A short snippet that is all things Brody (aka my child that may cause me to lose my mind by the time he reaches teenage-hood):
Me: “Brody. You can either sit nicely on the couch or go to bed. What do you choose?”
Last weekend, Trevor and I took a day trip to Charleston, SC. How lucky are we that we can get there in about two hours?! My mom had watched the boys on Friday while I went to work and kept them for us the entire weekend, which was amazing. We had a great time just walking around and being adults (you know, when you can actually converse with one another without VeggieTales playing in the background?). I think we were most excited just to eat really good food… which of course, we did.
Our first stop of the day was at “Poogan’s Porch” for brunch. I got a super healthy, zero-calorie breakfast of chicken and waffles with a blueberry syrup. Good thing the blueberries counteracted ALL the grams of fat in the rest of the plate. Yay for superior health!
Then, we paused for a photo op outside of The Mills House where we had our wedding reception. It’s our happy place. Even though Trevor looks a little stressed. He’s probably remembering how much our brunch cost. Ouch.
Then we did some walking. It was super hot and humid, with rain clouds hovering, but we were just so thankful that the bad weather held off that we didn’t mind too much. We walked through the market and looked at all the cool stuff the vendors were selling.
Trevor was thrilled to find Christmas in August. He’s pretty much Buddy the Elf times 25. He tells me at least weekly how many days we have left until Christmas and runs through his decor plans for our Christmas village. No, really. I love that about him.
After we decided we had enough of walking and sweating around downtown Charleston, we drove to Mount Pleasant to go antiquing. Yes, my husband is the most amazing. We found such cool stuff, even though we didn’t buy anything this time. I really thought about buying this for my brother- it’s an old hood ornament for doctors’ cars- how awesome is that?! Reminded me of “Call the Midwife.”
For dinner, we drove over to Isle of Palms and ate at The Boathouse. While we waited for an eternity for our reservations, we got to watch dolphins swimming in the marsh. That little triangular dot is a dolphin. You’ll just have to trust me.More food pictures, because I’m me, and I’m fond of food.
Then, we went home!
The end. Have you ever been to Charleston? What’s your favorite thing to do there? Or, if we’re kindred spirits, your favorite place to eat?
I struggle with comparisons, and I would venture a guess and say that most women have compared themselves with another at some point in the past week… maybe even the last hour. Social media is a huge perpetrator in the comparison game- we’re bombarded with pictures of “perfection” anywhere we look. We have to realize, though, that a picture is just that: a snapshot of what we’re expected to see.
Being surrounded with images of everyone else’s picture-perfect lives can be a real soul-crusher. Why don’t my nightly dinners look like that? Why isn’t my living room filled with DIY wonders and beautiful “found” treasures? Why doesn’t my blog have as many followers as that one? Why doesn’t my hair look that way? Why haven’t I made homemade play-doh for my children? Why can’t my kid recite the alphabet in French or Spanish or whatever other language preschoolers are learning these days? Why didn’t I think of that? Why doesn’t my life hold up to theirs? Why aren’t I worthy of approval and acceptance? Why am I left lacking? Why am I always lacking?
You’re not. There is so much more to life than a Pinteresting existence. Jesus wants more for us that to compare ourselves to other people. Our focus should be on the Cross, not on worldly things. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the insignificant- that’s the battle we fight daily. We’re supposed to be living out our lives in a way that would glorify Him- are you glorifying God with your life? I’m not sure I am. Every twinge of jealousy or envy I feel is like telling Him that I don’t believe He has a better plan for me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 says it as plainly as possible: God has a plan for YOU. And it’s a really, really good one. If you believe that God is who He says He is and that His word is infallible, then guess what? You have to believe that He has a plan for your life that is yours and yours alone. And that plan is the best one for you. Despite what you may think you want, God knows you better, and He thinks you’re worthy of the ultimate gift: His son. What else do you need to know?
Maybe He didn’t gift you with the same talents as someone else. That is OKAY! It’s okay if we’re not all great bakers, seamstresses, hostesses or crafty artists. You have strengths, even if you can’t recognize them for yourself. Seek it out, pray over it, ask God to reveal your strengths to you and then dwell in those. Honor Him through those- serve Him through those. Realize that you were created for a unique purpose- and you were perfectly formed for your life.
Don’t get me wrong- it’s totally okay to look to other people for inspiration. But it’s not okay to beat yourself up for not being “as good” as someone else. Your journey is not their journey. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that my perfect may not be your perfect, but it doesn’t matter! We’re all different, so what is beautiful and lovely to me may not be all that great to you. My life is beautiful to me, and my focus to make sure that it’s beautiful to God, too.
As much as I love to seek ideas and inspiration from Pinterest and blogs, there’s a part of me that rates myself next to every beautiful image and blog post. Where am I lacking? There and there and there. Check, check, check. No more. This comparison culture is sucking the joy out of so many of us that feel like we will never measure up. But guess what? You DO measure up- God loves you and created you perfectly just as you are, and I’d rather be beautiful and interesting to Him than Pinteresting to someone else.
I’m praying this verse over my life today, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV). My greatest desire is for a gentle and quiet spirit. Because that is what is beautiful and precious in the sight of God- and it’s imperishable! We aren’t called to be enviable or good at everything- what matters to God is what’s within you and how you love and serve Him. That’s all. You may not be able to Pin that, but you can surely live it.
