His Word, Kids/Parenting

God’s Timing

I’m sitting by my toasty fireplace, unwinding from the day.  It’s relaxing and peaceful to hear the flames flicker and watch them dance around (even if they are gas…). I would like to share with you some things I’ve learned today about God’s timing…

See, His timing is perfect. HIS timing…not mine…not yours…not your uncle’s sister’s daughter’s dad’s. Only God’s timing is perfect.

I started my day with plenty on my ‘To-Do’ list. I had to drop off my son, drop off my daughter, get to the grocery store, meet a guy from the fireplace company at my house, and I really , REALLY wanted to get my Christmas tree down.

Things took a slight turn when I ended up on the phone with my cousin. She is genuine salt-of-the-earth people. She knows I’ve been going through a really tough time lately. I mean, the past 2 1/2 months have been stressful in and of themselves with some circumstances…then you throw the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in the mix and WOAH!! I’m feeling like a rest and reprieve are in order.

Any who…we chatted for 1 hour and 27 minutes. (I just checked my phone log.) During that entire 1 hour and 27 minute phone conversation, there was no radio silence…NONE. She is the kinda gal that I can go months without talking to and then pick up like no time has passed. So, I was running slightly behind my ‘scheduled departure time’ because of the amazing conversation.

I was concerned I would be late for my first appointment. Turns out, I was just 2 minutes early! Score! From there, Emma and I had to make 3 quick stops. One of them was to our house to get a few things for her appointment.

As I was traveling, I let my mind wander. I tend to do that. I was inwardly yelling at myself, thinking, ‘if you had just taken an extra 5 minutes before you left the house the first time, you wouldn’t have to go back again. you’re so irresponsible. why can’t you just get. it. together?!?!’

What? Doesn’t everyone mentally berate themselves from time-to-time? I do; more often than I should.

So, we made our three stops and I dropped her off. It was 11:45. I had exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes to make it to the grocery store and then back home by 1:00 to meet the fireplace people. I thought to myself, I can DO this!

I get to the grocery store, Aldi’s – where I do most of my shopping, and of course it’s PACKED! Go figure, right?

In case you don’t have an Aldi’s near you or you’ve never been, let me explain a few things for you about how they operate.

First, you pay a quarter to ‘rent’ the cart. You go to the little cart corral, put your quarter in, and voila! You have a cart! You get the quarter back once you have loaded your groceries in your vehicle and return the cart. It prevents them from having to pay for cart boys, thereby saving YOU, the consumer, money!

Second, the store has a clear outline of how you are to proceed through the store. Once you start, you’re really bucking the entire system if you have to go back to any prior rows for anything. Because then you are going against the grain.

Third, the cashiers are ON POINT! They can really move those items across the scanner. The other thing that helps this is that there are multiple UPC bars on every item. That way, it doesn’t have to be only one place that your item can be scanned. (As a side note, I really wish EVERY product manufacturer would use this method. Anyone else stand at the self-checkout wanting to SCREAM because it just. won’t. scan. your. item? No? I’m the only one? Ok….) So, they quickly scan and put your items in your cart.

Fourth, from there, you take your items to a place on their 80′ counter and bag them yourself. Again, this helps keep costs down, because they’re not paying someone to bag their groceries. Also, lest I forget, you have to bring your OWN bags to Aldi’s. ‘Cause they don’t provide them for free. You can buy them, of course. But it works better if you simply plan ahead and bring them. (Another side note, I’m not always the best at this, so I do have some Aldi paper grocery sacks which are a whopping 6 cents.)

Ok, now that I have it set up for you…

I’m in the grocery store, which is crammed with people. I get what I need and head to the checkouts. Behind me in line, there is one lady who doesn’t have many items. I don’t pay much attention to those in line behind her, until after I begin bagging my groceries.

Normally when I bag my groceries, I go to the counter way down by the doors. They’re usually less crowded because the cash registers aren’t feeding into their area. Today; however, I chose to go to the counter directly across from the register where I checked out.

While I’m loading my bags into my cart, I hear a woman in line behind a man and his two sons who are standing at the checkout, waiting to pay. She apologizes to the cashier because the older son of the man’s, who is around 12-13, had gone to get her a head of lettuce. He had the form of payment and wasn’t back by the time they were ready to pay and leave, which was holding up progress. And one thing those Aldi’s cashiers really dislike is someone holding up progress.

I happen to look over just as the older boy is coming back with a head of lettuce for the nice lady in line behind he and his dad and brother. He comes to the cashier and I hear his dad say, ‘How much is on there?’ I realize they are paying with an EBT (food stamp) card. I glance up and their total is $12 and change. I look in their cart and they have a pound of bacon, a gallon of milk, three boxes of cereal and a 12 pack of orange soda.

The boy scans the card, and there is $9.98 remaining. I begin to walk away.

I hear the cashier say, “Ok, what do you want to put back?”

At which point, God told me to go back and pay the difference so they could have their groceries.

I walked back and I told the cashier, as quietly as I could, that I would cover the difference.

The difference was $2 and some change.

