Tag Archives: Being real

Seeking Him First

31 Days of Seeking Him

Tomorrow starts my series of 31 Days of Seeking Him and I invite you to join me in the journey.

I wrote these words initially for this space here, but as I am entering into this new month I am seeing that these words were meant for me as well.

I have been hearing a song on the radio recently that speaks so completely to what I want to see in my own life of seeking God. Lauren Daigle’s FIRST.

For so many years I have used God when it suited me. I came calling in the midst of crisis, asking for help. I had a heart of thankfulness for all He has done but I wasn’t living in that gratitude.

I want my life to be a seeking of God FIRST.

Before I bring my requests, my sorrows and demands…I want to seek Him, to know Him fully first.

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

Before everything else, I want to seek God.

This doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve got to be honest. I am selfish and self centered and look out for what makes ME feel best first.

But there are some strongholds in my life that have been present for FAR TOO LONG. I am over them, I want them out and I am coming to the realization once again that I need to let go of it all and first seek God.

Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
And in the midst of pain
Let me feel Your joy
Ooh, I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You

So it is my prayer that through this month we might walk together on this path of seeking God first. Of listening to His voice and finding Him in every moment of our day.

You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
I seek You

Our treasure and reward is God Himself. What a gift to have a Father that loves us so unconditionally and seeks to bless us. Oh that my life would be a reflection of gratitude for all God has done for me.

I am sharing the video of the song below. I hope it blesses you as it has me. Email Subscribers, please click here to watch the video!

YouTube Preview Image

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Ten

Mom ConfessionsIt has been fun sharing my “confessions” here each week. Like therapy, but free! 😉 And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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I may have told Karlena that I needed 3 minutes without words the other day…I really couldn’t take all the talking.  I promptly hurt her feelings and then came the tears. Awesome. So I apologized and gave her all.the.things. Because that’s how I roll sometimes. Ok all the time.

karlena crying

I have a new guilty pleasure. I am not typically an ice cream eater. But last time we were at the grocery store I saw some waffle ice cream comes on an end cap. There was a coupon for $1.50 off ice cream too so it seemed like a great treat for the kids.  I made the mistake of trying one myself. For whatever reason I thought I should line the inside of the cone with caramel sauce. Oh my goodness it was like my very own homemade drumstick. Oh it is so good. It was my dinner on Saturday night. I have a serious problem.

ice cream 1

ice cream 2Oh and after my ice cream I are Doritos…because I needed some salty after my sweet.

Folding/pairing socks together is not something I enjoy. I had let our basket get overrun again this week and begged the kids to help. I told them they didn’t even have to do the folding of the socks, just the matching. I came home later and found this…

socks pile

It was pretty funny actually, any movement at all and that stack was going down. But I was able to whip through the pile in no time flat so I was a happy mama!

One morning this week Karlena woke up and just wanted to watch horse jumping on my computer…in her room. I obliged and found her later like this, she cracks me up!

Karlena computer

The fruit truck came to town again on Monday and this time it was blueberries and melons. We bought 24 pints. What can I say our kids love fruit and these were sooo good! One the way home Dominic and I may (or may not have) eaten an entire pint.

blueberries

I plan on freezing a bunch so that I can use them in my blueberry banana bread recipe later in the year. Does a fruit truck come to your area? Next up is bing cherries and I can’t wait!!

And finally it was our 19 year anniversary on Monday and boy did Dominic surprise me!! I am usually a card giver…but the reality is, Dominic isn’t as moved by cards as I am…so I didn’t get him anything. We typically haven’t made a big deal out of our anniversary…although we should right?! Being married this long is hard work – we should reward ourselves!

Anyways, not only did he get me a beautiful card, acknowledging my love of words…he also made mention of it at church and we were recognized AND he ordered flowers for me that Isaac delivered to the office!

This is HUGE people! And I likely won’t get flowers next year, but this year…I am totally soaking it up! 🙂

Anniversary flowers

Aren’t they beautiful?! I was just so so excited!! I am enjoying them all week!

