Eleven-Years of Maternity Leave…and a Giveaway Item

A little early Mother’s Day celebration post…

My husband isn’t really too far off from the truth when he tells people I’ve been on an eleven-year maternity leave.

In 2008, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter I was working at a small bank and training to be a loan officer. It was a sweet opportunity and I was looking forward to coming back after maternity leave and beginning this new career venture.

But then that tiny little bundle of joy came and five weeks later I carried my new baby girl into the bank to proudly show her off to my fellow bankers, while my bubbly toddler pranced about merrily at my side. I was one week away from maternity leave being up and when they asked if I was ready to come back, I gave them the game changer—I had decided I’d rather handle dirty diapers full-time over dirty money.

Fast forward several years…

Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy…I’m home, but the dishes still pile, laundry overflows, and sometimes I serve cereal for supper—and I’m probably (for the thirteenth year in a row) not gonna win the ‘Mother-of-the-Year award’!!…And honestly I’m not even sure that award actually exist anyway! Who’s ever known any mom to ever physically receive one?!!

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My kids are now thirteen, eleven, and nine (the two youngest are homeschooled). We’ve definitely had our challenges as I’ve watched them over the years provoke one another, cry simultaneously, and then make-up as the best of friends…an overplayed process repeated almost daily…but thankfully the crying is beginning to fade away!8A6287CB-4AA3-43AC-A4D9-4D68417B2AB8

In more recent years I’ve added some ‘out-of-the-house’ work to my life. Once a week I do hair at a nursing home and when it works with our schedule I pick up substitute teaching jobs…I’m currently filling a long-term sub job for a mama who’s on maternity leave.

With this, I’ve realized that moms who work outside of the home AND manage life at home with a spouse and any number of kids are Super Moms! Seriously! It’s tough enough keeping up on necessary housework and caring for a family, but then add-in the responsibilities of fulfilling a work schedule on top of that— and goodness it makes for a crazy week!! I have such a new, deep respect for any mom who does this!!

When I consider women in general though—those with a spouse, those without…women with children and women without—I see how important it is that we remain encouraged and motivated so that we may endure this wildly busy life humbly yet gracefully. A great encouragement for what a noble woman resembles is described throughout Proverbs 31. Verses 11 and 12 note that ‘Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Verses 25 and 26 move on to describe her as: ‘clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.’

Further on in verses 30 and 31 we read: ‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’

These verses aren’t at all noting a woman’s outside appearance, rather they point straight to the beautiful heart or character of a wise and strong woman. Without these charming inner character qualities she wouldn’t be viewed as a woman, wife, or mom of notable inspiration. To top it off, her many achievements have been accomplished due to her reverence of the Lord. There’s so much to be learned from the portrayal of the Proverbs 31 woman—from daughters to mothers, to wives to widows (even sons, husbands, and fathers)—we can all use Proverbs 31 to encourage those special ladies in our lives. It causes me to see how much I want to live up to the Proverbs 31 woman!

With Mother’s Day around the corner I’m filling my Etsy shop Simply Rustic Looks with fun jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, genuine leather earrings) for women of all ages. My featured item this month will be the MAMA❤️ necklace, regularly priced at $16, but specially discounted to $12 through the month of May. This necklace has been personally metal hand-stamped by me (one letter at a time) giving it a one-of-a-kind unique style and is made of an aluminum bar hanging from a stainless steel cable to make it nickel and lead-free (hypoallergenic).

**Shipping on jewelry is always free in the U.S. and 10% of sales support InFaith ministry.

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**The link provided below will take you directly to the Etsy listing:

Click here: MAMA ❤️ NECKLACE

As an added bonus I will be doing a giveaway item for anyone who comments on this blog post—sharing some wonderful mom-tips, advice, or encouragement—perhaps even a favorite Bible verse filled with some mom-cheer! On Sunday, May 5th, I will draw from those who commented and notify the winner by commenting to their blog (or to my email readers you may personally email or text accordingly and the same rules will apply). Giveaway item will be an aluminum stamped bracelet on genuine leather rope (below), yours to personalize how you choose! I will mail it out (first-class) to the winner on Monday, May 6th.610E6115-4742-4631-917B-805F131847CB

(I am redeemed’ shown as an example).

