Grace, not Perfection 1

Chapter 1

Taking some much needed mommy time and reading “Grace, not Perfection” by Emily Ley with my dearest friend. We are is dire need of discovering ourselves as wives, mothers, and individuals again! We joined forces and created our own study group to become better versions of ourselves! And so far, I’m loving this book. Chapter 1 is about discovering grace and that we’ve been saved through faith!

Emily Ley states in this chapter something that really hit home with me, “Grace, and only grace, offers us a way to step off that wheel—take a deep breath, a place to rest, and the opportunity to slow down and savor what truly matters.”

I’ve spent so much time thinking what mattered most was perfection. Perfectly cleaned house, perfectly decorated house, perfectly done hair/makeup, perfectly dressed (the entire family). Everything needed to be perfect and at all times.

Y’all know how exhausting and stressful that is?

I’m working on discovering grace for not only my family, but myself. I know I have to stop putting everything I have into everyone and put nothing into myself. It is time to make myself a priority again. 💝

At the end of the chapter, Emily Ley asks, “What does extravagant joy look like to you?”

To me, it’s means happiness beyond belief, carefree and easy, being at peace, and excited about life! As much as I feel overwhelmed and drained and anxious most days, I do believe I am extravagantly happy RIGHT NOW!

I want to know! What does extravagant joy look like to you?

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And the farm continues to grow…

The best part of moving up to Northern Nevada has been to be around horses on the daily. I grew up riding and competing. I always prayed I could pass my love of horses (well, all animals, really) to my children.

We’ve been given the blessing of helping a few horses that have been seized due to neglect. These poor horses are so sweet, but we’re so badly malnutritioned. When I say they were barely skin and bones, I truly mean skin and bones. Heart breaking.

But, in for caring for these sweet babies, we’ve gotten to care for them, love them, and learn more about horses. Our children help us brush them, clean their feet, take them on walks, and feed them. They’ve longed for the day to have their own horse to love and spoil.

The day before Mother’s Day, there was an event happening in the back arena. Horses, ponies, people of all ages competing in Gymkhana events. The girls was truly in awe. Especially of this mini pony that was competing with these little kids.

We happened to talk to the owner about how cool he is and something like him would be the perfect starter horse for my kids.

“Well. He is for sale.”

Uh oh.

Long story short. He’s now home with us. Another member in our clan.

Meet Ninja. Pint size Mini Horse. Gentle soul, except to big horses lol He suffers from “little man syndrome” lol

Our family will probably always continue to grow. But the lessons our children can learn and memories we can make together thru it all is beyond priceless.

Adding More to the Farm…

Upon moving from a big city to a small country town, one of the most exciting part to our children was to have lots of animals. They got three bunnies shortly after we moved, and it’s since been their daily job to take care of them and play with them.

My three babes with two of their bunnies; Poppy and Oreo. Minnie was too busy eating lol

After the bunnies, they wanted chickens. For some reason, the thought of having chickens was daunting. The hubs and I brushed it off multiple times. Until one day, we told the girls if they save enough money, we will get them chickens. They had to save enough for everything they’d need to start off with; the chickens, their food, food and water dispensers, bedding, and heat lamp. We knew until they’re a little older, they’d be fine in a trough and don’t need a coop, so just the starting necessities. Coop will come later. And girls would build it with daddy when the time comes.

We figured it all out one day at Cal Ranch. I believe it was in September. The gentleman who works at Cal Ranch have the girls a lesson and told them everything they needed for the chicks, to start. They’d need $68.

From that day forward, they could earn 25 cents for every chore (clean room, help with dinner, etc.), 50 cents for harder chores (vacuuming, pull weeds, work with daddy, etc.), and up to 2 dollars for big chores (cleaning dog poop, helping clean out horse stalls, etc.). On top of that, if they completed their chore charts 100% every week, they’d get an additional dollar. They were determined.

After a few months of a lot of work, they’ve earned $55. We had to go to Cal Ranch to get the bunnies more food and the horses grain. While there, we saw the chicks. The kids stayed glued to the chicks bins while we did our shopping. The gentleman who works there, who is also big in a lot of activities that happen on the Fairgrounds and knows my husband well, basically convinced us to get the chicks.

Even though the girls were $13 short… We ended up going home with 5. They’d have to earn the remainder and pay us back.

From left to right: Rosie, Ginger, Marigold, Hazel, and Dorothy.

We set them up in a water trough we’re not using in the stall with the bunnies (bunnies are behind a gate and can’t get to them, for those concerned).

