January 29, 2013

Poo Happens

**I wrote this a few months ago and shared it with some other moms at the preschool. Had to share this!

    Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

James 1:2-4

We have attempted potty training with Lincoln, age 3,  several times in the past few months. Yesterday (Tuesday), he decides he is ready! So hooray for us, right??? We've been tinkling like a champ for a few days now. Like most when they first start, #1 comes easily then there is some fear to let #2 'drop' and so they hold it in. We were on about day 4 of no poo. I was fully prepared for that. 

Half way out to the car at school, Lincoln's normal high Mickey Mouse voice squeaked and immediately changed to this barky, croupy pitiful sound. I just attributed it to allergies from being outside today at recess. But by bedtime, he was burning up, and when I checked his temp it was 103.3. "Great!" I thought. "Just what I need, a sick kiddo." OF COURSE, my husband is out of town so it's just me with the 3 boys. With the high fever and croupy voice, I immediately tossed him into a hot steamy shower to loosen that yuckiness up. I got the baby into the high chair and settled him into his dinner and went to check on Lincoln in his shower. When I reached the bathroom, he had decided he had held it in underwear long enough and decided to go ahead and 'drop one' (well, actually 3) in the shower. There was a toy stuck in the shower drain keeping the water from draining and he was standing in about 4" of water. At his feet were spiderman, some foam letters, and something that only should be in a toilet or diaper! He's is just going on about his business clueless that he is showering in poo!!! Looking at the mess, what is a mom to do????? That's right, go fishing!!!! I removed my fever ridden shivering lil man from the now septic tank shower. The first thing I thought of was to grab a shovel from the sand box. I run to the backyard, throw a box of cereal out of the pantry for my oldest to use to occupy the baby still in high chair along the way. I grab the shovel and come back upstairs and get to scooping; answering a million questions along the way. 

Phew--- Lincoln shower over and cozied up on couch. Oldest in bed.  Next up: baby bath. Knox is just starting bathing in my tub last week because he outgrew the kitchen sink. This child almost never poos more than once a day. He had already done his business for the day so of course I didn't think to take any changing supplies with me to my room to undress him. I get his bath ready, lay him on the cold tile floor, open his diaper. Oh yay! He has a surprise for mommy too!!! And it is WAY more than normal!!! Not one of those you can get with the diaper if you know what I mean. Quick??? I have a half naked dirty baby, what to do? I need wipees! and several of them. Normally I would holler and ask my husband to bring me wipes. He's out of town. Bummer! Hmm, Mikey (oldest)?? Nope he's already in bed. Lincoln? I didn't have the heart to ask my sick lil guy to move. So I scurry to find an old wash cloth and some toilet paper, leaving half naked poopy baby on the bathroom floor. 
In the 30 seconds or less that I was gone, Knox has rolled and scooted and left a smeared trail all the way across the cream tile and grout!!!! And he is now headed for my beige carpet in my bedroom. 
"Lord???? Really????? This is what you have for me?? Sickness, poop, and more poop! Please help me!!!"
 At that very moment, after Linc's mess and now this one, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I was on the verge of tears and just then my phone rang and it was one of my most precious friends and sisters in the Lord. We almost never talk on the phone, we just usually text b/c we both have kids and someone is usually screaming in the background. I answered the phone and my eyes welled with tears but then I bursted into the biggest belly laugh and proceeded to explain my fun evening to her. 

So what is the point, you ask?? Besides a good laugh--- :)   Well, there are a couple. 
First, the Holy Spirit works in amazing ways! Had my friend not called at that exact moment, I would have had a major emotional melt down. Sick kids + poop+ hubby out of town= NO FUN!!! But when I my friend called, I was able to think about the humor of what was actually going on. He used her in the exact moment I needed it. Isn't our Lord so amazing that he uses His children to help each other? 

Second---- Trials, suffering, children, etc- no matter how 'silly' they may seem are ultimately for our sanctification. Only God could interweave a situation so comical so that I can rejoice in His goodness for it!! Even elbow deep in 'poo' (whatever your poo may be) He wants to make himself available to you. He wants you to call on Him and engage Him. He wants to be a part of the joys and the 'poo'. He knows that 'poo happens' but wants you to call on Him when it does. James says to 'count it all as joy'. So while right now, whatever poo you may be in, it is only temporary and a small test of your faith. 

