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Though it won’t bother me.  For the simple fact – I don’t ‘date’ on the internet.  I don’t go to starbucks for coffee and conversation online.  My prospective date(s) have never taken me to Chili’s to enjoy Southwestern Eggrolls and Wings over Buffalo while on the internet.  Know why? Impossible! You guessed it.  Why spend months talking to someone and never see them?  Reality check folks.

Okay, the ugly: it’s out there. Big, mean, and nasty. There are scammers.   Those attempting to lure you by engaging into an online relationship.  This one I term ‘online’ as there are no chances ever of meeting said person.  If you hear the words, ‘out of country on business’, RUN.  If you hear, ‘my child is in need of surgery in said country where I’m on business and we don’t have access to our bank accounts’, RUN.  If someone on a dating site asks you to immediately go to an IM messaging service outside of the dating site (yahoo, gtalk, etc), RUN.  They will often claim their membership is expiring at said dating site so they would like to talk via YIM.  Like that’s your problem.  Grow a life and don’t believe that garbage. If your interested party can’t write English (Or your native language) well, be warned.  I understand some aren’t good with spelling/typing but common folks a little common sense goes a long way.  Unfortunately many can’t see past their noses when it comes to their own well being and safety.

There are men and women out there to lure naive victims to have sexual encounters without the opportunity to get to know the individual first.  Greed people, greed!! I’ll add to that stupidity.  To the naive: wake up and respect yourself.  If you want to meet with someone, by all means be smart and go somewhere in public.  Tell your friends and family.  Sheesh if you didn’t want your family to know at least tell a coworker, friend or SOMEONE.  I’ve always told either one of my parents, friends (several), at least one friend that lives in the area in case I need back up help or they could come to said restaurant for security purposes, or coworkers.   Going to a secluded area void of people is asking for trouble.  If you want sex that bad you need help.

Back to part of my title: Go Ahead: Judge Away.  I’ve frequently visited a chat room of my choice. Yes on a regular basis. It was a co-ed environment, without any obligation to engage in private conversations with anyone.  It has message boards, prayer, bible study, and other fun activities.  Become a single parent and see how many chances you get to ‘go out’ without your kids.  See how many singles functions you are invited to (that’s right they don’t exist unless you have a church with that type of ministry, are willing to go bar hopping – which I’m adamantly against, or just so happen to know a friend of a friend that knows a single friend…). Yeah like that’s gonna happen. It does at times – and I’m not opposed to meeting someone by word of mouth. But face it, in almost 3 years since my divorce – I’ve had ZERO of those types of hookups.  Slim chances. Most in their mid 20-late forties are already cruising the marriage track.  I came across a few ‘friend of the family’ type encounters while I was separated/in the legal part of the divorce getting paperwork done (which will be 4 years ago in May 2014), meh it was okay but not for me.  I wasn’t legally able to scout the fields anyhow at that time.  My point is unless someone is thrown into the same type of situation they can’t truly know the difficulties presented with the ‘dating again’ in your 30s, 40s, and even later.  And not to throw the woe is me card, because I’m not the only single parent around – but having children makes it 100% more difficult to get out and meet people.  I’m absolutely up for meeting others – if I had an on call babysitter.  I’ve paid for sitting services so that I could go out and have fun.  It’s expensive – as if going from two incomes to one wasn’t hard enough.

Okay – yes the dating sites.  If someone isn’t willing to meet me in person and within a week or two weeks maximum – I move on.  I’m adamantly against long distance relationships. If it works for you and you are one of the many success stories, bless your soul.  It’s not in my heart whatsoever.  As far as meeting in person – if conversation is wickedly awkward right off the bat – I respectfully finish the conversation but again, move on.  If conversation goes well – and a friendship is a possibility I ask the chances of meeting in person.  If there’s hesitation or doubt I won’t go through with it.  On their part or mine.  Nothing is 100% fool proof (unless you profess abstinence to dating or courtship period).  Quite frankly no I don’t want to raise my children alone. If that’s God’s will for me I will suck it up and live that plan, I just hope it isn’t.  Life is full of taking chances, risks, accepting defeats and failures. Does that mean we don’t keep trying? No..not ever.

