Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Still in the Fight: Mom's One Year Breast Cancer Update

My Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Estelle

Over a year ago, on August 2nd, 2018 my Mom, Carol, was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 3c Breast Cancer. This past year, Mom’s been fighting for her life as she has gone through surgery, radiation, and almost two rounds of chemo therapy. After months of treatment, she's weary and tired with still no end in sight.

On top of everything else, my Mom has continued to be my Grandma’s full-time caregiver. With each passing year, my Grandma gets worse and worse as her Alzheimer’s condition advances. In the past few months, it’s become very apparent that my Mom needs to begin to transition my Grandma’s care to someone else. We’re so thankful for God’s provision in this area, because my Mom and her sister were able to find a nursing home for my Grandma. In a little over one week, my Grandma will move into her new home. As you can imagine, my Mom is busy making all the necessary arrangements as Grandma gets ready to transition to her new home.

When Grandma transitions to a nursing home, Mom will lose her main source of income as a caregiver. With her living alone, she will be responsible for paying all of her medical and household expenses. In the coming weeks, Mom is going to need financial help.

If you are able, please donate to Mom’s GoFund Me to help with her extra expenses. Thank you for trying to help relieve some of this current burden. Click here to donate now.

Don’t forget!! Look below to check out the list of other ways you can help my Mom during this time.

Ways You Can Help

 - Donate to my Mom’s GoFund Me she has a lot of expenses without her normal income, it would be a blessing if you could help relieve some of that burden for her right now. 

- Bring my Mom a meal, especially if you’re in the area. You can even bring something that she can easily put in her freezer and heat up when she’s hungry. 

 - Order groceries from Safeway or Walmart and have them delivered to my Mom’s house. 

 - Send my Mom a card to let her know you were thinking of her. 

 - Send my Mom encouragement through text message or give her a call. 

 - Pray for my Mom that God would be a constant source of peace and strength to her during this time. Pray for complete healing from this disease.

Ladies, don’t forget… 
 Do your self breast exams! Get your mammograms! Be proactive! Save the TATAS!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Leaving Hong Kong

Sorry I've been a little quiet recently, it's been a crazy few months. Due to some complications with my husband's job, my family was forced to move from Hong Kong, back to the United States. You heard me right, we've moved back to the United States. Honestly, it seems too soon for us to be coming home. The whole time I was in Hong Kong packing up our stuff, I just kept thinking,

"I'm not ready. I'm not ready to go."

However, less than one year ago, I was thinking the same thing as we prepared to move to Hong Kong,

"I'm just not ready." 

My how the tables have turned. God sure did a miraculous work in our hearts in a very short time.

With reluctant hearts, on Friday, June 21st, we woke up very early in the morning and made our way to the airport. Everything felt so surreal. How could we already be leaving Hong Kong? Nevertheless, we go into our Uber and headed to Hong Kong International Airport. Our friends met us at the airport and helped with our luggage as we checked in for our flight. These men even prayed for us, before leaving. We already miss them so much!!

Our initial flights took us from Hong Kong to Beijing, China to Houston, Texas. We stayed in Houston for a few days with some close friends. Then, we flew from Houston, Texas to Portland, Oregon. Where we spent time with family and friends before my brother's wedding at the end of June.

We're currently living at my other brother's house where will we live for the next several months. At first, it was a very hard transition for all of us. However, the girls finally seemed settled and are doing so much better. Additionally, I've been working on homeschool with the big girls, to make the most of our time here.

What's Next?
My husband's spent the past few months looking for a new job. He's has traveled all over the country for interviews and meetings trying to determine what the best job would be for him at this time. After much prayer and deliberation, he has decided to fly for a regional airline. After my husband completes his training, our entire family will move to Colorado to be closer to our family and friends. We are excited for how God is going to work in our lives throughout this new adventure.

