Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Husband Gave Me a Modesty Lecture

"Your dress is a little revealing," my husband stated in the most monotone, obviously
not impressed, voice ever.

"What does that even mean?" I shot back a tad defensively. I suddenly felt on the insecure
side of it all; trapped in a car, on the way to church, with no way to change or alter the outfit.

He apparently saw something that I didn't see.

"I'm pregnant and married. And pregnant. Nobody cares, babe."

"You can think what you like, but that's not true. I care," he gently shared.

"Are you giving me a modesty lecture?!"


Oh man, he's serious. Immediately my mind races to the fact that I am 28 weeks pregnant
and bursting out of all my clothing in EVERY direction. He's lucky I didn't erupt in tears
right then and there just focusing on the fact that my body is "not normal", and clothes that
I typically wear with a size A bra, most likely from the junior's department, suddenly don't
look so "modest" anymore. I chose to play devil's advocate. Because I'm feisty like that.

"What? So I'm my brother's keeper or something holy like that?"

Before I knew it, bible verses were swinging, analogies were flying, and I found myself
passionately declaring: "I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER PERSON'S SIN!"

Like for real. That came out of my mouth.

"So I can't drink alcohol because someone might be an alcoholic? I can't eat cake because someone
might be a glutton? I can't go shopping with a friend because they might be a thief. I can't wear
*this or that* because someone might struggle with lust? Sin is just waiting to happen.
EVERYWHERE."


Seriously, there's a very hormonal, 16 year old girl trapped somewhere inside my body.

The idea of having to think through every situation, outfit, is absolutely overwhelming to me;
positively scrupulous, slightly on the fundamentalist side of things with a dash of puritanism.

For me, modesty is not about the rules and regulations. I've never thought of it that way,
and I never will. I've met girls who live by the "2 inch" tank top and "finger tip length" shorts
law. That's just not me. But you know what, if that's their thing, all the power to them.

Because I truly believe that modesty is a matter of the HEART.
And it's a two-way street, brothers and sisters... a two-way street.

And I feel like there are two dominating strains of thought in this country:

1.) the body, sex, anything closely related is TABOO

2.) the body, sex, anything closely related should be EXPLOITED

No happy medium. It's either just "bad" or made "worse" by glorifying all the wrong things.

The body was created GOOD. So very good. Genesis 1:31. After "the fall", most obviously seen
in our present day and age, is the distortion of what was created GOOD - all things being bent and
twisted. Pleasurable, but not necessarily honorable. Desirable, but not necessarily properly ordered.

Break it down for me, Church:

"Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation
in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment
of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of
clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity.
It is discreet."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2522

"Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means
awakening in them respect for the human person."

- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2524

Respect for the human person. And this is why I think that modesty is a matter of the heart -
falling as a responsibility (let's say: "loving honor" - because it sounds less dutiful and more
of what it should be) on both the shoulders of men and women alike. I mean if we get it?!
If we get that our OWN BODIES are something precious, awesome, holy, creation-good -
along with the bodies of all those around us - then won't we EXUDE that respect
that the Church is talking about?


So I take it back. Blame it on pregnant hormones. I DO think we are our brother's keeper.
But remember that two-way street? Men are just as responsible to be keepers of their sisters.

"Because we transcend the physical world - being created in the image of God - we are all
capable of forming this kind of deep communion with our fellow human beings. It is part of what
makes us distinctively human. Living in community, we form bonds and help each other. We live for
each other's sake - not just our own
."
- Torode

I'm sorry if you were hoping I was going to dish out some juicy details about a husband who turned
the car around to drive home and make his wife change! It's not like that. It's more like:
"Hey, I love you, did you think about that dress you put on this morning?"
- sister's keeper, people.

At the end of the day, when I wash the make-up off my face and crumple into bed, I am not thinking
about how short my shorts were or how tight my tank top - I guess I'm examining my heart.

Do I see the GOODNESS in my own body? The people around me?
Do I know that I am loved? And that others deserve love too?
Do I feel respected? Did I show respect to others?

How did that play out, NOT ONLY in the way I dressed myself today,
but in my words and actions too?