The man and his two sons each thanked me, at least once. I acknowledged their thanks and told them they were welcome, and that I wanted them to bless someone else.

Here is my point in all of this. I don’t share this with you for any accolades whatsoever. I simply share this with you because if at any point in my morning, there was a minute added or shaved off of my ‘schedule,’ I would not have been at that God-appointed location at the God-appointed time to be the hands and feet of Jesus and share my meager $2 with this man and his sons.

So many times, I think we get caught up in doing something BIG for God…or doing something really worthwhile for His kingdom. When every single thing we do for God to be there for someone else IS big and worthwhile to Him.

For the amount of money I would have spent on a soda or two, I was able to help these folks get the groceries they came for.

Friends, it’s not about how BIG of a thing we do for God. It’s simply about being available to Him and following His prompting.

I could have easily walked away from this situation; I was already half-way to the door. But God. But God nudged my heart to give. But God reminded me what it was like to be on food stamps and have to budget so tightly to make it work every month. But God reminded me that He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. But God…

That God of mine is really something. I hope you know Him too.

Book Reviews, His Word, Link-Ups

Book Review – Disillusioned

Ok folks…summer took a serious toll on this gal. Kids…everywhere. Productivity…nowhere!

I have so many books that I was given copies of, in return for an honest review here in my space on the interwebs…and I’m sooooo far behind!

But, I have to tell you, the most recent book I read, Disillusioned by Christy Barritt was seriously amazing! I haven’t had the opportunity to read such an engaging thriller in a long time.


The brief summary is that the main character, Nikki, has a brother that escaped from a detainment camp in Columbia. Since he escaped, he hasn’t been the same. What’s more is that it appears that he is being framed for acts of terrorism.

From the moment I turned the first page, Christy had me hooked. This was the first book of her’s that I read. Needless to say, I’ll be finding more.

The author’s writing style is easy to follow and with the way she ends chapters, you can’t help but start a new one immediately. Bookmarks? Those are for quitters.

Through every twist and plot turn, you find yourself rooting for Nikki, her brother Bobby, and their friend, Kade, who is helping them uncover the layers of deceit.

This book also has an underlying element of faith. When the story begins, we find Nikki disillusioned with her faith and religion overall. As the story unfolds, we gain a better understanding of why Nikki questions and second-guesses her belief in God and His overall goodness.

If you enjoy reading a good, clean suspense thriller, with a faith factor added in, then this book is definitely for you!

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Has the Power Gone Out in Your Life?


So he (Samson) told her (Delilah) everything. ‘No razor has ever been used on my head,’ he said, ‘because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God…if my head were shaved, my strength would leave me…After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him…but he did not know that the Lord had left him.”  Judges 16:17,19-20

My son has always been afraid of the dark. He’s nine years old and I don’t even worry about his fear. Why? Well, my son is operating on a higher spiritual level than most. I get it, that may sound hokey or odd or just plain crazy to you. But there’s something in this beloved son of mine that others don’t see and may never experience.

How do I know, you ask? Mother’s intuition. That, and some of the things he says and dreams he shares with me.

Read more here at Lift Up Your Day

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

The Journey

As this summer continues to unfold, I am excited to share new experiences with my children.

Every summer before this one, my kids have had to go to ‘camp’ all day. They’ve typically enjoyed it because the camp they’ve attended has kept them crazy busy! (So there’s less ‘mom-guilt’ for me.)

This is the first summer I’ve been able to stay home with them, and I’m not gonna lie, there are days where I’ve completely lost my ever-lovin’-mind, to the point where my kids probably wish they could go to camp…just to get away!

See, I’m pretty much an introvert, with a few extravert tendencies. I need time alone with just my thoughts, to recharge and get amped up for the next adventure.

Since my kids got out of school on May 20, I’ve had a total of approximately 3 hours to myself. And those have been spent in the bathroom.

To say I was beyond ready for a small break is an understatement.

Yesterday, we decided to do something new! Well, new for me…not the kids. We decided to take the bus around town. It was incredibly awesome for me, cause I didn’t have to drive or stress about stupid STUPID construction traffic in Lafayette. (If you live here or have to come here for anything, you totally get this.)

Our plan was to go to the Hanna Center. I know they have a small playground, and we had packed a lunch, so we were going to eat and just chill. I even brought the book I’m currently working my way through. Slightly wishful thinking.

Well, I wasn’t exactly sure where we needed to get off the bus, so we ended up missing our stop. I noticed as we were flying down Greenbush Street that I needed to come up with a back-up plan. i

“Ok kids. McAllister Center it is!”

This is where they’ve gone to summer camp before, so I knew they had a small park to play at, as well as a picnic area.

We ate and chatted about things and played for a while. My daughter, who goes to middle school in the fall, told me she is the most excited about lockers. And is the most nervous about getting around.

I could tell our time was winding down, so I began to look at the bus schedule to determine our next move. I decided it would be easiest to walk to Market Square and go from there. I’m sure some of you locals are thinking I’m crazy, and perhaps you’re right…but hear me out on this one…

The kids had traveled some of these roads before, when they walked to the pool from camp. So, I knew we weren’t going to be totally lost…plus MapQuest…an essential travel tool.