Please Pray

  • Praise God for His provision, poured out through our family and friends during this time. 
  • Praise for Jon's new job. 
  • Pray for our girls during this time of transition.
  • Pray for Jon to pass all of his training.
  • Pray for Hong Kong during this time of tension and division. Protection for our friends who still live in Hong Kong and for The Bridge Church to be a force for peace and love during this time.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Come Into His Presence

“And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"” 
- Mark‬ ‭2:12‬

At the beginning of 2019, I decided one of my goals should be to read through my Bible in one year. What God-fearing Christian doesn’t make this type of New Years Resolution? I subscribed to a plan on my YouVersion app and started reading. In the first few weeks, I did a great job. However, gradually the excitement of starting something new fizzled out and I stopped reading my Bible.

In addition to reading my Bible, I’m working through a Bible study called, “Breaking Free: The Journey, The Stories” by, Beth Moore. As often as I could, I made time to work on my Bible study. Unfortunately, with each passing day, I completely forgot about my desire to read through the Bible in one year. Oops!!

Has this ever happened to you? 

Even though, I haven't been able to stick to my Bible reading plan, God has used my Breaking Free Bible study to speak truth into my life. I am so thankful. Even when I fail, God is faithful!! Just the other day, I came across a verse in Isaiah, which I found very meaningful. I just have to share it with you.

 “Return to me, for I have redeemed you..” 
 - Isaiah 44:23b 

Return. To. Me.

Short and simple, but filled with such powerful truths!! God has been using this verse as a gentle reminder for me to return to Him and His word. Daily, I need to whatever it takes to get in God’s word.

Like I said before, I had been trying to read through the Bible  in one year. I tried a plan on my phone, but it wasn’t my favorite. I prefer to use pen and paper. Thankfully, I was able to find a free printable on Pinterest called,  “2019 5-Day Bible Reading Program”. I printed it out and put it in my Bible, so that I will remember to read God's word everyday.

That's right, I’m going to try again.

Yes, I’m starting my Bible reading plan in May. I realize it is almost half way through the year. Honestly, I don't think it matters when I start my Bible reading plan as long as I’m spending time with God in His word.

Today, I read Mark 2 and the verse below resonated with me the most!!

“And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"” 
- Mark‬ ‭2:12‬‬‬ 

The paralytic did everything he could to be with Jesus and be in His presence. He know it was the only place where he would find true healing!!

Sin separates us from God.

Genesis 3 describes the fall of Adam and Eve. Along with the introduction of sin into the world. 

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” 
- Genesis‬ ‭3:8‬‬‬ 

Sin caused Adam and Eve to hide from God’s presence. Seriously, like He didn’t know where they were!? Going into the light of God’s presence means exposing our sins and being honest about the state of our heart.

Don’t let sin keep you from being in God’s presence. I hope we will be like the paralytic man, who did whatever was necessary to be with Jesus. We must be brave enough to walk in the light, because it is only through Jesus where true healing can be found.

Today, make every effort to come into God’s presence.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Homeschool 3rd Quarter Slump

Personally, I have found that the 3rd quarter can be the hardest time of year for a homeschool Mom. At least, in the past, it has been for me. True to form, this year was no different! As we entered the 3rd quarter I could feel my spirit slip into the all too familiar 3rd quarter slump. I hate to say it, but most days I just didn’t want to do school. I just wasn’t excited about doing school anymore. On top of that, I didn’t even want to take time to prep for our upcoming week of school.

Can anyone else relate? 

In previous school years, I would start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged that I had slipped into this 3rd quarter slump. My bad attitude, combined with feelings of guilt and shame, because I am not the perfect homeschool Mom begin to make the problem worse. My negative feelings cause me to fall deeper and deeper into my slump. However, I didn’t want that to happen again this year.

All that being said, I would like to share with you the few things that God used to reignite my passion for homeschooling and pull me out of my 3rd quarter slump. Below, are 5 tips which really helped me this year and I hope they will help you too.

5 Ways to Break Free From Your 3rd Quarter Slump

1. Pray. 
First and foremost, I began to pray for my attitude about homeschool. I asked God to give me a new zeal and passion for homeschool. I'm not going to lie, it took a little bit of time. However, as I was faithful to pray, God helped me to take my eyes off of my feelings and replace them with a renewed excitement for our homeschool. I am so thankful to God for answering my prayers!! 

