Pink Sparkly Cake

Sometimes in life, there are blessings you have to just be patient and wait for.   You know, those things you want so badly and then you finally get them.  Our third child was that way for me.  We had 2 wonderful, healthy kids but I just knew we were not done.  The husband on the other hand, well it took more like 6 years to convince.  By the time he said yes, my heart was exploding with joy.  When our sweet Garner Reese joined our lives, we were all (the big kids included) just beside ourselves.  She was so perfect and amazing!  

I honestly can’t believe it has now been 2 years since she arrived!  She has kept us laughing and smiling every day for these last 2 years.  She is truly a joy.  She talks our ears off, has the wildest imagination, and really does say the funniest things.  Her facial expressions are sometimes just too much.  She is smart- yes I know, everyone thinks their kid is smart, so I am just one of those moms!  She loves pink, babies, shoes (especially her pink cowgirl boots), chocolate, playing with her big brother and sister, and puppies.

In the week leading up to her birthday, I asked her “Garner what do you want for your birthday?”  she yells “CAKE” Well, that is easy enough right!?  I said “oh ok, just cake!” and she said “ummmm….. pink cake…… with sparkles”  Really?  This little lady who is a few weeks shy of turning two just requested pink, sparkly cake?  Well ok then!  

I had already planned the party.  I had decided to go “Simple and cheap”  Well, if you know me, simple doesn’t usually work for me, even when I try.  I was going to make a few simple decorations and bake some cupcakes myself.  The invite list was a little long…..   So, it ended up being bigger then I planned, and I spent way more time and money on it then I would have liked.  The day of the party, we had some unexpected bumps and all the things I had planned didn’t happen,  BUT, she had a blast and that is what matters, right!?!?  

Here are the details.  We decided to go with a Farm Fresh theme.  She LOVES our farm animals and that her daddy takes her to see them all.  She kind of loves her daddy.a little.tiny.bit. 

Farm animals don’t always do what you ask them to, so the photo shoot for the invitations was not what I had hoped, but they turned out adorable any way.  

Image

We decided to rent a location for the party because weather is unpredictable this time of year and we weren’t sure if we would be able to do an outside farm animal party.  We basically had one big room with tables and chairs and plenty of room for the kids to run and play.  

The cupcakes (my crazy self made a little over 100 of these….. yes I am nuts and I will not ever attempt that again!)  They are not perfect but they tasted pretty good so I guess was a win.  AND, The icing was pink, with sparkles so Garner was happy! I just brought crates to stack the cupcakes on, a framed invitation, an adorable sign I painted/helped paint at Cross My Art, and a lace table cloth. I used a fancy paper cutter to make the cupcake toppers and cupcake wrappers.  Luckily, my good friend The Cookbook Queen has all kinds of helpful things, like the fancy paper cutter I can borrow, sparkle for the cupcakes, AND amazing recipes for frosting! Image

Garner was not so sure about everyone singing to her.  She kind of just looked a little nervous, but then blew that candle out and started enjoying that pink sparkly cupcake she had been waiting on so patiently.  Image

I also used the fancy paper cutter for this banner.  The lighting in this room is terrible, but you get the idea.  I used some vintage looking papers on the banner. Image

So what did we do for entertainment?  Oh My list was long- but then I got tired and gave up.  I ended up with two planned activities, which were both so simple but I figured I was trying to appeal to 2 year olds, so it was ok.  The first one I had seen on pinterest.  Basically you blow up balloons, and make them look like pigs.  We did this very simply by cutting out snouts and drawing eyes and a tail on with a sharpie.  Then you put them all in the “pig pen”.  The idea is that we scatter the pigs and the kids have to hurry and get them back in the pen.  BUT, the kids had so much fun with the balloons before we played the game, that we never played the game. Oh well!

 Image

The other activity was  custom coloring sheets that I purchased off etsy.  The kids seemed to love them too.  I paid $5 for 4 and ordered them from this shop.  Image

 

Garner had so much fun with everyone.  She smiled non stop!  She is still talking about her birthday party! Image

My sweet friend made Garner’s birthday outfit for me and it looked so cute on her!  I am just so thankful for this precious gift!  She is truly a blessing to us!

 

Image

 

Image

 

Advertisements

Making others change?

