Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Year

I'm sitting at my desk trying to finish up some last minute work items for the year. It's actually a pretty cozy time with my white hot chocolate and the fluffy snow to soothe my anxiety. I think about how this time of year is both exciting and frustrating.

I love the idea of starting fresh. A new year with so many possibilities to come. The freshly fallen snow is a reminder of everything new that is to come. A blank page. A white canvas just ready for me to start making another masterpiece.

I hate the idea of everything that was left undone. Everything that didn't get finish. And everything that was lost. I sit and think about my year and so many painful thoughts of things that were broken come to mind and the fight begins to remember the more joyful moments.


So the snow is forcing me to think about the new. Think about what can be instead of what could have been. To think of all the possibilities that come with a fresh start.

I am not one for New Years Resolutions, because I break them within a week or two. But I am for starting new traditions with my family. I found two that we are going to start with end of this year and that start of the next.

First our "What a Year!" pages that I found at 30 Days.


Our 2014 Memory Jar that I found at Shanty 2 Chic.

Head on over to both of those blogs and check out the ideas. Have ideas you are adding to your traditions? I would love to hear about them. Share them with all of us!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 12...Growing

Growing. Perhaps it's my only word to live by that is still not complete. The only one I am still busy doing and striving to do. Growth is never ending and it's an important thing to keep in mind. Once I think I have gotten there and my growth is done...I am slammed back to a starting point.

I keep growth at the tips of my fingers. Knowing that it's always there and always near, but it's never finished. It's maybe the one that has been the hardest for me, because lets be honest growing is not always easy and sometimes it's painful. Yet life can't happen without pain. A painless life is a life that has never been lived.

We come into this world through great pain. Pain that we don't remember, but our mothers hold onto. Pain that many mothers go through more than once so that they can feel the joy of holding that newborn baby. Pain to feel such deep love at first glance.

We go through the growing pains of childhood. An inch taller and another pain in the leg. The skinned knees that only a mothers kiss will make better. Tumbles off the bike, just to get back on. The pain of friends moving.

Teen years bring on a whole new set of painful experiences. For some it's not as painful as it is for others. Fights with friends. Heart break. Death...

Pain comes with age. With each painful experience we see growth in our lives. And how we deal with this growth and pain is important. Processing and sharing your growth with others is so important to keep it a healthy growing time. There are times in my life when my growth was not always healthy. I was like a berry bush that had over grown, but I had no voice to tell people the pain I was in. So my growth became unhealthy and out of control.

My prayer for this new year is that life will continue to grow. That my relationships with my daughters will continue to grow. Growing from a seed into a flower.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Days 10 & 11

I am mixing two days in one. Mostly because I wanted to do day 12 tomorrow with something special for our new year...and because sickness has taken over my life! Not that I am feeling too terrible. The cold hit me for a day and I am doing better. The girls however are full of sickness! We have 5 sinus infections and 1 ear infection! Yippie! 5 girls all on antibiotic! That's fun...

We pretty much have a nice little assembly line going when its med time. Thankfully we only have a few more days of this! Come back tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 8

Tis' the season to be sick! It's hit our house full force right now. My husband and I were doing pretty good and then I got the fever late last night! My poor girls. Sick on Christmas! Nobody likes that...

So today we thought of all those we are in the hospital. Those who don't have the blessing of being sick at home. Blake came to our mind, and we spent some time to pray for them. It's true that there is always someone who has it worse than us at any certain time. It never hurts to think of them and pray for them.

I had the idea to make cards for some people, but my girls were hardly awake today. They spent most of their time cuddled in bed or on the couch. Hopefully tomorrow they will feel better and we can get the cards done!

Merry Christmas everyone. Praying for all those who are spending Christmas in the hospital!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 7

I have come to the conclusion that I will never be perfect. Although this is a hard concept for me to accept it's something I must accept. If I don't I will be swallowed alive by my addiction. My addiction of food. I also must give up my daily need for control. Something that is never easy and sometimes causes me to become uncaring and "lazy". So why is that I give up these two things. Perfection and control. They seem so wonderful and so needed, but the truth is my additions will eat me alive.

It's the same for everyone. No matter what your addiction is there is some need to give up what we want. Maybe it's the same as what I need to give up. Maybe it's the need to give up hiding your feelings. Addiction always gives us a false sense of control over our lives. When we finally let go we see that we never actually had the control. It was actually our addictions that held control over our own lives.

Today I thought about my failures during this time of the year. I had such great hopes for my little "Kindness Elf" which almost completely failed. I saw all the cute ideas that everyone was doing with their elf on the self and the original kindness elf and it made me feel as if I had completely blown it. It's times like this where I feel such a deep need of control that I sometimes will give anything to feel it. It's times like this when fighting the urge takes more than just me to fight it. I have to pull in the strength of family and friends.

No matter what your deep desire is. No matter what the deep heart issues are. You need those around you. There is no sense in struggling by yourself, and you can't always expect people to know just how hard it is. Never be too proud to admit that you need an extra push. Never feel to ashamed to admit that you might need a little help. Never feel too far gone to grab onto someones hand to help pull you up.

