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All Things Possible

There are times, that motherhood feels impossible. Not just motherhood, though I guess. All of it, the cooking, cleaning, and care-taking. All of that, at times, feels impossible.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some days I feel like I am killing it. The days the whole house is clean at the same time, and the laundry is folded AND put away, the dishes are done, the kid is napping, and the coffee in my cup is still hot. There are those days, they aren’t common, but they do happen.

But look, I want to be real here. There are some days where none of that happens. There are days, when I’m just tired, and all I want to do is watch TV. The thought of doing the dishes AGAIN makes me physically sick. There are days I want to be lazy.

There are also days, where I am so legitimately busy I do not think I can get everything done. Days where I need to go grocery shopping, and make a bunch of phone calls, manage the budget, and make something delicious and healthy for dinner.

It doesn’t matter which day it is, sometimes it all just feels impossible.

Impossible to get out of my slump.

Impossible to get everything done.

Impossible to spend time doing anything else than cooking and cleaning.

Going from working outside the home, to being a stay at home mom was an adjustment in ways I didn’t expect. When I was working, all I wanted to do was be home. I romanticized working on crafts, and keeping the house tidy, and going on fun little “field trips”.

They were things I somehow managed to do with a full time job, so once I was home I could all of that and then some. But I ran out of crafts, and I can only rearrange my cupboards so many times, and  I don’t want to mess with our nap schedule to go out gallivanting all the time.

I feel guilty even talking about it being “hard”. I’m not ungrateful, I’m not bitter, and I promise I’m not disillusioned, I’m just learning. And learning is hard sometimes.

I found a book at the Blueberry festival like three years ago called “Love Out Loud“, by Joyce Meyer. I think I paid 50 cents for the little devotional. (It’s totally worth full price, I highly recommend it) I “dog-eared” a page on July 5th about Phil.4 :13  that resonated with me so much this year.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

At one point Joyce explains it like this…

“This verse means we can do ‘all things’ that are part of God’s will for us. If you are called to be a missionary in the jungle, you will be able to ‘do’ all things that are part of the rigors of jungle life. The same principle is true for any situation or calling.”

At the time I read this. Rusty was working night shift, and his shift was never less than 14 hours. I typically saw him about 45 minutes a day. I don’t like to spend a lot of time alone, and I especially don’t like that time alone to be at night. I was lonely, discouraged, and  just didn’t feel like doing all this was possible.

Being a stay at home mom, is my calling and, Rusty working night shift was our situation. God had called, and allowed for these things, so He was going to strengthen us to do them.

When I was able to be still and listen to God, He showed me that it’s through His strength all things are possible. That is not about the laundry, dishes, or meals, it’s just about obeying God and trusting Him wherever we are.

 

5 Simple Ways To Have A Great Day

Good Morning!

I love mornings. I always have.

It’s even been a source of tension in my marriage at times.

Amanda: GOOD MORNING! How did you sleep? Did you have any weird dreams? I did, last night I dreamed that I saw Russell Crowe at a restaurant, and I told him I was surprised by how short he was… weird, right? What would you like for breakfast? Want creamer in your coffee?

Rusty:…

Amanda: Are you mad at me?

Rusty:…

Amanda: What’s wrong?

Rusty:… *snores*

This is our normal, we’ve made peace with it.

Truth be told, I enjoy mornings a lot more when they come at 8 o’clock. Often though, they do not. Many times when my alarm goes off, I start planning everything I need to do to get a nap in later that day. My day will be a series of rushed chores to hopefully fit in a blissful nap, where hopefully Russell Crowe doesn’t make an appearance. And begrudgingly I slump out of bed.

All this to say, my mornings have never been a time that I dread. Rather, it’s the rest of the day. The chores, the errands, the meals, etc. Over the last few months, I have realized dreading the day while caring for a baby wasn’t working for me. I wanted to show him endless amounts of love, and joy, while savoring every sweet moment with him so little. I was struggling to do that when all I was thinking about was getting everything done to take a nap.

Here are a few things that have changed the way I look at my day!