Image

 

What is wrong with people???  I mean really, people just seemed to be imperfect, sheesh, what is their problem?  Why can’t they just do what I see is right and good?  Why are people always hurting others, including myself?  Why doesn’t anyone see ME over here??  Why doesn’t my husband just change?  He admits his faults but then he just keeps on staying the same.  I am always here for everyone and no one is ever here for me………

That may have been my thought process (and don’t get me wrong, I can find myself caught up in that thought process again sometimes).  Admitting how ridiculous I sounded is hard, but its the truth.  I really was constantly frustrated with everyone.  So, again, this is a CR plug, but once I started CR I realized I was in some major denial.  First of all, as badly as I wanted to control everyone else and make others see they needed change, I couldn’t do that and in fact realized how much I really did need change myself.  Secondly, I have crazy high expectations for myself, which in turn make my expectations of everyone else extremely high too.

I am reading a book right now called Marriage Minute by Dave & Ashley Willis.  I read this quote “Don’t focus on improving your marriage.  Focus on improving yourself, serving your spouse and growing daily in your relationship with God and your marriage will start improving on its own.”  Today reading that I smile and nod, because I know it to be so true!  But back a few months ago, I would not have agreed.  I would have rolled my eyes and said “Whatever!  That is dumb, the only way MY marriage will be better is if HE chooses to do things different.”

I finally saw that I was actually causing a lot of problems by trying to “fix” everything. all the time. everyday. every hour.  I would say the same things over and over.  Complain about the same things over and over.  I always thought I was helping, communicating my feelings, telling him what I needed.  This all seemed so healthy.

I did slowly start seeing things that I needed to change about the way I handled issues, but what really changed is that I finally decided that even though it didn’t make sense to me and my very misguided view of things, I was going to just stop being the way I was.  What I had been doing hadn’t worked in the past. Ever.  So, I stopped.  I stopped spewing every thought I had at Joel.  I stopped telling him every.single.time. I thought he was messing up.  I stopped trying to make him do everything MY way.  I stopped being a bitter, over reactive, controlling wife.

I started praying about all of it.  I started praying when I was upset with Joel instead of immediately telling him.  I started journaling my thoughts, sometimes in letter form to Joel, but I never showed him.  I would type it out, then I would pray and ask God to help direct me.  Sometimes it meant I didn’t say anything about it but other times it meant that I would have a discussion with him much later about what had happened.

Guess what happened???  Our marriage started drastically changing.  The more I focused on myself in my recovery, and my relationship with God, the more things started changing.  Suddenly I felt so differently about my husband.  I felt like he was willing to listen to me and I actually saw him start making a lot of really positive change and I wasn’t asking him to do it.  I was so proud of the new turn our lives were taking!

No, things aren’t perfect.  My husband didn’t magically stop making mistakes and neither did I.  Our life isn’t all sunshine and we still have so much to work on, individually and as a couple, but we see positive change!  Recovery is a process.  There are days and weeks where things are right on track.  Then there are days and weeks where we have to stop and refocus.  We like to call it imperfect progress at CR.

I am choosing to be different.  Choosing to turn my will over to God daily.  We all have a choice and no one said it would be easy but I will tell you, it is amazingly rewarding!  I love what God is doing in my life!  God is doing something BIG in my life- does that make me special?  Well of course, but anyone can experience God moving in their life too.  We just have to choose to let him work in our lives, rather then trying to make our lives work for us.

Celebrate Recovery- For ANYONE with hurts, habits, or hangups.  It is a choice you won’t regret!

Image

You Make Beautiful Things

beautifulthingsI always love worship at church.  Music is so powerful and wonderful!  It is amazing how songs can speak so much more to me than just plain ole words.  I heard this song, Beautiful Things by Gungor some time ago.  I always found myself so moved by it.  Normally I am in tears singing it.  I would listen to the words, “All this pain, I wonder if I’ll ever find my way.  I wonder if my life could really change at all.  All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found.  Could a Garden come up from this ground at all.”  Whew- that sounds like me!  Very unsure that something could really change and that I would ever be able to get out the rut I found myself falling into so often.

Then the next part…… “You make beautiful things.  You make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us”  This is where normally started crying because I wanted so badly to believe that this was true for me.  God can make something beautiful out of my mess?  I wasn’t so sure.  I was stuck in the mind set that as badly as I wanted to believe it, that a mess was going to be what I was going to be, not something beautiful!

Sunday during church they did this song and I of course cried.  But this time there were so many different emotions!  This time I clung to these verses “all around, hope is springing up from this old ground.  Out of chaos life is being found in YOU.”  For the first time I heard this song and felt the hope that is in the words.  I was crying tears of joy because I know, without a doubt that God is making something beautiful out me!  “You make me new, you are making new.”

I can’t tell you how different I view life now (after starting CR).  This may seems so simple or insignificant, but hearing this song and knowing God is bigger then my mess, that HE is making me new, is a win for me!  Some days the victories are small, but still powerful!

Blogsignature

Turn on the light

I wanted to do a little bit more explaining about Celebrate Recovery and the journey I have been on since July 2013.