For you that feel that online dating is for freaks and weirdos, go ahead with your perfect little life and your inability to think outside the box.  I’ll keep being a freak and weirdo.  For I don’t date online. I just use it as a tool to get to the point of meeting someone in person. If they can’t meet me or don’t want to meet in person then I won’t have it (hence the local folks only for me).   Open up your eyes, there is a growing number of people using it as a tool like myself.  I’m not perfect, but neither are you.

I’ve met a few REALLY great guys. And several REALLY bad ones (not dangerous, just not respectful).  It’s part of life.  I have no regrets, for each experience teaches me something about other people as well as myself. Life is a journey, and we are all walking different paths.

God bless.

For more safety tips concerning ‘online dating’ and safety, please visit this FBI website:

http://www.fbi.gov/sandiego/press-releases/2013/looking-for-love-beware-of-online-dating-scams

Revamping the Spices

I saw these on another site looking for ideas to make spice bottles pretty, and loved the idea of etching paint. However I could not find it at craft store. These labels were less than $3 for 28 labels and chalk was less than $2. Though I love the chalkboard labels, I don’t like the chalk part after doing it. If you grab bottle wrong way it’ll smudge and you have to write the spice name again. Again it was cheap and I’ll work with what I have for now.

Some of the herbs I’ve grown and dried have been camping out in ziplock bags. No fun!! I confess I did drink some of these Starbucks however some I still poured down the drain. Not waisting as to order brand new bottles would have been more expensive.

I still have more to bottle, but it shall wait since I ran out of bottles. I still enjoy what I have though and can’t wait to cook again!  I love repurposing things around the house and it is very economical!!

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I Notice You

..God..notices us. The things we do, activities in our lives, teaching of our children, interaction with our spouses (well for those who are married), interactions with our family members.  From the family aspect I know personally between joys and struggles there are days I wonder which one is going to win! Seriously, it is not the easiest job in the world to being a parent.  Especially when the trials seem to run effortlessly like rivers connecting to oceans.  One main question we often have is “Where is God in this?”  I ask that more often than not.  I don’t always get a response immediately. However God has his way of letting us know we are doing well, and He is watching over us.

A few months ago in January (2013) I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments.

I was praying before the boys went to bed. I asked L (6) was there anything he wanted me to pray about for him. He answered with “my arm”. So I prayed for his arm. Healing, little scarring, put the meds on it and ended it. O (3 yo) said he knew something I could pray about for him. “What is that baby?” Him: “Mommy you can pray for my attitude”. I proceeded to pray about that. I feel blessed. Earlier in the day he’d gotten into trouble a few times for being a bit ugly but later told me “mommy I don’t have my attitude anymore”. I told him that was good and I was glad he was able to work through that. It may seem trivial now but if we are consistant and faithful we WILL see benefits. Nothing is ever too trivial to God, too small, or of non-importance.

I can’t say whether or not he’ll continue noticing his attitude or not, at 3 he is distracted easily and has much to learn as he grows.  However I gladly received that day as a gift from God.  It was as though he was letting me know ”Yes you are doing the right things.”  Thank you Lord. 🙂

Weezy

I’ll be posting a few things that are a bit older but I wanted to remember later (thus taking a few statuses from FB).

Several months ago my ♥ just melted!! I had just the boys and myself for dinner. I took L boy to Kroger and he picked out salmon and peas. I added an herbed couscous. They wanted to help cook, so I gave them ‘tasks’ as they stood on each of their stools. Also let L wash a few cups and easy dishes as I tended to the meal. When he finished washing, he said, “Mommy it goes much quicker when you have help”. I told him I agreed and thanked them both. We ate our dinner, which he could not quit raving about the fish (he loves).

When I was washing dinner dishes, he said he needed to tell me a secret. I said “ok”.  He told me he had to tell me in my ear. It was THAT much of a secret. He pranced over, moved the hair out of my face and whispered, “when we move out and get our own place, me and O will help you cook all the time”. I almost squeezed the life out of him. hehehe. Thankful for sweet moments. ♥  These are the blessings that touch the heart, irreplaceable, and never forgotten.