  1. Finish the chores. I know I know, the chores NEVER end. But, finish the ones that are started. Put clean dishes away, wash the dirty ones, put laundry away, or sweep the floor. Nothing crazy, just a few minutes to put the house back in order. I sometimes will set a time for 10-15 minutes, dedicated to finishing chores at the end of the day.
  2. Go to bed at a reasonable time. After I put RJ to bed, I crave some “me time”, when my chores are finished that is much more possible. I can spend time browsing Instagram,  reading, taking a long hot shower, or whatever I feel like! Then I’m able to get ready for bed feeling got-lots-done-feel-great tired, instead of uugggghhhh-just-drag-me-to-bed tired.
  3. Make the bed. I have seen over and over the importance of making a bed in the morning. The last like 3 months, OUT OF MY WHOLE LIFE, I have been making the bed. And I mean, I haven’t changed the world yet, but I am consistently surprised at much “put-together” I feel when that’s done.
  4. Read the Bible. This is one that is far too easy to skip. God is never too tired, or too busy for us. When we feel like we are too tired, or too busy, then something else needs to go, not time alone with God.
  5. Exercise. I hate working out. Hate it, hate it hate it. Once in a while, I find a program that I enjoy because of cool music, or low-key movements. When I think of working out in the morning, I mostly think of going for a run, some intense cardio, or weight training. Listen, if you want to do those things, then obviously do them. But if you don’t want to, then don’t. Just get up and do something. Do like 5 squats, or push-ups. Go for a 10 minute walk. Walk up and down the stairs a few times. Just do something to get yourself off the couch. The more often you do simple things, the more you will want to do.

In the spirit of honesty, I don’t always do all of these things. I just know that when I do, I’m giving myself, and my family the best shot at a great day.

RJ’s Peter Pan Room

I have always loved Peter Pan.  I mean, the movie has everything! Sword fights, fairies, mermaids, and you can imagine being a kid forever.

Months before we were expecting, I decided to start painting a mural for the baby that we would have one day. It took almost no time to decide the theme, because it is so fitting for a boy or a girl.

Murals, are not just something I do. I’m not one of those people who is just uber talented and paints things on a whim. This took weeks of planning, and lots and lots of used up erasers.

Of course, I was pretty proud with how it turned out. I didn’t really think of it as something to share, except people would occasionally ask to see a picture of the wall I was working on. I have shared a picture of RJ in his room before, but please enjoy this mini gallery of what his room looks like all together.

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You know what they say…

“All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.”

 

Tips for a Romantic Disney Vacation

If I had a nickel hundred dollars, for every time someone was surprised that my husband and I were going on a vacation to Disney World without kids… I would probably have enough money to plan another trip. Ha!

Okay, but for real. Disney is the best, most magical, and beautiful place in the world. It’s generally thought of as a place you take kids, which it is. I mean there are like a lot of kids there. It’s also so much more than that! It’s romantic, and serene (at the right times), and still just as magical as adults.

Without further ado, here are some of my best tips on making a Disney vacation romantic.

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Stay somewhere nice.

If you are looking for your trip to be romantic, and grown-up, the value resorts probably won’t deliver. Most of them offer smallish rooms with two double beds. Disney does offer some really gorgeous resorts. But like they say, all magic comes with a price, so the prettier the resort the higher the price point. We found a great deal and chose to stay off site at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. It was very close to the parks, we had our own suite, access to multiple pools, hot tubs, and a lazy river. If you are willing to stay off site, you can find lots of intimate, and romantic locations. If you are going to stay on site I personally things that Port Orleans Riverside looks the most glamours without breaking the bank.

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Make dining reservations. 

Traveling with kids, and/or a big group can make dining reservations hard since you will be charged a penalty for a no-show. When it’s a party of two, not only is it much more likely to make your reservations, it’s much more relaxing. The table service restaurants at Disney World, are “imagineered” impeccably, and offer gorgeous scenery, and delicious food. They are going to be a bit more pricey than quick service restaurants, but all the menus with prices are available on the website so you don’t have to be surprised. Click here to check out the my favorite restaurant in Animal Kingdom!

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Do the rides! 

Just because you are interested in a more “mature” vacation, don’t skip the rides! I mean what says love more than holding hands and screaming on Tower of Terror? But in all seriousness, I am a firm believer in fun being romantic.

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Dance

You will see kids dancing the different music of the parks all day. Those kids are having the time of their lives. In places like the Italy pavilion in EPCOT, there is beautiful music playing that is practically begging you to pull each other close and spin around. Sure maybe no other adults are dancing, but is anyone else really as in love as you?

Spend the day in EPCOT

No where else in the world can you visit 11 different countries in one night. At these different pavilions you can find authentic food and drink, live shows, and gorgeous scenery. The world showcase alone is worth spending an entire day in. Snack around the world, hold hands, and watch the incredible live performers.