January 27, 2013

Called Out

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Christians really love to use the phrase 'season'.  Not like summer, winter, spring, or fall, but 'season' meaning a time period in your life.  For example, "My husband and I can't go out on many dates because we have small children.  {sigh} But that is just our season for now."
Or "I'm really being dealt a lot of adversity lately, God must be teaching me something to prepare for the next season."

Honestly, it's usually a word to make a crappy time in your life sound pretty and livable. Yes, I said crap.

Seasons have a purpose or theme.  Purpose is something you pursue. If you think about it, a literal season such as fall, was the the time to harvest and store up for the winter. Winter was the time to rest up for the next sowing season. There was a set goal in mind - a purpose. The bible does not use agricultural metaphors by accident. The people of the time understood the importance of seasons. They didn't have grocery stores. Seasons and their ability to capitalize on their purpose literally meant life or death. So while it's easy to lightly blame a 'season' for what is going on in your life, why not look at it with purpose? God, what is the theme for this season I am in? Do not waste a season.

Throughout scripture God constantly appoints. In Jonah, God appointed the fish. In 1Peter we see Peter speaking of God's foreknowledge in the exile and dispersion of those to whom he is writing. Proverbs says that the die is cast but the decision is the Lord's. God appointed Joseph in the OT and all his testing to ultimately bring about His plan for redemption. In Joseph's story we see him pointing to Christ. Your "season" is meant for your ultimate joy and His glory. We are not meant to simply sit back, speak good Christianese, and say "this is my season" while sounding like an Eeyore.

For example, 2 years ago I was really struggling with my attitude towards others and my heart as it related to serving. My solid prayer for 2011 was "God, teach me to find joy in having a servant's heart."  Not just serving to check off a list or because it's the right thing to do, but really seeing serving as an act of worship. That year the Lord opened my eyes to the needs of others where they had previously been closed. My friendships blossomed. Forgiveness was easier. My pride was popping like a balloon in a car door, and I began to see a higher purpose in the daily grudging tasks of taking care of my family.

In January 2012, my husband met with an elder in the church for some guidance and the elder told him, "This will be the year that you learn to hear God with your wife." I wasn't at the meeting, the man had never met me, and it was the first time he had met my husband. But he was right. In my heart, I desired that closeness with the Lord where I could hear from Him.  Soon, I began to hear when the Holy Spirit spoke. When God confirmed something I was able to accept it with such clarity. I started to feel His presence in such little mundane things like rain and getting a good parking spot. I would hear his voice in the most random times like while I was drying my hair or folding laundry.

In January, like many, I seem to flounder back into a funk. The climax of the holiday and all the bustle that goes with it makes me want to just stay in my house and get my heart and my head right. While that part of it is not a problem, I tend to sit back in my socializing and in my friendships. I forego some girl time or out of the house time that might be uplifting to my soul, and that is detremental. From the start of January 1 of this year, I felt like the Lord calling me out, "Don't fall into that funk this year. Get out of the house. Go do something." Instead of being obedient I just went on about my busy business of cleaning, organizing, fitting in gym time when possible, etc. A week or so into the month, one of my dearest friends sent out an email that she would be hosting a Bible Study and inviting me to come. I love time talking about the Lord and doing it with my besties, but it seemed so easy to not drive across town, not worry about baby's nap, and not try to fit it in. "I'll think about it," I told her. The next day, I ran into a friend at the gym unexpectedly and we ended up chatting for quite while. I got random texts from friends I hadn't talked to in awhile checking on me. Then, the next day, I receieved an email from our Women's Pastor checking in on me. That's when it hit me. Or should I say, that's when He hit me, the Holy Spirit that is.  I had been avoiding socialization and outings, but this year the Lord was not going to let me out of it. "I'm calling you out, " he says. Then with affirmation, my email response from our Women's Pastor repeated that phrase in her typed words, "He's calling you out." Thanks for that bomb Lord. He'd been setting me up in all these social situations and I was just oblivious.

Two days after that, there was to be a women's night at our church.  The women's nights are always amazing. The sanctuary is full of God's beautiful daughters praising him. I made plans to go and see what was in store for me. The morning of,  starting from early on, the enemy was bound and determined to keep me from going. Michael Jr woke up early with a random high fever that kept him out of school. Him not feeling well wore on my nerves all day and left me frustrated. The baby was teething and not nursing well so he was grumpy.  Of course, as luck would have it, my husband was running late leaving work and was not home to take over the kids as I was expecting.  I lost my temper with him. At one point, I put my sweats back on and said "Fine, I'm not going." But then I realized that the enemy had won if I stayed home. God was calling me out and I needed to go and hear what He had to say. I arrived late and snuck in next to my dear friend. It was during praise and worship and there was, as my precious friend says, a thickness in the air of Him.