Blessings!! And Happy ‘early’ Mother’s Day Mamas! 

That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!

I was trying to figure out what woke me from a deep sleep this morning at 4:15. And then I heard the loud cry of our rooster crowing on the front patio, which happens to be located next to my bedroom window.

Yesterday afternoon our rooster (Blackie) flew the coop, literally. He must’ve had enough of the hens out there and decided to relocate, hence the reason he’s now been perched out front of our house for the past day.

After about a dozen crows this morning before 5 A.M. I finally turned to my husband, “that’s it, I’m gonna go outside and talk to him!!”…surely my husband questioned my awkward statement but nevertheless I stepped out front (barefoot and nearly frozen immediately). I stooped down to eye level with the rooster and calmly stroked his back and spoke softly to him. He nestled down closer to the table he was sitting on and relaxed as if to say, “that’s just what I needed, thank you!”

I tiredly went back inside and crawled into bed and got a few more hours of sleep—beautiful, quiet uninterrupted sleep. It wasn’t until after 7, the sun was beginning to light the sky, the rooster let out a few more crows. This time his noise was gladly welcomed, with the 7 o’clock hour seeming a bit more fitting.649C1F7D-178A-4F25-9DFA-0EFC19F7F366

Not only have Blackie’s crow-times been off lately, he’d also flown into our living room window several times yesterday. And today as we’ve had wind gusts of 35 miles per hour he still insist on sitting out front in the blistering openness of frigid cold.

Although he has a warm home, plenty of food, and many lady friends to keep him company something out in the chicken coop just isn’t quite right for him.

I think of the many times I can relate to the odd mannerism of my rooster’s—the times that I’ve been confused, unsettled, and distressed much like this new adopted behavior of his. Continue reading “That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!”

All I want for Christmas is…

All I want for Christmas is…a “prepared” Mary-like heart and attitude…

I’ve been substitute teaching quite a bit lately.

No worries, my homeschooled kiddos have a couple of amazing substitute teachers on the days I work so they’re well taken care of, academically speaking…Because I’m sure some people are reading this and like, “Gasp! What about your poor homeschooled kids when you sub?”…no worries I can assure (anyone who’s worried about it) they need a break from me, they’re fine! Don’t lose sleep over it. They’re doing great with their schoolwork with or without me at their side.

…Okay that whole paragraph above might very well be my holler of defense in regard to someone who recently hounded me about homeschooling and subbing because they’re anti-homeschooling…people are funny, even if you go to church with ‘em.

I feel better after stating that.

Moving on🙂…Every time I show up at the school it’s always the same procedure: arrive 20 minutes early, sign in at the office, head to my classroom for the day.

There’s always an organized folder with sub-notes sitting on the teacher’s desk, waiting for me to read through so I have an idea and schedule for how the day should run. And on every occasion there’s always papers tucked somewhere in the sub-folder which cover the proper procedures for handling emergency circumstances.

Can I just be honest for a moment?

I never, ever thoroughly read that part of the notes, just a little browse and that’s good enough for me. That’s part of my practical mindset. I get at least a general idea of where the emergency placards are located in the classroom, which the teacher would collect along with the students before hurriedly scuffling out of the room or school in the event of a crisis situation.

In fact, recently when I subbed, I quickly went over the emergency notes and glanced up and remember thinking, ‘K placards are near the door, good deal, it’s not like anything will happen anyway but if so I’d gather my students, emergency placards, and locate the nearest seasoned teacher in the hallway and follow her lead!’

