living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Enjoying the Little Blessings

Thanksgiving is coming up for those of you in America and I know, I’m getting a jump start on the”blessings” and “give thanks” posts that will undoubtedly be inundating your reader feeds and email inboxes. But as I’m sure at least one post will tell you, you can’t just be thankful one day a year. It’s an every day thing.

What I wanted to tell you is just a simple little reminder though. Don’t just count the big blessings. Count the little ones too. You know, the big blessing of a healthy family, a loving spouse, a Bible in your language, a wonderful church, your salvation, etc. Those are the ones everyone counts right off the top. And that’s great. But what about the little ones? Like, indoor plumbing. (Or is that a big one??) Or a day of homeschooling where no one cries? A front or near-to-the-front parking spot at Walmart? I tell you, if you only focus on the big blessings, you will be missing out on the little ones. I think it’s through the little blessings that we are reminded the most that God does love us and cares about everything in our lives. Even the little things.

I had a small blessing while out shopping with my Mom this week. Do you ever just feel like you’re life is in a rut? You do the same things every day. You wear a lot of the same things (admit it, most of us have that one comfy
outfit that is our go-to outfit for days we aren’t expecting to see another living soul with a judgmental eye). Things are just monotonous. That’s every day life. Sometimes though, you just need something to break the monotony don’t you. That was me. So as my Mom and I were walking through Kohl’s one day this week with a 20% off coupon burning a hole in our pocket, we hit every department’s clearance corner. Now I hardly ever find anything in the home goods department but I look anyway. Never know right?? And I saw this:

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I added the floating bear and smiley face on the sun. I wish it had that smiley face because that would be totally awesome! So I’m standing in Kohl’s looking at this end-cap of miscellaneous mugs, I spot this little guy. I think yellow just screams happy. I don’t know if you can see it, but it says “Beautiful Day” on it. It has birds and some fluffy clouds and rolling green meadows. The whole inside and handle are yellow! I picked that little guy up and flipped it upside down to see the cost and to my surprise it was on CLEARANCE! Yes! *Christian happy dance* It was only $1.99 and we had that extra 20% off! Now, I know all you practical ladies are out there shaking your heads and saying to yourselves, “Yeah but did she really NEED that mug?” Of course I didn’t! We are probably all guilty of having a bazillion mugs in our cupboards. But to be honest, it seemed just perfect for breaking up my daily routine and monotony.

I didn’t walk into the store looking for anything special. I didn’t expect God to really care that I felt things had gotten a little dry in my life. I FULLY believe He sat that little mug there just for me. He knows I love yellow. He knows I like happy looking things. And He knows I’m a near-broke mother of six, homeschooling mom who refuses to pay full price for most anything. Haha! Can I get a witness on that!?

To me, that mug was a little blessing. I don’t drink coffee but I do drink milk, tea, and hot chocolate, and this has become my go-to drink container. In fact, I just took a drink out of it after that last sentence! 🙂 It makes me smile. My husband just shakes his head at me, but I’m okay with that! I can take the judgmental head shaking!

So look around you today. Don’t wait till Thanksgiving comes. Start TODAY looking for those little things. Maybe it will be the stain treatment working on your favorite shirt, or your kids actually liking something you make for dinner. The Bible says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” – James 1:17a So everything GOOD. Did you see that? Good AND Perfect. So not every gift will be perfect. But it will at least be good. 🙂 And that’s all the little things too! So tell me what some of your little blessings are. I guarantee you will find some if you just take the time to pay attention! Remember to say “Thanks!” to your heavenly Father Who loves you enough to even orchestrate the seemingly little things in your life! And now I’m off to refill my happy mug! Woo!

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Coffee With A New Mom

Hey there New Mom!

How’s it going? You just had a new baby, how do we all think you’re doing, right? 🙂 You’re tired aren’t you. Probably feeling a little overwhelmed? Maybe you’re little one is a newborn or maybe he or she is a few months old and the daily grind has set in. I’m currently going through my sixth newborn season. How about we commiserate together for a few minutes? Grab some caffeine (you know you need it), ignore the laundry, and let’s chat.

So maybe your spouse isn’t as helpful as you’d like, especially with those middle of the night feedings. I mean, seriously, doesn’t he understand that 2 A.M. is your prime sleep time? *sigh* Men.

Having trouble getting anywhere on time? Yeah, I understand. That little treasure loves to give out treasures just when it’s time to leave or better yet, they are absolutely STARVING and simply must nurse RIGHT NOW or that car ride is gonna be very loud.