Well that’s about all my brain can muster right now. It has been a week of long days and nights and little sleep…but rest is in sight! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Eight

Mom Confessions

What fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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I shared yesterday that I struggle with jealousy. Mostly and more specifically over other women. All you beautiful, creative, funny, well put together women. I see you and I think I need what you have. I stop praising God for all of the wonderful ways He made me unique and start wishing I could be someone else.

It isn’t healthy and I am seeing it for what it is. Part of the process of working through that is sharing these weekly posts. Knowing jealousy is a struggle for me, tells me that maybe it is a struggle for you as well. So I share some laughs here so that I can work at being a bit more real.

burned baconOn Dominc’s birthday last week I got up early to make him a special birthday breakfast complete with hashbrowns, eggs and bacon. I decided to try the bacon in the oven so I didn’t have to be watching it all morning…and I promptly left it unattended long enough that I burned it. Happy Birthday Dominic.

Then for dinner the next night I wanted to make some roasted mushrooms. I was too lazy to add some chopped onion and we ran out of olive oil. So left unattended once again, those dehydrated to the point that they were not good. Awesome!

burned mushroomsThey had a funny smell. The whole thing was sad. I don’t even remember what we were trying to eat with them, but they were not good.

Isaac’s graduation was Friday night and I took pictures with both my camera and my phone. Not a single one turned out. Not a one! Case in point….

isaac graduation

Now I know Isaac was the really tall guy in the row of shorter girls…but you can’t see his face, or anyone else’s for that matter. I am hoping that the professional one that was taken of him that will cost me $56 for a 5×7 is good…that may be my only hope! 😉

Each day before I leave for work I give the boys some jobs to do. They have to have some responsibilities or they would stay glued to the tv all day. On Friday I asked them to give the dog a bath. She had thrown up in her very large kennel and then laid right in it. Because of course.

She smelled bad and needed a bath. Isaac sent me a text when they were done asking if I knew what had happened to the dog brush. She had snarls and they needed to be combed.

Our conversation went down like this….

Did you check xyz?….yep not there.

Know of any comb or brush that is old we could use?

Now here is where my judgement lapsed. In all sincerity, I thought I could just buy a new $3 brush…I mean it really was the only option.

So I told Isaac that Dominic had 2 brushes. One in the bathroom and another in his travel bag. Use one of those and I can clean it…or just buy him a new one. It made sense in my mind at the time….

HairbrushSo he used the hairbrush and I forgot about it. Until that afternoon at lunch one of our kids decided to get extra gabby and tell Dominic that Isaac used the brush on the dog. Knowing that I had given him the order to use it, I fessed up and told Dominic why it made sense in my mind. He wasn’t seeing it from my perspective. Can you blame him?! So now we get to laugh over the “dog butt brush”…

Sometimes I just don’t think things through, or maybe I just think I won’t get caught and then when I do…well I have some ‘splaining to do! 🙂

So there you have it. A week full of laughs, mistakes, and burned food. Sometimes I can’t win. In a few days we have the big graduation open house. I have gone overboard (as I always do) and browned 40lbs of hamburger in anticipation of our taco bar feast. If you are joining us- come hungry!

Have a wonderful rest of the week friends!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Seven

Mom ConfessionsWhat fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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It is raining A LOT here today (Sunday) and I am sitting under a blanket, feeling like it is winter all over again. Got me a taste of the warmer weather a few weeks ago and now 50 degrees feels painful. I am such a whimp! And I know the rain is good but it has been raining for hours. I have not idea how much rain we have gotten either because last summer our dog ate the rain gauge. We have yet to get a new one…so I suppose I will be guessing from here on out.

I was doing laundry yesterday and as I pulled out a fresh load from the dryer I noticed smutchz all over the dryer. This smutchz was on the clothes, everywhere. I know it is hard to tell exactly, but it was greasy and needed to be cleaned.

dryer

As I grumbled to myself about which child must have left something in their pocket for me to wash, I pulled out a pair of my own pants and to my horror found the object of my smutchz. The melted, gooey remains of a uneaten Starburst. Drats, all my fault and no one else to blame. After some soaking, another wash and some serious scrubbing…the clothes are back to clean and the dryer is shiny again.

