Grateful

Working from home isn’t always easy. There are noises and distractions. There are interruptions. It isn’t easy. It isn’t for everyone. But it works for this family. Some days I don’t get much done. Some days I finish right where I started, but then there are days like this.

Days when I’m able to enjoy my second cup of coffee, catch up on emails, work out some ideas for the blog, clean the house, and even fix breakfast.
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These two can be tough and this job can be demanding, but it’s moments like this, when everything is so peaceful and in tune to one another that makes everything I do worth it.

It can be so hard to remain grateful for what you have. I struggle daily. But it’s nice to be reminded just how wonderful life really is.

Today, my prayer is that I am always reminded of how perfect life is and that I am always able to keep a grateful heart no matter what season of life I am in. No matter what kind of storm is outside. I am incredibly blessed and I should be sure to give thanks always.

Happy Thankgiving, Y’al!

First, let me wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. It is my hope and wish for you that each of you are able to spend the day eating good food with the people you love.

I thought today was going to be hard. I had been getting sad as the holidays approached because I knew that I wouldn’t be spending it with my friends and my family. As I looked back on pictures, it brought up traditions that I knew I would miss, but actually,  I’m okay.

Last night, as I finally laid down, after a busy day of making and cleaning and crocheting and sewing, I realized that while I might not have my friends and my family right down the road, God has blessed me with some truly awesome people down here in Texas. Right?! I didn’t think it was possible either. :)

But seriously. You all know how awesome and great the people are that I had to leave. They were my world. They are my world. And it’s been hard trying to navigate life without them. There are times when I can’t even answer the phone or pick it up to make a call because it hurts too much and I dare not risk crying on the phone. My friends and my family are so important to me, and I still hope deep down that one day we will make it back to North Carolina before too much time has passed, but in the meantime, God has truly provided me and my family with some amazing people.

It’s been hard to go out and make friends. Not because I don’t want friends, but because it’s awkward. I mean, I’m almost 30 years old, you don’t really think about making friends at this age. And with us going down to one car, well, it has pretty much ruled me going anywhere to meet new people, but somehow He has still brought these amazing people to me.

I haven’t known them for very long, but I trust them. I feel comfortable talking about anything with them and I know that if I need anything that they are just a phone call away.

Not only have they been perfect for me, but I took it really hard leaving my best friend’s three girls. I had been apart of their lives from the absolute beginning. Jaxsyn had grown up with them and their friendship was important to all of us. My biggest fear was that Jaxsyn wouldn’t have that kind of friendship ever again. I have prayed and prayed and prayed about it. And you know what? He provided. Of course his friendships are nothing like the one he left with his best friend, but it is because of these new friendships that he isn’t filled with sadness every single day. We still talk about Nollie and Jo Jo. He knows Haddie from the pictures, but he also loves all of his new friends too. And because I was so grateful for their relationship I prayed that Adelaide would have a friend that she could grow up with, like Jaxsyn did, and you know what? He provided. He provided me with a new friend, a friend that I’m certain I can be close too, who has a daughter just 2 weeks younger than Adelaide. Sound familiar?

You see, Texas is not North Carolina, it never will be. I’m not sure that Texas will ever be home for me, and I’m pretty sure that He knows that, but He is making it feel like home. He is giving me what He knows I need to enjoy this new adventure. He knew I needed a church family, one that was exactly like I had imagined it to be, and He provided. He knew I needed good friends, ones that would have huge shoes to fill, and He provided. And He knew that I needed family that would step in when I couldn’t be around my family, and He provided.

I thought that moving to Texas was the end of the world. I was devastated and for awhile I couldn’t understand why God would do this to me, why He would take me away from everything I knew and loved, and slowly I’ve begun to try and understand why, and I think I have a good grasp on why we had to move, and I’m okay with it, but it makes it that much better knowing that He has provided all these wonderful people just for me and my family in both places.That’s a lot of love!