Thank you Lord for everything you bring into our paths. Thank you for sweet moments with my children.  Thank you for blessing them in ways beyond what I am capable of.  Thank you for speaking into their hearts and lives at such a young age.  Thank you for your protection over their lives.  Thank you for keeping them close to you.  Thank you for giving them to me and trusting me as mother.  Such beautiful blessings.  Thank you for opening my eyes to the good things in our lives – and when the bad moments are here – you still prevail and make your presence known. Thank you for securing peace into our lives.

Window Doodles

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We often hear the phrases “stop and smell the roses”, “dance in the rain”, and “dance as though no one were watching”. I agree, and have many others I like as well. My oldest little guy likes to draw on the windows before we load everyone in the car in the morning.

More often than not it seems I’m asking him to hurry and finish his “work” so we can leave! In his world, he is “stopping to smell the roses”. A brief little pause to pursue something utterly whimsical to him. He LOVES it! Window doodle drawings..quick fashion..on mommy’s car. They are usually on his door. I would guess 99% of the time. Yes!

Yesterday I arrived at work and it was one of those mornings I got there RIGHT at 8 am. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and didn’t have anything I could eat from the fridge. Side note -eating well in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Right where I parked the sun happened to be shining so brightly through MY window. I glanced and saw that he had carried his drawing to mommy’s side of the car. I smiled so big! It wasn’t that I felt it was a Van Gogh piece of work. Not by a long shot. But allowing myself a few minutes to reflect before going into the office, I saw a moment of him enjoying something he likes to do (without him being physically present).

These are the moments that make us smile. Had I parked somewhere else, the sun wouldn’t have shown through my window as well, or I would have been in a rush and missed it. As always thanking God for the little things along this walk.

I love when food is ‘pretty’!!

I’ve cut out out grains, wheat, processed food for close to a year now. Prior to that, had switched to whole grains and nothing refined. Exceptions were eating at family gatherings, which at times is still difficult. And cutting sugar and caffeine. It has made a world of difference in how I feel. I don’t have bowel issues from eating loads of wheat products…and believe me when I do load up – trouble comes later.

One common misconception of eating healthy is that it involves too much prep time. Another side thought is that we need to grasp the idea of we should be eating for health, not just for enjoyment.  For this it means embracing eating vegetables – no matter what time of the day it is.  We need a certain amount of vegetables in a day anyway, who’s the nutritional god saying it can’t be before 12 p.m.? That’s the feeling I’ve gotten from some conversations before.

Speaking of prep time, for working people – might I add – working mothers, I feel we have an extra helping of work on our side in the mornings!! If your spouse is able to assist you in mornings, I deeply applaud you and commend him for his support of you!! It truly is a blessing.  If you don’t have that however, baby you need to plan!! As if getting the children and yourself aren’t hectic enough, we need to take care of our nutritional needs without it being total junk from day to day. Skipping breakfast is never a solution to losing weight OR being healthy.

Back to time…this particular morning last week took less than 10 minutes!!! ~~~~I REPEAT 10 MINUTES~~~ HELLO LADIES!!! I’ve sat in line at McD’s longer than that before only to order something I didn’t want before!! Yes for real!  And later felt like the crud and walking zombie because of this yuck food I let myself eat, and the once beloved sweet tea (that I no longer drink – and I sleep better because of it). It’s just better all around to stay away!  Crave.Real.Food.

10 minutes of time = cut up a chunk of sausage into thin slices, a chunk of purple cabbage, few handfuls of spinach, and a tbs or two of coconut oil (or olive oil, grapeseed oil, whatever works for YOU). The sausage was gluten free/no by products/no artificial flavors (and cheap).  WIN WIN! Cook in non-stick pan, or your pan of choice. Add a few sprinkles of garlic salt (which makes everything taste better I think!!! hahaha). When finished, empty contents into a small mason jar. If you must, use a container of your choice! I just had a MJ readily available that morning!!  🙂 Okay I ALWAYS have MJs available I believe! I’m a homemaker at heart, no matter how many hours I’m stuck in an office. I do this often with different meat and vegetables, or eggs/mushrooms/vegetables (if they weren’t previously made into egg muffins already).  What ever I feel like ‘whipping’ up at the last minute, gets shoved into a mason jar or tupperware and brought to work for  breakfast.

