Defeat accepted (F you Friday)

I love my kids! So much, trust me! But some days, I want to crawl in a hole, eat a gallon of icecream (or in today’s case, a dozen oatmeal raisin cookies), and cry until my backup arrives.

Friday’s are normally a joyous day for most people, but for me, Friday’s are the worst. I have grocery shopping (which, with 3 kids, one of which is a baby, is not easy), bills to pay (which reminds me, I haven’t paid mine today), and it means my back up is probably not going to have a day off for a few days since weekends are his busy times. Today of all Friday’s has been an ugly female dog (catch my drift?)!! I want to punch it in the face SO much! My middle child has been screaming lately along with her usual whining, the oldest is deciding to follow suit with her, baby handsome had shots this morning so obviously wants snuggles, and my house… well, forget about play dates anytime soon.

I don’t get it! Daddy’s home? SWEETEST ANGELS OF GOD! Second daddy leaves for work? SATAN’S OFFSPRING! Lol but really…. they’re fun kids, but the second one starts whining about something, it sets off a chain reaction, and the next thing you know, I’m sitting in the floor bawling my eyes out while the kids stuff their faces with sugar and rub sun screen on each other. Daddy doesn’t believe that these sweet little angels could ever be so bad, so getting any sympathy is tricky lol. Maybe I should set up a camera so people can see just what happens after you feed the gremlins!

Today was especially busy, I’ll give it that, but it was enough to push me over the edge. I’m sitting here holding my sweet handsome baby while the girls sit in a pile of couch cushions watching busytown. I have officially given up. My sweet potatoes gave decoded they are going to bake for several hours instead of one like normal. My rice pot is sitting, still empty, on the stove.. and my fingers are quickly ordering a pizza. I’m running on 4 hours of sleep, oatmeal raisin cookies, and the pure need to survive. I’ve called in the reserves, but there’s not a lot of hope getting them early (busy work day). Oldest has taken an afternoon shower, so that’s one down, two to go in the cleanliness department. Mentally, I’ve shut down. Some days, you just have to stop trying, and simply work on your sanity.

Today is a sanity work day, and it’s leg day.

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I smiled today ❤️

What makes you smile? Is it a joke, a silly face, or a hug? Is it good food, a clean house, or a beautiful day?

I smiled today. I smiled as I laughed with friends during a brisk morning walk. I smiled at my husband running around the backyard pushing a Barbie car. I smiled seeing the widest grins spread across my girls faces while they played. I smiled at my baby cooing at me from the changing table. I smiled at the laundry neatly folded and no longer on my floor. I smiled at the sun shining on my face, and at my big girl working hard at a sport she loves.

There are plenty of reasons to frown, but what makes you smile? 🤗

Solidarity Momma

I see you Momma, when you’re up at 1am, 3am, 6am and on. I see you when you rub your eyes over and over just so you can open them enough to get your coffee into the mug… the big one… I see you Momma, when you put the milk in the pantry and the cereal in the fridge. When you sweep that cereal off the floor with one hand while your baby squirms in the other arm, I see you. I see you at 10am when your toddler is whining for yet another snack while the baby screams for his mid morning feeding. I see you, sitting on the kitchen floor wiping tears from your cheeks while your toddler snacks on marshmallows and your baby nurses happily. I see you Momma, going back and forth to lay your kids down for the hundredth time, praying they finally go to sleep for their nap. I see you when you’re at your last string before noon, and you just keep counting the hours before backup arrives. Before daddy comes to the rescue.

I see you Momma, eating that entire sleeve of thin mints with your head held high while your baby sleeps peacefully in your arms. No shame. I see you, on your second, maybe third cup of coffee to finish off the day. Warming frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave while the baby screams for yet another feeding, I see you.

And I see you, Momma, sitting there watching your toddler sleep while you rock your sweet baby. Wiping yet another tear, but this time happy and guilt filled all at once. Guilty because you snapped at 6am, 10am, 12pm, 5pm…. but happy because despite it all, you would (and you do) do it over and over again without a doubt.

I see you Momma.

