5 Reasons Mom Bloggers Rock

momblogrocksheader

Have you ever Googled “mom blogs” before? Talk about overload. Upon my Googling adventures I saw writers out there saying that there are almost 4 million ladies who call themselves a mom blogger. Holy Buckets. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started blogging. Seriously, talk about sticking your head back in the sand.

I first started out posting here or there, not really worried about which way I was going. When I wanted to put more focus and energy into this “hobby,” in hopes of making some moolah off my writing someday, I realized I needed support. I needed to figure out what the heck I was doing and where I wanted to go. I did what anyone would do before they get ready for the big game. You stalk your opponents.

As I began spending way too much time late into the night reading and ciphering through a gazillion mom blogger sites, I started noticing a trend. Not only were my opponents pretty flipping awesome, but they were team players. These amazamoms are out there, cheering on the next mom, encouraging her to write her story and be vulnerable to the spectators. It didn’t take long for me to realize that we’re on the same team and that we’re pretty rad. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say these are the five reasons mom bloggers rock.

We are the masters at multitasking.
You know what I love about mom bloggers? They are constantly mind blowing me with their talent. Not just their talented writing, but their ability to to keep on balancing mama life and everything else that demands their attention. How is it possible that a mom can write, work, chase kids, love husband, write, work, rinse and repeat and still put herself out there time after time to share with her readers? Because we are awesome. I heard once that being a mom puts you in the top ten list of a job that requires you to make the most decisions in a day. I think some people equate a mom blogger as someone who watches Netflix all day. If they only knew the time and energy we expend as a mom then tack on whatever else it is we do–work away from home, work at home, travel, maybe have the ability to cook or clean, having to help take care of the place in which you live…. I’m getting exhausted just writing this.

We remember to pause, breathe and enjoy where we’re at.
There’s nothing that can keep you more grounded then writing about your life or your experiences and then realizing you need to enjoy what you’re writing about. If I want to write about #enjoyingtheride then I need to actually do it. That’s why I told my husband we need to take a vacation to Ireland, so I can write about it. Fingers crossed people.

We cheer each other on.
I would be amiss if I said jealousy is not a force to be reckoned with as you enter the mom blogging world. I think you have to make a choice if you choose to join the #momblogginghood. You can either choose to let jealousy eat away your talent and motivation or keep your eyes ahead on your own path and learn to appreciate the ladies you identify with. I hear #momtribe alot these days and love the unity this term brings. No matter how we all write, we’re all moms and we can all identify with what that means.

We like to write.
Do I really need to add to this? We enjoy writing  when many others would rather take a chainsaw to their toenails before they sat down to listen to the muses out there and write about it. We are a special breed who choose to use our “spare” time to write. #mamaswhowrite

We are diverse. 
Like I said, I was overwhelmed when I started connecting with other mom bloggers because it seemed like we were all “competing” for the same thing–page views, followers, readership numbers, blah, blah. Honestly, I was intimidated by all these awesome ladies. But you know what? There are a bazillion love songs that say I love you in a bazillion different ways and we keep on listening to them. There are a bazillion moms writing about that one recipe that will kick off your holiday weekend or 10 ways to get your kids to bed before it’s too late or 5 reasons mom bloggers rock, but behind each screen is a woman whose perception on life is different than yours. A woman who reminds you that there is more than one way to make a cake. A woman who reminds you that you are an awesome mom. A mom who identifies with your loss, your gains. A mom who rocks .

P.S. I’m totally digging the 5 hashtags for the 5 reasons. Sheesh, I’m obsessed.

 

 

 

 

The Juggling Act Called “Leap of Faith”: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

 

 

LeapofFaithKilmanjaro

 

DenafamilyDena is a mom of two and married to a man who shares her adventure for life. Dena was born two months early and weighed 2lbs, 14 ozs. From day one she hit the ground running and has never stopped. She built her family ranch into a reputable borading and training facility going on 16 years. Always moving, always learning, always thankful to the dear Lord for all she has been given. This is an opportunity she hopes to share with as many others as possible.

