“I Miss My Daddy”

liza-facepaint

There are so many moments that Teddy and I look at each other and know how blessed we are to have the family we have now, and that is always what we ultimately look to. But sometimes it’s hard. Raising our girls to the best we can control in our own home and environment, and then letting them go to another parent, that we know loves them, but we can’t control what they are going to do, or feel, or learn while they’re away from us.

The words “I miss my daddy”, might mean something different for so many people.  For me they are words that I dread and yet am happy my 3 and a half year old daughter speaks.  The other day she said those words “I miss my daddy” while sitting at the table to eat her lunch.  After consoling her a bit, I realize she doesn’t think she’s going to see him for a long time.  For her daddy is the guy she goes and sees every now and then, that she seems to have fun with, and then she comes back home to her mommy family with me and Teddy and her eight year old ‘sissy'(if sissy isn’t staying with her other mom).  

It’s a hard conversation trying to comfort my child when she misses her daddy.  And trying to be the most positive Continue reading

Summer Kale Slaw With Avocado Dressing

IMG_9336I was inspired by one of my friends to post some of my healthier cleaner eating recipes.  Now.. let me just say, I am not a super healthy clean eater.. I just ate Taco Bell yesterday!  It’s my fast food weakness.. and my husband just went out of town so I thought I could get away with it without regretting it later:/

Anyway.. I am all about eating less processed foods rather than buying all the pre made packaged things on the shelfs at the grocery.  And for me, summertime makes it so much easier to eat fresh, with all the yummy Continue reading

Happiness In The Chaos

IMG_9252

The entire family at our wedding! Amazing that we got everyone in this photo!

Talk about a whirlwind!  In the past three months I have gotten engaged, planned a beautiful farm wedding, gotten married, rented out my house, moved and merged our new family into Teddy’s house, rented out his house, moved into our new house, and now ending my job at the end of the month because it’s going out of business.

Man.. just typing all that makes me feel better about how crazy I’ve been.  I’d love to say that I’ve been the perfect example Continue reading

My New Story

My story is one of a growing girl that finds her way through some winding paths, falls into a valley, comes to a cliff that she must take courage, strength, and endurance to climb above, and in the midst of that climbing has her world changed through family, friends, and love.

Let me start with where my life is now.. I’m a mom to my oh so sweet and strong willed 3 1/2 year old Liza, a newly wed to my amazing, knight and shining armor Teddy, and step mom to my super awesome 8 year old Lillie. We are in the middle of it all with moving in together, buying a new home just to move it all again, and figuring out how to blend our two families into one. And even with the overload of all of this, we are loving every minute of this blessed life we get to share together now as a family.

Taking a step back .. let me give you a short view into my past. From a very young age I have been a believer in God, and a woman of faith. But during my first marriage I let that passion and faith be pulled away from me, and after 13 years of what I thought was a happily secure marriage my life was shaken. I was 4 months pregnant when I realized the vows he had made to me so long ago were being broken. After fighting with dignity and everything I could to save my marriage, my sweet Liza Francine was born and 1 month later divorce was underway. My only hope was to turn to God and to my family.

I mean, talk about amazing family.. my parents parked their RV in my driveway for almost a year and a half when Liza was born to care for her (and me) while I went back to work with all my crazy retail hours. You know that saying that ‘God can turn a mess into something beautiful’.. well he did that with me. About a year after all the mess, I was able to quit my job, and rely on God’s provisions, thankfully provided to me through some amazing people and family that loved me and wanted to bless Liza and me, with some precious time while she was a baby. Part of this involved one of my sisters moving to Nashville with her family to start a farm and take me in under their roof while I processed and tried to recoup from it all.

As time passed on the farm, I grew a lot in knowing myself better in spirit, mind, and body. I know that sounds kind of cliche.. but it’s true. And when God knew I was ready, and only God knew, cause I had no idea it was coming.. God placed a man in my life. We met and began our, what seemed like, teenage romance.. seriously.. every time his name showed up on my phone I would get the most quirky little smile on my face. Navigating through a new dating relationship with us both having daughters of our own was not the easiest, I started a new job as well, started Liza in daycare, and moved out of the farm. But luckily he and I both knew what each was going through, and it wasn’t long before I fell in love with him and his amazing daughter.