The heart. What we do and say, how we act and dress - such a powerful reflection of what's going
on underneath it all - of what's being believed, bought, and sold below the skin, deep inside the
soul. We are all a beautiful mess, aren't we? Let's "keep" ourselves and encourage others, as a
loving honor, to express the goodness that lies within.

"Modesty is always beautiful." - G.K. Chesterton


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Communion: Beyond the Doors of the Church

"What is time for if not to bless?" - Ann Voskamp

Isaiah was adamant about working with me in the garden. The child who cannot bear even
a spot of water on his dry clothing eagerly slipped off those red shoes - fancy Pumas that
he received as a Christmas gift; already so worn, rugged, bearing the marks of boyhood
adventure - and then his socks to feel the cool, damp earth between his feet.

I stood in awe, shock really, waiting for a cry of displeasure. Nothing.

"Teach me how, momma."


He learned how to pick beans that day; how to carefully pull back the green leaves and fill
his bucket with joy. Plant after plant, my diligent shadow picked a few - ate a few - and then
told me all about how he knew that Jesus was the one who made them grow.

I just stopped. I dropped the beans from my hands and began praying out loud.
Thanksgiving for the earth, the sun, the water that falls from the heavens - the seeds,
the growth, the God that works in every minute of every day to bring forth food for our family.
Food that remains unscathed by pesticides, preservatives - fresh, raw goodness that passes
through our hands and onto our table to fill us up. I gave thanks. His little
voice echoing, tiny "uh huhs" - his version of "AMEN." A Eucharistic moment.

For the past several months I have been delving deep into the ever so popular book,
One Thousands Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Recently I began the study with a group of some of
my dearest friends, and it has moved my heart in ways that I needed, longed for - like it was on
the tip of my tongue, just beyond my grasp this whole time.

And finally I taste. Finally the door opens and I can touch it.

For years I've watched my own husband unashamedly offer thanks, praise, prayers of petition out
loud, in the moment - on the street, in public places, with complete strangers - with family, friends,
our children... with me. I've jealously watched his zeal, his trust, his belief that God is
there, listening, responding. I brushed it off all this time thinking that it must be a
"Protestant" thing - part of something he grew up with, his ethos.

But not for me.

Communion is for Church. Of course I have a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ,
but for some reason it felt strange, odd, to pull Him into every moment of every day. My whole life,
I have celebrated the Eucharist - taking part in that glorious mystery - but seriously underestimating
its power, Christ's power, to walk out of the pews, slip out the door, and burst forth - ALIVE IN ME -
ALIVE IN YOU - in the world.

I don't want to wait to "give thanks" until the next time I find myself at Mass.
I don't want to wait to "praise" until the next time I'm leading worship with my husband.
I don't want to wait to "seek help" the next time someone asks me if I'll pray for them.

NOW.

I want to do it now. Because He's here. Communion.


“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” - G.K. Chesterton








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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eat Your Pizza If You Want To Ride A Pony

Two sisters. Both pregnant. Sans husbands (apparently they "work" or something).
4 children under the age of 4. One mini van. One hotel room. Road trip to Iowa? No problem.

I wasn't going to go. I had already informed all family members involved with the event that
this 27 week preggo was going to have to bow out gracefully. I just wanted to do EVERYONE a favor,
ya know? Yea you do. But my sister, Nellie, convinced me that it would be "FUN" and proved to me
via Weather.com that it would NOT be the standard 106 degrees for fair week, but a whopping 70
and overcast. Ok. I'm coming. I like a good polar vortex in July.


Our little sister had some horses to show at the county fair, and we didn't want to miss it.
We must love her a lot or something! I mean I don't just put up with HOURS of "are we there
yet?"
or "Aunt Birdy is there poop in your belly?" (No, that would be a BABY.)
for anyone.

I know that I was relieved that our parents beat us to the hotel. Between my dad and my
brother, I think all I had to carry in was a stack of pillows and my belly. My kids haven't
stayed in a hotel for a few years, and were kind of worried that we were going to be spending the
night in a "doctor's office." I have no idea. They thought the beds were trampolines too.
Thankfully Uncle Zach and Aunt Abby volunteered for that shift and I watched nervously from the
other side of the room wondering if there was even a real "doctor's office"
out in the middle-of-no-where, Iowa should we break another body part.