Story by Dena Dorn. Written by Mikayla Boge.

Up at 3 a.m. to feed the baby, alarm ringing at 6 a.m. to feed the horses. Get the husband out the door for work. My morning is crammed full of house cleaning, laundry, paper work and business calls. Afternoon is crammed with horses to train, picking up the teenager from practice, a grocery run, a crying baby and supper preparation. I finally feel my soft, cool pillow at 11 p.m., only to wake up to the sound of baby boy crying for his before-the-crack-of-dawn feeding… and thus the cycle repeats. Being a mother, wife and ranch owner is exhausting. Yet, my husband, Rob, and I decided to start another exciting, but busy journey, all because of a split-second decision and a leap of faith.

Africa 1

 

It happened back in 2013 when a young woman, Lizzie, whom I give horseback riding lessons to, was excitedly talking about her upcoming mountain climbing trip. The trip was to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The way she was talking about the culture, the scenery and the mountain, it made me want to go and I was completely shocked when she asked me if I wanted to go with her! She was leaving in FIVE days to travel across an ocean and climb a mountain for ten days. There was no way I could leave my family and ranch for that long with such short notice. The thought of leaving brought visions of Rob burning down the ranch and losing the baby. Just kidding, although not far from the truth, but there was just no way I could go. I was still laughing about the suggestion when my husband walked up and asked what was so funny. I told him her absurd suggestion, and he shocked me by saying, “Why not go, it’s a once in a lifetime chance?”

My journey of faith started without me even realizing it had begun.

Rob and I frantically got our ducks in a row for the ranch, a babysitter for the baby while Rob was at work and all of the items I needed on my travel list. As we were preparing, it dawned on me I was about to climb a MOUNTAIN! I’m an athlete and stay fit working around the ranch but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a mountain. As the days passed and people started to hear what we were doing, I was inundated with questions such as, “WOW, that’s a huge commitment. How long have you been training? People die climbing that mountain. Are you sure you are ready? What vaccinations did you get to travel?”

There were so many more questions, and it slowly began to sink in that this may not be an average, everyday climb I was about to embark on. I still wasn’t deterred as my entire life has been about believing anything was possible and not to sweat the small stuff. However, as Lizzie and I flew across an ocean, I prayed continually that this was a good decision. I started to get scared because I couldn’t even get in touch with the climbing company AND I didn’t even have confirmation that I had a space in the upcoming climb. I really started to doubt my leap-of-faith decision.

Africa 2

 

Adding to my nerves, we had a layover in Dar Es Salaam. Dar Es Salaam is known for people getting kidnapped for money, luggage being stolen and every other frightening scenario you can think of. I had just stepped off the plane into one of the most crime ridden cities in Africa. My family, my baby, my friends and the ranch were running through my mind. Thoughts of never seeing my family and friends again ran through my head. Trusting Lizzy and the seemingly nice taxi driver she had set up beforehand, we stepped outside the airport to get a ride to our hotel. Thankfully, we made it, but I did have every Kung Fu movie action move I had ever seen scrolling through my head until we made it back to the airport the next morning.

Thoughts of never seeing my family and friends again ran through my head.

We boarded the plane to Tanzania and I slowly began to find my true faith. God was with us and had been the whole time. As soon as I stepped off of the plane in Tanzania, Africa, I was struck by how amazing the culture and landscape around me was and that my prayers had not gone unanswered. The sights, the smells, the sense of adventure; it was intoxicating and I was in love. I had to pinch myself that I was actually there! Our lead guide, Faraja, met us at the airport, proving that I did have a place in the climb. I could finally breathe.

Faraja, who was from Tanzania, had started as a porter but worked his way up to guide status for climbs up Mount Kilimanjaro. Throughout our climb, I had the pleasure to learn more about Faraja, his dreams and aspirations for his family and for himself. One of his dreams was to climb every large mountain in the world, sharing his experiences with others along the way. Another of his dreams was to own his own climbing business, where he could share his passion of adventure with others. As I spent more time climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and learning about Faraja, I wanted to share in his dreams. I too wanted to give people the sense of adventure and excitement I was feeling. I wanted to help others take that leap-of-faith, even the busy moms that never dreamed of doing something such as this.

