Kid Approved Breakfast 

So wow…it’s been a long time since I last posted. To long if you ask me but I had some major writers block and I’ve also been working really hard on focusing on my health, family and distressing from the busy days, weeks and what has appeared to turn into months in the Parker home. 

Earlier this week I posted on my personal Facebook page about doing a trial menu for the previous 2 weeks with the daycare kiddos and adding more protein into mainly our breakfast but also eliminating a lot of the added sugar through out the day and I had so many people asking for ideas that I figured this was a great post to hopefully help get me back in the routine of hanging out with all of you over here again! 

I grew up eating sugary cereal or poptarts every morning, a dozen cookies after school…yes, you read that correctly…I often question why that was an appropriate afternoon snack for anyone, a massive size dinner and then a large bowl of ice cream and some more cookies before bed. I love my momma dearly but seriously, I was raised to have some health issues later in my life. As a teenager I remember wanting to eat healthy and I would be given a Slim Fast shake but was still never thaught proper nutrition until a high school Home Ec class one year. During that year I slowly changed my eating habits, started exercising almost every day and before to long I had dropped 30 pounds and felt amazing. Fast forward to being pregnant and throwing up all foods that I had to prepare we went back to take out all day, every day for all those months. Hard delivery and a precious little girl that refused to sleep resulted in a slow recovery for me, depression and continuing the tradition of take out. By the time our 3rd was in kindergarten our eating habits were probably absolutely horrid, I was still exhausted all the time, snapping at anyone that crossed my path and we had some behavior issues that made us want to pound our heads against a brick wall ALL DAY LONG. A friend mentioned that she had taken her boys off of food colorings and had seen an improvement with their behavior and at this point I was ready to try anything. So goodbye fruit snacks and most of our cereal selections and wouldn’t you know by the end of a week it was almost like we had a new kid in the house! The next few years I cut out pop, candy and found my love for cooking which in return equaled less nights of take out. I thought we had this whole healthy eating thing nailed and other then the day after a candy filled holiday the behavior issues had continued to improve. These last few months I’ve realized that just because it’s homemade, a vegetable or a fruit doesn’t mean that you can eat it anytime you want or that it’s the best option for your body. We were actually eating very little protein which made us hungry ALL the time, it was making me grouchy and was adding to my daycare kiddos craziness from about an hour after breakfast until lunch time. A few weeks ago my doctor had shared something at our ladies retreat about protein and I got this brilliant idea to give it a try with the kiddos breakfast and then also being more diligent in giving them less sugar/carb filled items at lunch and for their afternoon snack. I am amazed at the difference I have seen! For the most part they haven’t had meltdowns before lunch, they are thanking me for the food I’ve filled their plates with…without even being reminded, and they have fallen asleep faster at nap time and haven’t woke up crying for a snack. Another bonus has been surprisingly our grocery bill has went down slightly! As for me I’ve been eating high protein/little to no carbs on and off since November and have seen my blood pressure start to drop, I’ve lost some more of the weight that’s hung around since the early 2000’s and I’ve had more energy then I’ve had in years! 

So what do we eat?!?! This is a question I’ve been asked a lot in the last year and something I’ve had to tweak a few times to figure out what’s best for me and my body. So just because this has worked great for me, don’t be discouraged or give up if you don’t see my results. It might take time for you to figure out exactly what your body needs. I’ve never been a big breakfast person so most days won’t eat until 11:00am and I’ll have some type of grilled or baked chicken or beef, if I need an afternoon snack I’ll slice up half an apple and some cheese or a handful of walnuts or pecans and then for supper I’ll have some more chicken or beef and a small amount of vegetables. I’m living in a kids dream world right now since fruit and vegetables like to sky rocket my blood pressure, so I’m limiting myself to at the most only 1 serving of each a day. I also only try to eat for 6 hours out of the day. So if I eat lunch at 11:00am I try to eat my dinner at 5:00pm. I’ve brought my blood pressure down from 220/180’s to 150/90…don’t freak out…I’m still working on this but I’m headed in the right direction! Do I still struggle? Absolutely! I have 30+ years of bad eating habits I’m trying to break but seeing results with how I feel and on the scale make it easier to stick to. 