Worship was amazing. There is something so beautiful about women coming together for worship. At one point, the Lord brought me to my knees weeping and told me the reason he had been calling me out. He said that this was my time to be bold and obedient. And bold in my obedience and obedient in my boldness. He said I was to speak because He had given me a voice and that he would use me to call out others just as he had called me out.
Wow. You know how you feel when you are craving chocolate and your body is aching and going crazy for chocolate? Then you get that chocolate and all is finally well in the world? That is how I felt when the Lord finally revealed his word to me. It was so refreshing and satiating to hear His promises.

So that is when I started blogging again. While I am not sewing or operating Darling Deuce Designs as a business anymore, it serves as a huge platform for me to reach people. If you read the post the other day about the boys, that was my test. My 'pilot', if you will. As if the numbers on the blogger stats weren't enough, the amount of people that crossed my path in the fews days after that were so appreciative of my words, was so humbling.

 Lord, please use me for your glory. You created me and my voice. Please use my ups and downs of being a wife, mom, and most importantly, your daughter, to inspire others an draw them closer to you.  Help them learn to know more of you and embrace your grace. I will be obedient and not ashamed of the trenches you have brought me through.

What is your season? What kind of purpose has the Lord promised for this season?  Don't sit by and let the seasons turn.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

January 22, 2013

Gracious Gifts

From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another. 
John 1:16

Knox Driscoll- 9 mos
Michael Louis, Jr. -6
Lincoln Anderson-3

With three boys, I always say that God used the gift of life of each one of my boys to teach me something amazing about myself and most importantly, to draw into Him. They are each so special and unique. From their conception to their current stage in life, each one is a reminder of a lesson in grace and favor the Lord has taught me.

Path to Destiny

With Michael, who is now 6, we were not anticipating a baby so soon. In fact, we wanted to wait 5 years after being married to have kids, but instead, found out after 6 months that we were expecting! Frightenened, clueless, and selfish,  daily during my pregnancy I would cry out to God. "Why? Why so soon? I am not ready for this." I never even had that pregnant glowy feeling. I felt more like it was a task I had been dished and I just had to figure out the best way to do it. Even during the birth process and those first few hours of his life, I had no idea what to think or feel. I'm a 'doer'. A 'Martha', if you will. I excel at figuring things out. And that's what I did. I had no idea how to even hold a baby, much less breastfeed or change a tiny diaper. I continued to go through the motions. Until that first night in the hospital after his birth. I had sent my husband home to sleep and they brought the baby to me for that 2am feeding.  It was the first time in the almost hours since his birth that I had been all alone with him, my first-born, perfect little bundle from above.  I looked at that face and the tears started pouring out of me. God, thank you for this amazing and perfect gift. How could I ever doubt you and that this was your plan for me???
THIS was my destiny. THIS was the way God had intended for me. God had given me this task and when I thought I could not complete it, he showed me the way, held my hand while I persevered, and shown me the end result was something so beautiful.
Kind of like daily life, right? He deals out some tricky cards, cards that he knows are best for us even though it may not be what we want.  It's because he wants us to hold His hand during the process, ask Him for his help, and cling on until we finally reach our beautiful destiny.

