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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Women Want

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk and blew my nose.  I felt a massive booger fly out the instant relief of pressure but when I looked at the Kleenex (everyone does that, right?) there was nothing there.  Uh oh.  I spent about 5 minutes searching my face, hair, shirt and desk for the proof of said pressure relief only to come up with nothing.  I am still hoping it does not show up on a random document in the office. 

Now, on to my topic of what women want.  I think it's so easy for women to get on the topic of man bashing.  But let's be honest.  We aren't exactly perfect either.  I have learned that what I say I want from my husband and the reality of what I want are often complete opposites.  I think a lot of women are like that.  And I can only imagine how frustrating it is for a guy to try and make his woman happy when her wants are constantly changing.

*The top line is what I might say I want but the bottom line is the reality.*

I want my husband to be sensitive.  I want him to watch romantic comedies and then talk about the movie afterward with me.
If my husband did this more than a couple times a year I might start to question his sexuality.

I prefer that my husband does not aim his ass at me on the couch when he is preparing to fart.
Go right ahead because that just gives me justification for farting in your presence later.

I want my husband to tell me the truth about my new hairstyle or outfit.
Unless he doesn't like it.

I want my husband to be a tough guy who hunts and would protect me if our house was broken into.
I don't want to hear the story about the animal that died.  And if our house was broken into I wouldn't take the time to wake my husband up.  I would get the gun and take care of it myself.

I want my husband to be really involved in the care taking of our children.
I would be looking over his shoulder biting my tongue so I don't tell him all the things he is doing wrong.

I want my husband to hold me accountable when I tell him I am on a diet or starting to exercise more.
If he so much as uttered a word about what I was eating or the fact that I did not work out that day he would get a "Go to hell" stare down.

I want my husband to be home every weekend during hunting season.
Orrr... every other weekend. 

I want my husband to buy me flowers.
Since we share money I would honestly be pretty upset if he spent a lot of money on something that would die in a few days.

I want my husband to ask me what he can do to make my day easier.
I want him to leave me the hell alone and let me get through my list of stuff to do for the day.

I want my husband to find me desirable.
Unless I'm tired.  Then I want my husband to understand that sweat pants, a ripped up sweatshirt, mismatched fuzzy socks and hairy legs is a clear sign that he's not getting any. 

It's funny because it's true!





~Jewels*

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Money, Money, Money ~ How Much is Enough?

My dad sent me a devotional email a while back that discussed money.  The main question was, "How Much is Enough?".  What a great question.  Money has continuously been on my mind lately.  In discussions with friends and family, in social media posts, in blog readings and in devotional readings.  Money is a blessing.  Money is a curse.  Money is life changing.  Money is life ending. 

My husband and I are not the best savers.  When we decided to adopt Ethan one of the big hurdles was finances.  But that didn't stop God from coming through for us.  I am not at all ashamed to admit that we used my entire 401K for the adoption.  Do I find it coincidental that we had EXACTLY enough for the adoption expenses?  Not at all.  Some people may say what we did was fiscally irresponsible.  I say it was God's way of giving us exactly what we needed to fulfill His purpose for our life and Ethan's life.
 
A few years ago I was making very good money as a full time Executive Assistant.  I knew that was not where God wanted me after we adopted our youngest son two years ago and I was blessed enough to be given the opportunity to work part time.  The pay is still great considering what I do and the fact that I only have to work 30 hours a week but I know I could be working full time again and making more.  So why don't I?  The answer is simple.  I know it's not what God wants for me right now. 

It's not my money anyways.  It's His.  And He has shown me time and time again that I need to rely on him (not my job or our financial situation).  Now, I'm not saying we are perfect and always do with our money what God wants us to.  I don't think God blessed me with a good job a few years back so we could travel to some of our favorite destinations like Dominican Republic and Isla Mujeres.  But it sure was fun!  And those trips gave my husband and I some much needed alone time.  Those trips allowed us to focus on our relationship and have deep, uninterrupted discussions about our future and our family.
 