Now for the kiddos…according to the food program I’m on for the daycare I need to feed them milk, fruit or vegetable and a grain at every breakfast. No protein is required until lunch. I’ll admit that my breakfast choices for them weren’t amazing because I have 10 of them that may eat it, throw it across the room or crumble it all over the floor, so I wasn’t really thinking about spending more time preparing something that they may or may not eat. We of course had behavior issues but once again there’s 10 of them so I never once thought about how our food choices could maybe make 90% of our day peaceful. Umm…I’m so glad I gave this a try because I’m blown away and shocked at how different our days now look and how peaceful my house is now. I give them the grain because I’m required to but if it was my own kids I wouldn’t give it to them on a daily basis for breakfast. Down below are my top 10 breakfast ideas that are kid approved to hopefully give you some new ideas! 

-Scrambled eggs with cheese and you can add in shredded chicken or beef for added protein and flavor. 

-Egg muffins…the kids love these! This week I chopped up some ham and tomatoes and then whisked together a dozen eggs with salt and pepper and filled the muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. You can change the flavor by adding in peppers, cheese, etc. 


-Breakfast Pizza…my kids all went crazy for this! In a 9×13 pan spread out one tube of crescent rolls and layer shredded hash browns, cheese, any other toppings you want and then mix together 6 eggs with 1/4 cup milk and pour over the top. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. 

-Protein Balls…lots of recipes on Pinterest so go take a look and pick one that sounds good to you. Most use peanut butter…I encourage you to read your PB bottle to see how much sugar it contains. 

-Egg McMuffin…I bake an egg in a coffee cup in the microwave for 50 seconds then place on the bottom half of a toasted English muffin and top with cheese and the top of the muffin. The kids thought I actually bought them McDonald’s! 

-Yogurt with a small handful of cereal to add some crunch. 

-Yogurt Sundaes…slice a banana and pile on yogurt, berries and a little granola. 

*I read the labels for almost everything…the best yogurt I’ve found for the cost is organic vanilla yogurt in a large tub from Aldi. I would love to make my own so I can control what all goes into it but that hasn’t happened yet* 

-Hard boiled egg with sliced apple or pears and cheese stick or sliced cheese…not the wrapped cheese but the kind from a block that you slice yourself. 

-Cheese stick, Apple and a handful of walnuts. 

-Grilled chicken tender on a biscuit with a little honey drizzled over…Chick Fil A inspired ?

Hope this gives you some new ideas…I should also add that I’m not a doctor and these are just things I’ve learned and been amazed at while getting my health on track, raising 3 active kids and owning my own home daycare. I’m not hear to treat you but to give others hope for being the healthiest that God has intended for you. I’ll keep posting over here how this journey is going for us! 

Much Love,

Amy 

Thankful Thursday

In the busyness of the world around us and between all the grumbling, hate and fighting going on these days it can be hard to remember all the good we do have in this wonderful place. Not just today but everyday I want to stop, slow down, share a smile or a hug with those around me and be thankful for many things that I’ve been blessed with. Today is a gift and one I want to enjoy and be thankful for. 


Today I’m thankful for:

A God that loves ME and YOU no matter what!

The beautiful fall weather.

A husband that loves me and always supports me. 

Three amazing kiddos that are growing up way to fast. 

A roof over my head. 

A fridge full of food that I can prepare for my family. 

My business that allows me to bring in a good income while staying at home. 

My extended family that I don’t get to see very often. 

Friends that will be here for me in an instant if needed. 

The freedom to go worship my Savior every week.  

The 26 years I had my mom on this earth. 