Baby chicks settling in to their new home. They’re already besties 🐥🐥🐥🐥🐥

Every day, about 4-6 times, the kids are out there, playing with them, checking their food and water, cleaning out dirty bedding, and enjoying their chicks. They’ve been talking up their plans for how they think the coop should be 🤔 That shall come later…

***Update*** Since this post, Dorothy has passed away 😢 But the others all doing good and growing little by little.

Meal Planning at its Finest

🚨🚨🚨 CHECK THIS OUT 🚨🚨🚨

Back when I was eating right, working out, and actually taking care of myself, I used to meal plan every week. Yes, cause I was trying to eat right, but mostly cause we were on such a tight budget, I had to work hard to make sure my family ate.

Since we’ve moved, we’ve enjoyed having our financial freedom and have been eating out more than we ever have. And honestly, with sports, school, clubs, work, and everything else, it’s way easier.

But I challenged myself to not eat out AT ALL this week. One whole week, every meal, made at home. I took inventory of what I had on hand in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. Then looked at our schedules and figured out what days needed to be crock pot meals and which ones didn’t. I made a list of each day, each meal, and planned out everything. Finally, made my grocery list.

Some of the groceries I bought… not all of them!

👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼

Do you see that?? Can you see that total number right there? TOTAL: $67.25.

$67.25 for a whole week of meals for a family of FIVE! No joke, we could spend that at dinner one night, and this will feed us ALL WEEK!

Best part (aside from saving tons of money!), all the meals I’m making this week are CLEAN! Meaning, comes from fresh meats, fruits, veggies, and the couple items that aren’t “fresh” has 5 ingredients or less! I get to feed my family healthy meals all week for $67.25.

Time to get back to what matters. Being active isn’t everything to be healthy, it starts in the kitchen. I have to take care of myself, take care of my family, and eat delicious but healthy!

If you need help meal planning, or would like to know more about how I do, please reach out! I love this stuff and I truly lovehelping others. ❤️

163 Days

It’s been 163 days since my husband had his strokes.

163 days.

Today I watch him brush his teeth, get dressed, put his boots on, and go out to work, in the snow, no less. Without struggle.

Idk what hit me this morning to stop and think about it. But realizing how much has changed since November 5th, the day the wind got knocked out of us….

We’ve grown closer and stronger than ever before. 💪🏼

We’ve learned to laugh at stressful situations and face them together. 😂

We’ve become more appreciative of all the blessings God blesses us with; small, large, and everything in between. 😇

We’ve learned love can truly conquer all. ❤️

Today, 163 days after my 30 year old husband suffered not just one but two strokes, I can watch him be independent, be the strong man I married, bring a smile to everyone he comes across, and to prove there is life after stroke. I’m so proud of how far my husband has come. He’s such an inspiration to all.

So today, I say this. No matter what you’re faced with, know there is greatness in it all. You have to learn to stop and see it. Teach yourself to be positive and let go of all the negatives that’s holding you down. You will get thru it and you will come out stronger, you just have to have faith, trust, and have patience.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

#myhusbandismyhero #strokesurvivor #strokeawareness #greatness #believe #trust #bepatient #havefaith

Hello 2018

Happy New Year!

To define 2017 for me, in one word, heuristic.

Heuristic to me is learning, experiencing, and evolving.

We had our rollercoasters. Struggling financially to provide for our family, moving from our large city to a small rural town, changing jobs, changing our lifestyle, and my husband’s strokes… What we faced was meant to break us only made us stronger. I will never forget the lessons 2017 has taught us. But I’m looking forward to 2018.

Every year, I set myself some “resolutions”. I know. Cliché. But if I don’t set goals and aim for something, I don’t grow. This year I have a few resolutions and I know I’ll succeed!!

MY FIVE 2018 RESOLUTIONS:

1. Say ‘yes’ more. No more telling my kids, “just a minute”, “not now”, or “later”, I will say “yes”! To me, these may be silly requests they want, but it means a lot to them. Their smiles and happiness is all that matters. *Memories!*

2. Let go of the need to be perfect. I will let go of needing to have everything perfect at all times. It makes me anxious and stressed. No one needs that! Instead, I will get into the mind set of allowing mistakes to happen, flaws to be present, and let go of the stress.

3. Read more books, less statuses. I catch myself most days on Facebook/Pinterest during my down time. I’m putting the phone down and picking up a book. I rather my children remember me reading a book than on Facebook or Pinterest 😜.