You probably don’t feel like you look your best. Kinda hard to get to the salon isn’t it? And frankly, you still haven’t quite squeezed into your pre-pregnancy clothes yet. I totally understand. My closet mocks me every time I open it. I’m not even sure why I leave those clothes in there that fit me four babies ago. I know it’s just wishful thinking. A girl can dream though, right?

Do you feel pressured by your social media friends and family to post a photo of Junior every hour? Do you worry people might think you’re a questionable mom if in that next photo the baby has on the same onesie they had on in the previous day’s photo?

How about feedings? Worried that little bottomless pit isnt getting enough? What about that random rash or fever? What about finding a pediatician? Maybe you’re just feeling utterly inadequate to raise another human being to adulthood. Maybe, maybe, maybe, if, if, if.

Now, take a deep breath.

Take a loooooong sip of that coffee / tea / carbonated beverage.

If you and I could look each other in the eye right now, I would say to you, it’s all going to be okay. Maybe your husband doesn’t do 2 A.M. feedings or maybe he does. If not, just remember, your little one will sleep through the night eventually. I promise. Trust me, you’d rather have a happy, well-rested hubby than a tired and cranky one. And then you know what? Just when you get used to it, and start enjoying those infomercials they show during the times of night when you’re most vulnerable to buy that collapsable pasta strainer for the unbelievable price of only $9.99 plus S&H and by buying in the next ten minutes you get a second strainer plus a pot and a random flashlight, all free just pay separate S&H, (Maybe I know from experience or maybe I don’t. I’m not telling.) (deep breath) Junior starts sleeping five or six hours straight. Then you will wake up and run to his crib just to make sure he’s still breathing. Then you will start sleeping all night again. Wow! That sounds really good right now doesn’t it? 🙂

As for getting out of your house and not being late, eventually you will have your little darling worked into the family schedule. I also promise you won’t look haggard forever. People know you’re a new mom. They know those dark circles under your eyes are because you lack sleep because you’re a great mom who feeds her child. And only you know it’s also because you just couldn’t lay that little snuggler back down in their crib after that midnight feeding. (They’re so fun to snuggle aren’t they?)
Maybe you’ll never fit into that pre-pregnancy size again. After all, pregnancy changes the “lay of the land” for good. What better excuse to hit your favorite shops once your body shape figures itself out? Don’t feel bad about it. The new you is a badge of honor. Even if it doesn’t seem like it. You never liked that weird dress your mom got you anyway. (I’m trying to help here! 😉 )

And as for all those other things, don’t sweat it! Remember I said I’m going through my sixth newborn season? That means I’ve been on the other side of it five times now. I’ve been where you are. I’ve cried many times over the helplessness and inadequacy that I felt. Look here, don’t you be afraid to ask someone for help. You don’t get a cookie from anyone for “staying strong” and running yourself on fumes. Know your limits. You can do this! But everyone needs help somtimes. 🙂 And you know something else? The Bible says in Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” If God saw fit to bless you with a child, He will sustain you in raising that child! He knows your greatest worries and fears. You can leave them all with Him and just love on that little whipper snapper.

As I leave my empty cup on the table let me say I’ve known a lot of new moms and I’ve been a new mom. We all put up a front, don’t we. But you know something? We all know that we are each going through the same thing. We all feel forgotten, inadequate, fat, frumpy, and hormonal sometimes. And that’s okay. Because at the end of the day, that precious little one is going to snuggle up next to your neck and you will be the greatest thing in their life. They won’t care if hormones are making your hair thinner (temporarily!) or if you are still hanging onto ten pounds of baby weight or if you haven’t had a shower in three days. They will look at you like a super hero. And they will be your greatest accomplishment. Giving birth. Creating and sustaining a human life. You go, girl! Always remember, God loves you. Your spouse loves you. Your family loves you. Your church loves you. And me? I may not know you personally, but you’re a new mom, and I love new moms.

Thanks for letting me spend some time with you. You’re going to be great at this whole mom thing! I’m cheering for you! (Minus the acrobatics. I don’t want to hurt myself! Haha!) Now while the little princess is snoozing like a little angel, go take a nap! 🙂

P.S. Some of you new mamas out there may have had the joy of adopting a baby and while some of the physical changes may not apply in your case, I’m sure a lot of the things I mentioned will. I want you to know that I think you are just as special as any mom out there and I am proud of you! That little tater tot you chose to love and raise may never know how blessed they are to have you in their life. You are amazing and I applaud you for making a difference in a child’s life!


