Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Praying for Ann Devert and Inspired By Harry Devert

I have a personal request for all you mommas out there tonight.  Please unite in prayer with me for Ann Devert whose son, Harry Devert was senselessly murdered in Mexico while traveling on a transcontinental trip from the United States to Latin America. Remains were found in two bags near the motorcycle he was riding and according to DNA tests conducted Harry Devert, a beautiful 32 year old man with a love for the world and adventure is gone. An amazing soul just taken from this earth for no reason at all. I can't fathom the devastation his mother is feeling. Harry had been missing since January and just like any momma out there who loves her kids Ann was searching tirelessly, refusing to give up and keeping the hope alive that she would find her precious son. I never met Ann, but I'm sure she is like so many of us who love our children. We would fight tooth and nail for them, scour the earth to find them and ferociously protect them with every fiber of our being because that's what mom's do and no one will ever have their child's back like their mother.

Today as I watched Anya bounce out of summer camp and vacation bible school later tonight laughing, carefree and so happy I said a silent prayer for her. I prayed that God would always protect my sweet girl from all the craziness of this world. I believe if something as horrific happened to my daughter as it did to Harry I would die. My heart would stop beating and I would die, and to be honest I'd be okay with that because I can't comprehend that type of loss. When I read about Harry Devert I instantly wanted to know more about this larger than life guy because of his thirst for life  and his courage to take risks. Actually, my desire is for Anya to possess that type of zeal for life, I want her to be curious about the world and to travel to places that most people only read about. I do my best to teach her that  it's okay to step outside the box and to instill in her a love for traveling. Matter of fact, I hope to take her to Portugal for her birthday next year to wet her appetite for  travelling abroad. But, I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I'm terrified for her in this world where people shoot planes out of skies, and brutally kill innocent people without one care for the lives that they have blown apart.

Yet, we want to give our children wings, we want them to soar to heights that even we have never reached because we want them to experience life in all it's beauty. We want them to walk boldly in the world taking it all in and giving it all they got. We want them to make a difference, to touch lives and to be touched, we pray that they fall in love and experience the beautiful, complicated stories that it brings. Because, that's what makes life meaningful. At some point we must let them fly it's our duty. We get the privilege to watch them to take off and be lifted into this thing called life. At that point they are writing the pages of their own book and we can just pray for their safe journey and a happy ending. I believe this is what Ann did for Harry. On his Facebook page, Ann relayed this message she had gotten from Harry, "Ma! Everything is a miracle! I love my life!" Harry Russell Edouard Devert, August 15, 2013. As a mom I think this is one of the best messages you could ever receive. Harry viewed life as a miracle and what better message is there? Harry saw what so many people don't see even after 90 years of life and he was 32 that life is worth loving and experiencing to the brim. Harry got it! His was a life well lived in fact it was extraordinary and no one can take the indelible mark he left on those who knew him and those who didn't, like myself.

I think a life cherished, loved and appreciated  is what we all want for our children and all we could ask for, isn't it? So please pray for Ann, her family and for all of our own children who will take flight in a very uncertain world. But let's also pray that like Harry they love their life and can see the beauty of the world even amidst the ashes.

I was going to provide the CNN link to this tragedy, but I find it fitting instead to look at Harry's life. Take a look at his blog A New Yorker Travels

Harry Devert From A New Yorker Travels

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Late Night Summer Fun! Fun Doesn't Just Happen In The Day Time!

It's good to step out of routine for both kids and adults and summer time provides that laid back free landscape we need to do just that! What better time to be spontaneous than at night! I've tried to teach my daughter that not every minute has to be planned out and going with the flow can produce some of the best memories. If your days are packed with work and the kids are at summer camp trying to doing a few fun things at night with them. Here are a few things we've done that I'd recommend trying on one of those summer evenings!

-Find a late night coffee shop, sit outside and have a treat. Anya and I went to a coffee shop by her school around 8:30 in the evening and just enjoyed the night air with a cupcake and some coffee.

-Go to the bookstore! I can literally go to the bookstore anytime. I really like small bookstores, but they rarely stay open late, but Barnes and Nobles is open until 11:00 pm. One night around 9 I told Anya to hop in the car and we browsed the bookstore and hung out reading and purchasing a couple books.

-Hang out at a late night diner. This is the same idea as the coffee shop but hey who doesn't love breakfast at night! It's great bonding time too! We did this one night by going to IHOP and having pancakes.

-Catch an outdoor movie. Check you local area to see if they sponsor a screen on the green. These are so much fun and are normally free. If you can't find one then try to find a drive in and bring a few pillows and a blanket to cozy up. Nothing says summer to me like the drive in.

-Take a ride. I find myself in the car a lot these days and I love the open road. Load into the car, throw in a great CD and just drive and sing as loudly as  you want and just have a good old laugh with your kids!

