2016 Goals

In an effort to share my thoughts and memories of our family more, I am coming back to the blogging world! I was so good about it a few years ago and then life happened, we gained a few more kids, homeschool started and there was a lapse. So here is to BRINGING BLOGGING BACK for 2016 :)

Fitting as we start a new year to share our family's goals for the upcoming year. I am a big goal setter and I love to plan ahead. At the beginning of the year, it is a fresh start to get a game plan for how you want your year to look. Now if it goes according to plan, or better! is up to God! But I would much rather live a life by design rather than in default mode... so here is to planning ahead!!

I've shared some of our overall goals in the picture above but now I will go into a little more detail to show you what the plan is for each of these in case you too are planning ahead and want ideas.

Growing deeper in Christ- we have committed to praying together daily as a family, meeting with our discipleship groups once a week, and diving into more Scripture together. We also want to do book studies together and will start Shepherding a Child's heart in January to begin.

Say Yes more to kids- simply stated, I say NO ALOT! Its not good and I am making a conscious effort to stop. I have little reminders up on sticky notes in my home to remind me daily. Unless it is mandatory to say NO... I will choose to say Yes more.

Exercise- we did well with eating better in 2015 and now we need to add in exercise again. We go in spurts doing well, but again, life happens. JR and I have committed to doing morning workouts together 3 times a week, starting with P90x. Yall pray for me! Ha but seriously, we feel so much better when we do!

Invest in our marriage- we are doing a marriage retreat in January and planning to spend time away together for our 10 year anniversary in September. Life with 3 kids is chaos, and we need to connect more one on one. We will also do bi-monthly dates. Planning ahead now to make those happen!

Connect more with friends- in the busyness of life we typically crash every night instead of making an effort to connect more with friends. I want that to change. I love having relationships and it is worth investing time with people and so we will do that. At least once a month we will have a couple over for dinner. We are fortunate to have lots of friends in the area and I want to live life WITH people, not in a constant state of busyness where time passes by without connecting.

Have fun as a family monthly- We got Dollywood tickets for Christmas and I plan for either the kids and I to go once a month, or the whole family! During the winter months we will pick an indoor thing to do outside of the home together. Our kids are at fun ages and we want to invest the time to make memories together!

Blog more frequently- planning to do it once a week or so and share about life, marriage, homeschooling, raising kids, running a business, and whatever else comes up in the mean time. Check back often for more!

Dream bigger in business- I started with very small goals for R+F last year and this year I am setting off to dream BIGGER! More on that to come :)

one on one time with each child- very important to have individual time with each of our kids and so once a month Jr or I will take one out for a 1 on 1 date. Some of my favorite times with them are these and we want to make them happen more frequently! Again.. plan ahead!

plan 10 year anniversary trip- another way to invest in our marriage and celebrate what God has done in 10 years! We are planning now for a September get away!!

pray daily and give more generously- like our first goal to grow deeper in Christ, these two are very important things that we want to do more of as Christ followers. Love God and Love People. Thats all thats important!!

Less yelling and more kind words- having 3 kids is hard. someone is always yelling or getting upset. We want to be better encouragers to have self-control and share kindness. This starts with JR and I as parents.. they model our examples and currently its not pretty.  Just being real. Big big changes ahead! I have an idea to spur us on as a family in this endeavor and I will share that on the blog soon too!

Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your family's goals as well! Here's to a fantastic 2016!


Lifelong Marriage Conference

I am eager to get back into blogging more and wanted to share my heart on this awesome marriage conference I have been connecting to online this week. Ahhh... marriage is something that takes work and I am always so helpful to hear from others and learn from them. This specific session was with one of my favorite authors, Dr. Gary Thomas, who wrote Sacred Marriage. This is a book that I was introduced to early on in our marriage and I have reread it about 3 times already since then. SOO good!

I do encourage you to take 20 minutes to watch this segment with him:


Here are some key takeaways I have heavy on my heart and am praying for my own self and marriage.

"What if God designed marriage to make us more holy than more happy?" And of course in that I know that I will never be truly happy unless I am pursuing Christ and my fulfillment in Him. Quite frankly, I was one of those who believed in fairy tales and happily ever afters. But yall... its not always happy ha! I have seen over and over again how God really designed marriage more for my holiness, molding me to His likeness, than necessarily for my happiness. Of course that brings about happiness as I am molded and changed, but it is not an easy process. I am prideful, honorary, selfish and resilient to change. Seeing JR love me through my yuckiness is what brings us closer together. As he forgives me, just as Christ does, daily. Which brings up the next great point.

"Marriage doesnt make you happy, you make marriage happy." Yall its your mindset! Are you unhappy just because it isnt roses and fairy tales?

