Everyday is a Gift

I recently read a quote by Lysa TerKeurst, an author and public speaker, who had recently experienced what doctors called a medical miracle. The quote says, “When the baby is crying and the deadlines are pressing and the stress is mounting and the enemy whispers “just get through this crappy day.” Look up and shame the enemy back to hell by acknowledging today is a gift.”

We’ve all heard people say familiar quotes such as, “Life is Short” and “Everyday is a gift”, but it wasn’t until Lysa added the last part on there, that I realized that there are a lot of days that my goal is to just get through the hard, stressful and” crappy” days. To survive. In the past, those expression always seemed appropriate when someone close to me was injured or passed away too soon, but I never thought they applies to the stress of daily life.

You know the saying, “tomorrow is a new day”, but by always looking to tomorrow, I’ve missed so many precious opportunities and memories that could have been salvaged from the rest of the each day. I would mentally check out and allow the stress and frustration of the day to distract me from what was truly important and tell myself, that tomorrow would be better….just make it to tomorrow.

This week, Daniel and I decided to cut out all sugar and any other junk that we would occasionally eat and by the end of the first day I had a massive headache. I survived and got through the day by looking forward to the next day. Day 2 was not much better and I found myself dragging through the day and for the first time ever, I yelled at one of my kids. I’m not a yeller…I tend to say “please” and “no thank you” when I am correcting them and pretty much always talk to them calmly even when they probably could use a slightly raised voice of correction.

Well, Joshua would not stop going in the fridge, Abigail had just spilled her cereal all over her lap and the floor and I was already currently cleaning up Joshua’s spilled cereal. I yelled very loudly, “Stop It” to him to get him to leave the fridge alone. He stopped immediately and started crying. I felt like the worst mom ever. I had clearly scared him. (although I did note that maybe a slight raise in my normal voice might produce a little bit of healthy fear in him, maybe even enough to get him to listen better.)

I was tempted to throw in the towel on the rest of the day. I quickly swore off dieting because it makes me grouchy and made me yell at my kids. I told myself that tomorrow would run smoother and maybe I wouldn’t be so grouchy from sugar deprivation but then I remembered that quote and realized that I had 8 more hours to spend with these kids. Was I going to waste those 8 precious hours and not poor my heart and soul into all the moments we had for the rest of the day and salvage what was left, even if it wasn’t any better than the start of the day? Was I going to be grouchy to them for the rest of the day because the day was” worthless” now that I had messed up?

Now, when I complain about just wanting a moment to sit down or wish my kids would just play quietly and not need me to play with them all the time, I remind myself that every day is a gift. What if tomorrow never comes? What would my kids remember of our last days together? Did I mentally check out when things got overwhelming? Or, did they know that I loved them and gave my all to showing them that, regardless of the circumstances of the day or their behavior? Did I show them that they are more important than all the struggles of the day? Did I grab my phone to mentally check out or grab them and hug them and tell them how much they mean to me?

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Everyday will not be perfect, I am sure I will fail miserably most days, but by having this phrase visible in my house, it will be a moment by moment reminder that each day is a gift. A gift I get to spend with 3 beautiful children and an amazing husband, all who love me. We have a home and a job which is more than a lot of other people. No matter how hard life gets, being alive is a gift we should celebrate every day.

 

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The Secret to Getting Everything Done

Have you ever wished there was more time in a day? Wondered why you can never get everything done that you planned on doing? Or you saw on Facebook that your friend was able to homeschool her kids, make bread from scratch, go grocery shopping with 5 kids in tow, hang all of her laundry out on the line, sew a new set of curtains, plant a garden, workout for an hour and even have time to play board games with her kids and wondered what you were doing wrong? I know I have!

Here’s the secret…..

Most people CAN’T really keep up with this schedule every day, especially if you have kids! We all have productive days now and again. Social media is great for making us feel guilty when we see everyone’s posts about their “perfect” lives. Not often do we see people post what their lives really look like; the piles of dirty dishes, baskets of clean but not folded laundry, unswept floors, frozen pizza and french fries for dinner, etc….