Finally it clicked, I knew my to-do list was about to get longer because God made it an easy decision for us.

As I climbed, there were continuous occurrences where Faraja and his team proved their ability to help us have a great adventure, be safe and make it to the top. Rob had bought me an amazing back pack for the climb which equated to 15 pounds when empty. Unfortunately, most people suggest a pack around 10-15 pounds full. Due to the added weight, my neck started to give out in the middle of the steep incline just past Kibo Hut, which was about day 5/6 into the climb. After seeing me struggle, Harold, the other lead guide, made me give him my back pack which he figured weighed around 40 pounds! I also was getting nervous during the climb because I was becoming increasingly cold. I couldn’t get warm, no matter what I tried even with changing my damp clothes and adding layers. The guides noticed my struggle and explained that I needed to cover my entire neck because the blood runs through my neck into the brain, so by keeping the blood warm going to the brain it keeps the entire body warm. I covered my neck and I started to feel warmth creep back into my body. It started to work but by the time we made it to the top, Crater Camp, I was starting to get very cold again. I have NEVER been so cold in my life and started to think the worse again. I was mentally making my last will and testament in my head when I remembered that this was a leap-of-faith adventure and that I needed to trust God to help me make it. I did eventually make it and I thank God every day that I took the leap of faith to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Africa 4

 

When I returned home, Rob and I sat down to discuss what the next steps were. We both had a lot of soul searching and praying ahead of us but God opened the right doors for us. Faraja, already had a great business plan mapped out, incredible individuals in place to help out and all the equipment needed to get started. What Faraja lacked was a missing link, the “store front” of his business. My husband and I decided to be that missing link. In 2015, we officially started a travel agency called Adventure Africa, Inc. that would help bring individuals, ready for a life-changing trip, to Faraja and his climbing business, Faraja and Jande Adventures. We plan on offering five different climbs and four different safaris but as of now, we started with the best and most popular climb, Mount Kilimanjaro. We are still continually praying that our business will flourish and we can share our passion with many others, especially the busy mom that thinks something like this would never be possible, but we are relishing in the fact that we have found our purpose. We have found some solid ground in our leap of faith.

I thank God every day that I took the leap of faith to have the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Africa 3

Dena Dorn and her husband own Triple D Ranch and Adventure Africa, Inc. in Watkins, Colo. To learn more about Dena, her family or Adventure Africa, Inc. visit www.adventureafricatravel.com.

Mikayla Boge owns a small, Colorado based marketing company called BAM Bar LLC and shares in Dena’s passion to reach individuals through Adventure Africa, Inc. To learn more about Mikayla, or BAM Bar LLC, visit www.bambarllc.com.

Being a Parent Freaks Me Out

,

Squishy oatmeal on the floor. Granola stuck to the seat. Bacon filling the air. Dogs licking everything. Breakfast is my favorite. Bubby’s in a good mood and ready to try whatever food I throw his way. I said ready to try. Not always actually eat. We’ve been doing the whole “let-them-feed-themselves” bit and it’s worked out pretty well, for the most part. Drawback to this? Flying food when he’s not interested. Thank God for my dogs. Mike doesn’t even know the half of what’s been on our floor and mopped up by the dogs. I look at Asher and I can see the flail is about to commence. He’s going on 9 1/2 months and I’m telling you that kid already can feel when he does something he’s not supposed to. His hand is raised. I give him the look. He gives me the look. The look that says I’m still too little and don’t understand, right? You’re not going to do anything to me? Right? I’m just gonna throw this bloppy raspberry over… It’s an amazing and very quick process all of which happens in about three seconds. Breakfast is over.