4. Give myself “me time”. That means I need to start taking care of myself. Make God a priority every day. Personal development. Get back to my yoga practice. Making time for myself will give me the fuel to care for everyone else.

5. Be kinder to myself. I’m always so hard on myself for how I am as a mother and a wife, having a dirty house, piles of laundry, added weight… No more. I will focus on the positive over the negative and learn to love myself again. As I am.

What are you doing to make 2018 your year?!

One Word Flipped our World Upside Down…. Stroke. Part 2.

A few weeks had passed. We had settled into our new norm. My husband had drastically improved from November 5th. His right side was still weak and considerably slower than the right side, but it was coming back!

We finally got a call, which was going to be the answer to our prayers. The University of Utah Neurological Clinic called scheduling my husband to go out to Salt Lake City for more tests and to get answers.

We had four days. Four days to get everything in order. Our oldest daughters were in school and we have three dogs we needed to make sure they were all taken care of. Thank you Grandma!!

Monday morning, we get into the truck and begin our drive to Utah. We planned to arrive two hours before our appointment, to take in account any traffic we may hit and grab some lunch. We hit a bad snow storm along the way. I learned rather quickly I will not be doing good in this Northern Nevada winters haha But, somehow, we managed to arrive to his appointment with 5 minutes to spare.

For those who have never been to this Clinic, you need to know how fabulous it is. The staff and doctor are caring, considerate, thorough, and efficient. They have technology and skills that are out of this world.

As soon as we sat with the doctor, he pulled up my husband’s MRI that was done the day of his stroke. He immediately pointed out three things.

  1. The stroke he had on November 5, 2017 that changed our lives.
  2. A smaller stroke that happen just 5 days before the big one, which happened to be in the part of the brain that affects moods.
  3. A vertebral artery dissection, which was the cause to not one but two strokes.

The doctor explained how the dissection was caused by chiropractic manipulation of the neck. He told us how 8% of all strokes happen due to this. He also explained how rare this type of stroke is, and how majority of the people who experience it, don’t bounce back to normal, let alone survive. He was truly amazed by how fast my husband has improved and and expected a full recovery within 3 months, with a chance of another stroke happening again with as little as 1%. He wanted to send him for one more test, an CT angiogram, which did confirm his findings.

We left the appointment with a weight lifted off our shoulders. We finally had the answers we longed for. We knew what caused the stroke, well… two strokes. That was a major shock to us. We know now that my husband wasn’t a ticking time bomb anymore and a chance of another stroke happening again is extremely low! God answered our prayers. He also taught us many lessons along the way.

Since we’ve learned of the cause to his strokes, my husband has continued to push as hard as possible at therapy, and has graduated from both occupational and physical therapy. He has most his strength and mobility back in his right side, although it is a tad slower, it’s almost completely back to normal. He’s able to play with his kids again. Put his shirt and socks on without fail. He’s back to being the strong and independent man I married.

My husband has been an absolute inspiration. He was scared when it all happened, but he never let it hold him down. He pushed harder than ever before to kick these strokes in the ass. He always had a smile on his face. Always smiling.

These strokes have done so much for our family. For a moment in time, we could have crumbled and let this destroy us. But somehow, without ease, we came out stronger and closer than before. We’ve been able to appreciate every moment together, even something as simple as playing in the yard or going out to dinner. We appreciate every task (small and large). We love our small town even more. We see life in a new light. We love harder and laugh more (a lot more). We see how blessed we are now more than ever.

Part of me wishes we could turn back time and this never happened, but at the same time, so much good and blessings have come from this, I’m grateful for the “experience”.

There’s a bible verse, John 13:7, “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” Looking back at our last year (even beyond that…) and all the trials we’ve faced, struggles we endured, and all the sacrifices we made, it hasn’t all been perfect, but I can clearly see God’s hand in it all, orchestrating every failure and milestone into a song of daily surrender and joy. I see us struggling financially, and Him whispering, “Just wait”. I see our daughter struggling with her asthma, and Him saying, “Not for long”. I see us fighting to find happiness in our home, again Him saying, “Soon”. I see God giving us everything we’ve ever prayed for and ten times more. He moved us to a place we’re my husband is finally happy in his job, a home we love and adore, a town we never imagined we could cherish so much, and a community that has since become our family.

