February 9, 2017

POV on Women's March on Washington from a Christian Feminist

I've been thinking about this post for a long time. It's a difficult one to write. I have a habit of telling our girls that they're capable of doing hard things, so I guess it's time to practice what I preach. I believe with all my heart that you can be a Christian woman AND a feminist. And now that we've gotten that out of the way, I ask that you allow me to express my opinion before you close your browser.

Ever since our nation elected Donald Trump to be its 45th president, this country has been more divided than ever. You would've thought that people from every political, racial, and socioeconomic background had lost their ever-loving minds with the amount of hate that is being spewed from all sides and on every form of social media.

I was most disturbed by the recent marches (or rather riots) on President Trump's inauguration day and in the days following. The immense hatred toward people with opposing views was astonishing. And sadly, it came from both sides. We truly are a nation divided.




The majority of protestors marched, picketed, and made speeches to promote feminism. But I would argue that it was on false pretenses and didn't work.

It didn't work, because how can a vagina hat-wearing woman carrying a hate-filled message directed at the President be taken seriously? Seriously??? Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Rosa Parks would be appalled. What we witnessed was not a suffragist movement that had the ability to change the course of American history, but a gathering of ticked off women whose majority acted on such a rollercoaster of emotions that the public failed to see the issues that truly matter.




I know exactly how it feels to be smarter and do a better job than a male co-worker and receive less pay. Equal pay for an equal job well-done should be a given.

I know exactly how it feels to be discounted as a stay-at-home mom because I'm not managing a successful organization. I'm raising & managing the future generation so a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T would be nice.

I know exactly how it feels to be objectified and sexualized, and body shamed because I'm too much or not enough, etc. (For the record, I do NOT excuse Trump for his horrible remarks about women. I don't believe it was just "locker room talk" and I'm positive he still objectifies women.)

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. I fully believe in the true feminist movement and have tremendous respect for our foremothers that made my and my daughters' rights possible.




My daughters will be taught to value their hearts and intelligence more than their beauty. They will be taught the meaning of hard work and how to dig deep in spite of economic disparity. They will grow up knowing they are not second-rate citizens and that an inferior pay grade does not define them. My daughters will be taught to stand up for their beliefs, but to seek counsel with the Most High before actions are taken. They will be taught to stand up for their rights and things that truly matter, but to set aside their emotions and represent themselves well and with poise.

And it is ME—a woman—who is helping mold the next generation of women. I'm not wearing a weird pink hat, smashing windows, or holding up a sign. I'm praying over, educating, building the confidence of, and showing two little girls what being a feminist is truly about—overcoming adversity with grace.

January 23, 2017

A Big Change in 2017

Hey everyone! Happy 2017!! I hope you ended 2016 on a high note and are starting out the new year in the same way. Being almost one month in to the new year, I'm obviously late to jump on the bandwagon of talking about new year's resolutions, etc. But I have a couple of important announcements that I wanted to share with you.

-- Get ready for more frequent blog posts. I had an unexpected medical emergency in the last half of 2016 which prevented me from doing a lot of writing. And last year was also a year of big transitions with our girls. Not a lot has changed since then, but I feel more experienced and capable of balancing life and an array of responsibilities this year.

-- I'm still going to share a lot about our family, current happenings, and whatever is currently on my mind, but you'll see a lot more posts about kingdom causes.





Which brings me to my final point.

-- I want to change the world and believe you & I can do it together. No, I haven't fallen off the deep end. I really and truly believe that, together, we can change the world for the better. And the change doesn't have to be big. It can be as basic as smiling at a stranger. Teaching your kids to be kind to others. Loving your family. Being less about [material] things and more about things above.

This world is crazy. You know. I know it. Everyone knows it. But what if we make a decision to start small? No rioting. No ridiculing. Just pray. A small prayer can spark the change this world desperately needs. Are you with me??

September 29, 2016

Sparkhouse Family Books

Being a parent is the most incredible, stressful, amazing, tiring job I've ever had. I love hearing my two little ones call me Momma. It melts my heart.

Another thing that melts my heart is watching my girls grow in their faith. As I mentioned in my last post, talking to our girls about God and being intentional about our faith is very important to us. We want our girls to grow up not just knowing about God, but having a true and personal relationship with Him.

We have two sets of little eyes and ears that are documenting our every move. The girls see first-hand how momma & daddy react to physical, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual situations beyond our control. They are the first to realize how differently we may speak to strangers in the middle of rush hour traffic compared to how we treat others on Sunday morning. They also know when we've made a mistake and should apologize for our behavior.

A lot of people are under the impression that kids are clueless. While that may be true based on certain ages and stages, I believe kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. For example, Alex has absolutely no idea why she goes to a big building to play with other kids and eat crackers every Sunday and Wednesday. But she DOES know that we pray before each meal, have a prayer huddle before we walk out the door, and say prayers before bedtime. I KNOW that SHE KNOWS because if we DON'T pray before a meal, SHE will initiate it by babbling away in her undecipherable baby language and end the babble with an AMEN that is clear as day. So kids DO understand a lot. Even babies. That's why I'm so excited to tell you about Sparkhouse Family Books!

I was first introduced to Sparkhouse Family through a random lead on a Christian parenting website. I started researching the products and completely fell in love.



Our family life has been a little off beat since I shattered my elbow two months ago. But we're slowly getting back into our normal routines and I'm so excited to incorporate these Play and Learn books and Devotions for Kids into our reading time. Since the recommended reading age for these books is < 7, the key verses and key concepts are short, sweet, and perfect for growing minds.



It's also been SUPER easy and convenient for me to piggyback these stories and corresponding activities with whatever Bible story Audrey learned about in church. I've gotten some great ideas for follow up questions and it's been fun to watch Audrey's interest in Bible stories spark.






