Living in Acceptance

Many of us have experienced some sort of relationship breaking apart. For many, that may be a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence. But for me…well, you could say this is a “thorn in my flesh” kind-of a thing.

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What I mean is….abandonment & loss of relationship has been a running theme in my life. From losing relationships with precious & loved family members, to loss of friendships, to church friends and other friends de-friending me on facebook.…I have learned well what it means experience a loss of relationship. Some of these have been because I was in the wrong, some had nothing to do with me at all and others were from issues done to me.

Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud…” 2 Corinthians 12:7

But as I have aged, I have come into a place of acceptance of such things.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in therapy for some issues stemming from my parents divorce. One of the most profound things my therapist said to me at the beginning of my journey was, “You’re extremely angry now. But you must come to a place of acceptance in order to survive.” At the time I thought what she was saying was plain old ludicrous.

I mean….I was so mad that coming into acceptance of what was happening seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE task. But as I moved through the stages of loss and grief, I found my way into acceptance. Getting there was certainly a long journey, but living there? Another story altogether.

Living in acceptance means that you must daily forgive those who have wronged you, as well as yourself for those you have wronged.

Living in acceptance means you must fight the apathy and avoidance that seek to cut you off from authentic, vulnerable relationships.

Living in acceptance means you have to be willing to risk heartbreak and open yourself up to new relationships with others.

Living in acceptance means you must reject fear and embrace love.

I am not going to pretend that I get it right all the time. I honestly struggle with creating new friendships and relationships. I have been told by many people that I come off as cold, stand-offish and even bitchy when they first meet me (because of how nervous I get around people I don’t know and trust). I struggle with maintaining intimate relationships with those I love. I have a difficult time communicating how I really feel.

But God is faithful. He is using this time of acceptance as a means to grow me and use me for His glory. He is using my weaknesses as a means to bring others to Himself. And He is showing me it is okay to trust and rely on Him, and others.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am getting there.

Blessings,

Non-Blogging Passion

Today, I am participating in another Girl Behind the Blog!

Today’s Topic:

What is your non-blogging passion(s)? Why are some things you do not always share on the blog, but you are passionate about?

I hope you enjoy! Check out the other blogs participating by clicking the icon below! 🙂

Blessings,

5ohwifey

Happy Anniversary, honey!

Today I celebrate 8 years of marriage with my wonderful husband!!!

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In some respects, it seems like we JUST met. Time flies. In other ways, it feels as if 8 years is a LONG time – in that we have grown so much together, have been through many things together.

Outside of my relationship with Christ, my husband is my greatest blessing. He is the yin to my yang. He challenges me yet supports and encourages me. He is inspiring and my biggest cheerleader. He tentatively cares to my needs. He almost always puts me first and gives 100 percent to our relationship. He is also an amazing, Godly spiritual leader of our home. He exemplifies the meaning of “loving your wife like Christ loves the Church…”

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He is also an amazing father to our daughter. I couldn’t ask for more and I know she will count her blessings when she thinks of him, too.

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Happy Anniversary, honey. To many more years to come. I am thankful to share life with you. Love you always.

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I am thrilled to be co-hosting the “Sweet Simplicity” link-up this week with Nicolle! The link-up will be for posts sharing simple, easy DIY, recipes, etc. See the link-up below to add your post!

I am an avid fan of Pinterest. When my husband and I were looking for ways to trim our budget to help pay off our debts, I stumbled upon a myriad of posts on homemade cleaning products. One of my favorite one on how to make your own laundry soap. You can find the original post here: Laundry Soap Recipe Original Post(I decided to share the copy-cat recipe below.)

For some reason, I think many ladies get overwhelmed with the idea of making their own laundry soap. However, it is incredibly simple to do. Not only that, but it has save us a tremendous amount of money. I only have to make this once every few months, and that saves us a big amount on our grocery budget each month!

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

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Items You Need:

  • 1 bar of soap (any kind you like – I change mine all the time depend on what scent I like)
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • A cheese grater (the old-fashioned kind)
  • A funnel
  • A large liquid measuring cup (I use my 4 cup Pyrex one)
  • A large soup pot
  • 2 gallon containers
  • A large container to hold the soap (or, like me, you can collect old laundry soap holders and put the soap in there, hehe)

Launrdy Soap 2

Directions:

  1. Grate the bar of soap and then place into the pot.
  2. Fill a one gallon jug full of water and pour into the pot.
  3. Cook the grated soap and gallon of water until the water dissolves. I usually cook on medium heat.
  4. Once the bar soap is dissolved, put in the one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda into the pot.
  5. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil. DISCLAIMER: watch this carefully, if you walk away and it boils, it WILL SPILL OVER THE POT. (Ask me how I know….lol.)
  6. When it begins to boil and before it spills over, take off the heat.
  7. Add in an additional one gallon of COLD water and stir well.
  8. Using the funnel and measuring cup, begin pouring the laundry soap into your containers.
  9. Place the containers wherever you keep your laundry soap.