Please don't misunderstand me.  Being financially responsible is important and I could use more discipline in that area.  My point in this post is only to say that I have come to learn that there is no use worrying about or focusing on money.  Instead I choose to focus on the One who gave me this life and what He wants from me in that life.  In the end He is the only one we have to answer to.

The awesome thing about God is that He doesn't pick and choose who He blesses.  If we, first and foremost, remain faithful to Him He will bless us.  Again and again He will bless us.

The funny thing is we are probably the tightest on money we have ever been and I couldn't feel more blessed. 







"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3

~Jewels*

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Superior (and oh so easy) Meatloaf and Boyscout Potatoes

I now understand what women mean when they use the term "hunting widow".  My husband has gotten really into hunting this year and I predict this addiction will continue, if not grow, in the coming years.  You won't hear me complain though.  I would much rather have a husband who is gone hunting every other weekend than playing video games constantly (yes, that used to be him) or out at the strip clubs (thank God that didn't used to be him).  He killed a doe a couple weeks ago and when we went to Coleman this past weekend we were able to pick it up from the processor.  I have been searching Pinterest for venison recipes so be on the lookout for successful ones on the blog in the coming weeks.  Until then...


Superior Meatloaf and Boyscout Potatoes

If I'm being honest the word meatloaf makes me want to throw up a little.  But not THIS meatloaf.  It is made with Lipton's onion soup mix so it has much more flavor than a traditional meatloaf.

I am giving you the half recipe version; however, I am still using a full packet of the Lipton Onion Soup mix because I love lots of flavor.  I love making meatloaf because it takes about 5 minutes to prep and then you can wait on it to bake.  If you are going to make the boyscout potatoes with the meatloaf and don't have a double oven you can do what I did last night.  Make the potatoes first (stop at the step where you add the cheese), then bake the meatloaf, then put the potatoes back in to melt the cheese while the meatloaf is cooling.

Ingredients:
  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix (or any brand onion gravy)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 piece of regular bread torn into chunks
  • 1 egg
  • HALF of 3/4 cup water
  • HALF of 1/3 cup ketchup
*I will compliment myself on cooking but you will never hear me compliment myself on my mad math skills, hence the reason for the above measurement descriptions.*

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Who needs a spoon?  Don't be skerd to get your hands dirty.
  3. Shape meat mixture into a loaf in an ungreased pan.  You can use an 8x8 or 13x9 dish.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes.  I bake mine until the top edges become slightly crispy.

The boyscout potatoes are out of this world delicious!  And we can pretend they are healthy, too.  I will just link you to my recipe here since I posted this a while back.  I will say I'm not sure why I previously told y'all to bake these at 425 degrees.  I typically bake them at 375 now (for about 40 minutes) so they don't overcook.

Happy Cooking!

~Jewels*


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Little of This, A Little of That

I would like to apologize in advance for this post being all over the place.  But as I have said before, I didn't call this blog "Random Thoughts by Jewels" for nothing.

My Attempt at Fashion
First off, let me just say today is the first day I have tried this whole socks above the boots look.  I'm really digging it!  For those who are completely confused here is a picture of what I'm talking about.


By the way, you can get some really cute boot socks at Target for cheap.  These are the ones I bought.  I think it's odd that they are $4 online and I got them for $2.50 in the store.  Se la vie!

The Goodness and the Beauty
I wanted to share a post with y'all from a blog I follow.  This blog is written by the pastor of my sister's church in Houston.  He is an incredible writer and this post was such a great reminder of how we can and why we should see the beauty in every day things.  You can check it out here.

Sweet Boy
My husband and I were just talking last night about how our oldest son, Garrison, is ridiculously sweet.  I really thought as he got older he might lose some of those sweet and sensitive qualities that we love about him but  so far (fingers crossed) he has not.  Yesterday after school we were driving home and he showed me a picture he drew.  I know all parents say this but he really is a talented artist.  I said, "Wow, Garrison!  That is really great!  I wish I was creative like that."  I said it without even thinking I was insulting myself.  He sat there for a minute and then he said, "Mommy, don't say that.  You are VERY creative!  I mean, you..." and this is where I smiled to myself because I couldn't imagine what he could possibly say that would prove my creativity "...made my room look so nice and you bought that really cool lamp and made all the colors look so good together.  And you create my chore chart every week."  I had to soak that in for a moment.  My son didn't gloat in the praise and compliments I just gave him for his creativity.  Instead he heard that I pointed out a flaw in myself and he felt it more important to build me up and encourage me.  What a gift he is!