We started out, and I wanted to enjoy the walking and the scenery. For me, we were on roads I’ve never been on, surrounded by sights I’ve never seen.

What follows are some pictures of our expedition.


Our first selfie on the bus!


Emma posing (always!) at McAllister


Wild berries
Wild berries


It might be a little difficult to see, but the trunk of this tree is crooked!



This tree stopped me in my tracks. The owner has several bird feeders hanging from the branches. All at once, the kids and I agreed that it reminded us of Gloria Dump’s tree in ‘Because of Winn Dixie’ by Kate DiCamillo.


Some pretty flowers along the way.


Some more pretty flowers


And yet more flowers


The kids with their delicious truffles from Richelle in a Hand Basket


Two signs that really spoke to me!


Elijah and his red, white, and blue vanilla truffle. He LOVED it!


If you know me AT ALL, you know I love chickens! I knew my husband would NOT approve of an $80 chicken purse purchase, so I just had to snap a picture of it!
I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PILLOW (except the $700 price tag). If you have to have this, you can find it at Interior Objects.


Meet you at Arni’s!
Emma loved what they did with their flag pole!


On the bus ride back to the depot!


My whole goal in this day was to just BE. Be present. Be in the moment. Be all-in with my kids. I had had a rough morning, and wanted to connect with them in a way I had yet to for the day. I wanted to document it so that we could reflect on it in the days to come.

This had been me...operating from zero resources.
This had been me…operating from zero resources.

When my hubs got home last night, he knew that I needed a break. So he agreed to take the kids off my hands for a few hours. (Remember how I said I’ve had exactly 3 hours in solitude since May 20?)

He knows how they enjoy fishing, so they went to Big Fish and Campground to have some quality time together.

My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!
My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!


He also wanted me to know that he loves me!
He also wanted me to know that he loves me!


Tad & Kids fishing
Tad & Kids fishing


Elijah's Fish
Elijah’s Fish


Emma's Fish
Emma’s Fish

Sometimes I have a difficult time ‘letting go’ of my desire to be needed. But, I find when I do, I am much more fulfilled. My husband gets to do his thing with the kids. I get to do my thing alone. And when we all come back together, we are all much happier people!

(Sidenote: my daughter is reading this as I’m writing it…she said that SOMETIMES we are all happier people…when I asked her what she meant, she informed me that sometimes she needs a break from the two of us. Wow…she is truly my ‘mini-me.’)

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Vacation, One Week Down

Hi friends! Happy beginning of summer!

Summer requires ice cream!
Summer requires ice cream!

We officially have one week of summer and one holiday under our belts! As many of you may know, this is my first summer not working full-time. This is my first summer with my kiddos 24/7, and my bonus daughter every other week. This is my first summer where I will likely want to pull my hair out before my birthday, which is June 20.

Fun at the park
Fun at the park

So far, things have gone pretty well. I worked about 8 hours last week and will do the same most weeks this summer. Our schedule hasn’t been rigid, but we have had things to accomplish each day.

Here’s a rough outline of how my husband and I are doing things this summer.

Generally speaking, the kids are in bed by 10 pm. Let’s be honest, anything later and we are all going crazy…kids are cranky, husband and I don’t get our ‘alone’ time and fall into bed right after tucking them in…it’s just better if the kids are still in bed at a semi-reasonable time.

Typically I’m the first one up in the mornings, even during the school year. It allows me quiet time to blog, write, have bible study, and just prepare for the day in general. This is also the case during the summer.

Reading is required…

The hubs leaves for work between 7:30-8:00 everyday. The kiddos are awake between 7:30 and 9:00, depending on which kid and how busy we’ve been. This typically allows me about 1-1.5 hours of time, not completely uninterrupted, to work on things, like write this post.

The kids are required to do 30 minutes of reading everyday, which, I prefer they do before we leave the house. When we leave the house, we head to my part-time job, which, fortunately, I’m allowed to bring the kiddos and they generally have fun!

Can't have summer without baseball!!
Can’t have summer without baseball!!

Most days, we are packing a lunch, so we don’t have the added expense of buying lunch while we are out. It’s not a feast, but it does hold them over, and generally includes PB&J or lunch meat, yogurt and some kind of fruit. We may have a picnic lunch or we may eat in the van, en route to our next stop.

We did some errand running last week — signing the kids up for summer camps, last minute summer clothes shopping, and the like. This week, I’m hoping to cut the errand day down to one per week. Hopefully I can get all errands ran in one day because our construction traffic in town is INSANE and it takes forever to get anywhere.

A double rainbow...for His glory!
A double rainbow…for His glory!

This week, we will go to a movie (only on Tuesday, as our local theatre has discounted tickets on Tuesdays). We will likely go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis and maybe visit some family down there as well.

In the next couple weeks, our schedule is going to get a little hairy, with VBS and summer camps — I’m going to feel like a taxi service, except unpaid…lol.

I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the beginning of your summer. I can’t wait to hear what you and your family have been up to!