Mason Jar Morning

Now to work on lunches, many days I bring leftovers. Lately I have brought them but being in the middle of moving and not being able to cook my regular foods all the time I’m a little off balance right now.  My sister in law has made some jam up vegetable soup that I dig every time she makes it!  😉

My advice in closing, is never say you don’t have time to eat healthy.  It IS possible. There IS a way.

Child initiation that is. You know the kind where we don’t have to utter one word EVER except the first explanation of a chore? As as the opportunity arises later, he rises to the task at hand – it completely FLOORED me!! I was beaming I think as much as he was excited. Little brother followed right behind.

One day last week, we got home around 7:30-7:45 p.m. My oldest boy (6 yr old) got out of the car and squealed with excitement because there were pinecones all over the ground. Why the importance? A few weeks prior, we had moved and I explained to him one of his jobs would be to pick up pinecones.  I didn’t think there would be much, but it would simply involve him having a small bucket and maybe less than 10 minutes of his time. Even less if his 2 yr old brother insisted on helping. In all our business I’d forgotten that particular evening that I told him about that chore!!

While it surprised me, I later remembered my words to him. I was very pleased with his eagerness to serve.  He was ecstatic!!!!!  He has his lazy moments (as do all children), but it blesses me when he initiates doing his chores.  It shows he is learning responsibility and becoming more mature.  Thank God for every milestone reached, sigh of relief, glimpse of joy, and every smile planted.

God Heals!

Last night my little guy had bit of a tummy ache. Also said one of his ears hurt and his tongue was sore from where he kept feeling the spot his tooth had recently been pulled. I told him to quit touching that spot and of course it would feel better. “But it’s hard!!”

As he sat in my lap he’d been upset that night about missing his dad. He wants us to live together as a family, so he can be around him all the time. As I have always told him we had a grown up problem that can not allow us (mommy and daddy) to live together or be married anymore. Likewise, God has charged mommy and daddy with protecting him and at this time in his life he is too young to know and comprehend such a big burden.  One thing that is always the same – daddy loves him very much and mommy loves him very much.

While he understood, and while I know these moments will arise from time to time, it was incredibly difficult to see him in pain. He lay there in my arms sniffling, crying, and hurting.  It’s so much easier as a parent to fix boo boos that require a bandaid, a kiss on the arm or other body part, an ice pack, lots of holding and loves, or even the boo boos that require medicine. So much easier. But these emotional wounds I truly find myself grasping at straws and praying for the Lord’s help to help him.

He said his tummy hurt, along with ear and tongue (what a combo!!) Hahaha!! I put my hand over his stomach and began for God to heal his “tummy”, his ear, his heart – because he was sad, prayed for peace in his heart, and a few other things. He didn’t actually tell me about the tongue until I put him in bed and I’d already prayed by then.

This morning as I was becoming more awake, he came running into the kitchen and said “Mommy!!! God healed my ear, he healed my stomach and he healed my tongue!!!” I said, “He did???” “Yes He did!!!”

If you have faith as little as a mustard seed..maybe we all can learn from this. A friend and I were discussing faith this week. Mine is often weak because faith isn’t tangible and something we can reach out and grasp.  I definitely feel as though I have much room for growth. I’m a happy mama this morning…and thankful for encouraging friends.