2. Remember. 
One of the ways, God answered my prayers was to remind me about why I started homeschooling in the first place. He used other people in my life who asked questions about homeschooling, which allowed me to remember that it was God who called me to be a homeschool Mom. I was also reminded that even on the hardest days, I wouldn’t trade this for anything! To read more about "Our Homeschool Testimony" click here

3. Ch-ch-changes.
Another great idea, to help get you out of your 3rd quarter slump is to make some changes. Sometimes I can be just like a robot on autopilot, doing the same thing day in and day out. I have found that it helps to make changes on a regular basis, so that homeschool doesn't become monotonous and boring.  There are lots of things you can change like trying a new routine or finding different books for your morning basket. You can also try fun projects each week to keep your homeschool lively and excited. It's safe to say, the kids are probably feeling the slump too and will welcome these new changes.

4. Research new curriculum. 
During my 3rd quarter slump, I decided to focus on researching homeschool curriculum for our next school year. I am a homeschool curriculum junkie! I can’t get enough of it. It wasn't long before my love of curriculums had me excited about homeschooling again. I spent time online reading about different curriculums. Additionally, I watched lots of YouTube videos about a variety of curriculums that I was thinking about using next school year. Currently, we live in Hong Kong, so I cannot attend any kind of homeschool conference. I am so thankful to homeschool Moms for posting videos on YouTube of the curriculums that they use. I really appreciate seeing what the curriculum is really like, because it has helped me make wise choices for our homeschool.

5. Plan for next year. 
Finally, as a result of my curriculum research I began to make plans for our next school year. Our 2019-20 homeschool year is just around the corner! That begin said, I want to make sure that I have prepared as much in advance to ensure that we have a wonderful school year. Looking forward to a new year has really helped give me the extra motivation that I need to finish our current homeschool year. I’m so thankful to God for answering my prayers and bringing me out of my 3rd quarter slump.

I would love to know, what are some ways that you get yourself out of your 3rd quarter slump? Please leave me your ideas in the comments.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Starting a New Chapter

Back in the spring of 2018, I stepped down from being a leader and receptionist at Weight Watchers after working for them for 7 years!! Stepping down was two fold, because I was pregnant with twins and by 30 weeks my midwife put me on modified bed rest. This meant I couldn’t be up on my feet for long periods of time. As a result, I wouldn't be able to effectively complete my duties as a leader and/or receptionist when needed. Additionally, we had plans to move to Hong Kong shortly after the babies were born. With our international move upon the horizon, I was certain that I could no longer work for Weight Watchers. 

Honestly, Weight Watchers has been apart of my life for so long, it was hard to imagine NOT begin there to help people on their own weight loss journeys. Without completely realizing it, when I stepped down from Weight Watchers I started to feel like I couldn’t help people the way I used to when I was apart of Weight Watchers.

My healthy lifestyle knowledge and roots are so deeply embedded in Weight Watchers that it was hard to imagine my life separate from Weight Watchers. On top of that, one of my greatest fears about moving to Hong Kong has been that I would gain all my weight back from emotional eating and stress over such a big life change.

In the weeks and months leading up to our big move, I began to pray and pour my heart before the Lord. I asked Him to help me continue to make healthy choices, even when life was overwhelming and I just wanted to eat everything in sight.

As a result, since we moved to Hong Kong I have been reading a lot of books to expand my knowledge about healthy eating. Each of the books listed below are so good!! I have been reminded that I can't conquer my weight loss struggles without the Lord by my side. I have also learned that I need to limit my sugar intake and other processed foods. I won't share too much about this now. However, if you're interested I can share more about what I'm learning in future blog posts.

Here is a list the books I’ve read so far. If you have other healthy eating book recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.

by, Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett

Finally, today, God used several people in my life to begin to show me that even though I don’t work for Weight Watchers I can still encourage and support others on your own weight loss journeys. This has always been a passion of mine and I can’t wait to see how God continues to use me to help other people reach their weight loss goals.