I wish someone would have recorded us going out to eat. One kid was dumping out the pepper shaker,
another was screaming because they wanted a cucumber gosh-darn-it, one was poking toothpicks at
people (including strangers), and I'm just like, "NO ONE TOUCH ME UNTIL I FINISH EATING!"
Literally. My own child was weepy because I refused to hold him until I had finished my plate.
He's learning young - the ways of dealing with pregnant women. Handle with care.

And all the while my sister keeps telling her 3 year old, "Eat your pizza if you want
to ride a pony!"
Followed by happy shrills and uncontrollable giggling. From the 3 year old.
Not my sister. "Can we get a box, now?! Right now? Anyone?"

We brushed so many crumbs onto the floor, and I forgot to leave a tip.
Good thing they will probably never see us again. Sorry, Pizza Ranch.

It was quite the adventure. One that left its mark all over my van. I'm pretty sure
I vacuumed up a 6 course meal after all was said and done. Last night I was STILL finding
lost toys and DVDs in the deep, dark recesses of that Odyssey.

But we made it! And it really was "fun"!!!

My only tip to other daring souls who like to tackle adventuresome situations:
bring lots of snacks, a solid recording of "Let It Go", and take potty breaks like
it's your job - because ain't nobody got time for an accident. And by "nobody" I'm also including myself.
Pregnancy does things to you. Man. Good times.



























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Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Things We Would Tell Our "newlywed" Selves

The other night my husband and I had a long chat about what we would tell our newlywed selves.
Nathan says we are no longer newlyweds because we have kids. Apparently we don't share the same
romantic bubble, because I personally still feel like a newlywed! Celebrating 5 years this summer.
It was time we did a little marriage evaluation, a little heart-to-heart in the "tough" question
department. I kind of felt like I was preparing for confession or something:

Bless me Father, for I was once a newlywed (or to some people - STILL AM!) and yea *face palm*...
I've learned a lot - with so far to go! Good thing we've got a lifetime to figure it out!



1.) "I'm fine."
This was a phrase that I learned very early on was NOT going to work inside of marriage.
For some reason I thought my feelings or emotions concerning everything from the very stupid to the
very serious were somehow my fault - something that I needed to just get over and fix on my own.

Month after month of "I'm fine" was a nice little prelude to a passionate unloading of
half a dozen issues that could have easily been taken care of "in the moment", along the way, and
really been "no big deal." Suppression of feelings = Godzilla. Not pretty.

With kindness and respect, share your heart, good or bad, sooner rather than later.

2.) "You are just like me."
What a joke! This went both ways for us - just assuming that the other was going to do some things
the EXACT SAME WAY that we had done them on our own. Because obviously my ways are best
- so chop chop, get with the program! Obviously not all things, but the important
things, ya know? Like folding towels and making the bed. Ha.

And now that we have kids! Wow. It is something we are constantly having to either discuss or
"let go" of on a regular basis. Nobody wants to be nagged. Everyone wants to feel affirmed.
Finding a balance in this is key. Makes the marriage world go round.

You will each have your own unique way of taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, folding the
laundry, etc., and learning to "go with the flow", the rhythm of the other, is a really good idea.


3.) "Get off your high horse."
My husband actually used this phrase the other night while hashing this out because this is how he
felt sometimes in regards to some of the things that were important to me as his wife. We are both
so opinionated, stubborn, sharing dominating temperaments - so most of the time we just "say it how
it is" and don't bat an eye. Crazy time.

These "important things" included stuff like cleaning out the sink drain after washing dishes to taking an
active roll in our decision to use Natural Family Planning. I think this is a big COMMUNICATION issue.
It's such a novel idea to be with someone who can read your heart and soul, but it's not really a reality.
At least for us. Asking nicely, explaining the desire, laying out the "game plan" - is SO helpful!
As good as my spouse is, he/she is not Jesus.

Make "things" that are important to HIM/HER - a habit for ME.

4.) "TOGETHER. Plan money and time. TOGETHER."
My husband kept re-emphasizing the need for this to be done "TOGETHER." When we were first
married, we did not make this a habit. We were both really busy with work and school
- our schedules and money were SO SET, strapped really. Planning didn't make much difference.

