I’m In Love With US

wed 7

Yesterday Mr. C and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary. In those twelve years I have fallen completely head over heals in love with us. I’m especially proud of how hard we both work at being man and wife.

Figuring out the business of becoming one is hard. It takes communication, forgiveness, submission, and most importantly the choice to love. It’s an unending process that starts the moment you say I do and goes far beyond learning how to live under one roof.

While I can say today our marriage has become a well-coordinated dance it has taken years of lessons, complete with occasional missteps. We have the benefit of trial and error throughout a nearly fifteen year relationship. The hardest step was learning to let my husband lead but that’s a whole separate post.

We started this marriage as two head strong individuals determined to be right. Somewhere along the way, and as we grew in Christ, we started to lean in toward each other. Perfect? No, but I love who we are becoming.

For us being one flesh means holding hands while strolling down the street, belly laughing at inside jokes, giving each other a look and having a conversation without words, calling each other out when warranted, sharing fears and supporting dreams while praying to and praising God, whom we place above all things.

Twelve years of marriage is an amazing feat. That is why last night we ate chocolate covered strawberries made by the kids and watched our wedding video, as is our family tradition. It is important to us to demonstrate to the kids that our marriage is worthy of being celebrated. Celebrate we did. Have I mentioned how much I love us?

For The Love Friday Link Up: Week 2

FTL Link Up

I am right smack in the middle of facilitating Breathe: Making room for Sabbath by Priscilla Shirer. For a little perspective on what the class is about here is what the back of the book says:

With a jam-packed life, what’s missing is space-space for God to speak, room for you to hear. It’s time to set aside the activities and busyness that swallows up rest and peace. It’s time for us to breathe and build margin into our lives for God.

In preparation for the class I broke down in tears and confessed to Mr. C how inept I felt. This went beyond my normal self-doubt pity party that happens every Tuesday morning before I teach. This was an I am a complete hypocrite trying to teach a class about creating margin from a trench of busy.

Then I came across these words I wrote several months ago while I was in the midst of teaching my first class Children of the Day by Beth Moore “Sometimes I think God has called me to lead/teach/facilitate because it causes me to dig deeper for the benefit of others when in reality the lessons I am teaching are the ones I need to apply to my life most!”

I read this to my class on my very first day and told them my own need to be sitting in a chair alongside them learning. It is amazing how that little confession set the tone for a class that has truly become a community where honest discussions continue to take place.

Recently we discussed discovering our own individual priorities, setting boundaries and the need to say no. Struggling with the ability to say “No.” was universal. More staggering was the admission of the inability to say no because of the residual guilt.

I thought to myself, “Could this be the reason I was accepted as a member of Jen Hatmaker’s Launch Team? Was this my for such a time as this moment?”

As it turns out in the very first chapter of For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker discusses this very thing. She uses the phrase Off The Beam in homage to being a gymnastics mom.

The premise is simple. Only the things that are important to you (your priorities) stay on the beam anything else is off the beam. For example family dinners are on the beam, volunteering in the kid’s classroom is off the beam!

The most important thing is to make your beam yours and not your neighbors. They are not living your life for you. No two beams will be the same and that is okay!

Along with this analogy I read these words from For The Love:

“We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead wise.”

“Wise woman know what to hold onto and what to release, and how to walk confidently in their choices-no regrets, no apologies, no guilt.”

“You can say no and no one will die.”

How freeing are these words? I’m guessing come August, when the book is officially released the words Off The Beam will be adapted by women everywhere.

Do you struggle with saying no?

What are your top on the beam/off the beam items?

***************

Fellow Launch Team and #4500 Members it’s your turn. Link your For The Love inspired post below and spread the word.

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Perspective Is Not A One Shot Deal

My word of the year last year was perspective. I focused on praising God for his provisions when I wanted to complain about doing laundry or cooking, again. It stemmed from reading the Ann Voskamp book One Thousand Gifts. It really has changed my heart and the way I tackle my day.

Lately we have had an epidemic of wayward shoes. They are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I find them in the living room, under the kitchen table, in my car, in the garage, outside the front door and even in the restroom. You want to know where I don’t find them? Where they belong!

Ever since I read the Lysa TerKeurst book, The Bathtub is Overflowing But I Still Feel Drained, I have tried so hard to smile and feel all the feels about the precious people I birthed or married who’s feet occupy those shoes. I have a twenty-two year old who has flown the coop. I know how quick this season will be over.

I know this, man!

