Adventure Awaits

One of the hallmarks of a really good movie/TV show or book is this: did it give you, the viewer or reader, a good thrill or adventure? Did it take you through emotional highs & lows? Did it really make you think? Did it take you to places you’d never been before? Was there suspense? Was there sacrifice? Did it leave you on the edge of your seat? Were you just dying to know what happens next? Did it draw you into another reality for a time? Were you upset to see it come to an end?

What I’ve come to realize is this: our lives, too, are an adventure to be experienced. Maybe not a full-on Indiana Jones/death-defying sort of adventure. (Though this *may* be some people’s reality.) But the human experience is for sure filled with emotional ups & downs, anxieties about what’s next, gains & losses, and unexpected twists & turns.

Now, I’m not a big fan of unnecessary drama, like what’s portrayed in the entertainment world. What I mean by “unnecessary” is the drama that’s produced through deceit, lies, secrets, & “oh, I just couldn’t tell so-&-so about that!” sort of thing. SO MUCH stupid drama can be reduced or eliminated in life through mere *communication*. Nope, not a fan of THAT kind of drama!

According to Google, drama can be defined as: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances. And adventure is defined as: engaging in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory. Ok, let’s drop the “hazardous” part shall we? LOL. But seriously, I don’t want to live a boring life.

In fact… when I graduated college and moved to the town I now live, the all-consuming theme of my prayers were: “God, give me an adventure!” Starting off with a clean slate, new beginnings– let’s rock this adult thing! Of course by “adventure” I thought that meant working as an addictions counselor, attaining my Masters in Counseling, taking part in behavioral research projects, getting my professional works published, public speaking, world travel, moving to a big city with a fancy-pants office…

Yeah, my idea of “adventure” wasn’t exactly the same as God’s. ha ha ha

In fact, God’s “adventure” took a crazy turn in a very opposite direction.

One week after graduating college/moving: I met my future husband. A whirlwind courtship ensued. From first date to marriage: 10 months time. To add to the crazy, we brought home a little honeymoon souvenir, aka our first-born child. We crunched numbers & prayed for direction– but it made no financial sense for me to go back to work after our baby was born– it would be better for me to stay home & raise our baby. My plans/dreams to pursue a career “adventure” came tumbling down with that one positive pregnancy test.

Don’t get me wrong… I did NOT resent my baby one iota! She was one of the most amazing gifts I could have ever received! But with her birth brought a sort of dying to myself… a surrendering of my will to God’s… a giving up process that took me years to really get a grip on.

But now that I’m 16 years out and can see God’s hand in everything a little more clearly, I’m ever so thankful that I gave God the reigns of my life completely. I’d NEVER have painted a canvas like He did. And my life is SO VERY different than I’d ever have imagined. But it is good. And God is good.

I truly believe this adventure He carved out for me FAR surpasses anything I could have created on my own. He knew what I really needed and wanted deep down. He knew that being married young & having (7) children & raising them in the name & power of Jesus His Son was exactly what was going to be the most fulfilling adventure I could have ever been on.

So many twists & turns. So many “what’s around the corner?” ‘s. So many super high ups and super low lows. Being a wife & mom has tried me, stretched me, developed me, & truly made me a better person. All made possible because I surrendered. I gave God my everything. And in giving up my life, I actually found it.

If you’re struggling to give God your everything, may I be a voice of encouragement to you today: He won’t let you down. He will never leave you or forsake you (esp in those dark days). He will show you & lead you down a life path that will not only WOW you but you’ll finally be fulfilled and have joy (not just circumstantial happiness). You will feel a peace that surpasses all understanding. You’ll be riveted. You’ll finally be able to breathe because you’ll be fulfilling what you were put on this planet to do. There will no longer be the lingering thought that “there’s gotta be more to life.” You’ll no longer dread Monday’s & you’ll no longer live for the weekends & holidays. You’ll truly love your life. Even when those hard days come, you’ll see God working and moving. You’ll see Him there with you every step of the way.

In living a surrendered life, we also will walk through the darkness 100% with God. He grieves when we grieve. He keeps a record of our sorrows & tears (Ps. 56:8). He comforts us. He helps us through all our struggles. He grows us & strengthens us & matures us. We are never alone. There are new mercies every morning. And when we go through hell & back, then we can be there for others when they go through the fire. We can comfort them with the comfort we received from God.

May I encourage you to open your white-knuckled hands and allow God the full reigns to your life. Maybe nothing drastic will happen. Then again, maybe God has a complete life transformation in store. Who knows?! All I know is that in following God (even if that looks drastically different than you thought) you will have a peace & joy & fulfillment & a true inner congruence to your soul. I want that for you!!!

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #surrender #loseyourlifetofindit #trustGodfully #lifeisanadventure #hangonfortheride #bebrave

Advertisements

Random: Automatic Public Toilets

utgp1

Yes, this post is totally random. You will most definitely get that from time to time with me. Well, today is that lucky, odd day. My totally random thought of the day is about: Automatic Public Toilets.