Luckily we learned pretty quickly after the first year how important this was going to be to our
marriage and made it a habit. Just sitting down for 10-15 minutes on a Sunday night to go over the
"plan" for the week has helped us avoid so many arguments, broken hearts, and just
simple misunderstandings.

At the beginning of the week we know, "Hey, Tuesday you're going out with your buddies.
Wednesday we are taking the kids to the library. Etc."
No big surprises, right?! Haha there will
ALWAYS be surprises and unexpected situations that come into the picture. It's life. Just knowing
that my husband, and this goes for him with me as well, is trying his best to accommodate
not only me, but our kids as well, makes me feel loved.

Slow down at least once a week to discuss the plans, expectations, that are coming up.

5.) "Pray."
This one seems like a no-brainer. Of course this is a good idea! But what we didn't know was that
the enemy was going to do everything in his power to make sure that this does NOT happen on a
regular basis. How often we skip praying together to watch T.V., work on our own business,
or just plain fall asleep!

Hearing the heart of your spouse for the Lord - joining in the thankfulness and petition -
moving towards heaven in this way together = a holy strength and unity!!!

It's not going to be as easy as it sounds, "to pray with your spouse", but make it a priority.


I feel so blessed to be married to my husband, Nathan! It's not always easy, this whole
marriage gig, but it's SO SO worth it! The greatest, refining, adventure of my life.
And I don't want it to ever be over.

_____________________________
YOUR TURN!
What would you tell your newlywed self looking back?
What would your spouse say? Spill the beans.

_____________________________
























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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hobby Lobby: a reflection on tolerance


Remember last week? Can you believe those judges? Ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby like the robed
women-haters they are. I have heard. it. all. Between Facebook, Twitter, and my regular rounds in
Blogdom - I'd say the general climate concerning this issue is a bit chilly.

I was seriously in awe, and I know that what I've read and gathered is a small portion of opinion,
at how "intolerant" the usually pro-tolerance crowd seemed. I mean people were suggesting that women
go and have sex in the aisles of Hobby Lobby in retaliation. Others suggested burning down the buildings (caution: violent language).

Really?

Obviously I'm happy with the Supreme Court's decision, but it's not just because I personally don't
believe in abortion-inducing drugs
(which, if you check your facts, is actually all that Hobby Lobby
wanted and was excused from). I saw many people freaking out, chanting through the words in every
other status: "Where does it end!?" It seems like many are assuming that the list of "exemptions"
will go on forever and that this is just the beginning of the madness.

I envisioned women running to their purses, medicine cabinets, grabbing their contraceptive practices
and either locking them up or burying them deep beneath the ground - like we are all being time-warped
back to the 1960's or something. It's not like birth control is doing anyone any favors anyway.
I just said that.

I'm an American *shocker* who believes whole-heartedly in the First Amendment -
which, if you haven't read it, talks pretty highly about the "free exercise of religion."

So Hobby Lobby and a whole bunch of other companies want "out". They want their personal, religious
beliefs to be honored and protected like they have been since George Washington and the good 'ole boys.

Can someone tell me why we all aren't happy for them?

Ok Hobby Lobby, and other closely related companies at this point in time, don't have to pay for
your abortion-inducing drugs. Some companies don't offer you a 401K plan, stock options, 3 weeks of
paid vacation, an office with a view, and a promise that you will never ever have to travel
and stay in some straight-from-a-horror-movie hotel room. And now...

some companies are not going to offer the coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.


Like most people applying for a job, they take this stuff into consideration. Don't like no paid
vacay? Don't like third shift? Don't like "personal religious beliefs"? Go apply somewhere else.
I mean it's really that easy. And we all do it. Am I wrong?

But I think the heart of my point here is EVEN IF THEY DID take away your contraception coverage
too (not just abortion-inducing drugs),based on their "free exercise of religion", we should
all be CHEERING, whether you believe in these moral issues or not, because the Constitution of the
United States of America is being upheld. And y'all, that's a damn good day in the land of
red, white, and blue if you ask me.

I'm not one to talk though. You all know I don't exactly hold any awards in the area of TOLERANCE.
And that's because I've chosen to believe whole-heartedly in what I believe.