The upside is that the dryer smelled fruity for a day! 😉

That same afternoon we decided to go the easy route and get a Papa Murphy’s pizza for lunch. My 11 year old can’t eat pizza…it makes him feel like he is going to throw up. I can’t imagine not loving pizza, but we have stopped trying to force him to participate and come up with something else for him to eat.

Ragu

We didn’t have much to choose from so he got leftover noodles and a can of Ragu Alfredo sauce. Simple, easy and made him happy. I felt a little less than because I didn’t even have chicken for him to go with it – but he was happy. Sometimes easy is better!

Karlena says several words wrong but it is so adorable I have a hard time correcting her.

Mudder’s Day = Mother’s Day

Uticorn = Unicorn

Smookie = Spooky

Shark knife = Sharp knife

Dominic took the kids out to get me a “Mudder’s Day” gift the other day. He told them to keep it a secret from me. The first thing Karlena told me when they walked in the door was she picked me out a purple card. It was hilarious.

And then on Sunday I got to open my gifts…Dominic and the kids wrapped “daddy style”. I couldn’t have loved it more.

Mothers Day wrapping

And finally I have a real “first world” problem when it comes to the car I drive…for some reason I have a hard time seeing the gas gauge.

Gas Gauge

The way I sit, once the gas gets down below a little over a 1/2 a tank, the turn signal knob blocks my line of sight and I forget to check the level of gas that I have remaining. Inevitably, I let it get so low that the dummy light comes on. This has happened several times. Several. Clearly once it hits a 1/2 a tank I should stop, but it never seems to be a priority. Does anyone else struggle with this?

We are in the last few days of school here…and the big graduation is Friday night!! Our actual “party” isn’t until next week and I can’t wait to share the wall of Isaac we have. I love it. I may leave it up inevitably….or not because that may seem creepy. But it is really cool! 😉

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Six

Mom ConfessionsWhat fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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It has been a doozy of a few days around here but we have been bound and determined to make the best of it. Sometimes that is all you can do and I can tell you that having a positive attitude whenever possible sure makes a difference!

I baked some peanut butter M&M cookies the other day. I had ordered this big bag of easter colored M&M’s from Amazon and they came all crushed and broken into pieces…there is something about shards of M&M’s that just don’t taste as good as the full ones. So I found the “best” recipe on the interwebs and got to baking. For the record they aren’t the “best”…they aren’t terrible (as evidenced by the large number of cookies I have eaten in the past few days)..but I am still searching for the best recipe.

Anyways, the last pan was in the oven and then for some reason I walked away…..for waaaayyy too long. So the last batch looked like this.

Burned Cookies

Baking perfection don’t you think? And it is clear that I need some new cookie pans!

I washed a kleenex in the laundry the other day. It was everywhere. EVERYWHERE I tell you. When I cleaned out the lint tray it looked like this…

Dryer lint

It caught most of it, but my black towel didn’t fair so well…I was picking off white specks of kleenex for 3 days.

This weekend we had big plans.

We were supposed to go to Sioux Falls on Saturday after Karlena’s dance dress rehearsal. On Friday night I went to our first ever women’s event at our church (which was amazing btw)…and came home to Karlena with a 104.7 fever. Not good.

I figured it was strep…this is how it always goes down. Fine one minute, really really sick the next. So I took her in on Saturday morning and yep, it’s strep.

Karlena sick

Poor thing was so sick. And then with regular Tylenol and IB dosing, she perked back up. But our plans had to be cancelled because she was contagious.

So we decided to do something over the weekend that I didn’t think would happen until after graduation….

Garden 2015

We planted our garden! I am so excited. We have tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions and potatoes!! Oh and we threw in a couple of pumpkin plants in a different area of our yard. Maybe we will get  a few of those as well.

And on Monday last week we played hooky from work (thankfully we can do that when we are self-employed) and we built this amazing hanging basket holder for our front lawn. It takes the place of the birch tree we lost last year. I love it and so we also got our flowers planted as well!!

hanging baskets

It was nice to take a bad situation and make something good out of it! Sometimes that is all we can do right?!