Maybe you’re in a place right now that it’s hard to find the good or things you can be thankful for, but I promise you this…no matter how difficult life might seem we all have something to be thankful for. Maybe it’s the breath you just took, the pillow you’ve cried into or a  smile you received from a stranger passing by. Be thankful for the small things, the big things and everything in between. What has put a smile on your face today or how can you put a smile on someone else’s face? These are all things we can be thankful for…this season I want to challenge you to find an attitude of gratitude, list out everything you are thankful for and find ways to make someone thankful for you. Focus on the good in this life and somehow it makes everything else seem not so hard. 

Thankful for you and much love,

Amy

Simply Living

Have you ever been at a point in your life when you’ve just wanted to throw everything away or light a match and start all over with just the basic, simple things in life? 

I crave for a simpler, slower paced way of life where I’m not always moving this pile from one spot to another, not always cleaning up the same items all day long and one where I’m not always looking for that lost object that we of course needed 10 minutes ago. Back in January or February I started a ‘Clear the Crap’ campaign inside my own home and boy did it feel good to just be free of all these unneeded items. When my health took once again another hit, my crap clearing days had to take a backseat for several months. I’ve picked it back up these past weeks except this time I’m being very intentional on what is staying and what is going away for good this time. While not much found its way back into my home I realized we still have so much more then we need and so many items that don’t mean anything to us or bring us joy in any way, shape or form. I am now going through my home once again but this time I’m only keeping the items that A) we use on a regular basis and B) items that really bring us joy   

My first room was the kitchen and while I will still probably part or change up a few things (like my kitchen cups that I don’t like, but you know we kinda need) I’m so much more relaxed in this room and don’t feel like it’s overwhelming when I spend time in here anymore. I can now clean it up in 10 minutes and when I open cabinet doors I don’t fear for my life because random, shoved in objects aren’t falling on my face anymore. 


I wish I would have remembered to take before pictures…I tell myself this a lot so maybe one day I actually will remember ? I would love the counter to be completely cleared off but that hasn’t actually ever happen no matter how many things I get rid of. This however is a much smaller “do to” pile so it’s very manageable. We can also now open the “junk drawer” without something getting stuck and can find the needed item quickly because it’s organized and has stayed organized for several weeks now! 

I am working in our master bed and bathroom now and would love to create the room I’ve always dreamed of…I want to walk in to this room and feel relaxed and not stressed out because I have piles of laundry in the corner that need folded or see all my kitchen piles that always seemed to find their way back to this room for when company comes over looking back at me. I want this to be a room Adam and I can retreat to and find pure relaxation no matter the time of day. I filled up a kitchen trash bag of things to throw away just from our bathroom…seriously how many things did I really need in those drawers?!?! 


This is my drawer now, all I need to find is a little bag or box to keep my few makeup items in. I stil have a ways to go in this room, but just with the things I’ve already removed I’m shocked at how much cleaner it stays!

One of the ways I’ve helped keep the laundry under control the last few months has been to wash at least 1 load a day. I’ve never been one to really sort any laundry and in the 17 years I’ve been doing it I’ve only ruined a handful of items and that was thanks to a tube of Chapstick. I will gather up all the laundry in the morning and start the washer before the daycare kids start arriving. By breakfast time it’s in the dryer and then during nap I can get it folded and ready to be put away once my kids come home. My girls are pretty good about doing their own laundry and every few days I will have enough for 2 loads and will wash blankets and towels together on a sanitize wash with bleach…but if I don’t have enough towels for that second load I don’t worry about it and just throw them in with our clothes. 


I need to pick up another basket but our clothes just get thrown up on the laundry room shelf and then it’s pretty easy each morning! This seriously has been a life saver for me and has saved me spending an entire day standing in front of the washer and dryer! Plus since we just have the clothes we love they are usually always clean which means we also don’t have to buy as many.