I used to let it bother me that everyone on social media seemed to have it more together than I did. I would spend each day trying to achieve everything I felt everyone else was apparently able to do. Then I would try to change too much in my life at the same time. I would make everything for our meals from scratch, while making all natural soaps, lotions and laundry detergents (mainly for Abigail because she has super sensitive skin), clip coupon to save as much money as possible, try to keep the house spotless, the laundry washed and hung out on the line to dry (to save electricity), read the latest parenting advice and keep my kids entertained with fun projects so they weren’t watching tv. All this while trying to keep up with all of Joshua’s appointments and cleaning up everything he got into.

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Joshua milk spill

The only thing this accomplished was to wear me out and stress my family out because they couldn’t really “live” in their own house. I realized I was having an issue with pride…I wanted to be able to “do it all” too….then I asked myself what benefit this was going to be in the long run. It’s not like I was going to win a prize the day I accomplished everything on my “to do list”. Sure my house would be clean and my family well fed but what would my kids remember? Would they remember the homemade healthy meals or that their mother only cared about a clean house? I want them to remember the time I spent with them, not the time I spent cleaning the kitchen counters for the 50th time that day. I was allowing my pride to get in the way of enjoying my kids fully.

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I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want all of those things and if you are able to do it all, everyday, I’m happy for you! But I’ve decided for myself and the happiness of my family, during this crazy season of life, that I needed to “let it go”. This doesn’t mean that I’m not doing housework anymore, I’m just working on not needing my house to be “perfect” all the time and learning to be CONTENT!  I’ve made some changes to my daily routine to save me some time and allow me the chance to spend more quality time with my family.

Here are a few things I do differently now:

  1. I don’t always make my bed … yikes!!
  2. I’ve started shopping at Aldi because they don’t take coupons but still have great prices that allow me to stay within our grocery budget and they have a good selection of gluten free food for Joshua. (I do occasionally use coupons at other stores if I happen to have time to look up the coupon match-ups)
  3. I do a load of laundry a day so I don’t get overwhelmed on the weekend.
  4. I found some products on Amazon that work for Abigail’s skin so I don’t have to make them all.
  5. I made our menu plan super simple. (I love to cook and used to make elaborate meals only to find out my kids wouldn’t eat it, so I’ve decided to keep it simple and make healthy meals that I know everyone will eat. I end up not spending so much time cooking and my kids eat their dinner so it’s a win-win!
  6. I do my main kitchen clean up once the kids go to bed so the next morning I don’t start with a disaster. This makes a huge difference. The days I skip this step, I feel like I can’t catch up.

These small changes have allowed me to maintain a (relatively) clean house, feed my family healthy meals and even work on a few DIY projects around the house. I wish I had learned that I don’t have to feel guilty for not being able to “do it all” years ago! (I will admit that it’s tempting to relapse when Martha Stewart tells me what my house “should” look like.)

Life is short and I want to enjoy my kid’s little years. The laundry and dishes will always be there, but those precious little faces won’t. One day, they will be all grown up and not need me anymore….then I will have plenty of time to clean my house.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
My husband has been telling me for a long time that I should start a blog, but I always had an excuse such as, I have no time, what in the world would I write about, I’m not a good writer, etc. Then, as the New Year was approaching, we were looking over our budget and making goals of what we needed to save for and what debt we wanted to get rid of. (Gotta love Student loans and car payments) Suddenly, the idea of blogging about our  journey throughout this year of living simply, within our means, and being thrifty was born. If nothing else, this blog will keep us accountable and allow us to look back at the end of the year to see how well we did with our goals.
I am looking forward to sharing my frugal finds, Pinterest projects, menu plans on a budget, and a bit about our family and our journey with a child with down syndrome. (Plus, kids are expensive, so saving money on things they need would be worth sharing, too!)
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