So this Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I have an abundance of family here and in North Carolina that love me and that I love. I am thankful for my old friends back home who have been through everything with me, and I am thankful for my new friends and our new journeys together. I am thankful for my old church family and I am thankful to be apart of my new church family.

But most of all, I am thankful that He loves me enough to give me exactly what I wanted, needed. I am thankful that He knows me and He knows what I need. And I am thankful that He always, always, ALWAYS provides.

Remember that, He ALWAYS provides.

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

 

I am Thankful. I am Thankful. I am Thankful. I am Thankful. I am Thankful.

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With Thanksgiving just a few days away, and the month of November dwindling down, it got me (and I’m sure a lot of people) thinking about thankfulness.

Every year it’s the same thing on Facebook. Thirty days of Thankfulness Challenge. I never participate. I enjoy reading the different things that my friends are thankful for, but I’ve never been good at remembering to do something and I wouldn’t want to feel forced to be thankful for something and share it, but then as I thought more, I realized that being thankful is something that is forced.

I’m a glass half full kind of gal. I am genuinely a happy person. I can usually make the best out of every situation, and the silver lining tends to catch my eye, but I’m not sure that I am genuinely thankful.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I mean a whole lot. But most of the time I think that I should just have those things because, well, because I deserve it. Because I am a nice person Because I am good. Because I do good things, and then I realized how terrible that actually is. I don’t deserve any of it. Like Any. Of. It.

On Sunday, our Bishop began talking about being thankful all of the time. I brushed it the idea off because I was convinced that I was thankful for most things, i.e. my children, my family, my house, my car, etc. But then I began to reflect and well, nope, turns out, I’m not thankful all of the time, I’m not even thankful most of the time.

So what would it look like to be thankful all of the time? I’m trying to change my attitude and truly be thankful all of the time. I can tell you it isn’t easy to maintain a thankful heart, it’s easy to find what you are thankful for, but it’s easier to get mad and angry then it is to praise God for providing it all to you. Let me give you an example.

Last night, my sweet husband shipped a package for She Made It Homemade’s. It was my first sale on Etsy and I was super excited about it. I was thankful that I was able to make my first sale. I charged my customer $3 for shipping. After all, it was just a small package of Lactation Cookie Mix. I even thought that $3 might be high, but I based it on what everyone else was charging for shipping. The total cost for shipping plus the mix was $7. I would make $4, minus the monthly charges, but it was no biggie. So back to my sweet husband. He went to the post office for me. (thankful) He put my mix into an envelope. It was even cushioned because he was going the extra mile for me. (thankful) He waited in line while only one person worked behind the counter. (thankful) Not to mention he had just had a long day at work. (thankful) And it was pouring down rain. (thankful) He was also running to the grocery store for me too. (thankful) But then he called me after he left. I had missed his call because I was helping Jaxsyn. I called him back only for him to tell me that he had just paid over $9 to ship my mix. I didn’t even know what to say. I listened to him tell me that he couldn’t understand the postal worker and that he was just ready to get out of there. I listened to him tell me about the huge line behind him and how he didn’t want to be a pain to those people. I listened to him tell me that he didn’t understand why it had cost so much, but that next time we would do a little more research on our shipping options. I listened to all of it, but I was mad. Not only did I end up paying way more for shipping than I had ever expected, but I had actually lost $2.62 on my first sale, meaning I was under by $2.62. The last thing on my mind, at that moment, was being thankful.

So, I’ve been doing this new thing where instead of yelling, or screaming, or getting mad at others, I yell and scream to God. I tell Him exactly what’s on my mind (I mean, He already knows anyways) and I let Him take it from me. So I did just that. I yelled. I screamed. I told Him how angry I was. And why? “Who loses money by making their first sale?” I was furious. But then, I remembered what we learned in church on Sunday and I tried to change my attitude from ‘angry’ to ‘thankful’.

Immediately, my attitude changed. It wasn’t hard at all to find the things that I was thankful for.