So as far as my "Kindness Elf"...Katy Faith is still hanging out in the tree. She may not have been the smash hit I wanted her to be this year, however, it's never too late to start. So tomorrow the girls will find a small surprise of "snowballs" for breakfast with Katy hanging out thanking them for the huge help they were today!


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 6

It's the start of Christmas vacation. I love this time! I enjoy the extra crazy and the extra cuddles. I love the fun memories we get to create. So there is no better way to start vacation than with popcorn, M&Ms and a movie! It was the perfect surprise for when they got home today!

After our homemade meal we made crock pot hot chocolate! I highly recommend it! Here is what you need!

1 1/2 Cups Heavy whipping cream
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Mix ingredients in crock pot and stir till mixed well. Cook for 2 hours in crock pot on low setting. Enjoy!

I have to be honest. I can't stand chocolate. The only time I really feel like I want chocolate is when I am pregnant. So I mixed it up a bit. I used Andes Peppermint Crunch. The perfect Christmas hot chocolate! What would use in your hot coco?


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 5

Selfishness is something I have talked about before in my blog. It's one of the core issues with eating disorders, but not the main problem. Yet I sit and think about how so many times I was focused just on what I wanted. How I felt. What I needed and I didn't stop to think about how it was effecting others around me. I still so many times in my day struggle with selfish thoughts and feelings, but who doesn't? If any of us are honest with ourselves we struggle with selfishness everyday. It's a part of being human.

To help me battle these feelings of "ME" I pour myself into giving to others. I try to keep the giving going all year round, but Christmas time is a special time of giving. There seems to be just a bit more of a giving spirit around. It's when I often think of others the most and I try to put myself in their shoes.

This year I have a little boy by the name of Blake on my mind often. I've followed his story since his mom found our she was pregnant with twins. They knew early on that one of the twins had some health issues, and since he was born Blake had been waiting for a new kidney. This little 2 year old just received his kidney from a live donor in November! What a blessing and what a beautiful act of giving! Shortly after they were sent home, Blake became very sick and they rushed back to the hospital. They are still there, and Blake is getting better, but their family is apart and Christmas is coming soon.

I know sometimes that even the smallest little thing can help. I can't always give the largest things, but the things I make are made with love, and prayers are being said with each little stitch. So for Blake a hat and some ornaments for the family to keep and share. All in the color green!

So I challenge you to take some time. Think of someone. Find something, make something or bake let them know they are loved and prayed for during Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 4

Art. I have always seen it as therapy. I spent many afternoons after school in the art room losing myself in my work. At college I would sit and write in my journal not caring about who was around me or if they wanted my attention. Art comes in so many different forms. I started a project with Sharpies and I was going to share my pictures with you, but my computer is not wanting to work with I am sharing someone else's art with you.

I love to write with Sharpies on almost anything, but my favorite project has been the coffee cups that I did for the girls at V-day! They had their names on them and then words to describe them. I had such a blast doing them, but even though I baked them, when I washed them the words came off! The girls were sad and I have been on a search to find another way to do dishes with Sharpies!

I went over to The Sweetest Occasion and she seemed to have it figured out. Although she wasn't sure what she was doing different than others. You can see her fun Sharpie post here! I think the secret is staying with white dishes. When you use other colors the Sharpies rub right off. For some reason when you stick to white there doesn't seem to be the same issue. My suggestion is grab a dish and start designing! Have fun and share your pictures!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 3

Today is not a crafty day. It's not a cheery day. I think it's really just a thoughtful day. One to think of what to do. To really look at how I treat others and how I share Christ's love with them. Once or twice a month I spend an afternoon with a great group of girls. We call it Faith Girlz club. Another mom brought the idea to me and I started looking for a space to have it!

The group is about loving faith and loving yourself. Really learning more about who you are in Christ and who God made you to be. Perfect! A few times I have talked to a few of the girls who come about the "Golden Rule". It's a rule my girls know well, because we talk about it often.

Matthew 7:12 "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,"

Words I hope to live by. Words that have often pushed me to buy a bottle of water for a homeless man outside a store. Words that have encouraged me to say beautiful things to someone that I maybe didn't feel like saying. These words have had me in a store buying a meal for someone that other days I probably would have looked over or ignored.

For a couple of years now our family has organized Christmas boxes for other families in our town. Boxes that others have helped to fill over flowing with food and sweet little toys for the children. This year I thought it would be great to have the Faith Girlz help bake cookies and other things to help fill up the boxes.

So today was the day. I picked up all the stuff that we needed to bake our goodies. Set them in the front seat so they would be easy to take it. I then headed to another store to pick up one small item. And when I returned to my car there was a woman hanging out of my door. She was quick to get out, and I was quick to catch the plate numbers. I have had things stolen from me, but never so boldly or in broad daylight. I have never actually caught someone in the act of taking my items. It saddened me that she didn't just ask for them, because if she really needed them I would have gotten her some. My heart sank though because she wasn't really taking from me...she was taking from so many others.

