In Time

In time they will thank you, with an understanding beyond their current capacity.

In time they will see what you sacrificed. Who you sacrificed. And how often you sacrificed.

In time they will slowly start to comprehend the magnitude of the job. The tears that come with it. The sleepless nights. The endless task lists. The worldly criticisms. The constant mental and physical motion. The fatigue of the heart, mind, body and soul, quickly followed by the nourishment of blind faith and God’s yolk.

In time they’ll sing your praises. The ones far past due. And they’ll realize the older they get, the wiser you were.

In time it’ll come full circle. And they’ll wish they had your strength, your wisdom, your abilities.

And in that time, you’ll remind them they have exactly what the need, through Him, who strengthens all. You’ll smile. And trust that your time, those really really hard times, will now serve as a beacon of hope that they, too, can persevere, serve and still be fulfilled by the only supreme Being that matters.

Motherhood knows no time. It’s endless. Sometimes thankless. Often criticized, overlooked. But never, never marginalized to One who allowed you to obtain the title.

An Open Letter from a Christ-serving Sinner

It doesn’t matter that I’m white. It doesn’t matter that my husband is black. Or that he, his parents and my father have spent their entire careers in the public service sector – on the streets and in the prisons – serving others at their not-so-finest hours with dignity. It doesn’t matter that my three young children are biracial.

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

Right now, what matters is that each one of us, as Christians, regardless of the color of our skin or our native language, remain committed to regular self-heart examinations.

How easy it has been to put my hands on my ears and silently scream ENOUGH over the last 10 days. Enough killing. Enough violence. Enough assuming. Enough criticizing. Enough sensationalizing. Enough generalizing. Enough screaming. Enough cursing. Enough looting. Enough politic’ing.

E-NOUGH.

In times of crisis, I tend to watch, listen and soak in information, conversations and reactions. My mind quickly moves to a root-cause analysis exercise, often looking past the first hot topic making headlines and deeper into what and why something sparked. I think it’s the former reporter in me.

Then, I talk. Mostly to my husband and then to others. I’m always optimistic, early on, of an easy solution. But then reality settles in that, often times, there isn’t one when it involves the complex creatures known as humans, born into sin.

These last 10 days have been a rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions, reactions and desires. There is no doubt the devil is alive and well. And oh, how I know he is loving the destruction he has spun up in our great country.

Speak up. Get criticized. Don’t speak. Get criticized. Have a different perspective, get criticized. Have a lifetime of actions showing you support people that don’t look like you and say one wrong thing, get criticized. But isn’t that what happened to the single, perfect person who walked this earth – who also likely had dark-colored skin? No matter what He said, how He said it or in what context His message was given, He got criticized. And He never let the critics derail His mission.

As a wife and mother of three bi-racial children, I spend hours every day investing in their hearts. Talking about and showing them what being strong, tough and brave look like while still being compassionate, kind-hearted, hoping to mold them into a servant leader.

At four, six and eight years old, my two oldest identified that their skin looks different than mine several years ago, and at times different than others around them. And it doesn’t bother them, so why should it bother others? I’m not too sure there’s a black and white answer.

There are so many layers and topics of conversation about a deeply-rooted issue that predates anyone speaking out right now. So here’s where my mind settles, not just at this time with the latest news cycle of injustices, but all the time.

It starts from the heart. And then in the home.

Every day, I fall short of glorifying the God my family serves. There is a reason God put it on my heart to re-read the New Testament in a year starting January 1, 2020. I’ve ignored that calling some days, and my actions those days showed it. When I fall short and it affects others, I often times – not always – fess up publicly. There is something so freeing to talk about how imperfect I am to another person and seek forgiveness.

As we get better about self examining our heart, we can identify blind spots and work to improve them. I look at the heart like the foundation of a home. You can dress it up with the best Instagram post you want in a time of crisis, but, if there are cracks in the heart, in time, it will garner an examiner’s attention and, if not fixed, destruction is inevitable.

10 Reasons your Mom is a Super Hero

Be warned, this will not be a mushy blog post about the 100 reasons why it’s lovely and beautiful to be a mother. Because, let’s be honest. There aren’t 100 reasons. There are 100 times 100 reasons and we don’t have time to be reading all of that. Just saying.

No, no. Instead, this post is a list of just a few reasons why moms are nothing short of superheros. Enjoy.

TEN | Only a mom’s body can create liquid gold. Seriously. That stuff will go for some major cash on the black market! So dads, the next time you think a new mom isn’t doing anything when she’s nursing, just remember her entire body is develpoping a specialized product that, by itself, can develop every single part of your newborn’s body – brain included. Good luck cooking a five-star meal after that nugget of truth.