Keeping Unity

We have gone over the idea of leaving your religious labels behind, and many of you have balked at that idea. I have heard many concerns that my “ideas” can be harmful to our Godly relationship or that I am not speaking Godly things. Because of this, I have been praying about what I need to do to confirm my so called “ideas” with you. God told me to read the full chapter of Ephesians 4. Starting in verse 2 through verse 6, it says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in all.” This is exactly what we’re shooting for here. To BRING BACK our unity of the Spirit. Let’s dissect each verse to get a better understanding of what we’re looking at.

First we look at where it talks about our actions towards each other. “Be completely humble and gentle…”. These are not easy aspects to truly grab hold of. One can easily say that they are humble and/or gentle, but what do those words really mean? According to the Webster’s dictionary, the word “humble” means not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive. It also means reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of submission; a ranking low in a hierarchy. So to be COMPLETELY humble, we have to set everyone else above us and not see ourselves as better than anyone else. Gentle means “free from harshness and violence.” I don’t necessarily think it’s referring to only physical harshness or violence, but verbally and mentally. We as believers need to realize that we are ALL on the same level. One very big reason that I have begun searching for more than a home church is because the attitude of the church has become very opposing towards each other. It’s supposed to be a group of people getting together to fellowship, encourage each other, and build up others in God, but instead you have a group of judgemental gossipers who put on a pretty face for the crowd. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I definitely have my downfalls in the gossip and judgement areas, but at least I’m not pretending like I don’t. I’m still working on my humility and gentleness, but I’m just me. I’m not one person at church and another outside the doors. But, let’s get back on track…

“Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Patience is probably one of the hardest things to practice simple because it is so easy to get caught up in ourselves. But when we start putting others before us, these other aspects come a little easier because your mind is getting geared towards doing what’s best to help the other person. The rest of the verses have what I want to mostly be focused on today. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace”. This is where I feel that the body of Christ has begun to fail. There is unity within the churches, the groups of believers coming together, but the unity between those different churches has quietly begun to drift. As I talked about in an earlier post, the different denominations and religions are not in unity as one. There is too much differentiation between congregations due to a division of mindset. Each church has is own interpretation of what God is saying, and they have begun to add their own spin to things. Therefore, we have churches quietly fighting against each other, attempting to convert and carry over people from one denomination to another, and celebrating when someone “converts”. But if we look at what the bible is saying, to make EVERY effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit in PEACE, we can see that this is the body’s downfall. We should be joining together simply as believers, putting all personal feelings and beliefs aside, making others more important that ourselves, and focusing on the one thing we all have in common which is God. We know this should be true because there is only ONE God, ONE Lord, and ONE faith. Not a separate one for each belief system.

Thus, why is it so hard for us to get along? Well, pride. It’s as simple as that. We have gotten so brainwashed into believing that our church is better than yours because… or that our religion is better than yours. It is a ridiculous and sad issue that can be resolved if we can all learn to ACTUALLY get along. I emphasize “actually” because every person of every religion will say that they are fine with other religions and they’re “just glad they’re in church”, but in reality, they praise God when a catholic becomes a christian, or a Mormon becomes a catholic. So, what I’m encouraging you is not to go try an make a bunch of friends from different religions so that you can be more religiously socialized, but to begin changing your mindset on what it is you need to do in order to serve God best. Begin finding out who you are in God instead of what your roll in the church is. For some, the best way that you can show God’s love and help others is to be in a church serving and mentally feeding others. But don’t let your “label” define your relationship with God. Let God show you what you need to be doing and not doing, and ask him how you can build a stronger relationship with other believers in AND outside of your church.

 

There’s nothing wrong with going to church, or not. 

I know a few of my latest posts have caused some controversy, and I want to clarify a few things, and explain that my whole goal here is to create more unity within believers, not separation. I’ll start by saying that I am not against going to church. I’m not against following a specific religion. If you feel that being a Christian is best for you, or being a Pentecostal is best, then do it! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you needing guidelines to help you with your relationship with God. I am completely for walking the path God has you on. So you do you!!! My goal is not to try and convince people that they don’t need church or religion. I fully believe that it is a necessary thing to fellowship with other believers. My goal is to get believers to stop letting their religious mindsets keep them from truly being able to share Gods love with others. 