How was your week? Did you have an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons?! 🙂

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Five

Mom ConfessionsWhat fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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We had the final band concert of the year for Gabriel this past week. He plays the alto sax and is in the 5th grade. They have improved SO much this year! And can I just say that our middle school music director knows how to do it right when it comes to concerts. They combine the 5th grade and 7th grade and the entire concert was 30 minutes. We came from a town where the concerts were sometimes over an hour. And while I love me some music…an hour long is too long, wouldn’t you agree?

Gabriel band

I have still not painted those shelves for our toy room. I am losing hope at this point. Anyone want to paint 2 shelves for me? Please, pretty please? 😉 So I may never blog about my toy room redo….and when it looks like this…well it is no longer the cute, welcoming place it once was.

Toy room

Reality friends, reality!

And for another dose of reality…I let my girl do this the other day.

Brownie mix

I know I shouldn’t let her lick the leftover brownie batter…but when you look so cute in your ladybug helmet and climb on the counter to help yourself…how does a mama say no?

Karlena ballet 2

And yesterday I got to attend Karlena’s dance class. It is parent visitation week so we get a glimpse of what they do in class each week. My daughter clearly attends dance for the social aspect of it.

She was a chatty Kathy the entire time. Even expressed (loudly and for ALL to hear) while they were stretching their noses to their toes, that “my feet smell like sandwich”...ahhh yes the old “my feet smell like sandwich” comment to really make a mama proud! 😉

It was evident today that my dreams of a dancer daughter are just that…dreams. Comedian or expert gallop-er, yes…yes those may just be in her future! But prima ballerina…well at this point it is not looking good!

So there you have it…another week full of fun around here. We did do some pretty awesome projects that probably deserve a post of their own…so with that I bid you farewell and happy middle-of-the-week!

When You Don’t Have a Romantic “Proposal Story”, and Why it is OK.

Proposal

Dominic was at a small group the other day with some men from church. At some point the leader asked everyone to go around the room and share their “proposal story.” These types of prompts can be difficult for us because the reality is we don’t have one.

I have shared here before a little about the path we started out on. It wasn’t easy. When we share our story our hope is that others will see how God used us, even in our sin, for His glory.

We were selfish and self-centered and made adult choices that had big consequences. We were in the camp of “that won’t ever happen to me”…so it was a complete shock when I found out I was pregnant my junior year of college.

The day I found out I called Dominic and we had a conversation. He told me that the best choice was that we get married and take care of our new responsibility.

That was it. No roses or romantic dinner out, no shopping for rings and no down-on-one-knee proposal. We had a conversation and based on our situation made a choice, made a commitment to one another.

But every girl dreams of that romantic proposal, don’t they?

I can’t say I feel cheated necessarily, but I do feel sad that because of our choices, we didn’t get to do it the “right” way. Even Dominic said that he wished that things could have been done differently.

Sin does that though, it robs us of what is best for us.  And while a lasting marriage isn’t contingent on the proposal, it is a fun story that is shared over and over.

And as a girl who loves a good story…well it is frustrating that I don’t have one to share in this area.

As I was thinking about it the other night though I recognized that I did have a proposal story. It isn’t what one typically shares at bridal showers, but it is beautiful and romantic in its own way. And it is a proposal that I continue to live out day after day.

Jesus said “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…” 1 John 3:16

In one of the most amazing acts of courtship, Christ came to woo each of us to Him. (<====Click to Tweet)

He called us by name, He showed us what true, unconditional love looks like. And then instead of getting down on one knee, He stretched His arms out wide, bore nails in his wrists, and died for each and every sin that we would commit.

All He asks is that we believe in Him, put our faith in Him…and we are promised eternal life.

All too often I am looking at Dominic to be my Jesus.

I want him to fulfill every need that I have. Meet my unrealistic expectations and act perfectly. Things he can’t possibly do. None of us can.

If my happiness is based on Dominic meeting some impossible standard that I have set for him, then I will likely find myself bitter and resentful. The same could be said for him as well. We are human, we fail each other all the time!

God knew we couldn’t be perfect, we couldn’t do it all…and He knew I wasn’t capable of unconditional love.

So He sent a bridegroom that was.

Each and every day I am grateful for that proposal. His gift of grace allows me to live my life with grace for others. I don’t do it perfectly, ever. But I don’t have to.