Yet, the other day I tripped over a shoe and went bat shit crazy. You guys I don’t even know what happened but I’m pretty sure I threaten to throw away every single pair of shoes my kids own and force them to walk barefoot everywhere while my head spun around, drool ran down my mouth and my eyes glowed a hellish color of red.

It happened. I’m not proud.

I only share this story with you to let you know you are not alone. The thing is I think we as women have a tendency to compare our yuck filled days to others rock star moments. Just stop. Stop right now.

There is no question I love my husband and my children. It is absolutely my hearts desire to live a Christ like life. I also know I am not perfect. I will not always get it right, neither will you.

Tomorrow is a new day. Apologies work magic. Perspective is not a one shot deal. Our goal is progress not perfection.

As I sit here typing this there are eleven, ELEVEN pairs of shoes within eyesight. I kid you not. Except this time all I could think is not one belong to my twenty-two year old. Why do they grow up so fast?

When Life Gets Hard

We were about ready to put Spring Break in the books when a strain of strep throat invaded our home. Any one who is familiar with big families knows sickness is akin to bowling. The first roll takes down a few pins but you get a second throw and that’s when you take down the rest while picking up the spare. It’s brutal.

It is particularly bad when your husband is the one to go down first. I know I’m being all Captain Obvious here but men are not easy to care for when sick. I mean I understand you can’t swallow and all but I gave birth to three of your babies with less dramatics. Apparently our daughter who by every other account is my mini me takes after her daddy when she is sick. So that was fun too. I may still be a bit bitter.

I had two down, one on the mend and another unknowingly incubating the same sickness. It was not my best day as a wife or a mom. I am not the most compassionate person in these situations. I snapped all day long. There were so many moments I wished I could go back and show mercy or be kinder. Instead, when everyone was finally sleeping I cried a huge puddle of guilt tears.

I woke the next day with my throat on fire and a son complaining he couldn’t swallow. No one went back to school or work. A second round of doctors and antibiotics were prescribed to our family. I wish I could say I was much more pleasant on day two but the truth is I slept most of the day and just gave up.

By dinner everyone was better-ish. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled day of busy. Mr. C returns to work and the kids to school. I will teach a class and get nap before the rigmarole of after school snacks, homework and activities begin.

Sometimes life gets hard…and then it gets better and we move on.

“For The Love” Friday Link-Up

FTL Link Up

It’s been over a week since I was accepted as a member of the launch team for the book For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. If you missed my original announcement you can read the Big News here.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting from being on the team but I do know I have been blessed in ways that go beyond being a book-worm who has a sphere of influence she can promote a book to.

I am overwhelmed in such a wonderful way by the 500 members of the launch team. We have been able to connect with each other via a face book group. The amount of authenticity, vulnerability, support and shared laughter is refreshing.

I have been convicted and encouraged not just by the printed words of Jen Hatmaker but by the stories of the people they are affecting. Perhaps that’s the whole purpose of having ordinary people read and share their thoughts of this book written for you and me.

I fully intend to use this little blog of mine to share with you my insights as I read through the book. I am only four chapters in and my journal is filled with future post waiting to be written. I know I am not alone.

I decided to take a leap of faith and host a link-up for all the other bloggers sharing their thoughts as they read through For The Love. My intention is simply to have a spot where we could showcase our written work while promoting the book and reaching out to an eclectic group of readers.

I plan on hosting a For The Love Link Up every Friday leading up to the official launch of the book. If you are willing please add any blog post you have written related to For The Love. Then come back next week and do it again. Okay? Okay.

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Making Rest a Priority During Spring Break

This morning my body was not jeered awake by the mocking buzz of my alarm o’clock. You know the one that demands the shower merry-go-round begin, breakfast be made, hygiene checked (twice), lunches packed, homework folders signed and the correct shoes worn for whatever special is going on that day. Nope. Not today.

Instead I was gently woken by Mr. C saying goodbye before he left to work. I tried to get up and be the kind of wife he deserves but he just whispered go back to sleep. Have I mentioned how much I love that man?

I started to drift off when I heard the inevitable words that mark the true start of Spring Break in our house, “Mommy. I don’t feel good. I think I’m going to….” Every. Single. Year!

That was my cue to make a double pot of coffee, serve popsicles for breakfast and pray!

Good thing we have absolutely nothing on the agenda this morning. In fact other than our normal busy that comes with raising athletes we don’t have a single solitary activity planned. That is not to say we plan on doing nothing. No. Instead it gives us permission to do whatever and whenever life brings our way.

My world is being rocked right now trying to figure out what the true meaning of having margin in our life and setting priorities based on what our family needs look like for us.