These strokes flipped our world upside down, they forever changed our lives, but for the better. I’m praying our story, our experience, will help prevent more strokes in the future, but mostly, I am praying you’ll see that any situation can be made to make you crumble, but don’t let it. Take those situations and grow from it, be stronger, don’t let it win. If strokes can make us happier and closer to God, I promise there’s nothing you can’t do.

One Word Flipped our World Upside Down…. Stroke. Part 1.

November 5, 2017 will be a day forever embedded in our family’s history.

It started off as a normal morning. I woke up to feed our baby and began to turn the TV on. I see my husband begin to get up, slowly and sluggish, but it’s early on a Sunday morning. Then, our whole world changed with a crash.

My husband went to stand up and collapsed. I sat up and asked if he’s okay. First thoughts was his legs were asleep or the dog tripped him. He didn’t respond. He started to crawl on all fours towards the toilet, and his whole right side had no strength and barely able to move. I knew right then… but I couldn’t grasped it. I grabbed the baby, ran to the bathroom, and started trying to get my husband to talk to me. His words weren’t coming out. It was nothing but mumbling. His right side of his face was droopy. He couldn’t move his right arm. He dragged his right foot like it was asleep. My heart dropped and I fell into complete survival mode and shock.

My husband is having a stroke.

After a few minutes words were coming out, still not right but I could understand him. I will never forget him repeating “weird”. The way is slowly came out his mouth and mumbled sent chills up my spine. He was able to stand and somewhat walk. He fought me to go to the hospital for a while but eventually decided it was time to go.

Upon arriving to the hospital, the ER doctor took one look at him and said, “It’s clear you had a stroke.”

My 30 year old husband. Had a stroke. My completely healthy 30 year old husband. Had a stroke.

After countless tests, three days, and two nights in the hospital, they released him. Told him he had what they call a “cryptogenic stroke”, basically meaning he had a stroke caused by no apparent reason. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart, lungs, brain, every inch of this 30 year old Superman of a husband is perfect. Nothing explained why this happened.

We went home and tried to deal with our new norm. Between school, physical/occupational therapy, and doctors visits, life became quickly overwhelming. My husband was still very weak on his right side and struggled doing normal every day tasks, and needed constant help. Add three young children (6, 4, and 1), it was a lot to handle, but yet felt so easy. I don’t know if it was because I was in survival mode or what, but I knew what needed to be done and pushed harder than I ever thought I could.

Weeks went by without any answers. Every day we prayed for answers. But God wasn’t giving us the answers we were asking. Instead, he answered prayers we never knew we needed. I’m convinced God brought us to this town for a reason, and this life changing “experience”, He gave us the answer.

As soon as the community got word what had happened, between family, friends, and complete strangers, we had more love and support than we knew what to do with. Food brought to us, donations given to us, prayers, and so much love. In a time we could have given up and lost faith, we were held up by all these amazing people coming to our side. Our family grew stronger cause of it, my husband and mine’s relationship grew stronger, our love for this community grew stronger, and our faith in God and His plan for us grew stronger.

God is good. All the time. God is good!

This was only the beginning of how our lives were forever changed…

*Stay tuned for more!

This is ME

Growing up, I went to church pretty much every Sunday. I always looked forward to Sunday’s. My dad and I wouldn’t wake up early, grab bagels, come home and get ready, head to church, connect with God, then spend the rest of the day together as a family.

For Middle School I went to a Lutheran school. For part of High School I went to a Catholic school.

Religion has always been a big part of my life.

When I became a mother, I felt it was important for my children to know God and the connection I shared with Him. My babies were baptized when they were young. We go to church almost every Sunday. We pray over every meal, every night before bed, and whenever we feel we should. God and Jesus are welcomed in our house.

I know some feel baptizing children young is forcing them into believing something before they have a choice to. I feel baptizing children young protects them. Then as they get older they can choose what they want to believe in. Some feel going to church every Sunday is forced upon children into a “brainwashing cult”. I feel going to church is a way to get closer to God and be surrounded by people who share that same love for Him. But. If my child told me they don’t want to go, it is never forced on them.

I know people can be close-minded and one-sided when it comes to religion. But I need to say this and hope those who feel so negatively about church and God can see a different side, and maybe, just maybe, be more open to stop with the attacks and negativity and respect our love and beliefs.

In High School, I went thru a lot of struggles. More than one should. Every time I went downhill, I felt God lift me up. I have personally experienced His greatness and His power. That’s why I believe. Not because I was “forced” to by my parents, or church, or school. He has always been there, thru good and bad. I know His love. And I will pray everyone feels His love, including my children.