 

“Let’s move to the front room,” I find myself saying out loud. If you don’t know this already, parents start this habit of speaking everything they do out loud when they have children. “Let’s not do that, let’s go out side, let’s clean this toilet, let’s not pick our nose.”

I find myself thinking how in the world I would do this with two kids running around. That’s right. Running. I’ve just got the one who has just started crawling.Being a ParentFreaksMeOut

I remember when everyone was asking if he was crawling yet. While this is my first kid, I knew better than to hope for mobility. Mobility means chaos. Or fun. Whatever. Fun for about ten seconds. He’s crawling for the DVDs as soon I set him on the ground. I’m OK with this. It’s when we see the pretty light on the plugin that I start to get nervous. I always like to watch and see what he’ll do now that he’s discovered this ability to actually GO where he wants. The plugin calls his name. I swear he looks at me to see if I’m going to let him grab it.

It’s in this moment I freak out. I freak out because the realization that I am one of the biggest forces that will shape my son’s morality hits me in the gut.

Being a SAHM has been amazing so far. I know I still have a big journey ahead as Asher gets older and hopefully, someday, our famly grows bigger. There are the good days and the bad days, but I am enjoying this ride so far. When you become a first-time-mom and if you desire to stay home and are lucky to be able to, I don’t think you ever see the big picture of what you’re getting yourself into. Even if your kids are in daycare, you are still fumbling along the wall looking for light to help you navigate and figure out what the heck you’re doing. No matter if you work or work from home, whatever, you are now a parent. You are in charge of this little life. Don’t even get me started when his life grows outside of days with mom and dad.

No matter if you work or work from home, whatever, you are now a parent. You are in charge of this little life.

Being a SAHM logically means you spend A LOT of time with your littles. Knowing that I’m responsible to help him understand the difference between fun and risk or humor and bullying or love and lust is overwhelming. I think I’m starting to see what other parents mean when they say parenting is a privilege. We have a special right to guide and love someone unconditionally. No wonder many parents find God when they have children. What better way to understand His unconditional love for us than to experience a snippet of it with your own child.

Being a parent freaks me out when I think about all this. I’m reminded how small I am, how fragile I am. How fragile Asher is. How strong he is. How strong I can be. Never before has the phrase “God is my strength” rang more true to me than when I hear it tossed around as some kind of cliche. No. Not a cliche for me. A rock solid truth. A reminder that I can’t do this without Him. I am nothing without Him. The more I live this truth out in front of Asher, the more raw and human I am, then the better Asher will be. The better I will be.

Being a parent freaks me out. Being a parent makes me stronger.

 

When Blessings Feel Like Burdens

,

 

12322583_10103391980116680_2891993775767244846_oNoel Perez-White is an a English High school teacher who recently became a mama. She loves to write about her experiences in the classroom, at home, and her daily life. She’s got some pretty rad Haikus about motherhood going on in her own little corner of the cyberworld at www.reflectionsofamillennialmama.com. She is always looking to encourage other mamas! Feel free to stop by her site and say hello!

 

 

 

blessingstitle

It’s 5:45 P.M. on a Friday night and I’m driving home after an excruciatingly long day. Stress from the week has finally reached a boiling point and hot tears start falling down my face. It’s just been one of those weeks, and I’m on the ledge in danger of falling into a deep pit of self pity.

I start thinking about the fact that I stayed at school for an hour after the last bell to grade student work and I still had a pile waiting for me when I returned. I reflected on the school week. A week I wanted to forget. I broke up two fights, my eighth period’s misogynistic comments forced me to tears (in the privacy of the bathroom), my computer broke, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being overworked and under­-appreciated. I planned out the following week in my mind, which included several meetings after school. I thought about how my meetings earlier in the week lasted so long that by the time I got home, my daughter was tucked in her bed, sound asleep. Another missed opportunity to spend time with her. My chest ached because I was pulled into a quick meeting at school and I missed a pumping session. The lasting effects were starting to hit me, as sharp pains shot through my chest.