     You might think that you are living love in every aspect of life, but do you shut out those with negative beliefs? Do you correct or argue with others about who is right or wrong? Don’t worry, we all do it at some point, but in order to really show people who God is, and to minister to those who need God, we have to be accepting of all lifestyles. No, we don’t have to LIVE all lifestyles, but if our first instinct is to run away from the “bad” stuff and “bad” people, then how will they ever see God for who he really is? 

     I believe God created Church to be a support system. Somewhere that ALL believers and non- believers can go when they need to feel loved and accepted. Not JUST christians or JUST mormons. I don’t believe that God intended for believers to be so divided against each other. That’s why I’ve been saying things such as getting rid of our religious Labels and simply get together as believers to support each other’s relationship with God Without judging each other’s personal lifestyles. As long as we are following the holy spiri’ts guide in our own actions, then we can relate to everyone else around us. We don’t have to shy away from others simply because they choose to make different life choices than us. 

    I don’t believe that going to church should be an obligation, but instead a choice guided by our need. And we in turn shouldn’t judge those who choose not to attend church weekly. Again, church should be a place, or rather a group, where believers and non believers can gather and encourage each other in their walk with God. 

     Therefore, when I make comments about not having labels or searching outside the box, I don’t mean that we should all just throw out all moral and do what we feel is good. I mean that we should accept everyone for who they are and how they are living, and then offer advice on how certain lifestyle changes could possibly better their lives. No one is perfect, not even you, so don’t start Trying to tell people how they should be living, and where and when they should be going to church. 

Losing your labels

Religion is a funny thing. Now, before everyone gets their panties in a wad over a misunderstanding, let me clarify myself. Religion, as in rules, regulations, laws, and so on, is a funny thing. We all grew up with some sort of religious background whether it was a church upbringing, or an anti-church upbringing. Therefore, we all have a set of beliefs that we have followed for our entire lives. This set of beliefs that we devote our entire life to is the same one that tends to tear us apart from those who have a different set of beliefs. We all were told over and over to believe this one set of beliefs, and that anyone who tried to tell us otherwise was wrong, so we should do what we can to “convert” said people from the other, here comes that tricky word, “religions”. What people aren’t stopping to ask themselves is “is there really only one RIGHT religion?”. We have been so stuck on knowing, understanding, and fully following our ONE religion, that it’s somewhat, or even completely, locked us into a very tight box. So what we’re going to do is briefly unlock that religion box, open that lid RIGHT open, and poke our heads out for a bit. Now, don’t be afraid. I’m not going to try and convince you that your religion is bad and that you’ve been wrong your whole life and that you shouldn’t believe anything that anyone tells you about church, God, or religion. But what I AM going to tell you will most likely make you a little nervous, but hopefully in a good way.

Let’s start by unlocking our box. Go ahead, grab that key that YOU OWN which is right in front of you, even though you’ve probably been told that their were monsters outside to get you if you opened your box, and turn that lock. Let’s imagine that it actually IS okay to question our religion…. GASP*!!!! NO STOP!!! I know, crazy right? But SURPRISE! it is! We’re not questioning God, that’s not what this is about at ALL! We’re questioning the religion, the set of beliefs we grew up believing, that we are part of. It’s a very difficult thing to do for two reasons. One, our initial instinct is to stop questioning because we’re afraid that we will somehow lose our faith in doing so. This is a silly reason because our faith should not be built on the people, rules, and “guidelines” of our religion. It should be built on God and God alone. The rest of the “church” stuff is simply a tool. Secondly, we don’t know how to do God without those guidelines. It’s easy to just simply do what you’re told, but what do we do when we don’t know what we should do? So lets say we’ve begun questioning our set religion, and we have found that we don’t necessarily agree with those beliefs anymore. Do we find a new religion? Do we start a new religion? What now?