Regardless of the fact that it’s nice to not have to hand flush (or kick flush)… if you’re a parent of a potty training toddler… or maybe said toddler (or parent) is terrified of the automatic flush… or you just have the tendency to sit too still for far too long…
I think we can all agree that automatic public toilets can be a pain.

They sometimes flush too randomly… they sometimes flush too early… sometimes they repeatedly flush… sometimes the flush is just startlingly too fast or loud… sometimes you’re just not prepared…

Well, I have a tip for you!

Somewhere I learned the following hack (& boy, is it ever useful!). If you’ve already discovered this little trick, than kudos: you, too, have been enjoying being in the driver’s seat of toilet control. For those of you yet to discover, may I reveal the following secret to you. Ta-da:

I’ll tell you what… I was about 3-4 kids in before I discovered this trick! It’s so simple! I’ve never had freaked out kids (or me) in the bathroom ever since!

So, if this is the first time you’ve ever seen this: you’re welcome. Enjoy. Hope this random thought of mine today is actually a blessing to you.

Happy flushings!

Live awakened. Live fully alive.

#totallyrandomthoughtoftheday   #bathroomhack   #nomoresurprises   #pottypeacefully

How Introverts “Bond”

So this evening, my hubby took (6) of our little ducklings out of town for some Christmas shopping, leaving my eldest son and I alone at home. This is a rarity.

Not sure how many of you, my readers, are Myers-Brigg’s nuts, but I am an INFJ and my son is an INTJ. We are so similar… we either are two peas in a pod cuz we “get” each other, or we drive each other crazy cuz we’re too similar (thankfully, usually the former). 🙂

We seem to be the oddballs out of the rest of our gang. Most everyone else here is extroverted and/or strong-willed and/or assertive and/or loud. My son and I are the quiet ones that need a crap-ton of alone time to rejuvenate, are moody, take a long time to chill, and are totally cool with zoning out from the world with our laptops.

Being in a large family can be a bit trying for us, for sure, sometimes.

But this evening has been a glorious break from the hum-drum of normal life. I surprised my son by picking him up after basketball practice (he was expecting to walk home), I treated him to Subway for dinner (he freakin’ LOVES sandwiches), watched Zack King for our dinner entertainment (a digital/filming genius), and now, we’re both in the kitchen, on our own laptops, in our own little worlds (mine: school prep & blogging… my son: playing diep.io.), completely content & happy. We’re bonding. And it’s great fun. Our love tanks are being filled by each quiet moment that passes. And tomorrow, we will feel extremely close to one another and we’ll forever remember this evening as a beautiful night together.

It’s SO fun having a kid that totally understands me, and I him.

Here are a few humorous cartoons describing the inner world of an introvert. LOL

 

Any other introverts out there that are TOTALLY cool with an evening at home alone?!!!

Tip: Saving Money Eating Out

I had no idea Dairy Queen’s did this. Nor do I know why, or for how long, or if only certain stores participate… So pardon the lack of details and information…

But…

The DQ near us, for several months, hosted 1/2 off lunches from 11a-2p on Wednesdays.

Half off EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING: ice cream cakes, pop, Blizzards, sandwiches, sides, kids meals… The only things not included were the $5 and $6 meal deals. But everything else was fair game.

When I went last time, I filled the bellies of myself and six of my kids for just over $20! It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it! That never happens eating out!

I found out on Facebook that TODAY is the last day my local DQ will be participating in this program. 😦 Don’t know the reason why.
But someone mentioned in the comments that their DQ in Ohio was just starting up the 1/2 off lunches thing.
So that leads me to believe that other DQ’s around the US are participating in the same program.

So, check with your local or neighboring DQ’s to see if they participate in 1/2 off lunches. You never know! You just might be able to get those Hot Eats, Cool Treats for super cheap!

Dairy_Queen_Grill_&_Chill_sign.jpg

Where’d All The Toothpaste Go?

Not too long ago, I found us going through a LOT of toothpaste. I’d buy a tube and not long after, sure enough, a child would come to me saying they’re out (cuz kids, for some reason, can’t report when something’s getting low— they wait and share only when something’s OUT– go fig– *insert eye roll*).

Couldn’t figure out why we kept running out. Are they squirting it into the trash or toilet? Dumping it down the drain? WHAT?!

Then one day I was actually in the bathroom when my kids were brushing their teeth. Found out what was happening. Caught them in the act. All (6) of my kids were using WAY too much toothpaste!!!

Here’s a pic of the amount all my kids WERE using! Two times a day!!!

Toothpaste_and_brush.jpg

 


Here are the proper amounts of toothpaste to use depending on age:

Children under 2, about a grain of rice amount.
Children 3-5, about a pea sized.

toothpaste_amount

—————————————–

Children 5+ to adults:

412580888_de8a8e276d_z.jpg

——————————————–

Using any more than said above amounts prob doesn’t offer any more brushing benefit.

Now that all of our kids know how much to use, toothpaste around here lasts much longer. Yea.

So I know this isn’t a huge thing, but with a large family, every little thing like this adds up. We try to save everywhere we can.