When I went to pick up my items at the police station she was sitting in the waiting room. I stood far away from her angry at the trouble she gave me. Upset that her actions had caused me a second trip to the grocery store. I didn't want to look at her because I didn't want it anymore uncomfortable for either one of us.

My lesson of the day came when I talked to one of the Faith Girlz at church tonight. She asked me if I had forgiven the lady. I said I had...and then she asked me such a simple, but hugely profound question...

"Did you tell her that you forgave her?"

Simply I didn't. I wish I had offered her that forgiveness. Cut through that awkward moment at the police station and told her to her face "I forgive you." It would have been an undeserved forgiveness. She wasn't asking for it...but isn't that what we have been given. Christmas time reminds me of that very thing. The very special gift...Undeserved forgiveness given to us in the form of a baby laying in a manger. That's how it all started.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 2

Brrr...It's cold outside! Perhaps if you live in Florida you aren't feeling the same cold as the rest of the country, but we have a -15 windchill here in Iowa. I suggest you do an indoor project and that's what we have today! Day 2 of The Twelve Days of Christmas and we are going to get crafty!

First get yourself a cup of hot chocolate. If you are feeling like a super homemaker I suggest you go over to Cayli's blog and use her homemade hot chocolate recipe. She's a teen with a passion for cooking!

Now it's time to create. This is a wonderful activity to do with your kids. Fun and easy that pretty much anyone at any age could be involved. Let's make a Christmas tree!

Now let's get your supplies!

We kept it simple. We used the following:

Christmas Scrapbook Paper
Glue Stick
Paper Star

I took time before hand to cut my scrapbook paper into long strips. This made it easier for everyone to just pull out the design they wanted and then they could cut it to the right length. I choose to just use the newspaper as our canvas instead of getting a plain piece of paper. I was going to use the newspaper to "protect" my table and then I saw my scrapbook paper laying on it and I thought..."Oh that's so cute!"

Start at the bottom of you paper with longer pieces of scrapbook paper. Leave enough room, because if you don't you will end up with the same problem as my oldest daughter. Her tree trunk is hanging off her paper. So if you want to make sure that doesn't happen you can always place your tree trunk first. We used just a thicker piece of scrapbook paper for this one. We used the brown, but any kind of pattern would be cute.

As you continue up your Christmas tree start cutting your your pieces to be just a little bit shorter until you have the top of your Christmas tree. Make sure you leave enough room to place your star! There is really no rhyme or reason to how you place your papers. You can do them all straight or put a little pizzazz into your tree. I would love to see your examples!


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 1

My blog just hit 20,000+ views and I can't believe I have been absent for so long! I needed to take sometime to focus on me. Sometimes it takes a few days and sometimes it just takes longer. I still have a bit of a fuzzy brain, but I can't miss out on one of my favorite times of the year and one of the hardest times of the year for some who struggle with eating disorders.

In honor of one of my girls favorite Christmas song I will be doing "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Each day will have it's own activity, baking idea or special Christmas thought. A time to celebrate the most important gift ever given...Hope. And because I want to share with those who struggle and their loved ones that there is HOPE...there is no better time than Christmas to share more and more about what hope there is.

DAY 1:

My husband loves real Christmas trees! So every year we go to a local store and we take part in picking out the perfect tree. This year I just went and bought one the day after Thanksgiving. I don't allow him to even think about it until after Thanksgiving. Thinking maybe next year I might give in. Instead of having them unwrap the tree I just picked the tallest one, had them throw it in my car and then had my hubby drag it in the house. I figured it would be easier. It was...but then we unwrapped it and the tree expanded...much fatter than I thought it would be! MUCH fatter. It's not very proportionate at all!

I also thought that I would let the girls decorate it by themselves with paper chains and ribbon. I didn't want to mess with our family ornaments this year, because every year it seems like one gets lost or broken. So this is what happened...Our tree exploded!

The girls loved it. It was hours of fun making paper chains out of my leftover scrapbooks paper and cutting ribbon, tying bows and throwing them all over the tree! To see the excitement on their faces and pride they had for their masterpiece...I just don't have the heart to change any of it. Over the weekend and at our last Faith Girlz club the girls made a few ornaments, so those were lovingly placed on the tree! 

I had originally heard this idea from a friend of mine on Facebook. She wraps up 25-30 books and puts them  under the Christmas tree. Every night she lets her children open a book and they read it. As soon as I heard the idea I knew I wanted to do it! I started to think about buying that many books. I mean really if I could get good deals on the books it wouldn't be too bad, but we all ready have too many books and I really wanted to do Christmas books. So our local library has come to our rescue! Every week I go and pick up a handful of books. I got 14 to start with and this way they would become overdue. Once a week I will return what we have read and pick up a few more. We are 3 days into our adventure and the kids are loving it! Not only are you sharing special stories about Christmas, but you are also starting a wonderful habit of reading every night to your children!