Additional Notes:

  • The laundry soap coagulates. Make sure you shake the containers well when you use it to do laundry!
  • You may not see suds. That is okay. Suds do not equal clean.
  • You can use 1/2 a cup for each load. Sometimes I use 1 cup if it is a larger load.
  • I use old laundry soap containers to store my soap. However, if you prefer, you can purchase a large, clear container like this one from Amazon.

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The Bitter & The Sweet

WARNING: INCESSANTLY LONG POST AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…. 🙂

It is with a joyful but heavy heart that I write this post.

As is no secret to those who know me well, for some time I have desired to transition to virtual school education. Having been a public school secondary (middle & high school) teacher for almost 8 years now, the pressures and exhausting schedule had begun to wear on me and my family. I have several friends who work for our state virtual school, and really enjoy it. While they work year round and have to be available and different times of the day for student questions, they are able to have more flexible schedules to meet their families needs.

Back in December, I got a call from the virtual school asking to begin the interview process. I had applied for a position a LONG time ago and forgot about it. Taking it as some sort of sign, I decided to go with the flow just to see what happens. The first initial phone interview went well. Then I didn’t hear ANYTHING for over a month. I was surprised when almost 6 weeks later, they called and asked me to go ahead with the second phase of the interview process: an online orientation and an all-day group interview at their corporate offices in Orlando, FL.

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{My husband and I chaperoning prom last year}

Excited and nervous, I went forward. I was extremely impressed with the company. They seem to value individual student learning, and genuinely care about their staff. They were completely forthright with their requirements and emphasized that transitioning to virtual education is a family decision (again, because you need to be available for random times of the day, unlike the traditional public school where you’re only there until 2:30 P.M.

At the end of the all day group interview, we were told that we would get an email letting us know if they wanted to continue the interview process with us or not. If they did, then you entered the hiring pool and were told you might have to wait months to hear anything. I got asked to continue on. Again, I was very excited and nervous because frankly, I was surprised to make it this far. And so I waited.

About 4 days later I got a call requesting I come BACK to Orlando, FL for a face-to-face, individual second interview. At this point the whole process began to seem EXTREMELY real. I began to have my few close friends and family who knew about this situation to pray. I felt strongly that if God wanted me in this position, that every detail would be worked out – including issues with our vacation at the end of the month, issues with having to leave immediately from work, etc.

The second interview went great. I got the opportunity to speak with one of the social studies leaders and a lead teacher for American History who was with us by phone. Both of them asked me questions and we had a good conversation about different experiences I have had with students. When the interview was over, I asked the social studies leader who was present a few questions about my details and concerns about getting hired so quickly. He eased my concerns by informing me that he was recommending me to be hired for a full-time position, and that he felt confident they could meet my scheduling needs.

WOW. What a wonderful, detail-oriented God we serve! Being a detail-oriented person by nature, it never ceases to amaze me how God is an on-time God, and concerned Himself with every small detail of a situation. It shows just how much He loves me and values even my seemingly trivial concerns.

All of that to say – I will soon be transitioning from a public school high school teacher to a virtual school high school teacher.

I am both excited and scared. Change is tough for me. But this is a challenge I am looking forward to.

Why am I making the move? For many reasons, but the main few are: more flexibility with work and a significant pay raise. This means I can increase how much money I put towards debt reduction and savings (for our eventual move to Phoenix to plant the church) without having to take on a second job. I can also be more readily available to my daughter as she transitions to VPK and Kindergarten in the coming years.

The hardest part about leaving my current school is leaving my students and my amazing co-workers. I love my students as if they were my own children, and I hate leaving them behind. I also have formed wonderful, supportive relationships with many of my co-workers, and I dread not getting to see those folks every day. I am thankful for the time I spent working with them and I know I will build great relationships with my new co-workers at FLVS.

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{Helping with graduation last year, posing here with some of my wonderful colleagues!}

Your prayers are appreciated for my family as we make this transition. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us! We are so grateful.

On Being a Working Momma

I had the great privilege of sharing this on Nathalie’s series “The Mamahood” today. I have often struggled with guilt about being a work outside the home momma. Here is part of my journey…

I have had the great privilege to be a momma for four years now. And for most of the time, I have been a work outside the home momma. I say it that way, because I truly feel all mommas are “working mommas.” I think the term “stay at home mom” has a tone of “you don’t do anything but sit all day.” I like to think we all work – some of us in the home, some of us outside the home.