Audrey's growing love for Jesus excites me! I love watching her talk about God and the Bible stories with her childlike faith. And I will happily provide her with all the resources possible that I think will help nurture that faith.

Now through October 15 you can save 25% off your Sparkhouse Family purchase using promo code BLOGGER. This discount code can also be applied toward Frolic book purchases, which is a line of Christian board books for babies (perfect for Alex!). Enjoy!!

P.S. Don't forget to mark your calendar for October 23 because I'm hosting a Sparkhouse Family Book Fair! The Book Fair will feature all of the books included in this review, in addition to a Christmas Pop-up book, a Search & Find Bible, a baby board book Bible, and so much more.

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September 14, 2016

Helloooo!

Hello, everyone! I hope you're doing well. You didn't hear much from me over the summer because, well, I was doing what any good summer bum should do—enjoying my family, eating tons of watermelon, staying cool, and being lazy. And I had such a good summer! I hope you did too.

A couple of things I'd like to mention:

I had a freak bicycle accident on August 18 when Robert & I were on date night. My brakes locked, I flew over the handlebars, and I stayed overnight in Trauma followed by a quick surgery to repair my shattered elbow. I've spent the past month recovering and being well care for by loving family & friends. My recovery is going well but I would greatly appreciate continued prayers and good vibes!




Audrey started preschool and absolutely loves it! She only goes 2-days/week but thinks she's a BIG girl now. ;)  She is getting along marvelously and we love getting play-by-play details of her day. Her daily highlights typically include: recess, snack, crafts, and recess. Pretty typical for a 3y.o. But I know she's learning a lot both academically and socially, because she'll randomly sing a new song she's learned at school, talk about fire safety, etc.



Since Audrey now goes to preschool, Alex has been getting some one-on-one time with me and she loves it. Alex is typically our quiet one because Audrey likes to be the center of attention. But Alex's personality has really started to blossom and she loves getting to be center stage 6hrs/week. I cherish these times with her and I'm so happy that she gets this 'only child' time.



Being intentional about our faith and integrating it into every aspect of our family is very important to us. Our girls help hold Robert & me accountable, as we truly have to walk the walk and practice what we preach. Between talking about Biblical characters at home, learning about them at church, and interacting with the Bible App for Kids, Audrey's interest has really been sparked and she's so excited to learn more about God. That's why I'm so excited to announce that I've partnered with Sparkhouse Family and will be hosting a Book Fair next month! Mark your calendars for October 23 and stay tuned because I'll provide more details and a book review in the next few days!




June 25, 2016

#Thursdatenight on the Farm

There's a farm in our area that has (almost) single-handedly made Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) cool. In a CSA setup, individuals pledge support to a local farm in return for a share of the farm's in-season harvest. I've always been intrigued by CSAs and have kept hearing amazing things about one farm in particular for several years.

Millsap Farm is a 20-acre farm located just a few minutes north of Springfield. In addition to the CSA which you can read more about here, Millsap Farm has a Thursday Night Pizza Club. This Pizza Club features wood-fired pizzas that are cooked in the farm's handmade Horno wood-fired earthen oven and baked at 800 degrees. And they offer three different pizzas topped with their very own seasonal produce, plus a cheese pizza option.



Again, we have heard incredible reviews about Thursday Night Pizza Club, but never tried it out until this past Thursday night. Why, you ask?? Well, Robert doesn't like pizza and I don't like "weird" pizza. We're a Pizza Hut style with regular pizza toppings pizza kind of family. Add to that the fact that we don't like hot weather—especially eating hot pizza by a hot oven in the heat of summer. And that's exactly why we've never been. But some of our really good friends, and I mean REALLY good friends, invited us to Pizza Club. So we reluctantly obliged, but only because we're really good friends.

Going into the evening, our expectations were very low. We expected to be eating mediocre cheese pizza in the sweltering heat and had even established a "safe word" which would signal when it was time to get the heck out. But our evening didn't go as planned. The experience turned out to be amazing. (At least it was for me!)

When we arrived at Millsap Farm, we were amazed by the number of people in attendance. The website said that Pizza Club was popular and sells out, but people say a lot of things on the internet that aren't true. We even got there 10 minutes early and had to stand in a long line. Although we had to wait for a while, the atmosphere was so welcoming that it took our minds off the long line. It was fun watching kids play freely and checking out the surrounding produce. It reminded me of my childhood and more carefree times.

Millsap Farm


After paying for our meals and getting our plates, we found a secluded area in the back of the picnic area and set up camp. It was cool, shaded, and looked like a fairy tale forest (fireflies, outdoor string lights, and live music may have contributed to the ambience 😉).

community dinner


Robert got in the pizza line for us and loaded us up with every type of pizza. I expected to only be eating the cheese, but I tried every single type and came away with a new favorite—Seeing Green. The Seeing Green pizza was smothered with homemade pesto, red onions, Portobello mushrooms, and cheese. I ate more slices than I'd care to admit and have already asked Millsap for their pesto recipe!

Millsap Farm Pizza Night


Another highlight of the evening was getting to watch the pizza making process. The farm had a whole crew of people rolling out pizza dough, adding toppings, and firing the pizzas. From the baking process to the outdoor seating, the entire evening felt like a big, community dinner that made strangers feel more like friends and where kids could experience old fashioned fun.

Millsap Farm

Millsap Farm Pizza Night


Our evening was cut short due to bad weather, but our experience at Thursday Night Pizza Club was one for the record books. It reminds me of a song from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood that Audrey likes to sing, "You gotta try new foods 'cause they might taste goo-ood. So-oo good." And that's exactly what happened. Thursday Night Pizza Club left my tastebuds watering and me anxious to make our next reservation! It was an evening to be thankful for community, food, family, and good friends who convinced us to try something new.




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