I have been on this journey for some time. Last year I wrote a Spring Break Bucket List which hints at our need to plan less and live more. This year we eliminated the list all together.

Once upon a time planning and doing was necessary when my kids were younger. They needed me to supply ways to entertain them. To train them up. They weren’t bombarded with juggling homework, sports, church, friends, and free time.

This season of life is different. We spend an insane amount of time practicing and playing. This is why our kids look forward to being able to sleep in and stay in their pajamas all day until it’s time to do their thing.

However, I start to compare our family with what others are doing. I see the pictures on social media of families going here and there and doing this and that. All of sudden I start to feel like a dead beat mom. I start to think I am depriving my kids.

I know in my heart the greatest gift I could give my kids is the gift of rest. I want very much to create a home where they can just be. I don’t know what the plan is for Spring Break and this reformed Type-A, planner of all things, is okay with that.

Do you leave a margin in your schedule to rest?

Happy Pi Day

Yes. Yes I am a bit of a nerd.  That being said. I thought in honor of Pi day (3.1415…. get it?) I would repost my absolute favorite and most requested apple pie recipe.  Warning: This recipe has been pinned thousands of times and sharing the result with others will automatically require you bring it to all future potluck gatherings. Proceed with caution.

apple pie

Crunch Top Apple Pie

  • Store Bought Pie Crust or your favorite homemade recipe, whatever.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • 3 apples peeled, chopped
  • 3 – 4 ounce cups of cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pie crust. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice.

Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter.

apple pie 1

 

Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie.

apple pie 2

apple pie 3

apple pie 4

 

For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

~Enjoy

Friday Introductions: My Backstory

As I enter into a new season of blogging I feel compelled to do a better job of connecting with my readers. I have decided to jump on the Friday Introduction bandwagon in my own way. There is no way I have it together enough to make it a weekly series but every month or so may be doable.

Because many of you have just recently found this little blog of mine I decided to give you my “brief as possible” backstory.

My name is Jenniemarie and I turned 39 in January. My husband, Mr. C., and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary at the end of this month. We have four children: Kaleb {22}, Karisa {13}, Kaiden {11} and Kailey {7}. It’s safe to say we have our hands full.

I am the oldest of five kids. My parents separated when I was five years old while my mother was pregnant with my youngest brother. Technically she was responsible for our care but in reality she did very little caring.

When I was seven my mother, who was fifteen when she gave birth to me, abandoned all five of us kids. We were taken to my dad with only the clothes on our back and he raised us as a single father of five from that point on.

There is a long-winded story of a broken little girl fighting to find her worth in the world as a result of the details that come following her abandonment and subsequent verbal and emotional abuse who made a plethora of poor choices all on her own that are currently being written into a memoir. For today’s purpose let’s skip ahead shall we.

When I was weeks into my twenty-fourth year of life I held my daddy’s hand as he took his last breath. I grieve every. single.day.. My post Existing In A World My Dad Doesn’t is one of my most popular post about his death.

I started dating Mr. C shortly after my daddy died. I wrote a whole series called Our Story that chronicles the details of our relationship. The gist of it all goes something like this: a few months into our relationship I became pregnant, a few months later I miscarried, a few months later I was pregnant again, I gave birth to our first daughter, we bought a house and then married. Three months later I was pregnant, again! Oh and I should mention we did all this while trying to figure out the ins and outs of being a blended family. Being a step-mom is not for the weak at heart.

Up until that point Mr. C and I only attended church on Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day with his mom. We both left home as teenagers and went wayward from the church. I was raised Catholic and He was raised in the non-domination church we sporadically attended.

Our marriage was rocky at best when we attended an Easter service in 2004. We had a newborn son, our daughter was a toddler, and had a son in middle school.  As I sat in church listening to the pastor share the story of Christ death and resurrection I felt what I now know to be the Holy Spirit’s conviction. I wanted needed Jesus in my life.

From that day on Mr. C and I attended church regularly and were baptized together a year later. As a new believer I had an indescribable hunger for Christ. I started attending a MOPS group at the church. We joined a small group and made it a point to rebuild the foundation of our marriage on Christ.

Eleven years later that same weary, broken, insecure now mother of four who was on the brink of divorce is teaching Bible study and loves her husband something fierce. Can you say Praise God!?

I have come to the conclusion I could either be ashamed of my life story or use it for the Glory of God. I chose the latter.

It is my hearts desire to not only learn how I can apply the word of God to my life today as coffee drinking, crock-pot loving,baseball watching, bleacher butt having, library card-carrying book-worm, child rearing, stay at home wife whose laundry is never, ever done while leaving a legacy one memory at a time but to share with others how to do it too!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Thank you for visiting Another Housewife. I would love for you to introduce yourself and share your backstory in the comments.. Then feel free to stay and browse awhile.