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While working outside the home has its challenges, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Since I am a high school teacher, I get the privilege of having extended at-home time with my daughter during summers and the holidays. I also get the benefit of being around my peers and gaining wisdom from other adults during my day. Is this life stressful? Yes. Is it beneficial to my overall life? Definitely!

One of the biggest lies of the enemy that comes from being a momma that works outside the home is this: “You’re not doing enough for your child. You’re being selfish and are not caring for them by being home with them.” As I have grown as a mother, I have come to recognize this as a tool of the devil. As mothers, we have to do what is best for our families. Sometimes, we simply cannot afford to be a “work at home” momma. Other times, it may be best for our personal mental, psychological and even spiritual health that we find work outside of our home.

Can I be honest? I am doing my child a disservice by staying home with her. I greatly admire all “work at home” mommas. However, I do not feel this is a calling for my family at this time. I get extremely fitful when I am at home for extended periods and find that my daughter craves the structure and socialization her preschool provides. In this season, we mutually benefit by spending time apart from each other, and we can truly enjoy the time we have together in the afternoons and on the weekends. In addition, our family needs the financial support my job provides, so we can pay off our debts and begin to transition into church planting.

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As Christians, whether we work inside or outside the home, may our goal in mothering be that our children come to know Christ. As Paul states in Philippians, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.”(Philippians 3:10) More than anything, I desperately want my daughter to know Christ. Whether that means I am teaching her during the day or in the evenings, it is my biggest goal and hope.

I sincerely hope that whether you feel called to be a work from home momma or a “work outside the home” momma, that you do so prayerfully and that you do not feel ashamed by your choice. Mothers should not feel that they have to separate into one of the two camps. We have a common denominator that binds us all together – we are mothers. As mothers, we should seek to encourage, to lift up and to offer prayer & support to our fellow mothers. If we focus our eyes on Jesus instead of others opinion, He will mold us into the mothers He created us to be and we will be able to lead our children to Jesus, in whatever way He has called us to do so.

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Are you a new mom or a seasoned mom who is struggling with this are or another area of mothering? I highly recommend the book “Desperate” by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson. As I have been struggling as a mom over these last few years, reading it renewed my spirit and gave me a sense of freedom to mother the way God called me to.

May you be blessed today, momma. You are loved.

Getting to know you….

Today I am sharing some fun facts about me as apart of The Influence Network’s getting to know you link-up! We were asked to share one photo of ourselves, three facts and the impact the network has had on our lives. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Photo(s) Of Me: I couldn’t choose just one so I am sharing a couple. 🙂

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{My husband and I at the Third Eye Blind concert in February!}

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{My family. We are weird and we aren’t ashamed!}

Three Facts About Me:

1. I have a tendency to get really obsessed with TV shows. Typically, if I get really into a show, I will watch ALL of the old seasons on Netflix or Hulu right in a row. Sometimes in just a couple of days. I have been through entire shows like Bones, The West Wing, Big Bang Theory….and now I am watching old episodes of Duck Dynasty. 🙂

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2. I have an unhealthy obsession with a local Mexican restaurant’s salsa. Their secret, I believe, is adding cilantro. Whatever it is, I am obsessed. I but a cup full and bring it home about once a week. 🙂

3. I absolutely LOVE Psalm 46. It is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and I use it often to encourage others who might be going through a rough time. For me, it is one of the most encouraging passages of scripture.Psalm 46

{Photo Credit: http://www.newquistvisuals.com}

Side-Note Info:  I am a public high school teacher (for almost 8 years), worship leader/team member (play piano and sing), love girl scout cookies, sleeping in and watching ESPN. I am an avid Florida Gators fan and love carbs. 🙂

What valuable thing have I gained from The Influence Network?

There are so many things I can mention here, but the biggest benefit I have received from Influence Network (so far) has been the tremendous support of the leadership and members. As a newer blogger, I have had tons of questions about a variety of topics. I know I can always go to the leadership for help, or ask questions of the members in the influence network forums. I also have received tremendous support and prayer from the leadership and members when I was in grave need of prayer. It feels so good to know that I now have friends here who love and support me, and want to see me thrive in my walk with Christ and want to help my blog be successful for Him

I am excited to “meet” all of my fellow Influence Network ladies online, and to FINALLY meet some in person at The Influence Conference in September!!!

Have a blessed day, ya’ll!

Could you pray for me?