The to­-do list for the weekend started scrolling through my mind. The ACT class I had to teach Saturday morning was not yet planned for, the shopping list I had for my daughter’s upcoming baptism reception kept growing, yet the RSVP’s were rolling in slowly and I knew I would have to start tracking down the invitees to get a final count.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had alone time with my husband, and even though he slept next to me every night, he felt a million miles away. The idea of planning a date night seemed ridiculous in light of everything we had going on.

…as I climbed the steps to my house I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to declare to my husband that I QUIT! Adulting was not for me, and I was over all of it.

In the short ride between school and home I had worked myself into a full on anxiety meltdown. I kept telling myself that it was impossible to do it all: mother, teacher (both during the week and on the weekend), wife, club moderator, union member (who is in the middle of contract negotiations), caretaker, party planner…and as I climbed the steps to my house I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to declare to my husband that I QUIT! Adulting was not for me, and I was over all of it.

My husband knew I was having an off week, as I had complained about it over the last few days, so he didn’t question my sullen silence as I came into the house and prepared to nurse my daughter. She was hungry and a bit fussy. As he handed her to me, she smiled as she knew what was happening. Dinner! I felt a surge of relief as the engorgement that was ailing me before began to subside, as did my anxiety.

Over the course of the weekend I began to realize I had it all wrong. I was looking at my life ­­ and the things that were making me upset ­­ as a problem. In reality, all of those “problems” were things I had prayed for, wished for, and worked for. It was at that point that I saw that I am not in fact burdened, but I am blessed. I had so much to be grateful for!

I began to see that I was allowing the challenges I was facing overshadow the fact that I have so many things going right in my life. I have a job that, although is a major stressor at times, is meaningful and gives me a purpose every day. I have the privilege of being on the team that is building a fair and comprehensive union contract that will benefit many students and teachers who enter the school doors even once I am no longer there.

I have a huge family! And yes, that can mean that parties and gatherings can get pretty expensive and are hectic to plan, but it’s only because everyone wants to be a part of the celebration. How can I be upset with that? There will always be opportunities to make more money, but making memories is more important.

There will always be opportunities to make more money, but making memories is more important

When I think about what I am grateful for, I start to feel lighter. There is still so much in my life that can cause me stress, but I have come to see that it is only because I care so much about it all. As my identity expands to include more and more roles, I’m learning there may be some growing pains associated with each. I have to trust that the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to be successful will also shift, grow, and change. To not have change is to be stagnant, and that is definitely something I don’t want.

By the end of the weekend, I was determined to make a shift in my thinking. I spoke to my husband about what I had been thinking and I shared my frustrations and guilt. To top it off, in all of this, never did I even ask him how he was doing. Why did I think I was the only one struggling? My guilt became heavier.

To not have change is to be stagnant, and that is definitely something I don’t want.

I decided we needed to make a point everyday to be positive and grateful.  We agreed to do one little thing everyday that would not only give us time to connect, but also help us to see the blessings in our lives. We set a timer on our phones, to everyday, before bed, share with each other something we are grateful for. Something specific to the events of that day. It can be something the other person did, or something related to work or family or ­anything really. To hold ourselves accountable we made three rules:

  1. We BOTH have to do it, even on the bad days. If there is ever a time when we are not together at the end of the day, we must share our gratitudes in a phone call or text message.
  2. It must be specific­ not a vague cop­out statement like, “I’m grateful for my husband.”
  3. It must be genuine gratitude ( this one was mostly for me since I can get pretty sarcastic when I’m in a bad mood)

I know it may seem like a silly thing, but so far it has made such an improvement in my life and in my marriage. It forces me to stop and think about all the good moments I had throughout the day that can easily be overlooked, and it’s an opportunity to spend a genuine and intimate moment with my husband. It can be said over dinner, or during my daughter’s bath time. It can be just a statement or it can open the conversation to a story from the day I want to share. Eventually, this will be a tradition we will extend to our daughter and future children. We’ve only been doing it for a short time, but I believe it’s something that will last because it makes us feel good and it’s not hard to keep up.