-Sleep outside. Surprise the kids one night and tell them everyone is sleeping outdoors! If they are younger most likely they will love the adventure of staying outside all night.

-Is there a special place where the stars and moon shine just a little brighter? Go gazing. Find a great parking space, sit on the top of your cars and just enjoy staring up at the sky! Teaching our kids to appreciate natural beauty is underrated.

-Find a summer concert, they are usually free and hang out listening to music until the night rolls in.

-Take a walk in your city. If you live close to a major city take some time to walk around at night to admire how different it looks in the night time. I live near DC and viewing it at night is always a different experience.

-Simply sit on the porch with some ice cream delight in your evening.

Okay, so are you ready to become a night owl yet? Of course safety is always first and if any of these suggestions would pose a danger to you or your family by all means don't do them! You may want to have another mom and her kids come along. The more the merrier right? I guess the point is any time that we get to appreciate one another's company we should do it, whether if it is in the evening or during the crack of dawn, the goal is to log time with our family and cherish the moment!

Late night at the drive in with gram

Late night run to Baskin Robbins!

Star Gazing

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breaking Through The Stuff

I haven't written in awhile mainly because I've been struggling. It isn't anything serious that involves the health of my daughter or myself, but it is stuff. That stuff that makes you feel broken. That stuff that makes you rewind and examine all the choices you made throughout your life that brought you to the exact place your in. It's the stuff of your past, the bad habits, the decisions that alter your course. It all comes back in a rush and suddenly you find yourself drowning in it and circling into a dark abyss. That is where I am in the stuff. It started with a slight dissatisfaction in just daily life mundane things and feeling overwhelmed. Then as with any weed it begin to grow and quickly spreads and soon every area of my life was under examination. Now, examination is good and essential if we ever hope to grow, but it can be painful as well.

The past has a tricky way of trying to squeeze it's way into your present. That has definitely been the case with me lately. I've been fighting very hard to throw it back where it belongs, but if I'm going to be honest with myself, it isn't easy to just compartmentalize what I'm feeling. I did that before and my guess is that is why it is coming back around for a visit.  I'm finding that honesty isn't as simple as it appears to be, do you agree? People always say be honest with your feelings. Well, we can be as honest as we want with how we feel, but sometimes there is nowhere for those honest feelings to go and that's where it gets murky. Right now I'm being very honest with my feelings with myself and I can't say that it is moving me forward instead it is keeping me in a holding pattern because I have nothing to do with them.

I have tried to remedy this feeling of brokenness and I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it didn't work. All of the temporary band aids I carefully covered the wounds with eventually peeled off and I'm just left with an ugly scab. Lately, my relationship with God has been weakening. Not because God has gone away, because he is the same yesterday, today, and always he can't change. No, it was me and my first aid kit trying to heal myself that created the distance. Maybe, the distance comes from the guilt and shame of not  being strong enough or smart enough to get through the stuff  that has a way of repeating itself. I can say for certainty that it is only prolonging the pain. After all these years do I still doubt that God forgives me and gives me undeserved grace and mercy? In the good times absolutely not, but when those hard times I hit I admit that I still get restless and try to regain the control I feel that is slipping through my fingertips. Although, I know that control is an illusion, only God has ultimate control over my life. So instead of handing it over to him I grasp on to how I can change a situation and always find myself disappointed when I don't rely on God.

I've been crying a lot. Don't feel bad for me, I actually believe that a good cry is priceless. My tears have been a faucet lately. I've been in a mourning period for all the stuff. But, as each tear falls I know that it is necessary to the cleansing process. The tears come from letting go, the release of pain, regret, brokenness, unspoken words and the inability to go back and make it different. Then in the midst of it all is my Father. Is there anything else to say? He is there, understanding the hidden complex places of me that I try so hard to protect and never let anyone else see. He knows me, and he knows my grief and he takes it and gives me a peace, a stillness, a quietness that I could never achieve on my own. He doesn't leave me with a scab instead he makes room for new skin to grow, one that is thicker and stronger. Only God can take my past and use it to mature me, to make me wiser and to appreciate my present. He heals all and I know he is using the stuff that I'm going through for his glory and his will I just have to put my faith in him and act according to his will and not mine.

So, I haven't written because of the stuff. The stuff stopped me, depleted my energy and squashed my voice for awhile. I felt like I had nothing to say to you all, nothing to give or share that would be of any value to you. Now God is slowly squashing the stuff and I'm able to say to you if you're enduring a difficult season remember that when you draw near to God he draws near to you and even when you don't know that he is constant. Whatever may go away he always remains.

Thank you for visiting my blog even when I don't write for 3 weeks! I appreciate all of you so very much. Many blessings to each of you! xoxox and hugs!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be The First to Watch THE IDENTICAL Movie Trailer!! You'll Be Counting Down The Days to September 5th!