After our bedroom and bathroom are completed this will be my next project:


This was the girls room until about 3 years ago when we finished off part of the basement so they each could have their own room, then we turned this into a daycare play room but I found out it was to crowded with 10 kids, toys plus myself in here on and off during the day. Last spring I turned it into a daycare storage room and office but that didn’t really work out well either.  I would love a workout room so we are thinking about using the closet for daycare storage and then move our workout things up here from the basement…however we are also praying about another use for this room so who knows what will really happen to it. Except I can promise you this, it will be cleaned out and organized in the near future! I purged about 50% of the daycare toys this spring and that has made a world of difference in their behavior! We aren’t overwhelmed anymore when it’s time to clean up and I’ve noticed they are so much happier not having so many choices and their imaginations have soared! Honestly I still think we can do with less in this area so I’ll probably be getting rid of some more of these toys in the upcoming weeks. If you or your kiddos are frazzled I highly suggest getting rid of some toys and seeing if this helps! You might be completely surprised at their new found behavior and how well they really can play together. 

Lastly, I want this to be my new life motto:


I want to Live Simply…I don’t want or need a house full of items that bring me stress and control what I do each day, instead I want only the items that bring me joy and happiness when I see them. My simple and your simple will probably look different and that’s completely okay! 

I want to Love Deeply…I don’t want the objects in my home to take away from spending time with my family or not enjoying my friends when they stop by. For me, the less “crap” I have means more time I’ll have to spend with those I deeply love and care about. 

If this is something that you also want I encourage you to just pick a room and start going through everything. Start small if you are overwhelmed and if you aren’t sure if you should keep something ask yourself if it’s used everyday or if it brings you joy or happiness when you see it. If the answer is no then you can most likely live without it. Good luck and if you have any questions I’d love to help you out!

Much love,

Amy

The Day I Left

Today has been just one of those days that was stressful, hair pulling and very long. It really wasn’t one issue but just many small things that led up to me running away. It also may have been the lowest point of my life so far because I was so exhausted I couldn’t make it out of my town and ended up here…


Good ole McDonald’s was my landing spot tonight. They have some of the best tea in town (besides Sonic) but what really won me over is the free wifi. I just wanted to veg on my phone and drift off to happiness for a few minutes or so with no one yelling my name, the laundry piles  staring back at me or the dishes reminding me that they are still dirty. Please tell me I’m not the only Mama that has had these days and just needed to escape! As I sat at the table thinking what’s gotten me to this point I realized that I was searching for happiness in the wrong places these last few days. It won’t be found in my Starbucks drink


Or in completling my 8 piece dinner plate set of Pioneer Woman dishes


True happiness can only be found in Christ. These past few days have been a crazy whirlwind of activities and I have been going nonstop from sun up till sun down without stopping to spend time with Him. I need to clear my schedule with those things that aren’t really needed from me and focus on my relationship with Him, my family and the things that I really am passionate about. When this happens and I spend time with Him more days then not, my days, weeks and months are much more happier and I’m filled with more joy and peace. 

Of course Starbucks, Pioneer Woman plates, my beloved Sonic drinks and nights out by myself aren’t wrong, but only looking for your true happiness in these items will never lead to your happiness that will last a lifetime. I want to encourage you that if you are searching for true happiness to connect with a local church and form a relationship with Him. 

I also want to gift one of my readers with a Starbucks drink on me!


To enter just leave a comment of what you need to clear off of your schedule this fall either on this post or on our Facebook page, Parker House Rules. I will randomly pick a winner Tuesday night! 

Much Love, 

Amy 

Dear Tuesday 

Can I let you in on a secret? Tuesday evenings are my absolute favorite of the work week! Tuesday’s my hunk and I clear our schedules and make date night a priority for our relationship. We haven’t always done this or put each other as our top priority after God and boy can we tell it when this happens! 