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Take pictures

Rusty is very gracious to me and my love of pictures. Not just a simple selfie, but “stand here, put your arm here, look like this” while I set up my timer kind of pictures. We asked people to get a picture of us here and there, but I also used my camera timer and a bit of creativity a lot. We felt like fools, and I didn’t care (Rusty may have at times, but like I said, he is very gracious). Don’t be afraid to cheese it up a bit. Go in for a kiss, let him dip you, jump in the air. I have found that doing silly things together is a bit of a bonding exercise.

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Always stay for the fireworks

I’m not even gonna sit here and lie to you. I cried at the end of every fireworks show. It was really cold when Rusty and I went, so we would go to Starbucks (in the park) and casually make our way to watch the fireworks. We huddled together sipping our coffee, watching the most flawless display of fireworks. It was such a special memory, whenever I drink a Starbucks caramel macchiato, I’m right back there.

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 Most of all, enjoy each other on your vacation to the most magical place on earth!

Busy, but good.

Two years ago, I wanted to start a blog. As I mentioned in my first ever blog post, I was told by a lot of people who probably just wanted me to stop talking, that I should do one. So I did. I had so many grand ideas of lots of followers and free products to do reviews on, sharing my views, and all kinds of possibilities.

Then I found out I was pregnant.

I didn’t care about anything else in the world except this little baby growing inside me. I still wanted to write, but all of the unknown about pregnancy, parenthood, and well life in general made me so incredibly inadequate. Every time I would sit down and write a post, I would end up deleting it and telling myself over and over “no one cares”. Haha, and honestly it’s still true, except now I realize, I’m not writing to people who don’t care. I want to write to women, moms, and humans like me. I have learned this past year being a stay at home mom. So much about myself, God, my marriage, my family, you name it.

I desperately want to share this blog, because I truly love all things exciting. I have countdowns in my head for very small, but still exciting, everyday things (like my walmart packages to arrive, hurray trash can I got on clearance!). When I try a new recipe on pinterest, or find a great sale, or read a great passage in my devotions in the morning, it’s so exciting! Finding exciting things in everyday life is so encouraging to me, and I hope it encourages you as well!

I’m a stay at home mom to a one year old boy who never. stops. moving. I am constantly surprised by how busy, chaotic, lonely, and boring being a stay at home mom can be. I didn’t expect to feel all the feelings every day, but here I am feeling them. To anyone, in any stage of life, feeling busy, chaotic, lonely or bored, let’s be friends.

Let’s chat about the good, exciting things in life. Things like an empty dishwasher and laundry folded the same day it was washed. Let’s talk about how your normal grocery bill was a few dollars cheaper, or how your favorite movie just showed up on Netflix. Let’s share about dream jobs and vacations, huge goals, and small victories.

I’m excited to go grocery shopping when I’m trying new meals. Laundry is fun when I look for new outfit combinations. Working out, I will almost always hate but I really do get excited about being healthy, and more energetic.

Being busy isn’t always a bad thing. I’m busy with things I love to do, like chasing my toddler, cooking dinner, making desserts, and planning adventures. A lot of times, I’m busy with things I don’t like to do, like laundry, grocery shopping, and working out. But with the right mind set, I remember all of these things are part of my personal calling, and I can learn to appreciate, and enjoy all the busyness of life.

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Making Life a Little More Magical

Oh hello there!

It has now been one year ago that my husband and I left for the most wonderful magical vacation ever.

Obviously that means we went to Walt Disney World ❤

If you have ever been to Disney, you know the level of magic that lives there. Everywhere you look there is beauty and fun! So much so, it makes leaving awful hard. Sometimes leaving you with what some call “P.D.D.” post Disney depression.

Well here are a few things I would like to share of how to make everyday a little more magical!

Listen to park music. Do this carefully. I can’t tell you how many trips I have “accidentally” planned while under the influence of the Magic Kingdom entrance song.

Do something special with your pictures from the trip! Whether you enjoy scrapbooking, or just putting them into an album, figure out a way for you to be able to enjoy your pictures anytime! I always order my pictures from Walmart. It’s cheap to get them delivered, and they always come early!

Follow Disney blogs!  Seriously, go to Pinterest and just type in Disney, and you will find some blogs you will love!

Here is my  favorite!

Add some sparkle to your home decor!

Light Switch Cover!

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Glitter Pillow!