I was stuck.  Stuck in a pattern of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.  I lived on a roller coaster of emotion.  I was constantly looking for happiness and ever finding it for long.  I had accepted that I had issues years ago.  I knew that I had all this “stuff” I needed to deal with.  I would often tell my husband that maybe I needed to go to counseling.  I held onto a lot of hurt from the past, a childhood that wasn’t perfect and was dysfunctional, an absent father for the majority of my life, along with struggling to let go of mistakes I had made trying to cope with all of that.  I would find myself angry and wanting to blame everyone around me for the way I felt.  If things would have been different then…… If you would act different now……. If we wouldn’t have made that choice.

Struggle.  That is what I felt daily.  I could feel this person I wanted to be always standing in the background.  It was like I knew who God was calling me to be, but I couldn’t figure out why in the world I couldn’t just be her.  I was insecure, never sure of any choice I made and always looking for others approval in my choices because I was not confident in myself alone.  I was always over thinking everything, to the point that I would decide all kinds of things that were not even true!  I would play out situations and decide what people really thought.  I struggle with trusting people to be genuine.  Why would they be nice to me or compliment me?  This thought process lead me to believe that everyone disliked me.  I even did this with my husband.  Nothing he ever said or did was good enough because there was no way I was going to allow myself to believe he really wanted to say and do nice things for me.  I wasn’t sure how to be positive about anything.  I saw EVERYTHING in a negative light.  I struggled to see positive.  After starting CR, I learned I am co-dependent.  Curious what that means?  I am sure it is much more then you think.  Here is a quick link to explain a little more about it.

To sum it up, I was a mess.  When I finally started going to CR, things started to change.  I wanted so badly to get better.  I wanted to be healthy for my family, for myself, and I truly believed that I needed to do this because God was asking me to.  I almost felt an urgency to do it.  The first few months were hard.  I began to realize that although my past and present troubles were very real, that I was making choices every single day.  I was choosing to stay where I was, those people, those situations, they were not making my choices, I was.  It was hard to hear.  It was easier to allow myself to blame all the other stuff.  It was easier to apologize to my husband for the way I behaved, then explain to him why I acted that way, after all he understood that I had issues and loved me any way.  (thank you Joel!) But now, now I am facing a harder truth.  A truth that if I want healing, I have to work for it.  Fight for it.  Choose it.

After about 3 months of going, I really started to see so much change.  It was all gradual, but day by day, I was defeating disfunction, irrational emotions, and turning over my will to God.  I have a sponsor who is so amazing and continues to help me through this process.  She was so great in the beginning to be patient and help me understand all the of steps.  To talk me through each situation as they came up.

I started focusing on myself, and what I needed to do to get my life back.  It is crazy because the more I worked on figuring out my stuff, the more that the other stuff seemed to work out on its own.  When I stopped trying to control and really just relied on God, everything started falling into place.  Being able to be calm and in charge of my reactions was a huge step!  Starting to see positive things all around me was such a joy!  The changes that I see in my marriage are amazing!  Am I a new person?  Yes!  Am I free from all of those “issues”  no, I am not.  I still struggle daily.  It is hard to explain it all.  Most of the time you hear people say they are in recovery from things, you don’t hear them say “I am recovered”  because that is just not the case.  Those struggles become easier to deal with, you learn and grow, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t still struggle sometimes.

CR is like turning on a light in a dark room.  When the light is off, you can’t see anything.  There are obstacles that are in your way and you almost feel helpless trying to navigate around them.  But when you turn the light on, you can see the obstacles clearly.  You know they are there and can see how to move them or get around them safely.  The stuff that is there in the dark, is still there in the light, but now you can safely see it, or in CR terms healthily deal with it.  It is not magic, the light doesn’t change what is there, it just allows you to see if all differently.

I want to encourage anyone who is reading this to decide not to be stuck.  Everyone has hurts, habits, or hangups.  Maybe it is not controlling your entire life, but maybe it is greatly affecting a part of your life.  Maybe you can’t relate to any of the struggles I face, but my prayer is that my transparency will help you to be honest with yourself.  I am so thankful and blessed to have found CR, the community that comes with it, and the healing power of stepping out of denial and turning my will over to Jesus!

Image

Homemade Refried Beans

I must admit, we have tried and tried to stay on a healthy eating plan for years.  We have slowly made changes, but seem to always fall back into the ease of “convenience food”.  About 4 years ago we started purchasing only grass-fed meat from a local farmer and that is one thing that we have been able to stick to.  We have tried to cut out all processed foods and boycott fast food, but it always seems like we end up in a hurry and we cave.  We have been able to cut way back on all of yuck, but have trouble figuring out snacks, lunches, and an easy breakfast option for the kids.  