I think you should too.

However, this does NOT mean I do not LOVE those on the "other side" of my opinion -
(even though I'm probably going to get countless comments/e-mails saying that I'm an intolerant bigot)
but it does mean that I am not going to be all like, "I SUPPORT YOU!" in what I personally
don't believe in. Because I'd just be lying, and that's not true love anyway.

I want to be brave. I want to stand firm.
I want the ground I stand on to mean something and not be easily moved by having to
cater and bend to the agenda of "tolerance" or every other piece of opinion out there.


I think it's ok to not agree, I think it's ok to have a strong opinion,
and I think this whole notion of "TOLERANCE" is like playing with fire.
I'm kind of proud of Hobby Lobby, and all the other companies out there, who are bold enough
to even file a law suit against something they don't believe in - just simply won't tolerate.

I want my children to know and remember a world where people speak up for what they believe in
(even if it IS opposing their personal morals and beliefs). I want my children to see so very
clearly the lines, the differences - to not become complacent or made to "step in line" and
just accept, go with the flow, smile, and "get by" because that's what everyone else does.

Wake up, Millennials. There's work to be done.




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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It Won't Be Like This For Long

I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend!

We spent the weekend at the lake with the kids - so good for all our hearts and souls.
I couldn't stop thinking about how quickly the seasons of life change. One night as we were
taking a "flash light" walk with the kids, I looked over at Nathan and asked him,

"Remember when it was just US - taking walks out here?"

I love the ebb and flow of family life. All the memories stacking up - being built into
our beautiful legacy. Makes me smile. Makes me want to sit a little longer in the time that
is given. Because even though it just gets better and better with each passing year -
full of more love, familiar, comfort - it won't be like this for long.

I think I have spent most of my life rushing, counting down the days, until the next milestone.
I couldn't wait to be old enough to wear make-up, drive a car, be a missionary, go to college...
living for the next "big event". And now? I don't feel like "I've arrived", but I guess time
has taught me that it's not about the "destination" but the "all along the way".

And now we are all having visions of "Grandma Brittany." Sigh.

Life is my "big event" - and I don't want to push aside the "Mondays" so I can get to the
"Fridays" - because you just never know! "Monday" might surprise you. And I don't want to miss it!


It Won't Be Like This for Long by Darius Rucker on Grooveshark

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My "No Birth Plan" Plan

I don't know if it's just me, but I imagine that it happens to most women...
That moment, somewhere between 20-30 weeks of pregnancy, when it hits you:

"This baby has to come out of me. One way or another."
(insert the most freaked-out emoticon face in existence)

I think I had a minor panic attack. My palms got all sweaty and I could feel myself
slipping into that rhythmic, lamaze-like, breathing pattern - head spinning, clammy hands,
trying not to pass out. I'm pretty sure I even imagined a contraction.

My idea of being a "warrior momma" suddenly becomes absurd, delusional.


Recently a friend lent me a big stack of "natural" child birth books. A lot of Bradley Method
stuff. All beautifully graphic and shockingly terrifying at the same time. One night I rolled over
in bed and jokingly told my husband that I had some "great bedtime reading" for him...

"And when the woman's cervix is fully dilated to 10cm, the baby will slowly begin to descend
the birth canal, otherwise known as the vagina (miraculously formed with accordion-like style skin)."


My husband didn't think it was very funny. My thoughts exactly!
I don't want to know. Just tell me when it's over, mmmmkay!?

So I went in to my last pre-natal visit and told my doctor that I wanted to chat "birth plan."
He sat down in the chair next to the examining table and told me to "shoot."

"I don't want to plan anything... Hope you're cool with that."

He threw his hands up in the air and laughed. For a second I thought he was making fun of me,
but then he told me how relieved he was - and that 9 out of 10 women, in his 20+ years of
practice, that make birth plans end up in tears when page 3 of 5 was completely thrown out
the window due to complications, unforeseen events, the nature of childbirth, etc.

Yes. I've been there. 38 weeks pregnant with my first, I was all geared up, ready, trained to
embrace the "euphoric storm" of labor and delivery when they sat me down and informed me that there
was NO WAY with my deformed uterus and a footling breach baby that I was going to have a vaginal
delivery. I cried. A lot. Mostly because I was mourning the loss of my beautiful plan!

