A Beachin’ Weekend

Beach Landscape Dee Side View Beach Green Ocean Jumping off Paddleboard Nell and Dee Beach Selfie Paddleboarding In Trey after Snorkeling Trey Snorkeling Trey Walking in from Snorkeling

It was a beachin’ kind of weekend.  The water was fairly flat and breathtakingly clear.  Those type of days are the best.  The fam and I did some paddleboarding, swimming and snorkeling. The beach is my happy place and spending the weekend there was just what I needed.

STOP

At the non-profit (Cross International) where I work, we do daily devotions to start off each work day.  I thought I would share my most recent devotion given at work.  It is entitled “STOP”.  I showed the wonderful Overwhelmed video by Jennie Allen and then spoke from my heart about what God has been doing in my life.  There are so many of us spinning our wheels in the business of life so I hope this can touch your life in some way.  Enjoy!

How much is enough? How much is too much? Society tells us that in order to be deemed successful, the more you have on your plate the better.  We see depictions online or in other media of (in my case) the “superwoman”. You know what I’m referring to. That woman who is the perfect mother, has the perfect children, a clean home, holds down a high level job, volunteers at their kids’ school and does charity work.

These views are very deceiving.  You are only seeing the highlights of their life.  You’re not seeing the down and dirty mess behind the scenes.

About a year ago, God told me to simply STOP. Yes, just stop. Stop seeking additional responsibility, volunteering, leading groups, etc. Stop. That simple four letter word can be a terribly difficult thing to put into action. But, I did it. Don’t get me wrong, there was a good bit of twitching and anxiousness involved, but I did it. So, I stopped.  Guess what happened as a result?  I was a much happier, level and content person.

It’s ok to build margin in your life.  Every minute does not have to be planned. If every minute of your life is planned, you leave no room for God to speak; you leave no room for God to work in your life. But, if you do in fact build margin then, you build room to hear God’s still small voice.

A Vintage Boho Chair

Peacock Boho Chair After
Finding something on Craigslist is not all that difficult unless you are searching for something very specific. I had been on the prowl for a very particular chair.  To be honest, I didn’t even know what type of chair it was; I had no idea what to even call it.  I just knew the look of it, that it was from the 70′s era and made of wicker. After searching online, I found that some called it a peacock chair, some said it is a queen chair while others called it a boho or bohemian chair.  Either way, I was able to do my Craigslist hunt which required a bit of patience as it took me a couple of months to finally find one.  I scored an old white boho chair from a lady an hour away.  It had been sitting on her patio for who knows how many years.  It was in good condition overall but had a horrible seat cushion and a lot of chipped white paint.  3 spray paint cans and $20 later, you have this beauty right here.  I’m pretty excited about the way it turned out.

* Unfortunately, I lost the before picture so all I have is the after shot.
* Also, thanks to my brother for venturing into this “sketch” Craigslist deal by grabbing this chair off a lady’s patio and leaving a twenty under a paint can!  :)

4th of July Celebration

Papa Waving Fireworks D at the Pool Papa and Nell Papa Nana and Trey in the Pool Smokey Pool Steve in Hammock Trey Negotiating with Papa Trey Pulled D in Pool

This 4th of July was spent celebrating my dad’s birthday in their newly purchased retirement home. My parents have been planning for retirement for many, many years and the first part of their dream came true just in time to celebrate the 4th of July. We had a blast breaking in their new pool.

They Are Home

Back from Cali

After being gone nearly a month to California, my kids are home. The hubs and I had nice quality time alone but, it is great to have them back where they belong. Our family is whole again.

As a bonus, my parents flew back with them to close on their retirement home here in Florida! I am so excited for them and excited that they will live nearby soon. Check back for more details on this in the near future.

A Weekend without Kids Part 3

Bike under the Palm

Hanging under the Palms

hat and sunglasses

Nell in Hammock on South Beach

Nells Bike Looking Down

palm view

Palm with Sunshine Through

south beach lifeguard

Steve on Bike TrailCruise Ship

Steve on Bike Trail 2

It was our last weekend alone before the kids came home so we decided to something different yet the same. We wanted to do another beach bike ride but change up the scenery a bit so we decided to load up the bikes and head down to south beach in Miami. If you’ve ever been to south beach, you know how crazy and crowded it can be. This weekend was no different. After getting there and seeing all the craziness (world cup parties didn’t help), we were very reluctant that this trip would pan out. But after much searching, we found a place to park, unloaded our bikes and began our little adventure. We rode up and down the boardwalk along the beach, stopped at an ice cream stand, sat and watched the massive cruise ships come up the intracoastal from the port, did a ton of people watching, laid in the grass for a break and even took a short nap. It was fabulous.

I think beach bike riding may be our new thing. You can do so much more sightseeing and exploring when you’re on a bike versus in a car or on foot. Plus the hubs has decided to begin a new “bike pimping” project. More to come on this front.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the time alone with my husband. He is my partner and my very best friend. I absolutely love doing anything and everything with him. These times alone truly make me look forward to the future.