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Plan your next vacation! Planning in advance is a great way to research the best resorts, restaurants, and deals for your next stay in the Magical world of Disney. It’s also a great way to figure out the best kind of budget to help you get there again!

If you haven’t ever planned a trip before, and it seems overwhelming send me a message. I would love to help get you started and send you some wonderful money saving tips I have found!

How do you add magic to your life? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Overcoming the Pit of Despair

It’s no secret that life can be so completely overwhelming. In fact it is far to easy to loose sight of the things that really matter. I like to borrow a phrase from the popular movie “The Princess Bride” and call this part of life the “pit of despair”. Unlike poor Wesley, it’s a place many of us go to when we feel like we can’t see much good in life.

I don’t necessarily want to call this depression. Depression, while sometimes can be a choice, for a lot of people is not. Today, let’s talk about the choice of joy, and how to overcome the pit of despair.

But first, why “the pit of despair”? This part of the movie scared me so much as a child! It was the worst part. Wesley had been kidnapped and taken to this place to have the life drained out of him.

When I find myself in my own pit of despair, I feel like I too, am having my very life taken from me.

Wow, so dramatic.

I’m being serious though, I go to work, I go home, I watch TV, I really do nothing. My life has become an empty one.

I have stumbled upon this pit, and actually for some reason enjoyed this half-dead life. I meander throughout life with no real sense of purpose. Of course, I decorated a little so when people visit they don’t feel sorry for me. In fact, often I beg people to visit because this life is a lonely one. It’s cozy, dark, quiet, and empty. It is almost an exact replica of my heart. Every once in a while, I feel like I should move to actually be happy, but being the half-dead lump that I am, that doesn’t exactly feel possible.

So, how then, does one overcome this?

Well, pardon the cliche’, but the first step is…

Admit your problem. The trick here is, you may not actually feel like you have a problem. But let’s face it, this kind of attitude is anything but glorifying to God. The best, and first thing to do, it admit that you need to stop.

Provers 28:13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
    but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Even if you just wish you wanted to change, that’s a start. Talk to God. Yeah, it’s going to be hard. And, yeah it just needs to happen.

Acknowledge your purpose. God has a purpose for each and every one of His children. I know I fall into this pit of despair when I loose sight of God’s love and purpose for my life.

Romans 8:28-29(a) “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son…”

I love this verse because it says that the good God has called us to, is being more like Jesus. As believers in Jesus, we won’t only experience good things. Jesus himself didn’t experience only good things. We will experience things that help us be more like Jesus, and God says that’s good!

Acquire your passion. The pit of despair is the best place to go when I don’t get what I want. It also serves as a way to see my own heart. What are the things I want anyway? Why am I so crushed when they don’t work out?

Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

This verse gives me such a peace of mind. When I am taking delight in the Lord, when I am finding everything I need in Him, the desires of my heart will in fact be Him! When I am focused on Jesus, all I want is more Jesus.

Leaving the comfy pit, is a challenge. You most likely won’t wake up one day and be ready to change. Self inflicted despair is not easy to overcome. It is actually impossible to overcome alone. Trust me, I have tried and failed every time. Instead, follow God’s voice and He will lead you to a life of fulfillment.

John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Have a wonderful day!  

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Falling in Love With Fall

I love fall.

Really, truly, love fall.

You can hate on pumpkin all you want, and I don’t care, because you just don’t understand the love we share. If anything, I am sorry for those who chose not experience the bliss of a pumpkin spice latte.

Grab your best friend, sibling, or spouse and have tons of fun this fall season!

Going for a drive to look at the leaves with pumpkin spice chai tea lattes in hand.

Going to a pumpkin patch.

Carving pumpkins!

Go to a corn maze.

Go to a haunted house/maze.

Rent a scary(ish) movie and stay home with popcorn!

Pick apples

Make applesauce

Decorate the house!

Host a fall/Halloween party

Visit the Cider Mill! 

Go for a hike

Have a bonfire

Participate in a Trunk or Treat

Put away summer clothes, and figure out what you can give away!

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy this beautiful season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Modesty Paradox

As a Christian girl, the idea of modesty was drilled into my brain at a very early age. I was told what I could wear and when I could wear it. I was given books about modesty. During youth group, we would separate into groups of guys, and groups of girls. We would be in our separate groups to learn how to be modest. How to dress in a way that no man wants to look at us in an inappropriate way. The group talks were always incredibly awkward, and usually didn’t make much sense to me.