I think it’s important to continue to date your mate no matter if you’re recently married, going on 5, 10 or 20 years of marriage. For us this means setting aside Tuesday nights for each other. We always go out to eat at a somewhat quiet restaurant and spend an hour or more just talking with each other. It’s nothing fancy but it’s us and something that we both like doing…plus I get a night off from cooking! 


One day our kids will be grown and moved out on their own…I want to know who this man is beside me and not wake up once the kids have left to a stranger sharing this home with me. I also feel it’s important to show the kids that we love each other, no matter how hard or busy life gets that we find time for each other. Heck, we have so much fun kissing in front of Elle just to hear her grossed out remarks about us ?.  

I know it can be hard to find the time or money when you have younger kids so I want to challenge you parents of young children to get creative! When our kids were younger, one of us would put the kids to bed while the other ran out for take out, some nights we would even set the table with our good dishes and linens and eat by candle light with soft music playing. Or how about a  Friday or Saturday night movie after the kids go to bed, you can rent movies for free from the library or if the budget allows grab a new release from the movie store. One thing we did was find another couple that you can swap date nights with and you instantly have a free babysitter! I do suggest finding a couple with kids about the same age and those that stay up as late as you and your spouse! It’s no fun to have someone else’s kids till midnight if you’re usually passed out by 9:30. Want to learn to dance or cook? Put the kids to bed and pull up a YouTube video and learn something new together! The possibilities are truley endless! 

One of my passions is helping marriages…ours has been rocky at times but I’m so thankful that God gave me someone that sticks by me in the good, the bad and the ugly and my hope and prayer is that you set time aside for each other throughout the weeks, months and years.  

Kick-Off

And so it has begun…another season of football! AJ has started his 5th and final season of youth football, and this season I think I might actually somewhat know what’s happening on the field! It’s only taken me this many years and countless questions to my hunk (aka Adam…wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise ?) for me to possibly, maybe have a clue! 


See number 32 out there? That’s my baby boy! Except I guess he’s really not my baby anymore. He loves playing and while I’m not a huge sports fan by any means I of course enjoy watching any sport my kids are involved in. You would think since I grew up in Nebraska I would be an avid football fan but can I be honest with ya?!?! I honestly hated football until AJ decided to play and it’s still taken me 5 years to enjoy watching the game. Now hopefully that I’ve gotten that little bit of info about me out, my family and friends from back home won’t disown me ?. 


See that pile of orange jersied boys down on the field? Ya, well AJ is underneath of all of them! About gave this mom a heart attack! I’m not 100% sure is job is to actually run with the ball but how the play ended up playing out he picked it up and ran with it…I want from screaming with excitement to holy terror when I witnessed these “massive” size boys tackle my “not so massive” size boy. Let me tell you I was a slight mess for those few seconds it took him to hop right back up with the ball still in his hands! 

We ended going from loosing to winning in the 3rd quarter and then with 45 seconds left we were down by 6 points. I was once again a nervous wreck jumping up and back down again on the bleachers to screaming, shouting and grabbing the hunks arm while watching our boys battle back down the field to try and win. Do you know how long 45 seconds really is?!?! A whole lot longer then one might imagine while you’re cheering on your boy during an intense game! I think the other time 45 seconds has drug on for so long was while I was attempting to plank for a minute and only made it to that 45 second mark. 

Now while we didn’t end up winning our first game these boys should be proud of a game well played and the fact that they came back from loosing 8-22 at the half to finish the game at 24-30. Here’s to hoping for a great season for all our football teams that we might be cheering on this fall! 

I’m BACK!!!

Wow! I can’t believe how fast this summer went by! As I’m getting back into this whole school routine I realized I haven’t posted a single thing over here since June! In fact it’s been so long that I had to sign back into my blog admin page which resulted in me forgetting what my password was and that took about 30 minutes to change and get logged back in. However, during that whole process I realized there’s an app that allows me to post from my phone! So I’m trying it out right now! Maybe it will be easier then our laptop that I have issues with ?. 