For a behind the scenes glimpse into our everyday life outside of the blog you can follow me on Pinterest,Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can reach me anytime via e-mail at anotherhousewifeblog@gmail.com.  

Big News!

For The Love

Last Friday Jen Hatmaker announced she was accepting applications for the Launch Team for her new book, For The Love. I immediately thought, ‘Heck yes!’ I clicked the link and started to fill out the form.

I was a bit surprised by how simple the form was. It was all fun and games entering my name and address until I came to the section basically asking who I was, who my sphere of influence is and why I should be selected. I balked and switched back to my Pinterest tab.

As usual I let self-doubt take control. I mean seriously! Who did I think I was applying for such a thing? I refuse to even repeat the amount of awful that was swirling around in my head.

Then I heard a little teeny tiny voice whisper, ‘Why not you?” In a moment that could only be described as God inspired courage I clicked back on the link and started typing.

You guys, I have no idea what I even wrote. Normally, I would over think everything, write in such a way that is true but geared toward what I think they want (oh-you know you do it too!), and I would re-write it to death. Not this time.

I was afraid that my moment of bravery would lapse and I would chicken out again so I didn’t even think about it. I know I confessed my love for Jen, mentioned my little blog, being a Bible Study teacher, baseball/softball/gymnastics mom and a little blurb about loving books and Jesus. I hit submit, announced it on Twitter and that was that!

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I checked my e-mail and saw an e-mail welcoming me to the Launch Team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I threw my phone down and started to cry in complete disbelief. I double checked my e-mail a billion times before I would even let myself believe it to be true. I finally started screaming, “Now way! No freaking way!” I may have had a little dance party.

Not one person in my family asked for an explanation. I may have a tendency to get this excited about fictional characters in a book/TV, respond out loud to social media or have a delayed response to something that happened last week. For them this was normal.

I blurted out the news to Mr. C and he said, “Good for you…?” in an extremely casual way. I kept saying, “You don’t understand how cool this is. This is a huge thing for me.” I babbled so much about it being a true honor I started to think “they” made a mistake.

All of the feelings of unworthiness started to replay in my head again. Then I found my new tribe of people who in one way or another felt the same way. I don’t know what the process was for selecting 500 members out of the 5,000 that applied but I am truly appreciative for this opportunity.

It will be a few months before I post a review about the book here. I will be tweeting out excerpts from the book that have a personal impact on me. That’s your cue to follow me on twitter if you don’t already.

After reading the intro I have come to the conclusion that being selected may have less to do with what I can do to promote this book and more to do with what God can do with me by reading this book. I’m a chapter in and want to buy copies for all my friends. I’m not even technically on the clock yet! It’s that good. No lie. You can find more info about For The Love and pre-order your cope here.

Being on this Launch Team is huge for me. I was brave. I was free. I was myself. I was accepted. Somebody pinch me because I. Can’t. Even! right now.

Friday Five: Confessions

friday five confessions

1.) I currently have $33 in library fees

We have returned all of our books and we will zero out our balance tomorrow. I don’t know what to say other than You. Are.Welcome. City of Mesa!

2.) I have not read a single book this year

There I said it. At this same time last year I had read ten books. Depression has kicked my arse this year.

3. I ate an entire bag of Starburst Jelly Beans.

I finally swapped out our Valentine’s décor forsome Easter nick knacks. I filled a clear jar with Jelly Beans because the color looks so cool and make me smile. It turns out they also make my belly smile because they were gone in a matter of days.

4.) I love Pop/Mainstream music

This isn’t me jumping on the confessing to like Taylor Swift bandwagon. Although, I have liked her from the get go and my play list for my first ever run proves it. No. This is me confession to singing along to the top 40 on the radio. Don’t judge me.

5.) I feel like a hypocrite facilitating Bible Study

I am currently leading the Breathe: Making room for the Sabbath by Priscilla Shirer. There is no margin in my life right now. My priorities are blurred by the immediacy busyness brings. Yet I have been called to instruct others on yielding to our God-given gift of rest. So I do what I do best and keep it real. I share my own struggles and allow this study to wreck me right along side the woman in my class.

As a bonus confession you should know It’s 5:50pm on a Friday night, I just took a shower for the first time in two days and I’m drinking a cup of coffee typing this to kill time before I have to take my son to baseball practice.

Surprised by any of my confessions? Have a confession to share? I would to hear from you.