I’m so thankful for that cliff God put in my way.. and really all the paths i’ve had to wind through. I know there are so many others out there facing these cliffs as well. My writing has always been my therapy.. but my hope through this blog is to somehow form a community to allow women to know that there are others going through the same challenges. Whether single, married, mom, step mom, single mom.. I hope to provide encouragement along with fun and laughs along the way.wedding-11

A Tickle Can Change the World!

IMG_4916Time is so important to us, isn’t it?? It is limited and precious, and it passes by and we can’t get it back.. no wonder our kids thrive on getting those precious moments with us. I had this revelation today with Liza.  We had a long night last night with her waking up at one in the morning wide awake, hungry, and ready to go.. and it wasn’t until two hours later that she finally fell back asleep. So, of course when morning came back around I was super tired and she was kinda cranky, and the last thing I wanted to do was entertain her.  Well, as the morning progressed, with some nick jr and disney, things began to go downhill.  Lately, she’s been acting more rebellious with screaming, saying no to me, and throwing fits.. of course I credit this towards her turning two last month. So more time outs have to keep happening.  But this morning was the ultimate.. let’s just say she was in time out for about 30 minutes straight.  She would not tell me she was sorry for yelling at me.. and continued to scream at me every time I tried to talk with her about it.  My sister Mitsi came home from dropping the kids at school and just looked at me with such pitty and gave me a hug.  Sometimes a mom just needs a hug, huh?!  Well.. eventually Liza finally decided to say sorry after I carried her to her bed kicking and screaming and told her she was going to have to sleep this off, which is not normally a route I would take but I was desperate.  So, she came back out of timeout and Mitsi began playing a tickle her tummy game, chasing her around the house and doing some hide and seek along with it.  Liza lit up with excitement and joy.  It was amazing to watch and see how a little tickle and hide and seek time could bring such joy and really change her entire attitude.  And being such an amazing sister, Mitsi took Liza to the store with her to get her out for a bit. This not only changed Liza’s attitude even more it helped with mine as well.  Liza came back happy, I was a little refreshed, we had some Dr. Liza time and then a little dance party.  The rest of the morning went a lot smoother without any rebellion even when I told her no to having a sucker and asking her to eat more bites of lunch.  She even went straight up the stairs to her bed when I told her it was nap time. Now, I’m not saying that a little tickle time can solve all problems.  But I see what I see and so far, spending that quality time is the best diagnosis I have found with all the kids in the house for changing behaviors. Sometimes they just need us to take some of that time that is so precious to us and spend it on them. We played a family baseball game one day after school for maybe 30 minutes and it was just amazing how the rest of the evening with chores and dinner and just the way they all interacted together was so much smoother. Mitsi and I had been busy doing a lot of house stuff which we all get caught up in and we just forget that we just need to take a moment and have some fun with the kiddos.  It not only helps them but it helps us too.. we have fun! Remembering and getting that glimpse again of what it’s like to be free spirited as a kid, throwing, running, laughing, dancing, silliness. It just feels good! I mean, when you think about it, we all kinda want someone to take their precious time and spend it with us, right?! From parents to friends, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend there is just nothing like spending that quality time, not just sitting together, but actually doing something together. I have no study or research to share with you on how this works but I have plenty of life experience to see and believe the truth in it all. So my prescription for those of you that feel like you may be in a slump, whether in your relationship, with friends, or with your kids.. get off the couch, or out of the kitchen, put the broom down, cancel that meeting, and go play! See what that one precious moment of time can do!

Need some help on getting that brain back into play mode?? Throw or kick a ball around Play hide and seek Play a game of freeze tag Climb a tree Play in the leaves Do cartwheels Raining outside?? Turn the tv off, put some fun music on and have a dance party and add some balloons in! Do a craft project and let it get messy Play doctor or kitchen or dress up Bake cookies and let the kids decorate them The options are endless.. and you’ll be amazed at how you will remember how to play if you just start doing it!