Another quick funny story about Garrison.  I am taking canned goods to Garrison's school this afternoon for a food drive they are having.  I will be bringing the cans in the last few minutes of class so I don't have to fight the sea of children running for their freedom at 2:30.  This morning on the way to school I asked him if he was going to be embarrassed if I came in his class this afternoon.  He said, "No, why would I be embarrassed?!"  I told him I was going to bust out some dance moves as I was dropping off the cans and that I had been practicing which ones I was going to do.  That's when he got serious.  "Mommy, I WILL be embarrassed if you dance in front of my class.  Can't you just dance at home?"   Bahahahaha!


Perspective
I want to share with y'all an incredible video that gives a great perspective on who Jesus was/is.  It is really awesome and I encourage you to take three minutes out of your day to watch it.  Click on the below link.  I apologize I wasn't able to embed the video.

http://www.faithit.com/jesus-man-god-something-more-worship/




















 
 
~Jewels*

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let My Life Be the Proof

Have you heard the song "The Proof of Your Love" by King and Country?  I have heard it a couple of times but for some reason when I heard it this morning on the way to work it really resonated with me.  I was surprised to watch the video.  I guess I was expecting a simple video that showed the band playing and vocalists singing.  But instead I was drawn into what appeared to be a military like video that I couldn't stop watching.  To say this is a powerful video is an understatement.  Watch it below.

Someone I love deeply is going through a hard time right now.  This is one of those times in my life where I wish I could control a situation.  I wish I could make this person believe that they are truly worthy of God's love.  I wish I could erase all of their painful memories from their childhood.  I wish I could make this person understand what an impact they already have on others' lives.  I wish this person could understand the power of Jesus and not be afraid to give it all up to Him without fear of being let down or rejected.

But what God showed me this morning, yet again, is that the most powerful way we can reach people is by letting our lives be the proof of God's love.

The brothers in this band, For King and Country, wrote this song based on Corinthians 13. 

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

I can try to reason with this person by speaking logic into their life.  I can try to build them up so they have a greater sense of self confidence.  I can pray for them.  And maybe I should do all of those things when the moment calls for it.  But the most important thing I can do for them is love them.  Love them like God loves me.  Nothing compares to His love for us. 

I find myself humbly asking God once again to let my life be the proof, the proof of your love

 God is love.  He didn't need us.  But He wanted us.  And that is the most amazing thing.  ~Rick Warren
~Jewels*

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Love of a Child

I was reading a friend's blog today and she posted such an eye opening video.  It was a clip from the Today Show where women where asked to describe themselves as mothers.  All of their descriptions were negative and focused on their failures.  The mothers were called back a few days later and asked to watch videos of their kids who were asked the same thing - to describe their moms.  You MUST watch it by clicking the below link.

http://www.today.com/video/today/53433157#53433157


That is powerful stuff right here.  I am a mom of an almost 2 year old and 8 year old.  There are times where I feel completely confident as a mom and know I am giving them everything they need.  Then there are other times where I feel guilty for not giving my kids enough attention or feel like I have failed them in some way.  It is so easy to get caught up in our "failures" and let the guilt consume us.  But what I have to remember is that my boys, thank goodness, love me no matter what.

Kids love us even when we discipline them.  Remember that when you feel guilty about giving them consequences for bad choices.  They love us even after we tell them they cannot have any more candy.  They love us even when we lose our patience and snap at them. 

This doesn't mean I should be a lazy parent or stop working on my patience.  It means that my boys have the ability to offer me forgiveness and grace.  And yet again I can't help but see the likeness between a child's love for a parent and God's love for His children (all of us).  God has these ways of showing me what His love is like through every day relationships.  I once again find myself feeling so undeserving and yet so humbled by love.  Both from my children and from my God.