 

 

 

Bag, Bag, Bag!

We save money by reusing bags. All kinds of bags. Like…

——————————————-

img_20161117_165639

Baggies.

Be it snack, sandwich, quart, or gallon baggies, often times you can reuse them.

Now, if I’m storing something greasy or slimy (like pepperoni or a hotdog)… or something super fragrant (like an onion or garlic toast)… or something sticky (like prunes)… I most likely won’t reuse bags.

But if I was storing something benign like crackers, Cheerios, peanuts, M & M’s, candy, etc., I will most definitely reuse the bag. Why waste and throw away? Either shake out crumbs (if there is any)… maybe do a quick rinse if necessary (and set out to air dry)… and reuse it for later.

Reuse for food, of course.

But I’ll also reuse old bags for getting rid of stinky stuff: like poopy diapers or rotten leftovers. Seals in the smell. PU

Or if I’m throwing away something liquid-y but chunky (like a soup that died in the fridge), something I don’t want to run down the drain, I’ll dump it in an old baggie and then thrown away in the regular kitchen trash.

——————————————–

Who else keeps a “bag of bags”? Come on, show of hands.

Well, we sure do. Those bags are SO dang useful. (Thanks Walmart & Kroger!) We seriously use them all.the.time.

Biggest most consistent use for us is as bathroom trash can liners. They fit perfectly. I know, not terribly classy, but they work and it saves us money. I’ll often leave a bag or two at the bottom of the trash for ease of emptying out the trash the next time.

We also will use them for poopy diapers. Thankfully Miss Little Lamb is still exclusively breastfed and so her poo’s don’t smell too bad. But man, when they start eating solids, HELLO. This isn’t quite as effective at trapping in smells as a seal-able baggie, but these do work well enough to at least get it out to alley trash without dying.

But for storing, carrying, and all around every day usage, can’t beat these bags!

————————————-

And weekly grocery shopping.

We’ve used these bags for SO long. Yeah, some of those are Windows 7 bags. That’s dating them. But they are so useful. Since we do 90% of our shopping at Aldi, it saves us $$ each week, that we don’t have to purchase bags to take our groceries home in. I know it’s only pocket change, but it adds up. Especially if you’re purchasing weekly groceries for a family of 9!

 

There’s a monetary gain to reusing bags… but yeah, it’s also better on the environment as well.

So reuse those bags! 🙂

A Whole Day Out, Didn’t Spend a Dime on Food

Yesterday was a BUSY day for us. Unusually busy. Like, we’re rarely that busy.

  1. I had to go out of town (40 min drive) to get some blood labs done.
  2. I had to nurse the baby before we left for home. So while I fed the baby, and since we had gorgeous weather (high 60’s in mid Nov!), the kids got their wiggles out at this super cool park:

    img_20161118_111236

    SO fun!

  3. Ran into Aldi to get some pecans for a Thanksgiving recipe.
  4. Rushed home to meet my husband. We had to take our son to the Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment. He had an accident/head injury in October and needs to have a couple check-ups.
  5. And the long drive home through a crazy thunderstorm.

Basically, we were in the car all.day.long.

It would have been SO EASY to buy food and snacks for everyone while we were out.

But, with proper planning, we didn’t spend a dime on food while we were out.

 

What we did yesterday:

  1. Ate breakfast at home before leaving to get my labs taken.
  2. Packed several canteens of water and water bottles for everyone for our AM outing.
  3. During that quick stop at home for lunch, we:
    1) packed several non-messy food items for lunch & snacks: peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly), deli ham, swiss cheese, peanuts, raisins, chips, protein bars, and apples.
    2) Literally threw in the crockpot a fryer chicken, some water, and some herbs/spices.
    3) Got the rice cooker going (it automatically turns off when done).
    4) Refilled canteens and water bottles.
    5) Hubby and I grabbed a pop each, just for us.

We had plenty of food and drinks for the car ride. And when we came home from the hospital, dinner was 80% ready. I simply threw some frozen veggies on the stove, and voila, dinner was served in a jiffy.

I’m not gonna lie, that quick trip home at lunchtime was a tad crazy. But I assigned everyone with a job and we were able to get stuff done in an organized, very fast fashion.

When I menu-planned for this week, I took into account this crazy day. I knew we were going to be gone most of the day. So I specifically made sure we had quick and easy food items on hand so we could just GO.

I had the fryer chicken previously thawed and waiting in the fridge, because I looked ahead at Friday’s activities the day prior.

With proper planning, trips out do NOT need to be costly.

Sure, it would have been EASY to run through McDonald’s and buy food for everyone. But I’m telling you, with a family of 9 (well, 8, because the baby is nursing), we could easily spend $40-$50 at McDonald’s. Convenience has a price.

But with proper planning, looking ahead, and some prep work, you can save money by not eating out on those super busy days. Especially if you KNOW those super busy days are coming.

Sometimes the unexpected occurs and you can’t plan ahead and you do have to eat out. I get that.

But if you know, just be prepared. Save yourself a wad of cash. $$$