"A good marriage isnt something you find, its something you keep making." We are committed to continuing to work on our marriage, grow deeper, learn from each other, etc. You cant ever stop and think you have it all figured out. You have to continue to learn your partner, figure out how yall compliment each other best, work together as a team and stay in the fight with each other. Often times we think of marriage as planting a tree, Gary says. You plant it and water it in the beginning but then its good. No, on the contrary, its more like a brick house. It needs a strong foundation and CONSTANT maintenance. New roof, new floors, new whatever, and you get it fixed. It will not just be okay after you build it forever.

"Dont worry about falling out of love as much as you worry about falling out of repentance." Whew man that hits hard. And so true. When pride sets in, you get set in your ways and always look to the other to make a change and yet you are forgetting your part of repenting.

I plan to continue listening in and will blog again soon. Yall check out all of the videos if you'd like. Rich and powerful, and your marriage will thank you later for investing in it :)



JR and I decided to take on the Whole30 challenge in hopes of creating a better habit of eating and overall healthier lifestyle. We didn't eat terrible before, but doing this now for 16 days we can tell a HUGE difference in our bodies by just "eating clean." So what is whole30? Well there is a whole website called www.whole30.com that can tell you everything you want to know! Basics of no milk, butter, or any dairy products, bread, or processed foods. I am a rule follower and found it very helpful to see "eat this and not that" lists all throughout. I am fortunate to have several good friends who had previously done the challenge as well who have given me fantastic tips! My hope in sharing this blog is to share with you newbies that you TOO can do it.. trust me! If I can, you can! This is coming from a girl who never cooked with recipes and loved her 10pm tortilla chip and salsa snack :)
Here is a little run down of what we have been eating. For breakfast: EGGS! I've been buying tons of them at the store and yes we have eaten them every single day. I pair a fruit and/or veggie with it, add pepper and it fills us up so much! I was typically that girl who HAD to have cheese on her eggs. Come to find out.. nope I really don't!
For lunch we have had either a spinach salad with evoo as dressing or leftovers from dinner before. Snacks throughout the day include cut up veggies (such as cucumber, green peppers, carrots), almonds, a fruit (max of 2 fruits a day so I mix up when I get those), and Larabars. These bars are delish and found at Krogers!

Most of our dinner recipes have come from Pinterest searches or a friends recommendation. Tilapia with mango salsa, steamed broccoli and paleo mashed potatoes.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-tilapia-with-mango-salsa/

Grilled burger and veggies (mushroom, peppers, onions)
No the kids aren't doing the full whole30 with us but I have been very surprised at what they have loved. Lexi was a HUGE fan of the kale chips :)
I was REALLY sad to see no pasta on the list but I have been pleasantly surprised with this meal. It will for sure take the place of spaghetti in our weekly menu.
Zuchinni noodles with organic sauce and turkey meatballs
To make the zeghetti noodles we bought the vegetti spiral vegetable maker
salmon crab cakes
one 6 oz can boneless salmon
1/2 med onion
1 tbs coconut flour
2 eggs
1 rib of celery
1 tbs dried dill
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbs coconut oil
1. In a bowl break salmon up and add onion, celery and spices.
2. mix in coconut flour and combine thoroughly
3. Add eggs and mix
4. Add coconut oil into skillet
5. shape patties roughly 2"
6. add patties to pan and cook until golden brown and then flip
Almond crusted salmon with asparagus and kale chips
One of the BEST things we did was to use our smoker to get delicious leftovers for lunch. Boston butt smoked it totally whole30.. yay!

Thanks to Jenn Wade we also had a tasty dessert too. Frozen bananas? Who knew!
My biggest suggestion if you want to give this challenge a go is to MEAL PLAN! I typically shop once a month, but now am going every two weeks. I get everything I need for breakfast, lunch and dinner and spend a few hours prepping by slicing everything and portioning it all out. It helps so much when you are ready for a snack and would usually run to the pantry for a bag of chips! Yes it takes time, but you CAN make the time :)
Another huge lifesaver has been this drink diffuser. I put a little fruit inside and let it sit overnight in the fridge and then I have added a little taste to my water. Yes we have only drank water! Besides our morning coffee.

And speaking of coffee. I cant stomach it just black so I've been adding a splash of this coconut milk to take the bitterness edge off. I'll admit its an acquired taste and not my typical creamer but it has grown on me :)
I hope this shed some light on the whole30 for everyone. JR is having to buckle his belt tighter to keep his pants up and I lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks... both of us are just eating better. We do hope to add exercise on a more consistent basis soon, but we already feel so much better just by eating well. Yes it takes more time, and is harder... but its so worth it!! I encourage everyone to try it :)