That leads us to our second step. Let’s go ahead and open up our box. Don’t freak out, we’re not peeking out just yet. But don’t just slowly open it as if in fear, swing that sucker wide open! Now, let’s think of this crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need a religion at all! AHHH!!! I know! mind blown! But seriously, what is the point of a set religion? What do you benefit from said “religion”? You have your churches rules, things they say you can and can’t do, set service times, etc.. etc.. But what do we really need those rules for? Who decided we needed rules? Jesus died on the cross so that we didn’t have to have all of the rules to keep us from going to Hell, and he left us with the holy spirit to guide us daily. He also said that above all else, Love. Love your neighbors, Love your enemies… So wouldn’t it make sense to stop following sets of rules, because we all have a different set, and simply follow God? It’s scary to think that we would, in theory be out in this crazy world alone. But you really aren’t. God is always around! Any and everywhere, and you can have one on one conversations with him. You don’t need a 12 week “talking to God” course. Just talk, and listen. Getting back on track, if you look at the facts, it just makes sense. There are hundreds of different religions, all with different beliefs, but they all have one thing in common and that is God. God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, take every sin of ours even before we committed it, and die with it so that we didn’t have to. Jesus set us free so that we could go out and live in Love. So think of everything you could accomplish if you didn’t have a label holding you back? I have been to several churches that wouldn’t let you be a part of the worship team, prayer team, children’s ministry, etc.. if you took part in “worldly” things. Things such as drinking, smoking, cursing, sex before marriage, you name it. So they would tell you that because you did things they didn’t agree with, you couldn’t express God’s love. Does that make sense??? NO! Now, because of this type of behavior for years and years, those who have decided they like “having fun”, have been completely turned away from God. Not because they don’t believe in God, but because they have been told that they couldn’t be a Godly person who would get into heaven if they did the things they were doing. So, let’s do this; throw away your label. Just don’t call yourself anything. Now you’re simply a believer in God and Jesus. No man made rules, nothing holding you back. How likely is it now that a “non-believer” will feel more comfortable talking to a nice, loving, accepting individual, take advice from them, and listen to what they have to say if this person doesn’t try to convert them to their set of boring rules and laws? I’m not saying that no religion means you can just do whatever the heck you want with no consequences, but if the only law we need to worry about is Loving one and other, then why do we need religion?

Now, we’re going to go ahead and peek our little heads right out of the top of this box. Go ahead! I know some of you already have shut and locked your little religion box back up, and that’s okay, just read with an open mind. Peek out and let’s see what could be. Now, because of our religions, we have not only put our own minds into a tight box, but we’ve also put God in a box. Don’t get defensive, it’s not your fault, but you can change it. We have placed God in our box of personal knowledge. This means we have limited God to what we know, and for many of us, that’s very little. You could think you’re the smartest person alive, but when it comes to God, we know just the bare minimum. But why? Well, because we’ve been taught to shut out science because “all scientists are atheists who only believe in the big bang theory”, we’ve been taught to not listen to others beliefs, and we’ve been taught to just follow the rules and we can make it to heaven. Our whole lives have been about simply doing well to get to heaven, but nothing else. Have you thought that maybe God created this world for something a little more? That maybe he created the world for us to enjoy? Don’t go crazy and just get buck wild now, but…. why not? Could there be a possibility that we can be that “crazy sinner” but also have an extremely strong, loving, true relationship with God? That we could also be one of the most loving people some may ever meet?

If we remove our labels, free ourselves from ourselves, and simply focus on God, how far can we go? Science has shown that molecules literally react to the situation their in. It’s shown that a molecule will act one way when alone, but as soon as it’s being watched, it will act a completely different way. That’s AMAZING! But, that’s God! Our attitudes and emotions can literally change an atmosphere simply by us walking into it. I’m saying this because I want you to understand that God is SO much bigger than you know. SO much bigger than you will EVER know. Just when I think I am starting to understand, I learn something else that completely flips my world upside down. If God had an end, we would find it and then have no reason to search. So let’s start searching with an open mind. But it all starts by losing the rules, losing the limitations that have been set for us, and go at EVERYTHING with an open mind. Look at lesbians and gays with Loving eyes instead of converting eyes. Look at drunks and prostitutes with open eyes instead of judgemental eyes. Look through Gods eyes. God doesn’t hate his people, God loves them all, and it doesn’t really matter what you think about them, so stop. Jesus wasn’t part of a specific religion. He didn’t force people to believe in him, and he certainly didn’t just give up on them when they didn’t want to follow him. Jesus saw the bigger picture and stayed focused on God.