So what’s been going on with you this summer? I no longer test positive for Lyme, I’ve managed to drop 30 pounds and I traveled out west not once but twice! 

AJ and I at the beach

AJ was nominated to attend a Robotics camp this summer and the only one that really worked with our schedule was in San Fran…it just so happens that my sister lives around that area so I was able to spend some much needed sister time with her while he attended the 5 day camp. I loved it out there and it is absolutely beautiful but the traffic is HORRIBLE!!! So for now I’ll stick to the Midwest and be happy going out for visits when time and money allows. 

In August Adam and I were able to fly out to Seattle for a wedding and much needed time together. If you’re married I highly suggest setting aside time and money for yearly get-a-ways! 

Our marriage hasn’t always been top priority and it’s suffered at times…this is something that I’m working hard on to never let happen again! Even if a 4 day get-a-way to Seattle isn’t in the budget I’ll plan a one night escape to a hotel close by. 

I’ve taken several weeks to think about and pray over the direction I want this blog to go…many years ago it started off as our family journey to getting out of debt. That is still so important to us but there is so much more to life then the next greatest coupon deal or “no spend” months. I’ve come up with just sharing what’s on my heart and that focus is usually Faith, Family, Food and Finances. So make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out! 

16 Years and 16 Tips

This past Friday Adam and I celebrated 16 years of marriage! I’m sure most people thought we wouldn’t have made it this far since we were 18 when we met and we were engaged within 6 weeks of our first date and married 10 months after first meeting. But here we are still by each others side! Has it been easy? Oh heck no! There’s been plenty of times that I’m sure we were ready to walk away but that has never been an option for Adam and I’ve learned to have that same principle. Since we don’t give divorce an option we have had to learn how to communicate and work through these marital issues that try to divide us. Here are my top 16 ways to love my husband through out the year and not throw my hands up and say I’m done.

