Enough is Enough

simplify

I have been in a Bible study this fall based on Becoming a Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald. Cynthia is a popular speaker and author who thrives at being a self-proclaimed “older woman” on a journey to help “younger women”. I have personally been moved by her book and recommend it highly. This week’s study hit home. It applied to countless conversations I have had with women, mostly mothers, lately. I wanted to pass on this excerpt and strongly encourage you to walk through this book yourself.

Thoughts From an Older Woman
Excerpt from Becoming a Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald
Chapter Nine

Years ago as a young mom I baked clay Christmas tree ornaments, painted them silver, put a ribbon trough the top and took them to be sold at our women’s ministry fundraiser. This memory is vivid because throughout the process, I thought  Why am I doing this? I don’t even like crafts. I have three small children and it is hard enough to cook dinner much less Christmas trees. As I look back on this experience, I realize the best thing I could have done was to contribute food for the day. 

What I did was good, but my choice was not the best. I was stressed because I was doing something I was not gifted to do, and I was irritable with my children because I was stressed. At that time, I needed the cousel that Gordon MacDonald’s father told him: “Your challenge will not be in separating out the good from the bad, but in grabbing the best out of all the possible good.”

The turning point for me occurred shortly after that experience. After another particularly stressful day, I was ready to give up living in my own strength and let God “take over.” My description for this is that I gave “the steering wheel” of my life to the Lord and I moved to the passenger seat. I was no longer in the driver’s seat; my life was now His. Once I surrendered control of my life, it became easier to discern the good and the best because now I wanted God to choose His best for me.

. . . “It may take time for the Lord to answer or confirm your requests for guidance. One discipline I have is that I rarely accept anything over the phone. I always say, “Thank you for asking me. Let me pray about it.” It is amazing what a difference prayerful waiting can make when seeking guidance for what is best. 

Other guidelines help me in the decision-making process. One is Chambers’ principle of “the good is the enemy of the best.” Many times I have taken a critical look at a commitment and concluded that although it is good, it is not the best for me at the time. Another principle of Chambers is “when in doubt, don’t.” This idea has been monumental in my decision-making. If there is any doubt, again, I must conclude that it is probably not God’s best for me. Also I have learned that it is wrong to try to make things “work” – to convince myself that it is right because it is something I want to do. 

As a young woman I heard an older woman make this suggeston when confronted with choices to serve: choose one job at a time and do it well. This has been a wonderfully freeing concept for me. When asked to help with some activity, I will say, “I’m serving in this other area now, but thank you for thinking of me.” With all our responsibilities of family, jobs, and just daily living, it makes sense to commit to doing our best in one area of service at a time. And now you have an older woman giving you permission to just do one job well.

I don’t want to spend my life missing out on God’s best. So most mornings before I get out of bed, I pray, “Lord Jesus, I present my body as a living and holy sacrifice to be used as You will. I relinquish all rights to myself and ask for You to guide me and enable me to choose that which is best. May I, this day, continue to live in simple and pure devotion to You.” 

Ladies, this book is amazing. Again, I recommend going through this book on your own or with a few other women. There is no leader’s guide and videos are available.

I will leave you with Matthew 6:33 (MSG):

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

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The Most Amazing Four Cheese & Bacon Macaroni & Cheese


mac and cheeseI found this recipe in the October 2010 Family Circle and it is by far the best I have tried. It is so good I refuse to list the nutritional information. I will be making it with gluten free noodles this time around, but I don’t think that will change it one bit!

Ingredients
1 lb cavatappi pasta (Life is short. Use fun noodles)
6 slices bacon, diced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded colby jack
1 cup shredded mozzarella
8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American Cheese

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350.  Coat a 3 qt broiler safe baking dish (mine was just glass, not broiler safe) with nonstick cooking spray.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling.

2. Cook pasta 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. It will be slightly al dente. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels.  Carefully pour off drippings, returning 2 tablespoons to pan.  Add butter.

3.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  IN a thin stream, whisk in milk.  Stir in onion flakes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.  In large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby Jack and mozzarella.

4.  Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1 1/4 cups of the  cheddar mixture.  Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese.

5.  In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce.  Pour half into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with 1/2 the bacon/cheese mixture.  Repeat.

6.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Increase oven temp to broil and broil for 3 minutes, until top is lightly browned.  Cool slightly before serving.

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The End is Near!