My kids like Pop-Tarts. A lot. When we realized that Knox had a soy allergy, our selection of me-approved convenience foods was slashed down to a minuscule selection. I prefer to give my kids whole (unprocessed) foods, but adding extreme pickiness to an allergy doesn’t help matters. We discovered the Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastry, which saves the day most days. Knox is an addict. He could eat a box a day if I would let him (I don’t).
Now, if I had all the time in the world, I’d just make all of Knox and Brody’s food from scratch. However, with a full time job and a family to tend to, that’s just not the case. Also, when I try to substitute Knox’s favorites with homemade versions, he tends to rebel. For example, when I try to knock-off Chick-fil-a and make him homemade nuggets (complete with homemade bread crumbs… oh yes I did). He turns up his cute little nose. Even when I say “Knox, it’s Chick-fil-A!” To which my snarky four year-old gourmand replies “You NOT Chick-fil-a.” Burn.
I do try to bake a breakfast food at least once a week, so they can eat on it throughout the week. Generally, they’re a big fan of home-baked items like pound cake and muffins. This weekend, I got brave and attempted some homemade Pop-Tarts. I read through a bunch of recipes, collected ideas and made up my own:
Crust= Martha Stewart’s pie crust
Filling= 2 cups chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cooked down over medium low heat for 30 minutes
Icing= 1 cup powdered sugar, smidge of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
Sprinkles= sprinkles… I’m not that talented
Y’all. There was measuring. Chopping. Pastry blending. Rolling. Flouring. Sweating. Bleeding (<– not really). Baking. Icing. Sprinkling.
In short, it was a process.
Trevor and Brody, my dear, sweet boys, loved them. As I expected them to. Brody was beside himself knowing there were Pop-Tarts being created in the vicinity and was practically in tears by the time they were done just because HE NEEDED ONE SO BADLY.
Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home to the smiles of two precious little boys. Soon, however, their preciousness was replaced with pure pandemonium as they transformed into what I like to call “really, really annoying.” Why? The Witching Hour. You know it. Somewhere between 4 and 6 p.m. when your sweet offspring lose their minds and make you want to hide in your closet and cry. That lovely time of the day.
So, this happens every day approximately 57 seconds after I walk through the door. It’s all “Mommy!” “Wuv you!” “Hold this!” “Yay!! Mommy!” for a nanosecond, then it’s suddenly “AHHHHHHH, pop tarts!! I NEED POP TART!!!” “KNOX!!! MY TRUCK!” and my personal favorite “I POOP! HAHAHA!” Y’all. Kill me now. My brain is mush, and it’s really hard not to just run screaming from the house at that point. It’s even better on days when Trevor is on-shift, like yesterday, and I’m all alone: surrounded and outnumbered. I couldn’t stomach the sound of the TV blaring in the background any longer, so I cut everything off and decided to make a cake. Because introducing flour and eggs into an already chaotic circumstance is ALWAYS a good idea. Only this time, it was okay. My mini-foodie, Brody, stood next to me and identified every object I touched or even glanced toward (it’s his job to make sure I know what things are… I’d be lost without him). So, while he told me where my mixer aka “Mommy’s Cake” was, Knox, ran around doing other Knox-things. After I stuck the cake in the oven, I made them some grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of like six things Knox will actually eat, so we have them all. the. time. Anyway, sandwiches were made, and I went to grab some grapes.
Only, they weren’t there. There was a big ceramic bowl FILLED with grapes in the refrigerator this morning. Mysterious.
I called my mom, since she watched the boys that day while I was at work and asked if she knew what happened to them. She swore she put them back, though she had me check the pantry and the freezer just in case the boys had her too distracted to remember where she put them. They weren’t there. In the mean time, I checked every single cabinet in the kitchen and the fridge four more times.
In an epiphany, I immediately knew exactly what happened to them: Knox. That child is as loud as a jet engine until he does something he’s not supposed to, then his volume level becomes impossibly low. I asked him where they were (setting myself up for failure from the start) and he repeated back to me “Grapes? Where grapes?” We went through that a few times before I took him out of his booster seat where he sat not eating his dinner, and asked him to show me the grapes. He frolicked off the other direction. By this time, I am going through every possible place Knox can reach- under the couch, in the dresser, in the toilet- no
Seriously. Where are the flipping grapes?! I know they were there. I checked the fridge again, scanning every inch of the shelves. Nothing. Freezer- nothing. Playroom- nothing. Bathroom cabinets- nothing. No really, where are these grapes?!!
I am beginning to get irate at my eldest grape-thieving- mess of a child. “Knox, seriously, where are the GRAPES???!” He smirkingly mocks me with “Where are grapes?!” and bursts out laughing at me, obviously thinking “you’re an insane person, Mommy. Leave me alone, while I sit here and not eat my dinner. Maybe you should call your husband who always seems to be able to find me grapes when he’s home.”
WHERE ARE THE GRAPES?!! The word “grape” is starting to sound so weird, after saying it 211 times in the last five minutes. Who the heck named it that? What a weird word. I love that Brody is now trailing me saying “Grapes, wh’ are you?” Bless his heart. (<– Brody now says “Bless Him Heart!” and I DIE every time he says it).
I hate grapes. Stupidest fruit EVER.
A final sign that I’ve totally lost it, as my head starts to spin, I look in the refrigerator AGAIN.