It’s safe to say, I’m very excited about this new chapter of my healthy eating journey. I can’t wait to share it with all of you!!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hope For A Mommysaurus

In the past few weeks, I’ve been in a hard place. I have been irritable, ungrateful, impatient, grumpy, angry, resentful, and more. If I had to use one word to describe myself the past few weeks, it you be Mommysaurus. There have been slivers of joy and happiness, but they have been few and far between. To make matters worse, I haven’t been making time to pray and read my Bible!

This is truly a recipe for disaster.

I don’t know about you, but I have 5 kids, two of whom are 9 month old babies. I live in a foreign country. I homeschool my children and I’m a pilot’s wife. Even just one of these things would be enough to overwhelm any normal human being. All that being said, I NEED to spend time with God everyday. Not out of obligation, but necessity.

That’s right. I require more to sustain me than just the Instagram Bible verse of the day.

Every time I get mad or lose my cool, I ask Jon and the girls to pray for me and that God can help me get out of this funk. Today, when I was feeling down, God used my “Breaking Free: The Journey The Stories” by Beth Moore Bible study to bring me some wonderful encouragement.

One of the passages of scriptures I studied was Psalm 63:1-8.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you; 
my flesh faints for you, 
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, 
beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, 
my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live; 
in your name I will lift up my hands. 

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, 
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed, 
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
 for you have been my help, 
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; 
your right hand upholds me.” 
- Psalms‬ ‭63:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

Throughout these verses, the Lord showed me that my soul is hungry for the Him. I believe that only time with God will quench my spiritual thirst. As I spend time in the presence of the Lord, I will be changed. My soul will be satisfied. It says so, right here in God’s word!!

Why am I telling you this?

We all have hard things going on in our life. So, if you're feeling a bit like you’ve wandered off into the wilderness and can’t remember your way out. I want you to know, you’re not alone. God is with you. He’s waiting for you to come to Him (just as you are) and confess your great need for Him. Only through our confession and repentance that can we be brought back into a right relationship with God again.

I pray that this encourages you.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Quarter 2 Update: Homeschool Year 2018-19

All things considered, our first two quarters of school have gone very well. It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway done with our 2018-19 school year. I am so proud of my girls for all their hard work this year. I will give you a run down of how everything is going and then talk about any changes that we made to our curriculum. If you have any additional questions, please post them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.

I have twin girls who are only 8 months old, so our school schedule has looked a lot different this year. I try to get most of my big girls lessons done while the twins are sleeping and then save our read aloud time for when the twins are awake. I’m learning to be flexible, because sometimes things go exactly as I’ve planned and other days things are busy and chaotic. Especially, when Jon’s gone for days on end, I am simply learning to be more gracious with myself and take a break from school if I’m feeling overwhelmed or emotional.

To be completely honest, living in Hong Kong has been the hardest thing God has ever asked me to do and feelings of homesickness, sadness, loneliness, and sorrow happen at times when I least expect it. Instead of forcing my girls to do school with a Mommy who is crying at the drop of a hat and an overall roller coaster of emotions, we take the day off.

You heard we right.

I put everything away and just take a break if it’s necessary. Obviously, we can’t do this everyday, but when I get overwhelmed I’m learning to graciously take a break from our regular school schedule, so I can spend time in God’s word, Facetime my Mom, and/or connect with old friends.

A word of encouragement: 
To anyone who has ever felt like I have, you are not alone. God wants to know how you’re feeling, so take time to step back from all your responsibilities and make time to pour out your heart and soul before Him. He will be there to bring peace in the chaos and hope when everything seems hopeless. 

One of the biggest changes I have made to our homeschool curriculum is we are now using The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Level 1 for Olivia. She started the year using Sonlight’s language arts curriculum and it was fine. However over the years, I have pieced together our language arts program using a lot of different curriculums. As a result, I felt like there were gaps in my daughter’s knowledge about language arts. As a result, I started looking for a program that was more cohesive. I have been thinking about using The Good and the Beautiful for a long time and this year I finally took the plunge!