June

A photo of my children every month :: June

D in a Hat papa and trey fishing

Dee {17 years and 3 months}:
They spent the entire month of June in California with my parents.  They got to do so many cool things together but she got some special treatment alone like breakfast in bed and a girls day manicure/pedicure with my mom.  She had a blast but is looking forward to the next chapter of her summer.  Her boyfriend (who she hasn’t seen in a year) comes back from Belgium, she has church camp and then gets to go on a trip with her boyfriend and his parents to get him setup for college.  She’s beyond excited.

Trey {14 years and 1 month}:
They spent the entire month of June in California with my parents.  Trey got special treatment in California by going on fishing excursions with my dad.  He had a so much fun but is looking forward to coming home and starting football next week.  Also, he is now just a tad bit taller than my dad.  He is growing so fast!

Kids Retreat

The kids have been gone now for three weeks. These times are always bittersweet. It is nice to have alone time with my husband but I do miss my children terribly. We always consider that a husband and wife need the time alone and away from the children. But in all honesty the children need time away from us. It allows them to get a break, a change of scenery and to refresh. Being apart allows the kids and parents the opportunity to miss and appreciate all the little things about each other. Being apart for a month of time has allowed us to understand and truly appreciate what each person really brings to the family and to our household.

I know for certain that this time has allowed my children to bond with my parents which indefinitely means that they are getting spoiled beyond measure. A good example is recently my mom asked me, “how do you cook for these children. They are so picky about what they eat.” My response to her was, “I cook whatever I decide to and the eat it.” Apparently my mom is going above and beyond and cooking many different things to give them what they want. Bless her heart. She truly is the sweetest grandmother to my children. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any other grandparents more engaged in their grandchildren’s lives. We are all blessed beyond measure to have them.

So they truly have had such a great time visiting with their grandparents. They’ve done a week long camping trip, they took a trip to San Francisco, they went to the movies, they’ve been bowling and they swim in the backyard pool more times than anyone could count. Yes, they will certainly come back spoiled. But in all honesty this trip will be great for everyone. Family is so important and these are the opportunities we have to build bonds and relationships with each other.
kids in san franD wake boarding

A Weekend without Kids Part 2

Bike Riding Road View Hammock at the Beach Hiding from the Rain Majestic Chair Palm From Beneath Steve Bike Riding Steve Let the Rain Fall Down Sunset
The hubs and I had another special weekend.  We didn’t have any particular plans going into the weekend which was kind of nice.  We slept in each day and just went with the flow. We ate some great food, watched movies, rode bikes along the beach, swam, snorkeled, had some beach hammock time (apparently a huge hit amongst other beachgoers), and fought the rain twice. In south Florida it typically rains every afternoon in the summer.  It drizzled a bit during dinner on Saturday.  On Sunday we were at the beach when dark clouds, thunder and lightening rolled in.  The lifeguard called everyone in from the water immediately.  We thought we could ride our bikes back to the car in time to beat the weather but we didn’t make it.  It came a complete downpour.  We stopped under a tree for a bit but that failed us quickly.  We ended up riding about a mile in the pouring down rain.  Surprisingly enough, it was a blast.  We laughed and laughed all the way to the car.  I love these grand adventures!

The Superwoman Charade

How much is enough? How much is too much? Society tells us that in order to be deemed as a successful mother, the more you have on your plate the better.  We see depictions online or in other media of the “superwoman”. You know what I’m referring to. That woman who is the perfect mother, with the perfect children, a clean home, holds down a high level job, volunteers at their kids’ school and does charity work.

As my children get older, I find that this expectation grows stronger.  Your kids aren’t small anymore and don’t need constant physical attention so you better be devoting your time elsewhere.  Otherwise, you’re not considered a successful woman.  The views that you see of these women are very deceiving.  You are only seeing the highlights of their life.  You’re not seeing the down and dirty mess behind the scenes.

Because I am a driven, type “A” personality, this has been difficult for me.  About a year ago, I was led to simply STOP. Yes, just stop. Stop seeking additional responsibility, volunteering, leading groups, competing in sports, etc. Stop. That simple four letter word can be a terribly difficult thing to put into action. But, I did it. Don’t get me wrong, there was a good bit of twitching and anxiousness involved, but I did it. So, I stopped.  Guess what happened as a result?  I was a much happier, level and content person.  Over time, I began to ask myself the question, what is next?  What is my purpose and my focus?  The answer was right in front of me; my teenage children.  My daughter starts her senior year this fall and my son is finishing middle school. These are crucial times.

It’s ok to build margin in your life.  Every minute does not have to be planned. It’s ok to simply focus on your children. They are entrusted to you and you only have one shot at it. You don’t get any do-overs.   Make it count.  It’s ok to devote your spare time to pouring into your children especially if they are teenagers.  They need you now more than ever.  Go on a girls trip.  Do a mother/son outing.  Get to know their friends.  Spend the time it takes to understand their struggles.  Help them navigate those difficult situations. Be their confidant. Be their guiding light. Be their mom.

Nell and D Sunsetcreepy-trey Danica Crazy Face Danica Dancing girls-chasing Kids at Grannys Outside nell-trey pier-sunset running-out-of-the-water-800 trey-carrying-board-in