If you are with me so far, you may remember those split groups, books, and “please don’t wear this outfit again” conversations. As a young girl, I was very concerned with doing the right thing. Thinking that a man would think terrible, disgusting, unmentionable things about me in a simple t-shirt, was both a mystery and annoyance to me. I simply could not understand how in the world, I was supposed to wear my clothes in a way that is totally, completely free of something that make someone stumble.

An example comes to mind, from book about modesty.                                                                    A girl, who loved God owned a yellow sleeveless dress. This girl once wore her favorite summer dress to school one day. She noticed on this particular day, that there was quite a bit of chatter around her. She investigated the chatter, only to learn that the boys all loved when she wore this yellow dress. She was mortified to realize that the boys in her school noticed this dress, and liked when she wore it. To rectify the situation, she invited some of her male friends to her closet to take away anything they liked seeing her wear.

This example had resonated with me for many years. I was so worried that I would wear a “yellow sleeveless dress” and that all boys everywhere would see me, and have yucky thoughts about me.

From this, and so many examples like it, I would measure each and every outfit by the attention of men.  As a Christian girl, careful to do what I have been told, I am taught to dress for people.

Over the years I have been able to understand what modesty should mean.

Our beauty comes from God. 

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

When we talk about modesty, we talk a lot about clothing, but it goes so much deeper than just the clothes we wear. This verse is clear, outward beauty is shallow, and it simply doesn’t last. If we spend our time worried about our clothes, we will be well dressed empty people. 

We should draw attention to God. 

1 Timothy 2:9 

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

I love, love, love doing my hair and makeup. I love picking out cute outfits, and getting all dolled up. So, when does this become wrong? Well, the short answer would be, when it takes over our hearts. When being pretty is what you spend time getting people to remember about you, instead of your love for God.

We should take time to look nice, and take care of ourselves, but modesty doesn’t beg for attention.

We have a biblical obligation to not cause others to stumble. 

1 Corinthians 8:13

So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

What’s happening here, is that often meat was offered to idols before it was sold, and sometimes there was no way to tell if it had been. Some Christians were comfortable to eat regardless, because they did not feel they were partaking in the actual idol worship. Other Christians were convicted about it, and wouldn’t eat any meat, just in case.

Paul loves others so much, that here he says he is willing to stop eating meat all together, to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone’s relationship with God.

This shouldn’t be confused with trying to please people. We are pleasing God by being selfless to the point of  to not wearing certain things that will hurt other’s relationship with God.

We are not our own. 

1 Corinthians 6:19

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.”

If you have accepted Christ as your savior, this is true of you. The Holy Spirit lives in you, and you represent Him!

Every time we pick out an outfit, we are choosing how we are representing Jesus that day. We are ultimately dressing to please God, and to be good representations of Him!

Shopping For A Difference

The other day got home from yet another amazing shopping trip to Interfaith. I realized that when you find something this great, it’s only polite to share it with everyone you know!

“Susquehanna County Interfaith is MORE than a thrift store. Our goal is to help families who are facing adversity find advocacy, help and hope. We offer a variety of services and programs to meet the needs of the community.”

Not only do they have great prices, (that recently got even better!!) but the money you spend goes to help people in our community!

So I put together a simple list of why you should stop everything you are doing, and go shopping.

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They are always putting out new inventory!

Like, always. Because people are always bringing in the clothes they have already rocked. Here’s how it works: people buy new clothes, wear the clothes, stop wearing the clothes, take the clothes to interfaith, you buy the clothes. (This also works with shoes, movies, and other various items)

You can contribute to the inventory! If you know you are going shopping, bring a few things that you haven’t worn lately! It’s a great way to help out Interfaith, and yourself!

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It supports so many great things!

The money you spend when you shop, goes to help families in need. Every time you shop, you are really investing in the community!

They offer great programs and services such as “Souper Wednesday“, Christmas Bureau, and Bountiful Blessing!  Each of these programs and services, are uniquely designed to help and encourage many families.

 

You will always find something you love!

Make sure you have plenty of time when you walk in, because I’m sure you will want to look at everything! They have a great variety of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, as well as movies, games, and home decor!

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I am going to be real with you, as I read about all that Interfaith does, I fell in love with it even more! They are truly here to serve.

If you are in need of assistance, call or visit them!

If you are able to help by volunteering or donating, that is always appreciated!

Phone: 570.278.1776          Address: 17120 State Route 706 Montrose, PA 18801