It is the end of the summer and folks, it has been a long one. For some people these last few weeks can’t go fast enough! The below pic is my sentiments exactly! (Photo by Heath Robbins, font KG Cold Coffee by Kimberly Geswein)

Proverbs 31 Mom

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The Adventures of IMcS: Monday Edition

Yesterday we had a crazy adventure. You will love this. I took both girls and the dogs to the dog park. Two leashes, two girls, two dogs, two poop bags, too crazy. When we did the big loop and got back to the car, no keys. Seriously? Mr. Incredible has his period or something and has been in a rancid mood since yesterday so we were FREAKED to call him and say we lost the keys to HIS car. So G stayed at the bottom with the leashes and asked people if they found keys and N, the dogs and I took another (huge!) loop to look for the keys asking everyone we came in contact with if they found them. I even took the top off the community poop can to see if I had dropped them in there. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We ask a few people to no avail. I’m getting nervous. Then we run into a guy who had a dog that looked almost exactly like our pit puppy, Willie, but with brown spots. A little more pit in him. The owner was deaf and I had to mime ask him if he found car keys. He did! I gave that awesome guy a huge hug! Our day was saved by the deaf guy! So we were elated that we had the keys, the dogs and beat the rain. We were on a time crunch too because we had sixth grade orientation at the middle school at 6:30. Once we got home, Mr. Incredible noticed that we were missing Willie’s tags. We keep his dog park, city and rabies tags on a clip on the leash. When G had been standing at the bottom waiting with the leashes, she must have been playing with the karabiner that was holding them and they dropped. So back I go to the dang dog park in search of the impossible. After about 5 minutes I find them in the dirt next to the check in station. Whew. Another catastrophe averted. I get home in time to leave for the middle school in my sweats (luckily the pants were Lulu Lemon and the Under Armor sweatshirt is pretty cute) and stinky body after my 8000 step dog walk. Great first impression to the associate principal? Most likely not.

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New Product Love

I have dark under eye circles. I have come to the realization I have heredity working against me as well as stress and I don’t get enough sleep. I could quit my job and treat these suckers 24/7, but we all know that isn’t going to make a big difference. One late night and I would be back at square one. I have decided to face the music and just learn how to cover them right.

BEST POST!It all started with a Pinterest post linking me to The Beauty Department website. Why did this link give me hope? There were a few reasons I rushed to Sephora the next day.
1. The post is graphically pleasing. TBD used fonts that don’t agitate me.

2. The photos were spectacular. What made them spectacular you ask? Easy. The gal in them had brown eyes, dark hair and light skin like me. The really really really great part is that she actually had dark circles under her eyes. There is nothing worse that the model not having the dark circles and there be nothing to cover up. I can’t stand that. That and when there are false eyelashes in mascara ads, but that’s a completely different post.

3. I also loved the easy to follow instructions. Although the post tells you the products brands they used, the photo directions used general terms such as: concealer stick, highlighter, translucent powder. I was able to pull up the instructions at Sephora and the lady with the 6 different eyeshadows (and no under eye circles) was able to walk me through it all.

I didn’t end up getting the same brands as mentioned in the ad. I did pick up two products that were extremely helpful in the process. When I say extremely helpful, I mean that they work.

MakeUp Forever HD Invisible Cover ConcealerMy Lancome concealer had quit doing the trick. It reminded me of a candle that lost its scent after you burned it twice. I took a friend’s advice and tried MakeUp Forever HD Invisible Cover Concealer. It works like a charm. It doesn’t smell like anything and lasts all day, which are two of my favorite things. The color matched my skin beautifully and the applicator is not made of crusty nasty brush bristles that gross me out. It is a soft, flat plastic applicator which is a nice change.
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening PowderI also needed a highlighter. I had used Bare Minerals Well Rested Eye Brightener for a long time and I was out. I planned on picking up another one on my journey to Sephora, however, they were out. I could have walked down the mall to the Bare Minerals store, though their employee who I kindly refer to as Twilight was working and I can’t say no to him. My willpower was weak. I couldn’t subject myself to that madness. So, Peacock Eyes at Sephora recommended Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. I love it. LOVE. IT. It is white and works like a charm. If you work at my local Sephora, please know that any product you show me with the word secret in the name, I will buy. It’s a mental thing, though I felt I should level the playing field and tell you my weakness.

I hope this reaches a few more with the undereye blues…literally!