I have to admit, I am a little embarrassed. I let myself go on and on thinking I had it so rough, when it’s the opposite. I am grateful to my readers, for allowing me to be self­-centered. We all need to sulk sometimes, but it’s also important to pull ourselves out those dark moments too.

How have you been feeling lately? Have you been looking at your blessings as burdens like I was? It’s never too late to open your eyes and heart, and make a small change that can improve your outlook on life.

Do you have a story to share? Want to encourage other moms? Click here for more information about Writing With Us!

Holy Buckets. Bubby is Nine months old! Ahh!

 

bubby9mos

Crawling? Check.

Teeth? Double Check. Four at one time, on the top. Thank you. Drool everywhere.

Grabbing everything? Check. And check. And check some more. Goodbye earrings I never wore.

Eating? YES. Breast, formula whatever is best before one, but this boy CAN EAT. I’m not sure why we’re still nursing to be honest. Oh yah, doc’s orders.

Must add a note that pooping has increased due to all the eating. Smelly? Holy crap, yes.

Sleeping? THANK GOD.

Talking? Science says that babies usually babble “dah dah” first. It’s easier on their mouth to shape. So, technically “dah dah” is NOT his first word. It IS a competition whose name gets said first. No one is winning. I’m just glad the boy wont shut up.

Curious much? Baby proofing 101–DO IT before they can crawl. Rookie mistake. Thank you mangled Ethernet chord we carelessly left dangling in our front room.

Size clothes does he wear? Man, I don’t know if this is some kind of indication, but we’ve been wearing size 12 months since 8 months. I might mention we wear big fluffly cloth diapers. OK, they take up all the room but seriously, I can’t keep up with the right size fast enough.

I still can’t believe he’s nine months old. Soon I’ll be writing about his nine year birthday.

They say the days are long but the years are short.

I’m finding this to be true. My days are filled with giggles and smiggles and cries and a smidge of sleep. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, maybe a Keurig. I’ve always wanted one…

 

Whispers While Washing Dishes

,

whispers

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

My hands plunge deep. Gurgling foamy water covers me. This is the story of my life.
Emotions wrought and drain away as the water empties from the sink.
Why can’t I hear You above all the noise?

I lose focus.
The world yanks at me. Pulling for every open opportunity. My time slips away. So fragile.
I forget who I am. I forget who You are.
Clanking floats from the other room. I wipe my eyes. I’m drawn back.
Leaning to peek around the corner I see his sweet face.
This is the story of my life.

Most of us feel like we’ve lost. Like something is missing.
Gone are the days of serving myself. Days of walking this life for me.
Giggles from the other room. I’m drawn back.
When once I thought I was close to the Creator, running the race for Him,
I now see all things new.
Selfishness slithered through my veins then.
“What about me? What about me?”
Ranking repetitions.

His new life brought new blood.
Blood that came hemorrhaging out when he was born.
Blood that made me new. A mother.
This is the story of my life.

Selfishness replaced. I would never go back.
The Creator never left. His blood has made me clean.
Freedom in this new life. New eyes. I see joy like I’ve never seen before.
He’s sitting on my floor, drooling and rolling. Playing. Content. As am I.
This is the story of my life.

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

WhispersWhileWashingDishes

Why I Don’t Shop at Gap Anymore

,

GapScarves

I was a teacher for six years in the same building, same room, teaching the same content to the same grade during that entire time. Yes, being an eighth grade reading teaching is awesome. Middle school teachers are pretty rad (although I feel like elementary teachers are superheroes in disguise and us middle school teachers want to stay kids forever. OK, digression over). Some might say that’s a decent amount of time to stick with something so specific. Veteran teachers might chuckle at “six years” as they approach retirement after being in the field for 25+ years. Either way, six years was long enough for me to feel like I had developed a major part of my identity. When we decided to start a family and I would transition to being a SAHM, I was definitely inundated with the questions: “How long will you take off work? When do you think you’ll go back? Do you think you’ll always teach? Are you nervous about this big of a change?” Uh, well, let’s see. I have no idea how long I will decide to stay home to care for our family, so I don’t know when I’ll get back to teaching, and I don’t know if I’ll always teach. Was I nervous? Nervous was to say the least!