I was thankful for:

1. Having a shop on Etsy

2. Having a husband who was willing to go to the Post Office whenever I asked

3. A car that my husband could drive to the post office

4. The fact that I had the money to cover the costs before I received payment

5. Someone who wanted to buy my products

6. An important lesson before I ship anything else

Those were just a few, to be honest, the list goes on and on. And when you learn to have a thankful attitude, it never stops.

We shouldn’t thank God when things are good. He provides it all. ALL OF IT. And so even when things look bad, He’s got a plan. He knows what He is doing. And so yes, I did lose $2.62 on my first sale, but later that night, I had more customers interested in getting their hands on some She Made It Homemade’s products, and then the $2.62 I was upset about was nothing compared to the sales I was making.

I know that Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful, but I want to encourage you to be thankful all of the time. Look for thankfulness in everything. It’s not hiding. It’s there, it may be harder at first, but once you figure it out, you’ll notice a big change in perspective, and an even big change in your heart.

You Know, That Saying, About Trash and Treasure…

Ahhh! We have so much stuff. I mean, like, so, so, so, so much stuff.I am about to go on a donation rampage.

I’ve been trying to get rid of a few things, posting them for sale, attempting to only keep the things I need, but it’s just not enough.

I was talking to Justin the other day and we were going over our budget. Every week, it’s the same. We don’t have a lot of leftover money, some weeks, we don’t have any. We talk about struggle and how we can’t afford this or that, but then as we looked around and as we kept talking we realized that other people may look at us and think that we are living the dream. Are we?

That idea got me to thinking. Do people actually strive to live like I do? Like we do? I mean, here we are complaining about what we don’t have and what we can’t get, but when you take a look around my life, my house, you might wonder to yourselves, ‘what are they talking about?’

We have new phones, new car, nice furniture, nice TVs, nice clothes. We have gadgets, and a lot of electronics. If you go into our kids’ room, you will find so many toys. There are toys everywhere. They also have nice, name brand clothes. They have so many clothes that I’ve had to put some in storage underneath beds. We have stuff.

So then what is it that we have fixated our minds on that we can’t afford? We always have food. We may have to budget at the grocery store, and clip coupons, and find things on sale, but we have food.We’ve never gone hungry. We may not get to eat what we want every night, and there may be a few more spaghetti nights during certain weeks, but we always eat.

We do fun things, maybe not everyday, but we do. We’ve taken vacations, maybe not as many as we’d like, but that’s usually just because Justin can’t take that much time off from work.

And most importantly, I get to stay home. We both know that if I went back to work that we would virtually eliminate any and all stress (financially), but it is so important for me to spend this time with our kids and take care of them, (not to mention the cost of childcare is ridiculous!)

So what do we really have to complain about? Don’t get me wrong, times are tough, and since we’ve moved to Houston things are much tighter than before. The cost of living down here is outrageous. The rental market is insane. Since Justin makes more money, we have to spend more money. Where in NC we had some government assistance, and now we have none. And even though the assistance we received wasn’t a lot, it definitely helped. It was much easier not having to pay for insurance or food out of our own pockets, but we strived to have a life where we didn’t rely on assistance, and so here we are.

You know, I’ve been worried about how we’re going to afford Christmas, not that my kids want for anything, but as a parent I still want to give them everything I can and so I’ve been nervous about this year. But then something happened last night. Justin and I just upgraded our phones. We both had the iPhone 4. Justin’s phone wasn’t great. It did some really strange things and Apple wouldn’t replace it because he dropped it when he first got it and cracked the screen. My phone was fine. Before that we both had the iPhone 3GS. Once we got the 4’s I gave Jaxsyn my old phone so he could play games and watch movies. Anyways, we upgraded to the new iPhone 5S. We got a heck of a deal, and so I passed my 4 down to Jaxsyn. And we wanted to sell the 3’s to make up for some of the cost of the new phones. I put the phones on Craigslist and on Facebook. It didn’t take long for people to show their interest. So when Justin got home we took the phones to the guy who had first responded.