~Jewels*

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Actions

"Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind."
~Theodore Roosevelt

Actions most definitely speak louder than words.

The other day I was at the grocery store and there was a sweet old man working as the cashier and another sweet old man working as the bagger.  The lady in front of me was obviously in a hurry as she stood tapping her foot and her credit card on the counter while the man slowly rang up her groceries.  I watched the man smile at her a few times to which she responded with an eye roll or a not so quiet sigh of annoyance.  When her receipt printed out he was scanning it to tell her how much she saved and I watched as she reached over the counter and held out her hand doing a "gimme, gimme, gimme" motion practically ripping the receipt from his hand.  In fact, I fully expected her to throw her purse on the ground, stomp her high heels on the tile floor and throw a tantrum right then and there just like my toddler does. 

My heart just broke for this old man.  I have seen him at this store several times.  And while there is always a line at his register he gives each customer his time and a smile.  You can see that what makes his day is making others' days.  After giving him an extra smile I wanted to run after that horrible woman and reprimand her just like I would my two year old.  Maybe she had a bad morning.  Maybe she was in a huge hurry to get to work.  Whatever the reason I wonder if she realized how her actions affected that man. 

Our actions really do define us.  And unfortunately sometimes people only have to see one bad action from us to judge us.  That may not be fair but it's truth.

This woman and this sweet old man both reminded me how important my actions are, every day.  My actions toward my husband can either tear him down or build him up.  My actions toward my children can either make them feel like a nuisance or worthy of my time.  We often think twice about how we act towards those we love but what about how we act toward strangers?  I can choose to take my negative feelings and emotions out on strangers causing them to feel belittled or devalued.  Or I could choose to act kind and have patience towards strangers with the hope that it would fill them with joy and give them the desire to pass that on to someone else.



~Jewels*

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Father to the Fatherless (Orphan Sunday)

As you may or may not know we adopted our youngest son, Ethan, almost two years ago.  Our little miracle will be two on Christmas day.  Going through the adoption process was truly one of the greatest blessings I have been given.  Some people say we have done such a great thing for Ethan and he is so lucky to have a family like ours.  But the truth is we are so blessed to have him in our family.  He has changed all of our lives and given us all a new perspective on family and love.  You can read more about how we came to adopt him in this post.
 


Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday. It is officially licensed to the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) and was brought to the U.S.  with help from Every Orphans Hope and other organizations.  You can read more about it here.  It is basically a day set aside to give a voice to orphans around the world. 


"It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children. The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers…"
This information as well as many other alarming statistics can be found on the Orphan Hope International website here.  


I am obviously passionate about adoption.  There is a real need for children all over this world to be adopted.  I hear so many people say that they would love to adopt but just don't have the funds to make it happen.  You're preaching to the choir.  But Jesus wasn't lying when He said "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).  God made it possible for us to adopt Ethan because it was His will even when it wasn't our plan.

There are around 123,000 orphans in America and that does not include those in foster care.  There are approximately 463,000 children in foster care here in the U.S.   

The requirements to foster may not be as strict as you think.  The minimum age to foster a child is 21 and you do not have to be married.  I have done some research on a group called Foster in Texas and they answer a lot of the questions about becoming foster parents.  (You can see commonly asked questions here.)  Fostering to adopt is also an option in the state of Texas.  This is a great way to adopt a child or sibling group if you do not have the funds to go through an adoption agency.  Did you know there is a daily reimbursement rate for each child you foster?  This is definitely not something to go into for profit (because you wouldn't be making a profit).  But it gives those of us who aren't living in a mansion or driving our dream SUV the chance to make a huge impact on a child's life.  These kids don't care about money.  They just want to be in a safe place surrounded by people that truly care for them. 

It's not just babies or toddlers that need homes.  A child's chance for being adopted significantly decreases after the age of 9.  Imagine how hopeless some of these older kids feel with each passing birthday.  Did y'all hear about the 15 year old boy in Florida who stood up in front of a church congregation asking for someone to adopt him?  These were his heartfelt words:

"I'll take anyone.  Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."

Read the full story here.