The boys came home with perfectly created homemade goodies to shower mommy for mother’s day. It’s always a sweet, enjoyable moment to reflect on their growth, love, maturity, sweetness, and more in the past year.  I still long to be a stay at home mommy and I hope some day the Lord will honor that, but until then one thing I look forward to is seeing all the work they do while I’m away! I am constantly looking for ways to seek out the many blessings God has given me. Though God his not honoring my desire to stay home with them, and I’ve been waiting 6 LONG tearful years – there have been many things during that time HE has blessed. For the most part I’ve had very loving and giving care providers for them (minus one place where Owen landed in the hospital twice..one of those times I KNOW could have been avoided). A few minor accidents, trips to the ER, well this mama isn’t really complaining (other than..I still want to be home with them!!! hahaha).  I look forward to seeing their faces light up and run to me every single day when I pick them up. I am tearful when I see them cry upon leaving them. I hurt, painfully, when my oldest son goes into meltdown mode because of his OCD and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to help. I plan things for him as best and most efficiently as possible but there are still moments that when his routine gets thrown off that his brain just goes haywire. I picture a morning where we can wake up, eat a family breakfast, learn about cooking, color together, do fun art projects, go outside and learn about God’s creation, go to the park, go to the zoo, all sorts of things. Instead we have an insanely hectic chaotic lifestyle that I dread so many days.

I constantly try and remind myself of the Lord’s word in Ecclesiastes, to everything there is a time and a season. I’ve still not figured out why my season is so long – I know my youngest would be starting school in a few short years and at this point it’s impossible for me to stay at home with being a single parent. I must remain working. It’s God’s plan, I don’t like it…but it’s still His plan. Lord teach me to be more grateful and more accepting of that which you have given me and soften my heart.

While the boys are away they make the cutest art projects. Today they both came home with a few things. The oldest (my 6 yr old) had just one sheet – shown in the child’s handwriting. My other child, he’s two. He had 4 different art projects for mother’s day. Coincidently one of his was VERY similar to that of his older brother!! I called my mom to tell her about the youngest child’s answers:

  • My mom’s favorite color: Red
  • My mom’s favorite thing to eat is: eat dinner, porkchops
  • My mom’s job is: work
  • My favorite thing to do with my mom is: porkchops
  • My mom’s favorite thing to do is: eat porkchops
  • I don’t like it when my mom does: food

Porkchops…I got SO TICKLED!!!! From the mouth of a 2 year old I have to hand it to him, that was AWESOME!!  I then went to pick up his older brother from school and he had a paper for me as well. Ironically, when asked what his mom’s favorite food was, he answered, “porkchops”!!! I thought that was pretty awesome too!  His other answers were really sweet.

  • My mom’s name is: Lisa
  • She is __32__ years old and has __blue__ eyes and __brown__ hair.
  • Her favorite food is: Pork Chops.
  • I love my mom because: She loves me.
  • I want to say “Thank you, Mom” for: Making me orange juice.

Serious mommy grin and love going on here. Thanking God for the little things and for simplifying life. No bouquet of flowers, kitchen appliance, jewelry, or any “thing” could have replaced these two sheets of paper today.  Best of all both boys saying at different times and places that mommy’s favorite food was porkchops!!

I Am Blessed

As many other believers, I too have uttered thousands of times the verse (2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”).  Toss it back and forth in my head as I live my own sweet simple life..some days feeling on top of the world and others feeling the brunt end of the deal.  I’ve felt crushed…my spirit and heart.  Prior to the dissolution of my marriage, there were issues. I had so many to ask me why *I* didn’t leave sooner.  One thing I’ve learned…despite all odds, you don’t move unless God says move. Period. It’s not up to everyone else to make decisions for you. If life is a living hell, then so be it, God made necessary provisions for our family as needed.  A second reason is I absolutely believe in biblical grounds for divorce, so yes I would  have fought for our marriage under any other circumstances had it not been infedility. There was a point in our separation I was close to “working” on it but he revealed to me other individuals he had been involved with (not intimately but still relationally through work).  I wasn’t taking that chance and that’s really not my point here. Though I was upset and hurt the Lord gave me peace. I was scared, afraid, and so full of emotion at what would be facing the boys and I in the days to come.  And even some situations, some things are just beyond your control.  Move aside and let God do what He needs to do.