I feel more and more certain that how we eat effects our health.  I have never been more ready to figure out how to battle the ease of convenience.  So, I am going to share what I find that works!  A few months ago I made my own refried beans.  They were amazing!  I kept telling myself I want to do it again, but hadn’t. Instead I just keep buying those darn cans!  I keep learning that the key to healthy living is planning, hands down.  When I went grocery shopping I made sure to buy dry beans so I could make my own.  

Yesterday I soaked the beans all day, then last night before bed I started them in the crock pot.  By the time I turned them off, they had been cooking on low for 13 hours.  Then I made the refried beans using this recipe I found here.  I made enough beans to do 2 batches so I could have some to freeze for another time.   We decided to make bean and cheese quesadillas for lunch.  They were amazing!  We used corn tortillas as well as a few flour we had too.  We served them with a side of sour cream for dipping and the kids loved them!  

Image

 

I was lazy (or in the middle of flipping a bunch of quesadillas) and did not get my good camera out, but luckily I remembered to snap a picture with my phone, so there you have it.  Bean Quesadillas made with homemade refried beans.  Once you try these beans, you will never want to eat them out of a can!  

I’ve got to start somewhere

I keep struggling with where to start on all of the things I want to share.  I feel like being fully transparent is something God has asked me to do.  I have decided to start today by just sharing a written version of my short video testimony that was played at Momentum Church 2 weeks ago.  I will continue to share my struggles and go deeper into my story, but it is way to much for one post or even 10!  I love music and this song just keeps speaking to me.  Through all of this, I just pray that all the glory is given to God through me sharing my journey.

 Image

6 months ago……

The alarm goes off, I get out of bed, and I try to decide to be happy, but I am not.  I know that I can’t be happy because nothing will go right.  I know that what I planned to do will not happen.  Something will get in the way.  I wanted to have coffee with my husband but he is running late.  I wanted to start school on time but the kids are not cooperating.  I thought we had plenty of time to leave the house and get where we were going without being late.  I just knew I had 2 sticks of butter for this recipe but I only have 1.

Disappointment……. Not only did I anticipate it, I lost it almost every time things were not going well.  Maybe you can relate?  This caused my mood to be ill almost all the time.  I allowed these negative thoughts to take a hold of my day, I allowed this mind set to suck the joy out of my day.  I would loose it over the smallest things.  I would find myself with uncontrollable emotions over things like my kids not doing things as quickly as I would like, not being able to find a shoe, or my child simply having an accident that I needed to clean up.  I found myself constantly feeling guilty for my behavior towards my husband and my children.

How about relationships?   I continuously over evalutated every conversation I had.  I came up with all kinds of reasons why people disliked me.  I would decide that I was unworthy and unwanted.  Then after a period of feeling very hurt, would come anger.  I was angry because I wanted to be loved and felt no one cared about me, and it just wasn’t fair.  So my relationships suffered.  I did this with everyone.  I couldn’t imagine for a second that someone really cared for me or about me.
I knew I had “issues”.  I had known this for years.  I always thought because my issues weren’t BIG that I could handle them.  That prayer, reading my bible, doing devotionals, and going to church were going to be enough to overcome them.  But I was wrong.  I finally gave in, and decided to go to Celebrate Recovery.  It has been the most eye opening choice I have made.  I have begun the healing process.  A process that has been nothing short of amazing, emotional, difficult, and rewarding.  I see a change in me that I didn’t even know was possible!

I have been able to find peace and hope in trusting Jesus with all of my stuff.  Admitting all my faults, and realizing that although hurts from past played a part in a lot of my unhealthy emotional habits, that ultimately it was up to me to be a healthy person.  It is my choice to surrender and overcome.

I have not overcome every issue I have and I know that it will always be a process, but I have found that when I turn my will over daily, I am a new person! I am starting to see a huge change in my relationships.  I am able to be a more loving, understanding, wife mother, and friend. I also see progress with the way I view myself, which is helping me in so many areas of my life.  I see a huge difference in the way I am able to handle stressful situations.  Before now, I was always allowing every stress in my life to consume me and cause me to become angry, upset, and resentful.  Now I am able to stop and see good, even when things are not perfect!

Today, I can honestly say that I do not have any less stress.  In fact, the past few months our family has faced a lot of unexpected stresses.  I feel as though working through these healing steps have prepared me to respond to these stressful situations in a healthy way, rather then allowing my irrational, unhealthy thoughts and reactions to take over.  These steps have taught me a healthy way to process, heal, and honestly just live life!