Carrots featured in January 20th's Tasty Tuesday or sweet peas and a roll.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Taking Back Today

So...I have been absent over the past few weeks. A 'small' weekend DIY project extended into a 2.5 week nightmare that had us shuttling back and forth from our house to my parents house everyday. IT.HAS.BEEN.CHAOS!

We have survived off of take out daily and haven't been in our normal routine AT ALL. You can imagine what this does to the kiddos - let's just say, their behavior has been less than stellar.

And mine...well I am ashamed to admit that my attitude has taken a turn for the worst as well. This mama needs routine! I grocery shopped for the first time in 3 weeks last night (grocery shopping is MY Achilles heel!) and truth be told - I felt liberated. I could have done a cartwheel right down the frozen foods aisle! I will NOT complain about grocery shopping again - nothing feels more routine that grocery shopping - and for once, I WAS LOVING IT.

So finally - FINALLY! - we are back in our home. All of 4 of us Collins folk all under one roof. I am taking back today! Things are still in disaray - but the piles are getting smaller and day by day less tools, paint cans and screwdrivers are taking up my counters. I am hoping that by the end of this upcoming weekend - we will be back to NORMAL! 

(One can dream, right?!)

It has been a month of trials for us. From injuries, sickness, doctor visits, overnight stays for medical testing, unexpected home repairs, you name it...it has not been easy. I feel foolish for being so disheartened with all that has gone on - because even with our trials - we are far better off than a lot of people. I feel foolish for complaining when in truth, we are all healthy (for the most part), we have a roof over our head every night, food in our tummies everyday, and we have each other. We are rich in blessing and the enemy does all he can to distract us from that truth. 

I understand God has us go through some things to stretch us, teach us, help us build our character. He has certainly been teaching me a lesson in patience and faith these past few weeks - unfortunately, I haven't been the most willing student. I have grumbled, I have cried, I have whined, I have complained - been mad, bitter, inpatient and discontent. But I am reminded that His ways are higher than mine - and His thoughts are too - He knows better than I do.

My job is to trust Him and hang on to the ride we call life!

How have you been? I have missed blogging!! I hope to back into my normal routine next week! Until then...

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