My daughter started using The Good and the Beautiful level 1 in January and it is an incredible curriculum. It's exactly what I wanted for my family!! I am excited for my daughter, especially as she learns to appreciate beautiful art which is all weaved into the program. I am so thankful that we have made this change and I'm excited to add more The Good and the Beautiful curriculum to our homeschool this next year.

Like I said before, if you have any other questions, please post them in the comments below and I will answer them.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

My New Oven

My new oven!!

It’s hard to believe that we have already been living in Hong Kong for 5 months. Slowly, things are becoming more familiar and not everything is brand-new.

When it comes to our home in Hong Kong, there are a lot of things that are different from the typical American home back in the United States. First of all, the wash and dryer hook ups are outside up on my roof! Secondly, they build with concrete and so you can hear people talking all the way up on the third floor. Finally, there isn’t a built-in oven in my kitchen.

 That being said, for the past 5 months I have been getting by with just our stove top, a rice cooker, a slow cooker, and a toaster oven. It’s amazing how many different things you can make in your crockpot. I have been able to make chicken and rice, breakfast casserole, banana bread, and a cake. Some things turned out better than others. However, I am so thankful for Pinterest that has provided me with an endless amount of slow cooker recipes to try.

Over the past few months, I have gone shopping for ovens, but unfortunately I didn’t find anything that I liked. The ovens are so different here and I didn’t want a big toaster oven or a microwave. I have been waiting until we could afford a built-in oven that would be more like the typically American oven.

To my delight, our friend found a built-in oven that came up on a buy and sell group here in Hong Kong. After talking it over, Jon and I decided to buy this used oven! Jon and his friend went downtown to pick up the oven and bring it back home.

I am so thankful for God’s provision in our lives. He didn’t have to provide an oven like this for us, but He loves us and knows the desires of my heart and longs to bring me joy!! It has been worth the wait.

What should I bake first!? 

Honestly, I was thinking about making something easy so that I can learn how to bake in my new oven. I have never cooked using Celsius, so there will be a little bit of a learning curve for sure. My family thinks I should bake…muffins, cinnamon rolls, cake, and so many other goodies we haven’t had since we left home. I'm addicted to "The Great British Baking Show", so I told my sister that I should start by making something British, like scones. Honestly, I just can't decide.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think I should make first in my oven. For further updates, check out my Instagram Stories to find out what I decide to bake first!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Prayer Requests for my Mom's Upcoming Surgery

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

On August 2nd, 2018, my Mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She's been battling for her life ever since. I love my Mom so much and the thought of losing her has been unbearable. On top of that, I've been so sad that I can't be with my Mom during this time, because God has my family living in Hong Kong right now. As you can imagine, my Mom has been overwhelmed too.

I am so thankful that even though I cannot be with my Mom and hold her hand, God is with her and has never left her alone. I'm thankful that God has provided family and friends to love on my Mom and help her during this time. I am thankful that so far, my Mom's body has responded well to her chemo treatment. I am forever thankful to the Lord for being so faithful to my Mom throughout this whole process.

Next week, on Tuesday, January 15th, my Mom is scheduled to have a lumpectomy surgery. Understandably, my precious Mom is nervous and anxious regarding this upcoming surgery. Will you all please join me in prayer for my Mom in the days leading up to her surgery?

Another way you can help, would be by donating to Mom’s GoFund Me. This fund was set up by my siblings, to help my Mom with all of her extra expenses right now.

Thank you so much for your prayers!!

Prayer Requests
1. Pray for God's peace to surround my Mom in the days leading up to her surgery and on the day of her surgery. That she would float on eagles wings and rest in the peace that passes all understanding.

2. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and that they would know exactly how to help my Mom during the surgery.

3. Pray for peace for my Grandma, who has Alzheimer's, and that she won't be confused for upset by my Mom's absence. In addition, lift up my Aunt & Uncle as they care for my Grandma during my Mom's surgery.