  1. Don’t let the little things get your panties in a wad! So he leaves his ice cream bowl in the bedroom each night or his socks are rolled up in a ball…who cares?!?! These are little things in life that honestly cause no harm unless we lash out over them.
  2. When he’s had a rough day at work I don’t ask him more then 2 or 3 questions. This is when we both get grumpy and in the end say something we both will regret. Let him come home to a peaceful place that he’s happy to walk into.
  3. If you know your husband is having a rough day make him his favorite supper or bake him his favorite chocolate chip cookies…its amazing how this little act of love and kindness can turn his rough day into a not as rough day!
  4. Learn how to compromise with each others pet peeves! I like to create piles and Adam likes to file stuff away which this has made for some interesting issues throughout our marriage! I’ve learned to only make one pile in one certain place in the kitchen and I’ve also learned how tall my pile can get before I need to take care of it. Adam has become okay with my one pile or at least okay enough not to mention it unless it does become out of control and a lot larger then what I even find acceptable!
  5. Continue to date each other! This is so important especially once you have children! It can become so easy to put all your focus on raising your kids and by the time they are grown and gone you don’t even know who this person is that shares a bed with you! When the kids were little and money was pretty much nonexistent we would put the kids to bed and then enjoy a candle lit dinner or a movie on the couch at least once a week. Times that we haven’t put “us” first  we can tell it in our attitudes toward each other. Now that the kids are older we strive for a weekly date night one way or another!
  6. Take weekend get-a-ways with your spouse! This is something that we try to do once a year and we’ve failed the last few years! I’m hoping to change that routine this year as we head off to Seattle later this summer for a wedding. These weekends away don’t have to be more then once a year and they can even be to your local hotel if needed! If you don’t have family around that are willing or able to help with your kids find a good friend that you trust and see if you can swap weekends with them so you each get a weekend get-a-way once a year!
  7. Don’t nag him about your do-to list…this is a sure fire way to get his blood rolling and how would you like it if you come home to someone nagging you all the time? It would make me furious and then I would most likely not touch anything on that list for a day or two. Maybe look at your list and see if there’s anything on that list that you could do for him!
  8. Have a habit that bothers him? Try and stop…Adam can’t stand when I eat out of a bag, the noise each time I stick my hand in about undoes him! So instead I’ve learned to dump some of my snack into a bowl 🙂
  9. If you are a stay at home mom have his laundry done as needed, the house clean and whatever other jobs you can do finished when he walks in! Our husbands work so hard to provide us the blessing of staying home its really something we can bless them with when they walk in and don’t have to work around the house doing things we are perfectly capable of doing! If you work at home or work outside the home I want to encourage you to find a good balance between both of you to get these chores done so one of you aren’t feeling like you’ve worked all day and then have to take care of the majority of the home chores each evening.
  10. Don’t turn him down for sex and don’t let him always ask for it…this can be hard for us ladies especially when the kids are young and we are exhausted! I want to encourage you to make time not only for him but also for you…maybe take a relaxing bubble bath, sneak off to a quiet place to read a few chapters or whatever it is that relaxes you so that way this won’t feel like one other “job” come evening time.
  11. Encourage him to hang out with his friends or find a hobby to help him de-stress during the year. I’m not saying its okay for him to be gone every night with his friends but just like we enjoy our girls only nights they also need this freedom!
  12. Learn how to communicate with each other! Maybe texting kind reminders works best or having a home command center where everyone can leave notes, talking about your day with each at the end of the evening or whatever else you find that works for both of you. Communication is key in a good relationship and something that I struggle greatly with! I didn’t grow up with this modeled well for me so it’s been not only an area of frustration but also has taken a great deal of me focusing to become better at it.
  13. Talk about your goals, dreams and wishes with each other…create a “team” like approach to help each other win and succeed. I’ve had to put aside some of my dreams because I knew that Adams were just as important and couldn’t be reached if I didn’t give some and vice versa with him. If you don’t know these things about each other and you’re each working towards your own goals by yourself instead of working as a team your success rate won’t be as high, plus you might also feel  that your husband isn’t on your side.
  14. Be submissive…I know that probably just made several of you roll your eyes but he is suppose to be the head of your home and in the end he is the one that has to answer to God, so we need to trust what he says is best. Even if its something we really, really don’t want to do. This took me a long time to really be okay with but I’ve realized it makes our marriage so much better and he’s yet to lead me down a path that wasn’t meant to be. Of course, if your husband is asking you to do something illegal or immoral you need to take that to the Lord in prayer because that’s not what submission should be.
  15. Respect him, not just in front of his friends and family but also in the quiets of your home.
  16. Tell him you love him, appreciate him and let him know you are proud of him and everything he has done for not only you but your family. Of course most of us know our husband loves us and appreciates everything we do on a day to day basis but just think how special and cared for you feel when those thoughts are voiced out loud! Every now and then maybe even surprise him with his favorite candy bar or drink at home or at work, surprise him with a date night or something with his friends. These are just a few ways to show them how much we really do love them when they aren’t expecting it at all!

Do I have all 16 things mastered on a daily basis? Of course not! But I do try to be the best wife everyday…some days I succeed and other days I fall flat on my face and have to come back asking for forgiveness. Our marriage has had many ups and downs these past years, I’m glad that we have worked things out, stayed together and have grown closer to each other and to God throughout everything that has come our way! If you feel that your marriage is falling apart know that there is hope in God to make it better then you ever thought possible.

Much Love,

Amy

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I can’t believe that it’s been 9 years since we said good-bye! So much has changed in these last 9 years and yet it seems like it was just yesterday that we would call and talk on the phone for hours each day.

My mom and I when I was just 1 year old!
My mom and I when I was just 1 year old!

The kids are all doing well~you would be so proud of them and everything they have accomplished these last 9 years. I know that if you were here you would be cheering them on every chance you had, encouraging them and praying for them. It seems unreal that you have never seen Emma in her glasses or run a race, that you haven’t heard all about Elle’s love for horses just like you had or that you haven’t got to see AJ play any sport or listen to him read a book.