Two days later my son came via C-Section and I forgot all about it. It didn't matter.
He was here. We both were safe, healthy. Life was good.

My second son came via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and all along the doctors told me that
they would NOT, under any circumstances, induce or prompt my labor. Not only did they break my
water, they also hooked me up to Pitocin. That wasn't even THEIR plan...

I'm glad I didn't make a plan.

Now, I know there are dozens and dozens of women, even many friends of mine, who have achieved
their "dream birth" by way of a "birth plan" and all. I DO BELIEVE IT HAPPENS! I've seen it happen.
I guess I'm just ok with winging it.

Whatever goes down - great. I'm a solid 30 minute drive to the hospital.
And that's without rush hour. In Chicago. I could be delivering this baby on the interstate for all
I know. Ok, hopefully not! That might scar me for life. But I want to be "ok" for whatever happens -
and the only way that that makes sense for ME (with my personality, temperament, etc.)
is to go in with a "no birth plan" plan.

I like routines, but I like surprises more. I'm ok with the "ride."
So, surprise me, baby number 3!!! Let's make this a birth day to remember!!!
In a good way. No interstates, and a quick, clean labor... if possible!?

I'll keep y'all posted. Obviously. I'm a blogger. That's what I do.
I'm 26 weeks today. Good thing I've still got time.


How about you? Birth plan? No birth plan?
Was it everything you dreamed it would be?


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Monday, June 30, 2014

Farmland Baby Back Ribs + One Peachy BBQ

"This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media and
Farmland/Smithfield, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #ReadySetRibs (full disclosure)."

_____________________________________________________________________

The World Cup 2014 has taken over this household. In fact, if I don't write quickly, another game will
probably start and I am going to be booted right out of my own living room! Non-stop party central over
here - the sound of my husband and children screaming, "Gooooooooaaaaaaaaaal!!!"
forever ringing in my ears. The other night I even DREAMED of soccer - apparently
I was playing in the World Cup and all the men wanted to kiss me! Don't tell my husband.

During the recent USA game, my oldest son yelled from the couch, "Bring me a root beer, mom!"
Is this real life? You did not just say that! I'm really not kidding when I say "non-stop party".
And every non-stop party demands good food, right?! So this momma has been cranking it out of the
kitchen and off the grill to feed my crew of dedicated fans!

I pulled out all the stops with some Farmland Ribs from Wal-Mart over the weekend!!!
And the crowd went wild...


I personally LOVE LOVE - DEEPY LOVE - BBQ ribs. I'm totally the girl who would order them on a
first date and not bat an eye. I eat them with my hands, even in public, and really don't see the need
for "side dishes." Ribs are a STAR in my world. One I frequent often, unashamedly!

We are definitely "conscious" eaters around here, so it makes me happy that Farmland/Smithfield offers
fresh pork that is raised in the good 'ole US of A. Fresh cuts are free from artificial ingredients
and preservatives
and are minimally processed. No added steroids or hormones either. Say what?!
Music to my ears! "Happy" pigs make me happy.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, there's a $1 OFF COUPON for Farmland/Smithfield "All Natural" Baby Back Ribs! Click, clip, and drive very quickly (but safely)
to your local Wal-Mart, y'all!!! *while supplies last*

Ribs aren't your thing? We can't be friends. Just kidding.
But you should know they also offer "all natural" pork tenderloin too!!!


I like to season and pre-bake my ribs before putting them on the grill.
Makes them irresistibly "fall off the bone" tender.

SPICE RUB:

3 tbls. brown sugar
2 tbls. sea salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper

Massage those ribs, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 2 hours.
(you will FINISH them on the grill!) Then place pre-baked ribs on hot grill for 30-45 minutes
(or until done). For pork ribs, 145 degrees internal temperature is recommended.

Peachy BBQ sauce, anyone?! SO. GOOD. A subtle sweetness with a dash of spicy -
lather up those ribs in the last 15 minutes of grilling and try not to lick your fingers!!!