4. Pray for a quick recovery following the surgery, without complications.

5. Pray for my Mom's magnesium levels to become normal and stay normal on their own without the help of infusions.

Ladies, don’t forget… 
 Do your self breast exams! Get your mammograms! Be proactive! Save the TATAS!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Traveling With Kids

My husband has been a commercial airline pilot for the past 5 years. Being a pilot’s wife means that our family has had the opportunity to travel all over the world. Whenever we are in the airport or on the plane, people always ask if it's the girls first trip on an airplane and they don't realize that our girls have probably logged more flight hours than themselves.  

Throughout all of our flying experiences, I have learned a lot. Nothing ever goes perfectly, but I do my best to be prepared for the unexpected. Above all, don't forget to relax and be gracious with yourself. Of course, it's hard when your kid is crying on an airplane. However, it's not going to help them calm down if you are worked up too. Before you travel with your kids, pray and ask God to help you. He will be faithful to provide just what you need, like a kind flight attendant or someone to give you a break and just hold your baby.

Here are some of the things that I do, which help me to have a better traveling experience with my kids. If you have additional tips that work for your family, please leave them in the comments.

Tips For Traveling With Kids
1. Use a backpack as your diaper bag.
When I had my first daughter, I had a cute over the shoulder diaper bag. This was fine for my first baby, because I didn't know any better and I had an extra shoulder to carry my diaper bag on. However, with each child I gained more knowledge and wisdom as a mother. Not to mention, by my 3rd child, I had run out of extra hands!! At this point in time, I began to use a backpack as our diaper bag. Honestly, I wish I would have done this so much sooner! It has made all the difference, especially now that I have twins. Keep this in mind when you travel as well. Invest in a good quality backpack that will free up your hands to pull a suitcase or hold hands with your other children.

2. Bring a stroller.
Before I had the twins, when we would fly with my older three kids, I would bring a cheaper umbrella stroller that I bought from Walmart. I did this for several reasons. First, I wouldn't be upset if the stroller got lost or broken. On one trip, I brought my nice jogging stroller, but it was so bulky and just a pain to try to lug around the airport. Second, umbrella strollers are light and very compact, so if the kids wanted to walk in the airport I wouldn't have to worry about carrying a big bulky stroller. Finally, I always like bringing a stroller with us, because if any of my big girls got tired or needed a break they could take a turn and sit in the stroller too.

Twin Exception: This past year, I have learned that twins are the ultimate exception to this rule! When we moved to Hong Kong our twins were just 2 months old and I can't carry both of them by myself, so I was forced to use our big bulky stroller in the airport. It wasn't my first choice, but it was better than trying to carry both babies along with everything else we were bringing with us overseas.

That being said, try to find a stroller that works best for you and your particular situation.

3. Baby front pack carrier.
Before having my twins, this is my favorite way to travel! I always brought my baby carrier with me, to carry my youngest around the airport. There were a few times we even got by without a stroller which was nice too! The carrier allows me to be hands free and help hold other things. We have two of these now and we use them with the twins all the time. My husband carries one baby and I carry the other. If you don't have one I would highly recommend it!!

4. Airport security.
I've had some pretty interesting experiences with airport security. To make things a little easier for yourself, try to put all the baby stuff like foods and any liquids in the same bag. Traveling to Hong Kong, each of the girls had their own backpacks with snacks inside, so it took forever to get through security. Try to keep everything together, to minimize how many bags security needs to check. Also, I bring apple juice and water for formula in my bag as well. Security will check those liquids to make sure that you don't have anything dangerous. Don't forget to be gracious to the TSA workers, because they're doing their best to keep everyone at the airport and on your plane safe.

5. Snacks galore.
I am not going to lie, when we fly with our children, I let them have a lot of snacks!! They're just as hungry and tired as I am from traveling, so I always bring special treats for my girls. I try not to just give them candy, but granola bars, trail mix, string cheese, mandarin oranges, goldfish and beef jerky are a few of our favorite airplane snacks. Days before our flight, I always portion out the snacks into small snack or sandwich bags, so I don't have to worry about making a mess on the plane. It's helpful to have the snacks ready for my girls when they get hungry.