I have said a lot of things lately that have cause a bunch of ripple within my family and friends, but I have learned to not let it bother me one bit because I know exactly where I stand with God, I know where my family stands with God, and I know that no matter how many people are at riffs with me that I love them no matter what.

Get out of your box and go find God in the world instead of trying to get people to come find God in your box.

Be completely present

Lately I’ve been changing my eating habits and exercising more often, which is not new effort for me, but this time around, things have just been different. It’s been easier to get up and go to the gym, I haven’t been tempted to eat badly as often as other attempts, and I realized that it is because of one change. I changed who I was doing it for. It was difficult to to change myself to satisfy people and stereotypes around me because those were constantly changing. What I thought could change the way I felt ended up just making me feel worse about myself. This led to being disappointed in myself for “failing” at a game where there were no winners. It sucked! To constantly feel as if you could never be good enough or could never please everyone is a very dim place to be. Because of this, I would fall back into my bad eating habits which would in turn add to the depression, if you will, which would effect my motivation to get up and exercise. It was a vicious cycle that never ended. I started praying about what I should do to fix my problem, and God immediately showed my where I needed to make cuts. There were small things like getting off of certain medications that were causing mood swings and such, but the biggest area was who I was changing my life for.  I realized that I needed to stop trying to please everyone AROUND me, and start bettering, NOT changing, myself to please God, and to be a better asset to those around me. It is amazing how a simple change of focus can effect everything in your life. Once my motivation turned from trying to change myself, into trying to better my life in order to be more helpful to those around me, my results instantly turned into what I was trying to achieve.

Not only have I been able to meet my eating, exercise, and weight-loss goals, but my thoughts have been opening and expanding. God has been showing me areas in my thought processes that I can be working on daily. I began focusing on the “why” of it all, and I was immediately brought to Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. My “why” changed from pleasing others, to doing it for God with the intentions of bettering my life in order to be able to serve those around me. If I am sluggish, depressed, and unhealthy, I can’t be there 100% for my family, and I’m setting a bad lifestyle for my kids. Also, this verse hit right on point with not just my health, but several other areas in my life. For example, my attitude towards disciplining my kids has changed from being a dictator, which I hadn’t even noticed I had become, to being a mother whose goal is to raise loving, understanding, listening, caring, helpful children. But how could I raise that kind of person if my attitude was such that was stubborn, ignorant, bossy, rude, and wasn’t willing to listen? It’s not possible, it’s as simple as that. Those around you, especially your children, watch, and are influenced, by your actions. As much as you try to force it, they learn by what you do, not by what you say. So if you’re telling them to act, eat, or even play a certain way, but you yourself are not portraying those habits, they might do it momentarily to please you, but in the long run, they will act the way you act.

Once I began exercising with intentions of having a clear mind, and to release stress, I began getting the results I’ve been looking for which has been boosting my motivation even more! I’ve also been seeing my children’s habits changing because they’ve been watching me. TV time has decreased immensely, they’re attitudes have been happier and less aggressive, they sleep better, and they enjoy being outside and active more. So, one simple mindset change on my part has set off a domino effect in several other lives around me.

Therefore, if you’re going to make a lifestyle change, change it to portray God in your actions. Not just God as a person as some might imagine, but God as an action; as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control, Selflessness, and so on. Be present in body AND in mind, and remember that your actions and words go a lot further than just being said. Words can, and will, make an impact on someone around you even if it’s not to the person you’re speaking to. Open your mind to change, but change, not to please those around you, but to be able to show God to those around you with your everyday lifestyle.