There is freedom in that isn’t there?!

So while I won’t ever have the fairy-tale “worldly” proposal to share at bridal showers….I know that I am a part of a much bigger, romantic story. Written in the pages of the Bible. And for that I am truly grateful.

Photo Credit: mikecogh

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Two

Mom Confessions

Isn’t this time of truth and reality fun? I hope that I can stick with it…because trust me, I have plenty of “material” to share! 😉 And while I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions. Hopefully these posts will be a little lighthearted humor for your day!

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In a house with 6 people we do a lot of laundry each week. A LOT. I typically start a load on delay start when I leave at 8am so that it is finished when we come home for lunch. That way i can put it in the dryer right away and it doesn’t get stinky. But can I share my laundry confession. The WORST part for me is folding socks. I will store up the socks in a basket until it is overflowing (3+loads) and then will finally give in and fold them. Why do I hate that so?

Socks

Our dog ate our chair. Oh and our other chair and our couch…but who’s keeping track?! This particular chair is one we bought for Isaac for college. Got a steal of a deal at our local Menards. It isn’t leather, just looks semi-leatherish. (Yes I know that isn’t a real word!) We had it 2 whole days and the dog decided to eat the corner. So I bought a kit to try and seal/fix it so it doesn’t get worse. Here’s to hoping it helps. Step 1 was to put on this adhesive stuff to fill the hole…then I will paint on color to match the other material. Crossing my fingers on this one.

Chair

Karlena rarely lets me fix her hair. Getting it combed in the morning is a challenge and I have been tempted to cut it short…but she insists she wants it long. On Saturday she let me curl her hair while I was fixing my own…but only for a time. So she went around that day with half her hair curled. She is setting a new trend girls just you wait and see!

Karlena Hair

And no fun Easter morning pictures from my family this year. We were all dressed nicely and attended church and instead of taking a picture when we got home I told the kids to change and go outside and play! 😉 Does anyone else struggle to get a full family picture on these types of days?

Well that’s all for this week friends…hop on over to Anna’s place to see what other moms are confessing this week!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part One

Mom Confessions

Last week’s “Lest You Think We are Normal” post was so much fun to write. While I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions. Hopefully these posts will be a little lighthearted humor for your day!

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I made the mistake of showing Dominic the “Tight Pants” You Tube video a few weeks ago. You know the one with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell? We were playing it and the kids were in the room. I know, I know. And yes there is one bad word in it. The kids weren’t aware but yes, not appropriate…anyways… Karlena has been humming that song now for everything. EVERYTHING. She makes up songs to that tune which makes me all kinds of proud. #momfail

5 of the 6 of us had dentist appointments today. This was Karlena’s first visit. Yes we should have started sooner…but she did really good and didn’t fuss or cry at all. I was so proud of her. She has a small cavity starting in her back molar, which stinks. Apparently it has deep divots in it so it wasn’t a surprise to the dentist, but somehow I feel like it a reflection on my mothering. Do you ever feel this way?

Karlena dentist

Oh and while we are talking dentists, I don’t floss. I have basically lied about it for years, because who wants to admit that they don’t floss? But I don’t. It kind of grosses me out. I have been in the car enough times with a certain someone who flosses and meat chunks fly out onto the dashboard. Makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little…so to avoid the barfing I avoid the flossing. I do use a Sonicare toothbrush…so I am counting that as close enough to the actual thing without actually having to floss. (My hygienist doesn’t buy it either) 😉

The other day Karlena came up to me and rubbed my side and asked me what that bump was….well my darling daughter that is my muffin top. Oh yes I just did! She laughed and said that her side was flat. I smirked and said just you wait my girl. After you birth babies and have a love addiction to all things sweet, it will change. It will change.

The graduation announcements that I made for Isaac came yesterday. I loved how they look until I realized that I didn’t add an RSVP….the reality is that most wouldn’t RSVP…but now they won’t for sure, because of course. So if you are coming just me a shout won’t you? Seriously how do you even begin to plan for an event like this?!

Isaac Graduation

Well that is all the fun I can share for now….but I would love to hear your Mom Confessions for the week! Jump on over to Anna’s place and join in the fun won’t you?!

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