PEACHY BBQ SAUCE:

1 C. organic ketchup (or one that is free from all weird sweeteners or preservatives)
1/2 C. peach juice/nectar
1/4 C. brown sugar
3 tbls. Frank's hot sauce
1 tbls. apple cider vinegar
1 tbls. worchestire sauce
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and let simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat.
Be generous when brushing on ribs, but save a little for extra dipping at the table!!!

For more BBQ ideas, tips, and tricks, check out the BBQ Pitmasters at ReadySetRibs.com!!!


We paired this goodness with grilled peaches and sparkling peach juice!!!

GRILLED PEACHES:

Wash and halve peaches, leaving skin on. Brush flesh side with melted butter and grill for 5-10
minutes. Sweet, warm amazingness. I was having trouble not eating them right off the grill! Great
served with ribs or with a scoop of ice-cream for dessert!!!

SPARKLING PEACH JUICE:

1/2 C. peach juice/nectar
1/2 C. sparkling water
squeeze of fresh lime
one scoop of frozen strawberries

Perfect for children, pregnant ladies, and those who prefer "virgin" drinks.
If I wasn't pregnant, there would have been RUM!



Real time photo: This is exactly what I'm talking about. Someone, from some country, scored a goal
and the table was INSTANTLY abandoned. Non-stop party.

At this moment, over half my family was either...

A.) yelling "GOAL!"
B.) throwing themselves on the floor
C.) running around the house without a shirt on


Farmland/Smithfield Ribs -
bring summer, parties, get-togethers, grill-offs,
and even the #worldcup2014 to LIFE!!!




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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Real Reason My Kids Don't Go To Daycare

Being a stay-at-home mom is definitely my desire, a dream come true. Not a day goes by
where I don't whisper a prayer of "thanks" for the privilege, for the gift, of being the ONE.
The one that is there, every moment of every day, for the milestones, the hard days, the good days,
the discoveries, the achievements, the tiny hugs, happy kisses, to read the stories, to teach how to pray,
to wipe away tears, to soak up the laughter, and all the seconds in between. I am lapping up the joy,
the awesome wonder, and storing it all in imaginary bottles on the shelves of my heart.
Because I'm their parent, their momma...

and ALL OF IT means the world to me.


No, this is not a staged photo. My children just happened to be staring pensively in the same
direction in the many moments before and after I snapped this shot. While picnicking in the park
this summer, it was not the pond, the ducks, or the super cool splash pad that held their attention,
but the DAYCARE group situated systematically on a checkered blanket under the gazebo.

One little boy in particular did NOT want to stay on the blanket and kept slyly venturing off towards
the grass, towards my son and his electric helicopter. The caregiver had to physically pick him up and
put him back on the blanket a number of times, reminding him that he had to "stay put."

"Where are their mommas?" asked my son.

"I don't know, buddy," I said. "I don't know."

I wanted that little boy to be able to play with my son. I willed it in my heart, because I think
that's what his own mother would have wanted for him too. Just let him off the blanket...
free the child to be a child.

We've seen these small children all over the burbs from the grocery store to the swimming pool -
marching in two straight lines, following the leader, daring not to speak without raising a hand,
wearing numbers around their necks - counting off, not to be lost.


And they yell out to me. Yes, literally.

"Can I give you a hug?"

"Will you push me on the swing?"

"Watch my trick!"


And my heart breaks as I stand-in for the parent not present.
"They're missing it," I sigh. "Do they know what they are missing?"

I'm not naïve to think that every family situation warrants at least one parent to stay home
and raise the babies
, but I am daring enough to challenge parents around the world to really
look at their situation and ask themselves if the "two incomes" are absolutely necessary,
or dare I say, worth it? Because I'll stand at the park and watch your kid do tricks all day,
but I can guarantee you that I am no substitute for "mom" or "dad." No one is.

People ask me all the time if my kids go to preschool or daycare - because obviously they
are "old enough" to be "socialized" and I probably "should help my husband".
And I just smile, shake my head, and tell them that my kids are lucky to be stuck at home with me...

where they can march in whatever kind of line they want to, where they can ALWAYS be the leader
and speak respectively without needing to raise their hands, where they are called by their given
names and not a tagged numbered, where they are free from the mold, the system, to be who they
were created to be for this time, this fleeting time: KIDS.