Not My Way

Lincoln, who is the textbook qunitessential, superhero cape wearing three year old, taught me that my 'figuring it out' skillset may not always prove strong. From pre-conception, my little redhead had a 'way' about him. This baby we had to try for. Actual tempurate taking, charting, cycle timing TRY for. Crazy! Since Michael Jr. was a complete surprise, we thought, for sure, I'd be pregnant in no time. Well, finally 8 months after stopping the pill, we let it go and quit trying so hard. We turned it over to Him. Then, a few weeks later, I finally saw that little plus sign I'd been hoping for! Lincoln's pregnancy was not much different than the first, just more tiring, another 'task'. Once he was here, I immediately was smitten with the tiny red headed bundle. He was just a day old and sleeping peacefully in the hospital basinet when my husband looks at him and says, "I can already tell his personality is SOO much different that Michael Jr.'s.
Boy did that prove to be true when we brought him home. Where Michael had been the perfect BabyWise baby to a T, sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, eating every 3 hours in the day like an alarm clock, etc. Lincoln, on the other hand didn't know what he wanted or when he wanted it. He cried, A LOT! He wouldn't sleep more than 2 hours at night for the longest time. No matter what I did, every rule book I tried to follow, he had his way and there was nothing I could do about it. He was this fierce little being with his own ideas from Day 1.
With him, the Lord showed me to let go. That MY way, was not my way. I am not my own. I am His. That I had to surrender and allow him to work in my life. I could not control every variable in my environment. I could not and never would 'figure it all out.' And because of what he did for me on the cross, it's the least I can do to surrender to him and allow him to take the reigns in all areas. Whether that means throwing my hands up at sleep training or potty training.

Revel in His Sweetness

After 2 boys, we were done with having kids. We gave away the baby clothes and all the gear and decided to move on with our lives and be the classic family of 4. When Lincoln was approaching age 2, I started having the yearning for just 1 more. Now, I should mention that pregnancy is grueling for me. I have terrible and I mean MISERABLE varicose vein issues. My emotions and anxety are so out of whack that it rocks my marriage and all my other important relationships.  The whole 9 months is really not fun for anybody in our house. But something in me was wanting to do it just one more time. This sounds silly, but every time I would be around a friend who was breastfeeding, I would start getting all gooey and baby eyed watching them nurse. We went out to dinner for our 6 year anniversary around that time. At dinner, I confessed my desires to my husband. Surprisingly, he felt the same way!!! It just so happened that day was my last 'pill' of the month. So we prayed. Together. We prayed not for another baby, but for Him to fulfill his will in our life. We told him that our hearts were open to another baby if He saw it fit for our family. We agreed that we would not 'try' for a baby yet we would not prevent either.
Six weeks later I was pregnant! He clearly thought we needed just one more.
Another miserable pregnancy came. The emotional roller coaster started immediately and the vein issues came on much earlier. Morning sickness remained until the third trimester. Many times, I questioned why I would put myself though this again. And gently the Lord would remind me, "I sent my son for so that you could receive my blessings and my grace in your life. You can make it though this. I will fight for you."
When sweet Knox finally arrived, it was like nothing I could have imagined. With the Lord fighting for me, I made it though a natural childbirth. He took to breastfeeding with no problems. He snuggled. He was just like a big blob of sweetness that the Lord had gifted to us. It made every pregnancy battle wound worth it. At 11 months now, he is still just the sweetest, gentlest, most laid back baby.
I look at him and I think, "Wow, this is what the Lord intended." His plan is so sweet indeed. The Lord, in his omnipotence, is so beautiful and sweet, just like a clean, newborn baby all snuggled up in a blankie.
Sometimes we forget to just sit back and appreciate the beauty and the sweetness of what he Has so graciously given us.

Photography by Angie Kosa Photography.

January 15, 2013

Paleo On The Go

I LOVE scrolling through my Pinterest feed and noticing so many of my friends pinning Paleo recipes!! It genuinely makes my heart happy seeing people find a healthier way of eating. One question I hear often from friends inquiring about Paleo diet is, "What about convenience? Where do I eat out?"
As I told someone yesterday, the one drawback/ difficulty to Paleo is convenience. No more popping in a Subway for a 'healthy' sandwich or ordering a kid's meal for yourself in the drive thru when you get one for your kids.
So I started a list of all the places we eat out as a family and the Paleo options. Please feel free to comment and add to it!

10 Places to Eat Paleo On the Go
1. Mooyah- Get an 'Iceburger' (beef or turkey)  and load it up with paleo friendly condiments like avocado, bacon, mushroms, pickles, and grilled onions! On the side order sweet potato fries, but ask them to leave off the seasoning b/c it has white sugar
2. Cowboy Chicken- Woodfire chicken (any), with green beans, campfire veggies, sweet potatoes. 
3. BBQ places like Spring Creek & Dickeys. Rudy's is my absolute fav, but they dont have Paleo friendly sides. Often we will go through their drive through and get meat, then come home and fix some quick veggies. 
4. Chik-Fil A- a salad or Grilled nuggets and fruit cup
5. Subway- any sandwich can be made into a salad. Add in lots of veggies and avocado!
6. Chipotle- a burrito bowl or salad with no rice or beans but add fajita veggies, lettuce, guac, pico
7. Tin Star- all their tacos can be made into lettuce cups and they offer broccoli as a side dish
8. Wendy's- good salad options with grilled chicken. good size portion. 
9. Pluckers & Buffalo Wild Wings- offer naked wings & naked strips. Pluckers has sweet potato fries, but again, ask for no seasoning. Add a side salad to a naked basket and you have a great meal!
10. In & Out- Order a Protein Style burger and they will give it to you in lettuce. You can add up to 4 patties! Also, I have heard Mustard Grilled is amazing. 