You Must Absolutely See THE IDENTICAL!
Watch the Trailer and then Count Down The Days to the Release on September 5th !!!!

Click THE IDENTICAL to watch the trailer!

I had the privilege of going to a prescreening of THE IDENTICAL tonight and I can't say enough good things about it! It is one of if not the best film I've seen this year. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Cleaning Routine for the Living Room


Living Room Cleaning Routine

  • Polish Coffee table, bookshelf, 2 end tables, table for television-Twice a week
  • Straighten pillows on couch and throw- Every other week
  • Clean under the couch- Every week
  • Clean pictures on wall and in frames-  Every other week
  • Vacuum underneath inside couch along with underneath and behind it- Every week
  • Remove any clutter- Every day
  • Straighten up baskets- Every week
  • Clean windows, window sills, and inside window sills-Every other week
  • Wipe books down-Every other week
  • Clean floors - Every other week
  • Clean drawers- Once a month







Monday, June 16, 2014

How I Find Joy In Motherhood...I Seek It

If you read this blog you know how much I love my sweet girl Anya. Actually, I'm not sure if the word love is adequate there may not even be a word for how much I'm in love with her. But does that always mean I'm head over heels in love with motherhood and all it's challenges and responsibilities? Uh no.

Motherhood stretches me in a way I never knew possible and it can be joyful, beautiful and brutal all at the same time, but would I trade it? No, nothing in this world compares or can give me more satisfaction then being a momma. I know that I will always be her mom but I also know that one day she's going to to move out and I'll miss these younger years along with all their challenges. So it's important to me that I try to find the joy in motherhood and not miss out on all the fun stuff. So here are a few ways I try to keep the joy flowing:

1. Spend time with God. This is the number one in the rule book of finding joy. When momma's relationship with God is off everything else is out of sync. Spend time everyday with God. When you're doing laundry say a little pray. When the kids are down for a nap or outside playing read scripture. Whatever you have to do be in relationship with God.

2. Don't take it so seriously that you miss out on the fun! Parenting is a serious job, but if you are in a constant state of anxiety over everything then you won't have any fun at all and neither will your kids so you have to lighten up. I'm learning that not everything is urgent or necessary.

3. Let perfection go. Perfection is not attainable so stop trying. Accepting your imperfections and you children's flaws will make life easier and kinder. I know that we are both human beings who make mistakes and accepting that and not being so hard on either myself or her helps us enjoy one another and be genuine. It also teaches her that it is okay not to be perfect but to be herself which is awesomely and uniquely created.

4. Be silly! A sense of humor and laughter is what makes life bearable sometimes so indulge in it as much as you can. Go ahead and sing as loud as you can with the windows down on a roadtrip, dance all over the house, have a water balloon fight... let loose! Show your children how to have fun in life.

5. Smile more than you frown. Our kids know us, without a doubt. They know your body language, your disapproving looks, the sighs and they can easily internalize them. I suggest smiling more than you frown at them. Let them know you love them through your face. Even when you feel like frowning, just try to smile. Smiling is good for you too! Whenever you're about to scowl look at those little faces and remember how much you adore them.

6. Let your kids get dirty and be creative. Since I'm the person who is responsible for the cleaning, cooking, laundry, bills, and everything else I can get a little cray with the organizing and making everything tidy. But when I remember that these childhood years go by quickly I tend to ease up a bit. I encourage my kid to go out and get dirty and although it can drive me batty I do let her dolls sleep in a makeshift bed she made in the hallway, and I do let her bring a 1000 toys downstairs because one day she won't. I remind myself to appreciate these moments because they are fleeting and precious.

7. Find ways to show them your love. One of the aspects I love about childhood is creating the memories. When you find little ways to show your kids how much you love them you automatically receive joy from the joy you give them. I'm big on notes in the lunchboxes, making treats, or doing spontaneous trips. I also simply say I love you as much as possible!

8. Don't be a nag. Do they need discipline? Absolutely. But if you find yourself constantly saying don't do this, stop doing that, and no absolutely not then it may be time reevaluate what you are so annoyed about and does it really matter? If it does matter then find a constructive way to go about it and if it doesn't matter let it go.

9. Get in some you time. I know it is hard, but if you can squeeze in a few minutes of you time and recharge instead of running on empty you will be a lot more happier and relaxed.

10. Ask for help. I have a problem with this one. I can't ask for help, I am working on it, but its tough. I know though when I don't ask for help I'm stressed, worried and agitated. It is okay to say hey friend can you help me, can you watch my kid for an hour, I need some help. Asking for help is essential to our well being.
I dragged both of these trees in the house by myself, why? Because I didn't want to ask for help. Joyful?? No.