And my husband?! Well, he is lucky that I am stuck at home with his kids! And he'll tell you
that he is not lucky, but blessed. Because do you know how much it would cost for the care
that I give our children? Plus the laundry, the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring
that is done?! He can't afford me. And I can't afford him. So we got jerseys and make a great team.

Even if I didn't have the desire to be a stay-at-home mom and woke up one morning and
decided to take my hard-earned college degree to market and bring home some real bacon,
I know I couldn't do it. God gave my children to me and my husband.
And that's the real reason my kids don't go to daycare.

God gave them to me.

And I know what you are thinking. "Oh it's all rainbows and butterflies for Miss Lily Field" -
sure, ok. But if you were sitting in my living room right now I would not spare you any details
concerning our "income" or "lack thereof" in the past 5 years of marriage.

I'd tell you that we gave up a honeymoon and new cars and live like the budget is going out of style.
I'd tell you that we wear used clothes, don't go on a yearly vacation, and reuse items that most people
don't. We cut corners, pinch pennies, and bend over backwards to keep up our "lavish" lifestyle...
and that's not a joke. Our lifestyle is abundant!!! Downright extravagant! It's richer than you think.

No vacation, no vehicle, no pet, no home, no title, no name-brand can compare with the
two, soon to be three!, little faces that I wake up to care for every morning...

because I'm the one.


Every day is a gift, every situation unique.
We take what we are given and make the best

- for love of our children.




_______________________________________

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Childrenisms

We ask the kids frequently what they think we should name the baby. Mostly because
it makes for great entertainment. The other day there was a little debate over whether the
baby should be named NEYMAR (after Brazil's star soccer player #worldcup2014) or TARZAN.
If I had to choose? Definitely Tarzan.

When I tell them that if it is a GIRL her name is most likely going to be "BELLA" -
I get a roaring round of laughter: "Bella... Bella BUTTON!"
My kids are obsessed with belly buttons.

It's quite embarrassing to be standing in the check-out lane with them.
All those scantily clad women in the magazine kiosk?! Yea. Belly. Buttons.
Usually accompanied with obnoxious snorting and cackling. Please, excuse us.

Recently there was a hardcore argument over the name "SPIDERMAN."
Apparently Isaiah had suggested it first, but Judah would have none of that.

Isaiah: "No, I'm naming the baby SPIDERMAN!"
Judah: "I wike SPIDERMAN. I said it FIRST!"
Isaiah: "My baby is SPIDERMAN!"
Judah: "No, MY baby is SPIDERMAN!"

All I've got to say is that we are seriously considering the name now.
It's obvious that "Spidey" genes run in the family. Might as well pay tribute?

"These are our children: Isaiah, Judah, and Spiderman..."


Judah: "I need to use the bathroom."
Me: "Well, you already pooped in your pants, buddy."
Judah: "Well, I can put it in the toilet."
Me: "Um no. I'm going to change your diaper."
Judah: "Are you kidding me?"

Judah: "I just tooted and it came out of my mouth."
Me: "That would be a burp."
Judah: "No it was a toot. In my mouth.
Me:


Isaiah: "I need more peanut butter."
Me:"Buddy, you got it ALL OVER your pants!"
Judah: "Isaiah, can I lick your pants?"
Isaiah: "Um. Sure."


Pointing to a projector board in CHURCH, of all places...
Judah: "What's that?"
Me: "It's a sheet. So people can read the music."
Judah: "Oooooh a sheep?!"
Me: "No, a SHEEEEEET."
Judah: "Oooooh a SHIIIIIIT!"
Me: *don't laugh don't laugh don't laugh*


I wanted to check and see if Judah could see any angels.
Because they say the "veil is thin" for "pure hearts"...

Me: "Are there any angels in the sky?"
Judah: "Um. Yea."
Me: "Where?"
Judah: "THERE!" (points everywhere)
Me: "Ask him what his name is..."
Judah: "He says 'TACO'"
Me:

Conclusion to spiritual experiment:
Judah cannot see angels.


Me: "Who are your parents?"
Judah: "Mary and Joseph." (as in Jesus' parents)
Me: "If that is what you think, you are veeeery confused."
#flattered






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