Crushed..literally..Back up to 2003. They say the power of life and death is held in your tongue? GET IT…it’s TRUE!!!  Our first year of being married, we’d gotten into a little argument. It was no big deal, but he had anger issues and didn’t know when to stop and that mixed with bipolar (extremely explosive/depressed OR on top of the world) would just keep egging things on. He liked to say things just to hurt. It didn’t matter I was his wife.  I thought it was supposed to matter that he was a minister, a leader in the church, a spiritual leader in our home…he led for a while…but after 3 little words during that argument,  I never trusted, truly trusted him again.  I felt crushed – abandoned (didn’t want anyone to know, I could pray all I wanted to, and you bet I DID), and eventually the next 8 years…destroyed. But the first year, those 3 little words over a silly argument, which I hadn’t even raised my voice until he kept pestering me…were “I Hate You.”   Ummmm GOOOODDDDDD????? I kept thinking did my husband REALLY just say that? He hated me??? oh MY  WORD!! I just stood there, silenced. He apologized, I don’t even remember what I said in response, I still just stood in silence – because He said he didn’t mean it. Ladies and Men..Listen, your words are SO VERY VALUABLE. Choose them wisely and especially to those you work with, those you live with and the most important, those you love the most. Spouses, parents, children, grandparents, etc.  If you wouldn’t say it to your boss, don’t say it to your wife. If you wouldn’t say it to your pastor, don’t say it to your mother. If you wouldn’t say it to your brother, don’t talk down and ugly to someone else. It’s wrong and not acceptable in the Lord’s eyes. I would even go as far as saying if you aren’t a believer in God yet (which I hope someday you are), that those who don’t know Jesus yet have common decency not to belittle and say hateful things to those around them. It’s called respect.

Anyhow that just set a platform for the years to come. We still had many good moments. Many GOD moments that I never doubted His presence. For that I’m always thankful. But I always watched and listened and prayed. For I saw something in him (the kid’s dad) that changed over the years (and partially could have been that way from the beginning but I was unable to see it). A true submission to the Lord and leading of our relationship spiritually. Yes we had times and seasons..but nothing consistant. Grass unwatered dies. Children malnurished die (both physically and emotionally).

As we went along, leading worship together and he helped teach/preach at different places, not only did I feel my ”abandonment” at home but I felt it somewhat at church. They could only see the churchy/spiritual side of him, I saw both sides. It was like every Sunday was going and living a lie..but painful. We LED people into God’s presence..in sweet worship. Many wonderful days. I don’t know what God would say about that now, but at the time it was very confusing.

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth….I always kept saying, “God how do I do this  when time after time ‘crap’ keeps hitting the fan?”  It always always always seemed to be that he wanted me to say nothing, do nothing, pray, go nowhere, be submissive to HIM…and wait. Wait. OUCH…waiting is painful.  Did you know when you wait in line that’s when you stub your toe, or hit your elbow, step on a nail, someone runs in to you? Same principle. While I tried my best to wait on God (During all this time I diligently read Stormy Omartian’s Power of  Praying Wife book), bad thing after bad thing would KEEP happening.  I just wanted to freaking scream!! I had my moments..enough was enough. God’s children are not supposed to act like this…but in my heart I kept thinking, “Lord, You know the husband i prayed for many years ago..this is a changed man..and if I did make a mistake, help me to be patient and learn what I’m supposed to learn. I really don’t know God. Move me as you see fit..Protect me. I love you”

I will expound later on the destroyed aspect of this verse…it’s late!! 😉 I love taking photos of the blessings in my life. Random, silly, thoughtful, whatever the moment may be. I feel like God uses those moments at times to show us glimpses of Himself and his love to us.  Despite all the craziness, tears and anguish that my path has led me on, I can truly say I’m one blessed woman. Blessed internally…I don’t need lots of ‘things’ to make me happy.  God has blessed me with great family and friends who have allowed me to be myself again and for that I will be forever blessed and thankful. I’m blessed with the smiles and laughter every single day of two precious little ones.  Yes we have moments we all hurt and things are a little more difficult in a one parent home…that in itself is NOT God’s plan or design for a family. But until the Lord sees fit otherwise it’s staying that way. However we’ve learned to make it work, with growing pains. It’s not easy…who says you can’t be blessed in the midst of difficulty?

His praise shall continually be in my mouth….thank you Lord for that which you have given me.

Weezy

Loving That Smile!!!

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