Hey all…

Not much to post today. But I wanted to ask if you could pray for me. Some stuff going on today that could potentially change some things for us. In a good way. So, if you think of it, lift me and my family up today in prayer during the afternoon EST. I so appreciate it!

Pray Without Ceasing

{Photo Credit: theologigal.wordpress.com}

Blessings,

How to Bless Your Spouse

This weekend I had the opportunity to really bless my husband. He recently turned thirty but didn’t get the chance to really celebrate due to some work obligations on his actual birthday.

You see, my husband’s love language is gifts. This doesn’t mean that he is materialistic or overly values “things.” However, it does mean that he see love through giving and values gifts with sincere meaning behind them. By giving him a sincere gift, it shows him that I truly love him. As our marriage has progressed, I have become better and better at learning his love language. We have opposite gifts, so it definitely took me some time to speak his “language” correctly! 🙂

Over the years I have known him, he has had one major bucket list item that he would want as a gift: to see Third Eye Blind in concert. My husband is a HUGE Third Eye Blind fan, but has never had the opportunity to see them live. He has either missed a concert, or the band was not touring or was touring overseas, or we had a previous commitment when they would come to town.

I have spent many years trying to surprise him with tickets, to no avail. Finally, when he turned thirty in January, I found out that the band would be playing a concert at Sea World in Orlando this February. I decided to go ahead and purchase tickets for him as a surprise! I even managed to secure overnight babysitting so we could go on a mini-weekend date to the show.

When I finally told him, he was SO EXCITED because he knew this would be a big life event. We made the trip to Sea World this weekend, and were able to spend some time in the park before the show. The sea animals were amazing to see, and I am excited that we will be able to go back later this summer to take our daughter to see the dolphins, turtles, and various other sea creatures!

Sea World Collage

We saw some cool sea animals before the show. We even got to feed some stingrays!

The best part of the concert was our seats. Sea World offered a VIP seating package for a reasonable price, so I went ahead and purchased it as a special additional treat for my hubby. We were thrilled to discover this meant we would be inches from the stage! We were SO close to the band, we could see face pores and nose hairs! HAHA. What an honor for my man to have such great seats.

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What a thrill to be so close! Well worth the money to see my husband so blessed & happy.

The best part of this weekend was getting to spend some quality time together. We are so thankful for friends and family who help us with our daughter so we can take these trips once or twice a year.

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We have such fun together. I am so glad I married my best friend. What a great weekend we had!

What are you or your spouses love language? How do you bless your spouse? Feel free to share in the comments below or start-up a chat with me on twitter (@waitingwithjoy).

Blessings,

Sickness Has Taken Over!!

I had another blog post planned for Friday. But life happened. My husband and my daughter both got a stomach bug and we spent a lot of time this week trying to get her better. She still can’t shake the diarrhea (TMI? Sorry, it happens), and we are both tired and frustrated. Not only is it horrible that she is sick, but she acts fine with no fever or symptoms…then we will take her to school, and she gets sick again. I spent many days this week having to call out or leave work early to take her home. It’s been a long week full of exhaustion, frustration and feelings of hopelessness.

We have tried all sorts of medicines. We are big holistic folks, so we are working on that. We feel we have tried it all and nothing is working. It feels hopeless. We feel lost. Sad. Frustrated. Even angry.

When I (or my loved ones) get sick, it makes me feel as if we will never come out of it. We are naturally healthy people, so sickness is a rare occurrence. I have tried to lean on my own understanding this week, and have not prayer enough or trusted God enough to get through this.

I have experienced an overwhelming feeling that I cannot handle “all the things” that have come my way this week. I am behind at work. I cannot keep my home clean. Tons of laundry. Missed blog posts. Exhaustion. Dirty, unwashed hair.

Then I am reminded of this:

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God’s does not plan these things that happen to us to harm us. He is love and He cares for us. He simply asks me to trust Him. To trade my worry and heavy burden(s) over to Him. And man, did I fail on that one this week. I am learning more and more that life happens. And regardless of how it stresses me out, He has my back.

How many times did I actually pray for my family vs. asking others to pray for us? Am I really going back to a place of shirking my responsibility as a Christ-follower? When has worry ever accomplished anything for me?

God has certainly used this as a means to teach me about my (continual) lack of trust and lack of a prayer life. May I always remember to run to Him first, for comfort and for strength. And may I remember that He promises me full abundance, goodness and mercy all the days of my life. <ay you be encouraged. When the little (or even big) things of life get you down, He has your back. You can lean on Him. His promises are true.

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Please pray for my sweetie. I don’t blog much about her here, but she is one of the best things to ever come into my life. I know all my parents friends out there understand how hard it is to see your children hurting. Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and faith.

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Blessings,

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