I had read that most women go through some sort of identity crisis when they go from having a career to embracing the new career of being a SAHM. I don’t know about crisis, but there were lots of emotions. I wasn’t sending off flare SOS signals, but I definitely started evaluating who I really was as an individual. I gotta say, I felt like I started my “identity” worries when Mike and I were trying to get pregnant. We were due June 2nd, so I had a whole school year to say goodbye to my passion, at the time. Timing wise, our pregnancy worked out perfectly. I didn’t have to worry about missing a bunch of work. I was easily able to pack up my room and finish out all my units. Everything worked out pretty well. I remember my last day driving in to my job as a teacher. Talk about mixed emotions and lots of prayers. It’s not that I was regretting our decision. I was just worried about how it would all turn out. Would I enjoy this change? Would Mike? Would I be able to make the transition to a SAHM?

The cool thing about making a big decision such as starting a family and leaving your job, some folks, myself included, start to talk with God a lot about the process. I remember waking in the night worrying if Mike and I were ready. If it was time. I have come to embrace my night wakings. Sometimes I get the best ideas when I wake at 3:00 AM. Most times, I get the best revelations from God, whispering his peace to my heart. As I was lying in bed I was reminded of a verse God had been weaving into my heart. I was using this verse as a basis for some lessons with my youth group at the time.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

When people started asking me would I go back to teaching, or did I know how long I would be home, my simple answer was that I didn’t know. I didn’t know when I’d be back or if I’d go back to teaching. What’s awesome about being God’s masterpiece is that the painting isn’t ever finished until we meet him face to face. His masterpiece in me while teaching was an amazing experience. I will forever be a teacher at heart. And I have NO IDEA where or what I’ll be doing in five years or whobody knows when! What a liberating feeling to say that I trust God and know that whatever I’ll be doing down the road, it will be because I felt the Lord leading me in that direction and continue to pursue His peace in my life.

This past week I started cleaning out my closet, getting ready for spring. Trying on clothes to see what still fit. Getting rid of clothes I never ever wore or will wear. As I started going through the bright flower prints, the pastel stripes and soft cotton, I realized many of my clothes that were gaining dust, I wore as a teacher. These days I much prefer leggings , but I have always been a lover of loose khaki pants with a soft, pastel shirt and a good o’l cardigan. Enter the Gap. The Gap was my go-to store for any sort of teacher-wear. I hardly ever spent full price on anything there, but man when they have sales, they are great. I mean, why else would I have three pairs of tan khaki colored pants? I decided to keep about half of my clothes because I love them and see no reason to get rid of everything I used to wear, but I definitely did the “love it” vs “like it” test. Anything that wasn’t a “love” was packed up for Goodwill. If you’ve ever cleaned out your closet like this before, then you know that once it’s all nice and clean and organized, you get this sick feeling to go buy something new. OK, at least I do. The temperature outside was a loverly 70 degrees with sunshine and our downtown Gap was calling me. I loaded Asher up and we went for a stroll downtown and happened to stumble upon our Gap. We certainly don’t have the money for me to shop at the Gap like I used to since I stay home but I figured if I found a nice top that was on sale, I might buy it. Ha. Said the woman who walks out 10 bags later.

As I started perusing the fun flower prints and and must-have scarves to wear in the spring (whoever thought of scarves for the spring was an evil genius), I began to realize that those loose lovely khakis that I wore all the time, just didn’t quite have the appeal like they used to. Buying adorable peach colored flats became “meh.” I was taken back and reminded of being God’s masterpiece. While I still love the Gap, it is just not my go-to store anymore. I get more of a kick going to the Aldi store and finding a good deal on fruit than a good deal on a flowered skirt.

gapdealquote

I have found that quite a few moms who go through a similar transition are embarrassed to say so. Embarrassed to say their identities have changed. As if they lost part of themselves instead of gaining a new part of themselves. We get so focused on what we do as a means of who we are that we forget we are His masterpiece. Constantly changing and evolving.