Saturday nights, my girls go to bed, “Mommy! Do we have church tomorrow?”, I respond “yep!”, they run off, “Hurry! Let’s get to bed so we can go to church.” You would think it’s Christmas Eve or something by how they’re so excited. Never once have I forced them, they make their own choices. And trust me, there’s plenty of Sundays I don’t want to go, but stay in my PJs, and they beg to go. Never forced…

With that being said, my daughter who’s wiser than her years at 6 1/2, it’s the coolest thing talking to her about God. When she was 2, we had an “evil experience”, if you will. She would tell us about this bad man in her room everyday. We played it off as a child with nightmares, sat with her and prayed until she felt safer, then back to bed. One day, we felt it. I can’t describe the feeling… If you ask my daughter about that experience, she will tell you how God protected her. She will tell you when she felt scared she prayed. She will tell you this bad man haunted her and wanted her to do bad things, but she would tell him that he doesn’t scare her, God is with her, and he will protect her from evil. And he has since left us alone. That day changed her and her belief in God. And she has since begged to go to church to learn more.

Church is about learning about God and Jesus. My children learn about the love they have for us and how we are to love others the same. My children learn about helping others thru good deeds, to never judge others, and that in everything, God is always there. No brainwashing. No cult. No talk about “not following the imaginary man will end you in hell.” Just love, respect others, be kind to all, and to never judge.

Why wouldn’t we want our children to spread love? Why wouldn’t we want them to know they should never judge someone for being different? Why wouldn’t we want them to know they can make the world a bit brighter with a caring heart?

That’s what we as parents are supposed to teach our children, whether it is thru church or at home…

But we can’t the moment we are negative and judging others because they are unaware or close-minded to Christians.

I’m not judging those who don’t believe and choose not to! That’s totally fine and your right to believe how you want. What I want, what I pray for, what I beg… we understand that we may never see eye to eye on every situation, and that’s okay! But let’s respect one another. Let’s stop posting online or messaging one another to make a mockery and making fun of my beliefs. Let’s stop calling me names for living the way we live with God. Let’s stop with the negativity and rudeness.

I will never judge you or make fun of you or call you names for believing differently than me. I will pray that one day you can feel the amazing love God has. I will pray that you can open your heart up to Him. I will always love you, regardless of our differences.

Let’s stop the hate and spread the love.

Always Leave a Little Sparkle Everywhere You Go

See this girl? She’s my first born. The biggest goofball, has a heart of gold, super smart, and extremely talented at so many things.

We’ve just learned that she’s being bullied at school.

A group of girls at recess won’t let her play anywhere without taunting her and calling her names.

What makes me sadder than the fact she’s being bullied is that she didn’t tell us. She told a friend of hers who told us about it (thank God for her friend, right?!). When we finally got her to open up about it, she tells us that kids say she’s weird and and what all they’ve been doing to her.

As a child who was bullied most of my school years (I was always the heavier kid…). I dealt with mean girls (and boys, especially come middle school), evil pranks, name calling, threats, and even physical fights. I remember that feeling of isolation and sadness. I definitely don’t want my children to feel that…

So. As a parent, my first instinct is to protect my child. I want to find these girls and put them in their place… but I obviously know I can’t. I’d like to go to her every recess and watch her making sure no one messes with her… again I know I can’t. My children need to learn to fight their own battles, if you will.

What we tell our children about bullies and how to react make the world of difference. Most people who feel the need to bully are in pain in some way. They are taught to view violence and aggression in a positive way. They’re also believe negative attention is the only way to get attention. They may need to feel they control all this power because they have no power at home. They often don’t have the proper influence to teach them these ways are wrong.

So what should I tell my daughter about these bullies?

The truth.

I told her how these bullies, deep down, are hurting and are sad. These bullies may not be getting enough love at home. I told her how these bullies weren’t taught how to be a good friend. I told her she needs to stand up for herself and anyone else that she sees being bullied. To always do what’s right, no matter how hard that can be. Most importantly, to be loving and kind, as God teaches us to be.

I hope she can understand the truth about bullies. I hope she knows it isn’t her fault or who she isn’t what truly bothers them. They act that way to her because they see the good in her and that makes them sad for not having what she has. I pray she stands up for herself and can show the bullies that she feels sorry for them having to result to such bad behavior. Be brave, be kind, be loving, and pray for them. Always leave a little sparkle everywhere you go. I know my daughter is only one child in a world full of millions who get bullied, but let’s help our children together to break this cycle and end bullying.