Now mind you, my 3 was in great condition. Justin’s 3 not so much. Once again, he dropped it and cracked the screen.I didn’t even put Justin’s phone up for sale because it was cracked, but Justin had mentioned it to the guy and this guy was so excited to get both of these phones. I mean, it was a good deal for 2 iPhone’s, but it made me think. Those phones were so old to us. They weren’t good enough for us anymore, and here this guy was, and he was thrilled to get his hands on them.

Maybe he was buying them for his kids. Maybe for him and his wife. I don’t know, but I realized in that moment, just how much we have and just how much we have to be thankful for.

So maybe I won’t be able to buy the nicest and the newest and the most this Christmas. Maybe we won’t be able to go out to dinner every night or maybe we will have to pick and choose what we want to do because we can’t afford to do it all. I’ll take it because when I take a look at my life, and I take a look at what I have and what we have and what my kids have, I can’t help but sit back and be thankful.

But seriously, now it’s time ‘Demolition Donation’.

November Already?? Well You Know What That Means…

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that today is November 1st?? I mean, I get that we went trick or treating last night and so it would make sense that today would be November 1st, but seriously? Another year is almost over. Part of me is excited that this year is almost done because it has been hard and it has been a struggle and there are days that I’d like to forget, but then the more I think about it, there are days that I want to do again because they were just that great.

As November approaches each year and we get ready for the holiday season, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I find that people start to think about the things they are thankful for. There are usually little games on social media where you can share what you are thankful for throughout the entire month. I’ve never participated in those because I could never remember to update, but this year I want to do something.

Since I homeschool Jaxsyn I’ve decided that I want to do something to reflect on what I’m thankful for with him and make it, not only a family thing, but a school thing too. So this year, as simple as it sounds, we will be making a ‘thankful jar’. We will be writing down things that we are thankful for and putting them in our jar. On days where we are sad or struggling we will dig some out and remember just what we have to be thankful for.

As I’ve prayed over the last week, I’ve realized that I’ve been spending a lot of time upset that I don’t have everything I want. No, I’m not talking about money or possessions, but I’ve really been under the impression that, well, the grass is greener on the other side. And then as I prayed and I really reflected, I realized that I have everything I want and need right here. I’ve actually never gone without. You see, I want my family. I want a husband who loves me even though I can be hard to love most days. I want a husband who would do anything for me. I want a husband who may not always get me, but he always tries. I want a marriage where I know no one is ever going to walk away. I want a marriage that is fought for, and is fought hard for. I want to be able to spend time with my kids and watch them grow up. I want to be a part of their lives. I want to always be there for them. I want them to be happy, always. I want to do what I love. I want to be able to write, as much and as often as I can. I want to read. I want to craft. I want to make things. I want to touch people with my words, my experiences, my stories. I want a church family who is always there for me and my family, who doesn’t judge and who is there when it’s good and when it’s bad. I want true friends. I want friends who don’t let 1100 miles change anything. I want friends that I can go weeks or months without talking to, but when we pick up the phone, it’s exactly as it was. I want a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus. I want to rely on Him to get me to where I’m going. I want to build my faith and I want to help others build theirs.

So, you see, I’ve always had what I wanted. My prayers didn’t go unanswered. I asked, He gave. Yes, I’ve been complaining a lot lately, and I’m not discrediting the hard times I’ve faced, but I’ve always had what I wanted. I just got distracted. I was too busy looking at the grass on the other side, that I forgot to look at my grass. I forgot to listen to God. I didn’t take the time out to be thankful. I wasn’t always giving Him a chance to answer my prayers. But He did, He does. And as I’ve said before He always does more than I expect. He’s always made sure I’ve had what I needed and wanted, not to mention the little added bonus He gave me of living in a place where it is still 70-80 degrees in November! And we didn’t wake up sick as dogs like every other November 1st after trick or treating in the freezing cold!

So this November, be it a ‘thankful jar’ or a game on social media, I encourage all of you, to take time to not be distracted. Sit back and reflect on what you’re thankful for, and then thank Him for always providing, just as He said He would.