I’ve discovered though that this limited-thinking is not okay, AT ALL, because last week there actually was an emergency situation at the school where I sub so often, where I had just subbed a few days prior. Continue reading “All I want for Christmas is…”

A High, Low, and a Funny

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Photography taken by R. Peters

At our house we’ve adopted a great conversation starter when we gather around the table for dinner at the end of the day. Each of us verbally notes our high for the day, then our low, and lastly the funny of our day. It always amazes me how some days we’ve spent all day together yet each of us has something different to point out. Side note: sometimes when it’s my husband’s turn to state his high for the day he’ll keenly rattle off the “high temperature” for the day…before giving us his true answer.☺️

These table conversations are important because they cause us to know one another’s hearts, feelings, cares, and concerns a little more. Our kids enjoy the idea of being the only one in the “family spotlight” for a few moments during their turn, highlighting whatever it is for the day that stuck out most to them. Often times these smaller talks lead to larger discussions, taking it to a deeper level where we can really reflect, analyze, and engage with one another.

Since you and I most likely won’t be sharing dinner any time soon I thought I’d share my high, low, and funny over this past week (via the blog). Please feel free to do the same in the comment section below if you wish. Continue reading “A High, Low, and a Funny”

The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2

PART 2: continued from Too Incredible to Deny

The truth is I could beg a person who stands on the edge of believing to just trust Jesus…to just believe in Him. I could share my convincing testimony with someone; I could challenge him or her to watch the sun rise and fall or count and name the endless stars…to consider the complexity of a baby forming in the womb and then try to tell me there’s no God.

But when it comes down to it, none of those things can cause a person to truly know, love, and appreciate God the way the Bible can. Although a Bible (in its material form) can’t offer salvation, the words within can certainly lead a lost soul to the Lord. No matter how incredible the very thing we view and marvel over appears, the word of God is absolutely by-far the best proof of God’s existence. The Bible makes all of those things worthy of appreciation when we choose to acknowledge God as their Creator.

If you struggle to believe, if this just sounds too bazaar to you, then I challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. You’ll be entertained, motivated, shocked, held in suspense, wowed and awed as you read the history of:

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  • Moses’ leadership (read Exodus through Deuteronomy)
  • Rahab’s prostitution yet devotion to her family (Joshua 2 & 6)
  • David’s heart for God (1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2 & the book of Psalm)
  • Queen Esther’s life at risk (the book of Esther)
  • Matthew the despised tax collector (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Continue reading “The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2”

Part 1: Too Incredible to Deny

Just for the record as you read this post, I’m not referring to our foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. I’m a youth leader so I have a lot of interaction with jr high and high school kids and this post is in reference to one of the many.

I visited with a young girl who’d been in the United States temporarily. I asked her about her time here and if she’d enjoyed coming to church while she was here (something which was a new experience for her).

Her response: “I do like it, but I don’t believe.”

Me: “Really? Like you don’t believe in God?!”

Her: “No, I don’t.”

Me: (without any hesitation whatsoever, because I lack patience) “So what do you do??!! What do you do when you hurt, when you fear, when you worry, when the bottom drops out?! Where do you place your hope?”

She hesitated thoughtfully… but didn’t have an answer. Continue reading “Part 1: Too Incredible to Deny”

Blogger Recognition Award

Recently a fellow blogging friend sent me a notification that she’d selected me for a Blogging Recognition Award.

This blogging friend is Tina from God’s Kid Speaks. Check her blog out at http://godskidspeaks.wordpress.com/

She’s a fantastic writer with great insight, tons of wisdom, and a plethora of encouragement, and she had received the same award herself a few days before!

Thanks so much Tina for nominating me, this was a first for me also and I truly appreciate it!

I love that this award came at this time because my husband and I just attended an awards banquet a few weeks ago for the company he works for. Each of the employees were recognized and awarded for their number of years of commitment to the company. It was neat to meet and spend time with the CEO of this very successful company, to watch his humble presence and mannerism was absolutely remarkable! So the idea of awards was already fresh in my mind from that. Continue reading “Blogger Recognition Award”