We get so focused on what we do as a means of who we are that we forget we are His masterpiece.

I don’t know if I’ll be teaching again in a few years or if I’ll be taking pilot lessons or planning to sky dive (OK, that probably won’t happen) but I have found comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, I am a child of God. I am His masterpiece. I am His. And if that means I care less about shopping for clothes, then I guess I just might start wearing khakis around the house more often. I mean, the leggings have got to get a break at some point, right?

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BPino&webforms_id=3864802″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]

 

 

Juicy & Flavorful Easy Shepherd’s Pie

 

I love recipes that can be used during the cold months and warm months. Typically, I tend to cook with the seasons. You wouldn’t find me cooking chili in the middle of July in Kansas. However, I do have one recipe that I love to use all year around and that is Shepherd’s Pie.

I remember my mom making this frequently growing up. I’m sure with my mother having six kids, she had those dishes that were her staple meals. Easy to make. Easy ingredients on hand. Can make big batches to feed a lot of hungry mouths. Enter Shepherd’s pie. What I love about this dish is it’s simple wholesomeness. You don’t have to add a lot of processed anything to this which makes it a perfect dish on our Supper Sundays.

 

Easy Shepherd's Pie that's juicy & Flavorful

The listed ingredients below are for a 9×9 baking dish. I think you could easily make a pound of ground beef stretch over a 9 x 13 pan for a bigger family. The beef wouldn’t be as hearty, so if you want beefy beef, then go with two pounds of meat.

 

 

PREP TIME: 30ISH MINUTES
BAKE: 350 degrees
COOK TIME: 1 HOUR

INGREDIENTS
1 pound of ground, cooked beef
1/3 cup of any broth you have on hand. (I have used beef, chicken, and vegetable. They all taste good!)
2 TBSP of flour
1/3 of an onion, diced and chopped up
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3ish Celery sticks (you could save the rest for some yummy chicken stock)
3ish Carrot sticks (more for the chicken stock!)
1 package of frozen corn (don’t worry about thawing).
5-10 potatoes to make Mashed potatoes. (I found for 9×9 pan, 5 seems to be a good number, so 10 might be good for 9×13 depending on how much you want.)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (optional)

 INSRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While browning beef, have your potatoes boiling.
  3. As the beef is browning, add in your seasonings to help savor the flavor. This is where you add the onion, pepper, and garlic powder. Feel free to play around with flavors here. My husband loves it when I add Montreal Steak seasoning.
  4. While beef is browning and potatoes are cooking, chop up your carrots and celery and mix together in bowl with your frozen corn. Again, you can play around with what vegetables to use here. I know some people like adding peas, whereas I prefer celery.
  5. Once your beef is done browning, add your broth and flour. The meat should have a sort of gushy texture. Let this simmer on low while you finish off with the mashed potatoes.
  6. Once you’re done with your mashed potatoes, I would grease the bottom of your dish for good measure. Add your beef mixture to your pan.
  7. After the beef mixture, add your vegetable mixture.
  8. If you want to add cheese, this is when I add the cheese layer. To help cut out any extra additives, we use white cheddar cheese.
  9. Lastly, add your mashed potatoes! (crummy photo, I know.)

I cook mine without covering it because we like a sort of crunchy top. Some folks cover the whole time, or uncover halfway through and add more cheese to the top. Pick what you want! I think an hour cooking time would work for 9×9 or 9×13 since essentially it’s all cooked before hand. Our vegetables are always a soft crunch no matter how long I cook this, but I think that’s the nature of using carrot sticks and celery, in my opinion. I love the consistency the meat has with the added broth and flour because it keeps the casserole from being dry.

Any other shepherd pie recipes out there you’d like to share or add to this one? Comment below with your yummy tips!

CHEERS!
Glo

P.S. Interested in joining in with our Mom Tribe? Learn more here.