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! 

Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)

Last week I posted with the celebration of my daughter’s second blood test coming back “normal” after previously learning that the first test was abnormal, with iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss as the key concerns. I blogged about how worried I’d felt over my girl during that time of waiting before we could see the pediatrician to find out what was going on. I struggled in trusting God yet I remained in His word and in prayer. And then after we met with the pediatrician and later received a call saying the blood work came back normal with the second testing I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Here’s what I didn’t mention in that blog post though, because it was never a possibility in my mind, I’d already mentally crossed it off..the pediatrician we saw last week suggested we run an additional test for celiac disease which would take a few extra days to get results back. Meanwhile during that waiting period I had blogged celebrating God’s work of healing with the thought of a clean health status for my girl because the blood results were now good.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the celiac disease term, if not, here’s a quick run down: celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely) leads to damage in the small intestine and difficulty digesting food. If left untreated it can also lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications…and in the state of California someone probably thinks it causes cancer—that’s my own thought though. (I was born in California so I’m justifying that comment.)

So last Friday the pediatrician called with a spoiler alert—McKenzie’s celiac test results had come back and they were positive…sidenote: Did you know that when you use talk-to-text on your phone to say celiac it’s more than likely going to translate as ‘silly yak’ or ‘silly act’? Just a little random, useless knowledge for you!!

When I got the call I was surprised, but handled the news rather well, thinking about how we already have a head start on this deal. I eat gluten-free, although I stumble every now and then.

In fact I was on quite a gluten-free roll at the beginning of the year but then about four weeks in I caved to some dollar chicken nuggets from Burger King. A month ago I succumbed to a strawberry donut from a family owned bakery in town, it was much-needed after a rough day of subbing. And birthday cake, don’t get me started…It happens!! But for the most part I stay on track, and now my little Mc can join me.

I’ll simply stock up on more gluten-free products and purchase double the produce so her and I can satisfy our dietary needs. We’ll get creative in the kitchen together and explore new recipes while sipping lemon-flavored ice water and snacking on handfuls of popcorn.

1 Thessalonians 5:11—Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I’m just not intimidated by the word celiac and I won’t allow it to define my girl. I’m actually seeing it as somewhat of a blessing. We now have a potential answer as to why her tummy bothers her so often, and I’ve also learned that iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss are two side effects of celiac disease. Her being sick so often just makes sense now, and although it’s a chronic sickness, it’s definitely a manageable one for us.

Mc’s already taking interest in some new foods, so she may very soon ditch her longtime nickname “Picky Micky” (she earned it years ago for obvious reasons.) The other night at supper she looked at me and said, “alright mom I’ll have some broccoli, but it has to have ranch, and I’m not eating it because I like it, I’m eating it because I want to grow!”

…I’ll take that mindset!!!

We have an upcoming appointment for McKenzie at the end of the month where the doctor will decide if they need to do an endoscopy, the final procedure that confirms or rules out celiac disease. She’s still eating gluten foods for now, this way the biopsy will have an accurate reading, but she’s also expanding her palate these days with a wider variety of healthy foods that don’t contain gluten as she knows it’ll help her feel better and get stronger.

Now for the devotional part of this post…which I’ll post tomorrow, for the sake of your eyes and your time.

But I’ll leave you with a ridiculously yummy gluten-free recipe and some scripture encouragement, McKenzie’s favorite Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11

Grilled Chicken with Avocado and Mango recipe

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Pocketknife Lessons

My son eagerly inquired for what seemed like the hundredth time, “so mom did he text yet? I’m really wanting that pocketknife, did dad text you yet?”

“No Warren, he sure hasn’t.” I responded in a gentle but exasperated voice.

My boy and his dad had made a deal (a few days before) pending good behavior—If my son (Warren) held up his end of the deal, showing respect and a good attitude, he’d eventually receive a mini-pocketknife from his dad’s scant collection and on the flip side: poor behavior and lack of respect and bad attitude would equal no pocketknife.

Pretty simple formula to process.

…maybe not for an eight-year old boy with an abundance of extra energy.

#thestruggleisreal, right?

First off when this deal was initially communicated a deadline must’ve been overlooked and never discussed. Warren seemed to be failing at recognizing that patience and self-control are two very important and necessary components of respect. Both of which he was lacking as he repeatedly questioned me asking if his dad had messaged yet to give a timeframe on this deal.

In other words I believe he actually wanted to know ‘how long must I practice and display being EXTRA nice?’ (Um, for the rest of your life son)…After all he’d been holding doors open for others, using an abundance of more-than-usual verbal manners, and even helping tote things to and from the vehicle with our busy on-the-go schedule…all without being asked to do so.

So per his request, I had texted my husband (who was at work for the day) to see just when this “positive attitude for pocketknife” exchange might happen and in the meantime Warren was anxiously awaiting his father’s response.

Finally when he asked for the hundred and first time if I had heard back yet, this is what took place: Continue reading “Pocketknife Lessons”

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…”

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:

women and men going from zero to hero

  • 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”

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”

Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)

That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…

*This is part 3 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 2 are located at the bottom of this post

Growing up I took for granted the idea of family time and commitment. We had many fun times, but I failed to place much value on our years together while they were occurring.

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Winter of 1999-a few months after my dad’s motorcycle accident

I’ve managed to mentally revisit and collect the moments we spent together and I hold on to those precious memories now.

I can also identify our number one struggle as well. We believed in God, but we were far from a relationship with Jesus, therefore our family-dynamic suffered in following Christian morals, which led to lenient parenting. Often times I was absent—drinking and partying with friends. House rules and expectations were shallow for me; late nights and a selfish mentality were abundant. Mistakes and poor choices were high as I ran wild.

It wasn’t until I was married with three young children and in my mid-twenties that I recognized the hurt and brokenness in me. I thought I could fix it on my own and I tried for the next five years.

I watched as my mother, meanwhile, had found healing over my father’s death by seeking Christ. I remember relying heavily on her for wisdom during that trying period and she pointed me to Jesus every time.

And then one day I finally submitted… Continue reading “Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)”