Lastly, simply find joy in the little things like: cuddling, talking, eating dinner together, enjoying an ice cream on the porch, taking a walk, watching them sleep, and just enjoy this gift that as women we are so privileged to experience. Let yourself feel the emotions that come with motherhood but keep focused on the big picture. Always pray for that joy and seek it!

The Official DOLPHIN TALE 2 Preview is Here! Take a Peek!!

It is finally here! The Official DOLPHIN TALE 2 Preview is here! It looks like it will be a great heartwarming family film something we are always in search of for our kids. DOLPHIN TALE 2 promises to be just as good as the first movie! Watch the Official Trailer Today! Click on the title below and get excited for September 19th opening night!!

As always thank you to Grace Hill Media for this opportunity

Black Board Tray and Crate DIY Project...So Easy!

I think a little DIY does the soul good. So on Saturday, I bought a couple cheap wooden trays and I already had chalkboard paint twine at home so I literally paid about $5.00 for this whole project because both trays I bought were 40% off and the crate I already had purchased awhile back. This was so easy and I love chalk board projects.

Just a simple tray

Paint it with chalkboard paint and add a couple coats and let dry

I added some twine to the sides and used it last night at dinner.

Plain crate that can fit books or toys

Finished project! I'm probably going to add something on front just not sure what exactly yet. 

 If you like the chalkboard look don't spend a ton on pieces just find some cheaper unfinished piece and some chalkboard paint and you can do it quickly and inexpensively! This is also a fun project for kids to do in the summer and its easy!

Shutting Out the Noise and Knowing God is Present

When I read the bible I'm stunned by how some of Jesus' disciples still had doubt in him. I think how could they have doubted Jesus? After following him, seeing the many miracles, and hearing his word how could their faith falter? If I had been there in front of Jesus, surely I would never have doubted him. In John 14:8-10 "Philip said, Lord show us the Father and that will be enough for us." To which Jesus replies,  "Don't you know me Philip after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seem me has seen the Father. How can you say show us the Father? Don't you believe  that I am in the Father and the Father is in me or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves?" What was going on with Philip? Well it is the same thing that goes on with me. Although I never saw Jesus I have witnessed his miracles time and time again in my life and yet there are times I stumble into doubt? Hasn't he always been present in my life even when I would push against his will? As far as I could stray is as far as Jesus would go and beyond to show me his love, grace, compassion and forgiveness. Yet, doubt still creeps in during those dark hours.

This past week had a lot of ups and downs, a lot more downs actually. When you dwell in one negative situation it is so easy for it to infect all the other areas of your life. Before I knew it I was drowning in a pity party. Soon everything was a problem... money, the house, my job, everything! I started to feel as though everything I did was jut a failure. Now I know that really isn't true, but once that stinking thinking starts it spreads like a cancer. What's worse is I didn't feel God's presence. You know why I didn't? Not because he said, " I need to leave this negative Nelly alone." No God didn't say that, it was my own junk that was keeping me from feeling his presence. All the noise was pushing him out and filling up my head. Do you know how exhausting that is when we let the world in and tune God out? With my world state of mind I was digging myself deeper into the hole. Instead of looking up to him I was focused on my circumstances those worldly issues that were weighing me down.

So, Saturday  morning I sat on the porch. In silence just me and my cup of coffee and the bible. I prayed and asked God to show me his presence to let me hear him. It didn't happen right away. I eventually left the porch because of errands and as the day grew in and I prayed I was sensing that peace, that comes when God has his arms around you. In my heart I knew God was with me and he always is through the clouds and the sunshine.

He reminded me of how he has continued to bless me, to protect me and to provide for me. No matter what curve ball life threw at me or how many times I screwed up God was right there with me, always present. Every day he is taking care of me, everyday he is performing miracles in MY life. I just don't always recognize and acknowledge them. Throughout the day there were signs that God gave me to remind me that I matter, what I do matters, and who I am in Christ matters and that is enough for me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Creating a Little Summer Dinner Fun!

Do you know how much I love dining outdoors? No you don't because I can't express how much l love it!!! Today was a beautiful day and I decided to have an impromptu dinner outside with a friend. The one thing I truly enjoy is trying to create memories. This weekend I was thinking a lot about how I want to live and how I want my life to look. I want life to be beautiful and to include others in that beauty. So today this was my small attempt to do just that :) I suggest getting together with your friends this summer and having dinner outside as much as you can!

It started with a quick trip to Trader Joe's to pick up some pretty sunflowers 

Then there was the table 

Some delicious grapes, cheese and crackers along with a simple salad 
My DIY tray, a few springs from my yard and a some glasses I've been dying to use

And a little gift for my guest (the inside says I adore her friendship :)
The main dish isn't pictured but I made spinach chick pea korma with rice. We had a great time eating, laughing and listening to music on the porch in the summer air!