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Is it Physically Possible

Is it physically possible to take a shower without someone having to come in and ask me to do a task that is only impossible because I am in the middle of washing my hair? There were hours and hours of me doing next to nothing….but no. This is the time to ask. I think my girls got their father’s sense of timing.*

Is it is physically possible for me to put something in my trunk without getting a goose egg on my forehead? I got a new car this summer. It was pretty exciting as this was my first new to anybody car. It was also the first car I have had in over ten years that wasn’t a hatchback. That means when the trunk is open there is no longer any clearance. Yes. I am 36 years old with a purple bump like a toddler learning to walk. Seriously.

March/April 2013Is it physically possible for Relevant Magazine to have an issue that doesn’t have a story/article/blurb that totally addresses me personally? I love Relevant Magazine. The culprit this month? An article entitled “Wanderlust. What to do when you want to be anywhere but here.” Written by Nicole Unice, this article tackles the issues of boredom with life and our tendency to  attribute them to our environment at work or home. Unice suggested to look internally, where the problem most likely lives. Humbled much? The article is informative without being preachy, and covered the bases without getting Vanity Fair lengthy. Thank you, Relevant Magazine.

*I really love my children. Whether I’m washing my hair or giving myself head trauma, they still are my favorite things ever.

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Goodbye Facebook, Hello Identity!

I’m known for being inappropriate, loud, brutally honest and on Facebook. For a few years I even taught a class on how to use Facebook. I have been on since mid 2006. Most details of the last seven years of my life can be found on my Facebook page.

What happens when the notorious Facebooker takes some time off?

I went off the ‘Book for the last few weeks of December. No Christmas morning pictures were posted, no New Year’s Eve festivities were statused. The big question was why. As an overactive communicator I live to share. I joke that I wear my heart on my Facebook page. This is not really a joke. Many times I would see people in real life that would say how much they enjoyed my status updates. It was sometimes weird because they would never comment on my stuff, they would just stalk my posts. I found I couldn’t clean out my friends without someone asking why I unfriended them. It got awkward. I have resorted to hiding people from my Newsfeed on a regular basis.

Why did I take a hiatus?

Thanks to my iPhone, I would wake up in the morning and check Facebook before I even got out of bed. I would spend at least a half hour on it before I went to sleep. Facebook took over my life. I would get giddy when there were notifications when I logged in. I was starting to find my self worth was based on how many likes an update or a post received. Lame. Seriously super lame.

I spent so much time sharing that I was not living in the moment. When your child is starting to go to fifth grade dances and watch PG-13 movies, you begin to understand the value of time. I was done wasting fun moments being the rogue journalist of my children’s lives.

What did I miss?

I only missed a few things to be honest. Two friends had babies while I was off Facebook. Luckily, both babies are doing fine despite the fact I wasn’t one of the first to write on their parent’s wall. I also wasn’t able to share my day to day hilarity to my friends and followers. I think they all made it with minimal therapy.

I found myself missing the advice I would receive. I use Facebook to ask questions about books to read, child rearing or where to find the best something or other. I have had to resort to Google. I much prefer the answers from my trusted friends.

What did I love?

I loved the personal conversations I had via text with a cousin who just had twins. I loved the freedom. I loved that MMcA would give me the lowdown on anything important, and there wasn’t that much that was important.

I also enjoyed giving up the management side of everything. I felt obligated to keep my posts up to date and current. My mom would get worried if I didn’t post by 11 am. Being a working mom myself, my whole life is about management. From the daily work stuff to making sure the girls have everything they need for school and their iPods, Instagram  and YouTube accounts are all good, one less thing was a welcomed break.

How are you feeling, Irish?

On hiatus, I found that my mind still worked in Status Update Mode. They would go through my head and I would reach for the iPhone and there was nowhere to put the thoughts. I had to have an outlet for these quips. I got the Paper 53 app for my iPad and I started writing things that were on my mind. It quickly came to my attention that my thoughts are so much more than three sentences. My Status Updates were a creative outlet for me and I was selling myself short. My thoughts are better than the quick funny update. My thoughts are complete. I wasn’t letting them out. So, lucky you. Here I am!

I gave Facebook up for Lent. Yep, I did it again. I find the updates are still running through my head and I need to be expanding on them. My goal is to write a few more entries before March 31. Maybe I’ll like it and get two out a month after Lent. Maybe I won’t like it at all. I look forward to writing about how I have wrecked my kids – and there are plenty of ways I have contributed to their potential demise. I would also like to get some of the house updates done and be able to post before and after pics. It’s good to have goals.

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