Cozy Rosemary Pork Stew For Two

 

IMG_3572A little while back my sister and fam had gone on vacation for fall break and so I had the house all to myself for a few days.  And I don’t know about you but I can tend to not want to cook very extensive meals when it comes to just me and Liza eating, but this day I was inspired by my new little mini crock pot to make something yummy.  And since I had just bought some amazing local pork chops from the Rutherford County Farmers Market and it was a little dreary outside, a cozy pork stew sounded amazing!

So I really just wanted to share this simple recipe option for when it’s just you and one other.. and it really is pretty easy and not a lot of mess cause it takes just one pan.  Oh… and if it’s you and one other and some more others.. then you could easily just double or triple the recipe to make it family style!


Ingredients

2 thick cut pork chops

1/4 cup flour

1/2- 1 teaspoon salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 large potato

1 large carrot

1/2 an onion

2 stems each fresh oregano and rosemary (use 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp dried rosemary if you don’t have fresh on hand)

2 Tablespoons oil of your choice (I used butter)

1 cup beef broth (or 1 cup water with 1 cube boullion)


Directions

  • Place pork chops in a dish to season and flour.
  • Coat evenly on both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika
  • Then coat with flour
  • Roughly chop potato, carrots, onion, and garlic
  • Heat oil in a large skillet.. my fav skillet is my cast iron!
  • Place pork chops into medium/hot oil and let brown on both sides.. about 2 min each side. You’re not cooking them through just browning the outside.
  • Place chops in your crock pot.. I used my new cute little new crock.. perfect for a meal for two:) But you can use a larger one too.. whatever you have.
  • In the same pan and same oil add your onions and carrots, sauté for a couple minutes and then add garlic, potatoes and herbs.  Sauté another couple minutes.
  • Then add cup of broth or boulion water.. you can really use chicken or beef broth it will taste great either way
  • Bring to a boil and scrap all the yummy bits off the bottom of pan
  • Pour all into the crock pot
  • Cover with lid and let cook on high for about 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours
  • Then enjoy the deliciousness!!

 

A perfect cozy meal for two.. you can serve with rolls or toast, or add a dollop of sour cream and extra herbs if you like.  This is so versatile too.. use whatever you have available in the fridge with the same process.. chicken. beef, routabega, cabbage, beans.. endless possibilities and it will almost always be super yummy!!

Thankful

November of course is a time of changing weather, cozy decor, good food, and gathering with the ones closest to us.  With thanksgiving coming up — so quickly the time sneaks up on us, doesn’t it?– I and I’m sure so many others begin to reflect on what to be thankful for.  I was looking back through my journal and came across this quote that I had written down, and it once again spoke to me and reminded me to be proud of who I am today and to not look back in regret of what life has thrown my way, but to embrace it and be thankful in every aspect of who it has made me today.

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives – the good as well as the bad, the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections – that requires hard spiritual work.

Still, we are only grateful people when we say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment.  As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fulness of our being as a gift of God to be grateful for. 

Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

–Henri Nouwen

In the commotion of my daily living as a single mom, living on the farm, and pursuing my dreams, I tend to get caught up in the whirlwind that I’m in right now.  And as much as it would be easy to go back to the life I had, and in the moment thought was good, I reflect now and see how even more amazing God new it could be for me.  I am so thankful for what I have now, even though people may think I’m crazy for living with my sister and brother n law and four kids, starting a farm and having dreams and visions of what my life will be.  My past has brought me to where I am today and I will not regret!  Wow.. that kinda feels amazing to say out loud:)

I encourage you in where you are now in life to reflect.. where would you be without the challenges and  turmoil in your life.. would you be the same person you are today??  I know I would not have the most amazing gift of my daughter Liza..  I would not have this precious time to spend as an Aunt and sister in this full house.. I would not have the strength in my faith, and identity, and becoming a woman I am proud of my daughter looking up to. . I would not know the depths of my friendships or my family and how important they are to me.

I am thankful.. I am so thankful for it all.. period!