6. Entertainment.
We don't normally let the girls watch a lot of TV or movies. However, when we are flying that all changes. We bring coloring books and a variety of activities for our girls to do while we are flying. That being said, on our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong those activities only lasted so long. Thankfully, our girls had their own TV screen and we let them watch more movies and TV shows. They had so much fun picking their own movies and watching whatever they wanted to (within reason). If you're traveling with littles, cut yourself some slack and don't feel like a bad Mom if you let your kids have more screen time than normal.

7. Pack for worst-case scenario.
I've flown standby more than most people. I could tell you about all the times we thought we were going to get on a flight, but we didn't. It's torture to watch your seat be given away or have your flight get cancelled. That being said, I always pack for an emergency or missed flight. I never check my carry on bag, because it's usually full of extra diapers, wipes, formula, a change of clothes for me and my girls, extra snacks, and an assortment of toiletries. It's better to be prepared than to run out of diapers or wipes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cultivate What Matters: My 2019 Goals

"She believed she couldn’t so He did.” - Lara Casey

Last year, was my first year to use the "Cultivate What Matters: Powersheets" by, Lara Casey. I loved going through the process of uncovering my 2018 goals. I was slightly ambitious to think that I would be able to do this all year long, what with having twins and moving to Hong Kong. I used my powersheets from January 2018 - April 2018, then I took a break and didn't pick them up again until November 2018. I'm so proud of myself, because I used 6 months of my goal planner.

With 2019 just around the corner, I don't want to waste the rest of my goal planning notebook. I have used a sharpie to update the sections to reflect this coming year. I worked through my 2019 goals, as well as got my tending list ready for January 1, 2019.

Here's my plan for 2019...

I am going to finish the last 6 months of my 2018 powersheets. This will get me to about June of this coming year. Once I have finished using my goal planner, I will order the 6 month undated goal planner to get me through the rest of the year. Then when 2020 rolls around, I will be ready to buy the one year goal planner again. I am so excited!!

I have some big goals for myself this year and I can't wait to see the progress I will be able to make little by little, one month at a time.

Honestly, I am so excited about my word of the year for 2019. I had lots of different ideas about what my word of the year could be such as: joy, fearless, renew, trust, or intentional. However, nothing seemed to fit my current season of life. Everything changed, when I found the word 'Brave'. I immediately looked up the definition of Brave which is "ready to face and endure danger or pain, showing courage".

Upon reading this definition I was sold! I knew that this was my word for this coming year. I've been overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, but in this moment God was calling me to be brave. He was calling me to dream and do things that might seem scary if I had to do them by myself. However, with God anything is possible. I am so excited about my word of the year, that I even updated my phone background with this picture that was created by Cultivate What Matters.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" 
- ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In case you are wondering, here are my goals for 2019.

1. Renew my love for God and His Word
2. Increase intimacy in my marriage
3. Love my girls well (joy in motherhood)
4. Life-giving home
5. Cultivate lifelong relationships
6. Prioritize healthier habits
7. Write a book (just write)
8. Personal growth & rest (self-care)

Lara Casey and her team at Cultivate What Matters have a lot of resources to help walk with you as you work to accomplish your goals each year. Lara has written two books (which I will list below) and she also has a new podcast called, "Cultivate Your Live with Lara Casey". I've been listening to this new podcast and I appreciate Lara's honesty about how life hasn't always been perfect, but God is making her mess into her message. Her passion is undeniable, so I hope you will check it out!

Finally, I have included a list of helpful, motivating books. I included Lara's books and a few others that have really encouraged me this year.

"A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living" by, Emily Ley
Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life” by, Lara Casey
"Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy" by, Emily Ley
"Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose." by Lara Casey

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!!

Wishing you a Happy New Year!!

It’s hard to believe that is already 2019!! So much happened last year, that I'm not sure how anything could top it. I'm excited for what the Lord has in store for our family.

Hope you have had a wonderful holiday.


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