My purpose in writing this post is not to guilt you into fostering or adopting.  It's to bring a voice to those who feel like they don't have one or aren't worthy of one.  We are all called to take up the cause of the fatherless.  And we are all capable of doing that - whether we adopt, foster, give financially or give with our time by mentoring to those who do not have families.

"Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.   Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." ~Isaiah 1:17
 
Let us see Jesus in these children.  Let us be their voice when they do not feel like they have one.

If you have not seen this before you must watch it!

 Help raise awareness for orphans by sharing this post.

~Jewels*





Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween and Pumpkin Patch Fun

Get ready for picture overload with this post.  I hope you (and Blogger) can handle it.  :)

Halloween is one of my parents' mom's favorite holidays.  I am still unsure if she bribes talks my dad into it every year or if he really does enjoy dressing up.  You can check out this post for all of their previous costumes.

This year they bought Garrison an army man costume for his birthday so naturally this was to be his Halloween costume.  My mom also got Ethan some cute little cammo shorts and a hat so he could match Big Bro.  We had to improvise since it was cold which is why you will see him wearing pants under the shorts.  :)  My parents have always kept their costumes a secret until they show up at our house on Halloween so needless to say we do not ever coordinate costumes.  I was so excited when this is what I saw after answering the door last night.

It took me a while to realize those platforms (that my mom made) are the platforms army men stand on.  How creative!  And yet again I am reminded that my sister received ALL of my mom's creative genes.

Here are some of my other favorites from Halloween night.


 No, the beer is not a prop.  Ha!



 He was SO excited about getting his face painted that he stood patiently "in line" behind Garrison for Grammy to paint it.  This was his reaction halfway through it.  Ha!
 Good to go!
 We went to some friends' house to trick or treat and their neighborhood did not disappoint.  Fun times!
 Garrison and his mystery best friend.  I only say that because I still can't remember what he was dressed up as even though he told me twice.  Ha!
 The first house.  Doesn't E look excited? :)
 And our littlest army man is out!

This morning I went to Garrison's 9 week award ceremony at school and he received an award for A/B honor roll.  So proud of my big guy!

Best part about this picture?  I just realized he is holding his sign upside down.  Bahahahahahahaha!





I pulled Garrison out of school around lunch time I picked up Garrison after school and my parents and I took him to the pumpkin patch.  We didn't think we would make it this year but my mom found one that was open the weekend after Halloween.  I'm so glad I'm off Fridays so I could join them this year!  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

 Think he was excited?  He even learned to say "pumpkin"!


 "Well Hello There!"
 He literally said "Hi Puppy!" to every animal he saw.  Ha!

 I'll give you one who guess who that is behind Garrison going after the jumbo hand sanitizer!  Pretty sure my dad used that about 10 times while we were there.  Gotta' love him!
 Ethan's first attempt (and a successful one) feeding the animals.
 When Garrett was looking through my pictures this afternoon he said, "Is Ethan EATING the animal feed?"  I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Welp, yeah, I guess he was."  Hahahaha!
 This series of pictures made me laugh so hard!  This goat was definitely not camera shy!



 I mean, really?!  Haha!
 Daddy also took advantage of the photo op with this sure to be famous one day goat!


 The one picture I got of them together.  Too bad Ethan was saying, "I down" the entire time.
 Yep, that's my son!
 And this cheeser is too.  Love it!
 Garrison wouldn't smile because he said he wanted it to look like he was really doing work in the field on his tractor.  Okay, dude.


 First time ever we have had the hayride completely to ourselves.  Awesome!

 I'll give you one guess who was MOST excited about this hayride!  LOVE her!




 Ethan giving "Scruffy" the stray dog some loving. 
 Scruffy is a very appropriate name for this guy.  Hoping he finds a permanent home soon!  Trust me Scruffy, you don't want it to be with us.  Ethan may love on you now but when he gets you home he will torment you like he does the others.  ;)



Our night ended with an end of season dinner for our Cubs.  I didn't get any good pictures so I'm hoping one of the other moms got some good ones I can share with you next time.

This mama is going to bed!

~Jewels*