My momma washing my hair.
My momma washing my hair.

I wish you were here so you could see our home. I hated leaving our tiny trailer behind because it meant moving to a place that you had never stepped foot in and blessed with your smile and love. You would love our home and no doubt would pitch right in helping around with anything you knew needed organized or cleaned inside! I wish you could have helped me pick out paint colors and bed sets but having a few keepsakes of yours has made the hurt somewhat dissipate.

My moms dream was to see the ocean~we made her dream 50 weeks before she passed!
My moms dream was to see the ocean~we made her dream come true 50 weeks before she passed!

As for me mom, I’m doing okay. I’ve started to heal and have found my voice, who I am and God once again. If you were still here it would have been so easy to pick up the phone instead of turn to God, my story of your illness was able to touch and reach so many people last year in Chile, I am finally able to see God’s hand work for the good in me missing you. While a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of you, my days have become a little bit easier and I’ve learned to open up with others about things that I stuffed inside once you were gone.

A dream trip with my mom!
A dream trip with my mom!

Please know that you are forever in our hearts and minds and you are deeply loved and one day we will see you again. While we wish you were here to celebrate this Mother’s Day with us we want to wish you a Happy 9 year Heavenversary and thank you for being a wonderful mom to me for 26 years!

Much Love,

Amy

In honor of my mom, Jeanette

February 23, 1954-May 7, 2007

 

Dear Mrs. H

~When it takes someone getting hurt to meet your neighbors it might be time to take a step back and take a good look at yourself~

This is what I woke up thinking about at 5am this morning…why did I not even know her name, we’ve lived here for almost 8 years and so has she. I would say I am a people person and yet if I’m honest I couldn’t tell you the names of the majority of my neighbors. Yesterday afternoon one of my daycare mama’s told me that my neighbor 2 doors down was laying in her yard, in the light drizzle fighting with 2 men who were trying to help her. I went out to be a noisy neighbor only to see the lady gone and the guys getting in their trucks and pulling away. I told myself I would go check on her when all the kiddos left but I doubted she would even let me in since I’ve never even said “hi” to her in the almost 8 years we’ve lived here. About 15 minutes later I left for the barn to pick up Elle and saw her walking towards the community mail box. I remember thinking ‘she must be okay, she’s out walking’ and figured I wouldn’t have to stop by later. Within 10 minutes we were back on our road and has I turned the corner could see someone out in her yard trying to help her up…AGAIN!!! The poor lady had fallen twice in the slippery wet grass within 30 minutes of the first fall. I pulled over to help and it was then that I was able to meet Dear Mrs. H. After helping her get inside and situated I was able to introduce myself and talk with her for a few minutes with the promise of me coming back to check on her within 30 minutes. When I went back down I was able to talk to her some more and I realized that in all the years I’ve lived here I’ve missed out getting to know and love on Mrs. H. Turns out she is one of sweetest little ladies that has no one but a nephew almost an hour away. This saddens me that I’ve possibly lost out on almost 8 years of being blessed by this dear lady and that I haven’t been able to show her God’s love in all these years. This morning I decided that it was time for a change…I will make a true effort to get out and talk with my neighbors, many who I will really be meeting for the 1st time. I want to be a ray of sunshine and a person that puts a smile on their face each day. I want to know their names, their family, pets, and stories that they want to share with me. I want to shower them with God’s love and let them know that they aren’t alone but most importantly I want them to know they are loved and cared for, not only today but always.

So, while I’m so glad that Mrs. H is alright I’m thankful for this lesson she taught me in the drizzly, rainy day of Monday. I want to encourage you that if you don’t know your neighbors to make an effort to introduce yourself to them…you don’t know what you could be missing out of until you open the doors and simply say “Hi”.

Much Love,

Amy