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On the Other Side of Change

If you had asked me twelve years ago if I would ever get married or have six kids, I would have given you a “Are you a creeper?” stare and promptly walked away. Twelve years ago I was as single as could be and never thought I could be wife or even a mom. To be honest, I was SCARED to death of getting married or being a mom. I mean, who you marry is a HUGE decision! Not to mention having children.

I never really gave thought to how many children, but after finally facing my fear of marriage by falling in love with my husband, I gave it serious thought. I was one of three girls, two of which were teenagers when I was born. My husband was one of – brace yourselves – NINE. So we compromised and said if God would give us seven that would be just peachy. Then we narrowed it down to six. But that’s a story for another time. Long story short, we are currently expecting our sixth child. We will be married twelve years in September. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I had stayed afraid of that change.

Change is scary. For me, even small changes can be wearisome. I think I have what the old southerners used to call a “weak constitution” or something. Maybe I just read that in a book or something. I digress.

Where were we…oh, change. Yes. Change. It’s scary. Sometimes we face big changes like marriage, or a new baby. In our churches we face pastoral changes. Building programs. New Sunday School classes. Every four years a change in government. Daily life brings fluctuating income and bills. Changing our grocery budget to fit growing or shrinking families. Every single day we are surrounded by change. We can either cower in fear or embrace it and “go with the flow.”

When you are facing change, it can be terrifying. We tend to back up and retreat to our comfort zone of what we know and are familiar with. We doubt that the change in front of us could be good. I mean, it very well may be downright awful! Or it could be the most awesome thing God has put across your path yet.

Recently our church went through a pastoral transition. Our founding pastor of forty-two years had retired and passed the mantle on to a young man who is but twenty-six. No doubt some people were probably very skeptical or fearful of this change. No doubt some said, “Nope. I like the way things are. I don’t want to change. I don’t want to learn how to follow a new pastor. Nope. Nope. Nope.” Then there were people like my husband and I who were excited about this. We loved our old pastor. We knew what he expected of us. We knew how he thought about things. We KNEW our pastor. But still, we voted for someone new. Yes, we know this young pastor and have known him for a long time. But did we know how he would lead when we voted? No. We prayed and voted how we felt God leading us. And you know what? We’re okay! Our church is okay! It’s growing slowly but surely! There is an excitement bubbling around. What if we’d all said no?

What about a new baby? I’ve always been nervous about routines and schedules when new babies come. It takes a while to get into a new swing of things doesn’t it? It’s never very fun, especially if you’ve other children to handle and care for. It’s never easy on Sunday morning to factor in another little body to dress and feed around Sunday church schedules. It can be downright terrifying to a new mom who loves this little one but isn’t sure how she can fit one more into an already tight schedule. But you know what? You’ve done it! We have done it! I’m getting ready to add another little one to our schedule in eleven weeks. I would be lying if I wasn’t nervous. I’d be lying if I said that this is old hat and no problem for me. However, there is one thing that helps me. Looking back on God’s faithfulness to me through every change.

I look back over my life and I see so many times God has put change in front of me and somehow, in some way, He has walked with me through it and helped me. Even when I was in tears and not sure how to get through some things, He was there to comfort me, to encourage me through His Word or one of His children, to guide me through the tough part.

I’m on the other side of a lot of change. A marriage, children, new pastor, job changes, income changes, loss of a parent, loss of friends, so many changes. All of those changes I wasn’t sure how I would come out of or how things would be on the other side of it, I’ve lived through. I survived. Some of them came with some “scars” but they all came with blessings. Yes, even the loss of my father brought some blessings. 🙂

I’m sorry I have no great Scripture passage to apply to this post but maybe Philippians 4:19 would do. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” How does that apply, you ask? Well, once you step through a door of change you’re going to need something. Maybe it’s grace, mercy, finances, physical needs, spiritual needs. Whatever it is, you will need something. As a child of God, He says He will supply whatever you need. Simple as that! If He promises to do that, why do we hesitate to accept the change He brings our way, good or bad? Don’t be afraid. Jesus is with you. He promised to never leave you nor forsake you. That change you’re facing, that big scary change, it’s going to be okay. Maybe right now, or maybe not. But it will be okay. Because God said it would be. So pray about it. Make the decision God would have you make and open that door. Once you’re on the other side you’ll look back and wonder what in the world you were ever scared of in the first place.