January 7, 2013

Paleo {not} Tortilla Soup

It's actually hit winter here in Texas! Which means the temp dips below 50 and I can flip the switch up on my magical gas fireplace! We've also all been sick here in the Caney house battling colds, flu, sinus infection, bronchitis, and even pink eye!! When it's cold out and I'm sick, nothing hits the spot like some good soup.
I came up with the {non} Tortilla soup and it was a huge hit with my tex-mex cravin' hubby. We had some pico & salsa leftover from La Hacienda and it made the perfect base starter for my soup!
I have made tortilla soups before with canned tomatoes & salsas, but the flavor depth of this one using the fresh pico & salsa was to die for!!

1 lb chicken- breasts or thighs
1 cup of fresh pico de gallo
2-3 whole carrots, peeled and cut in chunks on the bias
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh salsa of your choice- a fire roasted fresh variety gives the best and deepest flavor
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
4-5 cups chicken broth
fresh avocado
fresh cilantro, chopped

**optional for NON-Paleo- black beans, corn, chips, cheese, etc.  I added black beans for hubby and the kiddos, but left it out of my portion.

1. Place raw chicken breasts, carrots, and onion in bottom of your crock pot. Sprinkle spices, salt & pepper over chicken.
2. Dump in pico, salsa, & chicken broth. Stir.
3. Cover, set your crock to low for 6-8 hrs.
4. Walk away
5. When ready to serve, shred chicken with fork. Dip into bowls and top with fresh cubed avocado and cilantro!

January 2, 2013

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese


This is NOT, I repeat, NOT that recipe we've all seen on Pinterest a hundred times. This is my original recipe that I have been making for about 5 years now. In fact, the teachers at my kid's school know that I am responsible for the mac & cheese at Thanksgiving and they start looking forward to it! Yes!! It's that good!!
Obviously, this is something I myself only eat on Cheat Day (sunday, when all Paleo Luv goes out the window). But it's great for holidays, or even to make at the beginning of the week and let your kids eat on it for a few days. I also love it because I can get it entirely prepped and stored in the fridge the day before I need it.
I don't feel guilty about it for them because I always use the Barilla Gold pasta. It has added protein, fiber, and Omega-3s.

See all the little awesome ridges! Makes a perfect pasta to hold the thick yummy cheese!

1 box Barilla Gold Elbows
12 oz Velveeta, cubed - do not trust your store brand here!
6 Tb real butter, unsalted, cubed
2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c whole or 2% milk
1 c heavy cream
2 tsp mustard
2 c shredded sharp cheddar

1. Boil water and cook your entire box of pasta. The box says 7-8 minutes. Don't cook any longer than 6 minutes. It will be al dente, but will finish cooking in the crock pot.
2. While pasta cooks, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, salt, pepper, & mustard.
3. When pasta is finished, drain immediately and add to the base of your crock pot.* (See below for make ahead directions)
4. Pour milk mixture over pasta. Toss in butter cubes, Velveeta cubes, and shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
5. Put lid on and set to Hi. Cooking on Hi will only take it 1 hour. Make sure you stir 2-3 times in that hour. at 45 minutes, you will think it will not be done, but something magical happens to the Velveeta at that 1 hour mark! Once that 1 hour mark hits and everything looks yummy & gooey, switch your pot over to the 'Warm' setting to serve.

Make Ahead Directions
Cook your pasta as above states. Store in a large ziploc baggie. Put all liquid ingredients, Velveeta, and butter in a storage container. Store all in fridge but remove from fridge 2 hours before you plan to cook it. This is a great dish to take to someone who just had a baby. I take it just like this, get out their crockpot and assemble at their house. Then there are no dishes for them to return to me.