NINE | Only a mom can be nursing a newborn with a cradle hold in one hand and cooking dinner for a family of five with the other, and still catch the older children hitting each other with the eyes strategically placed in the back of her head [special thank’s goes out to the microwave’s reflection].

EIGHT | Only a mom can smell a poppy diaper from a toddler napping in his/her room upstairs, with the door closed, while she’s downstairs, alongside a room full of healthy adults with full-functioning senses.

SEVEN | Only a mom can be holding an adult conversation, with eye contact, while anticipating every dangerous outcome that could develop from her children playing nearby.

SIX | Only a mom can increase her life productivity ratio with every child she bears.

FIVE | Only  moms can be the sole reason a company stays in business. You’re welcome, every company who develops life planners.

FOUR |Only a mom can turn a home where a toy-filled tornado ripped through it to an HGTV-ready set with 10-minutes notice.

THREE |Only a mom can put an air traffic control team in the busiest city to shame in her natural setting of kid chaos.

TWO |Only a mom can put a First Lieutenant to shame as she learns how to Army crawl on the spot out of a nursery with the utmost precision to avoid waking the, never-napping, napping newborn.

ONE | Only a mom can provide a kiss that heals all wounds, a hug that cures sadness and a heart that offers safety, comfort and encouragement for her children.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my hard-working mamas out there. It’s a 27/7/365 day gig that we love, are exhausted by yet wouldn’t trade in for the world.

IMG_3559

 

 

A Blink of an Eye

WOWZERS. It’s been a WHOLE YEAR since I’ve last written in the blog. At the beginning of 2018, my prayer to God was for guidance on how to spend my time during the day. Sometimes the world, my mind or body will tell me I should make more time for things like sewing, reading and yoga, but truth be told, I can’t trust those resources.

So, as He does every so often, I’ve heard the Lord speaking to me a little bit louder – or maybe I’m just paying more attention – to get back to writing.

What’s happened in a year? Well, everyone’s turned a year older for starters. No one in our house wears diapers – ok except for when Sierra naps/sleeps because I just can’t handle one more extra load of laundry in case of an accident – it snowed again in San Antonio (that’s magical, people), the older kids ran track for the first time [so fun!] and we experienced our first death within my immediate family. My Meme (grandmother) passed away in early December after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Oddly, illnesses and death seem to be occurring a lot around me to friends and acquaintances – maybe that’s why I’m being led back to these keys. There’s something about writing that allows for a few minutes of peace. The transfer of thoughts to fingers in quietness. Helps perspective come to life. Which we can all use a whole lot of [hello road rage, social bullying and hate talk!].

In brighter news, vegetables are planted outside and slowly sprouting, we’re nearing the end of our first official school year as Jeremiah gets ready to finish Kinder, T-ball is in full swing and we’re still on our health journey and kicking tail with only ONE sick doc visit for a family of 5 over the past year! THANK YOU JUICE PLUS!

Spring is one of my favorite times of year for many reasons – the weather, spring cleaning and vegetation blooming all around. On deck is a [semi] bathroom remodel. I’ll be sure to share pics!

What fun things are you doing this time of year?

 

Top 5 recipe resources

A dear friend of mine asked me to give health-enthused moms ideas for go-to resources for creating healthy meals for a Facebook event. Well, if there’s ever a time to hop back into blogging and ensure you get a few dozen clicks on your first post, this is it.

So, welcome! My name is Jessica and I have a hilarious, extremely tall and in shape fruit loop-eating [we’re working on that] husband, three young children all under age six with personalities the size of Texas, two self-sufficient cats, one full-time job outside the home and another job that’s more of a passion – more to come on that. My husband and I are former division one college basketball players who still enjoy staying very active and we have now entered the phase where our children are dropped off at two separate locations while we work [oh, hello kindergarten]. So yes, you guessed it, we’re busy, and on the go … a lot.

About one year ago, we started to slowly make simple nutritional changes in our home after I listened to a pediatrician talk about the power of nutrition for children and adults. I always considered myself healthy, as did everyone around me, but over the past year, I’ve realized how little I knew about real food. Over the last 13 months, I’ve found some great resources to help spur up some ideas to spice up meals and expand our pallets. Here are a few of my favorites!

No. FIVE: Cafe’s / Cafeterias
The average person would not consider cafeterias a hot spot for healthy meal ideas. But, I’m finding that’s a myth that we foodies have to bust. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has several cafes and cafeterias, all with healthy options on the menu. However, even the not so healthy options can be reworked with plant-based ingredients to make for great entre’s at home. Sometimes we make “healthy” hard – and in our house hold, there’s not time for hard when it comes to food. One staple the cafeterias always have is a pasta bar. One day, I realized that this was a great idea for dinner. There are plenty of brown rice and quinoa noodles on the market and we eat and love them, but you can also do a pasta bar and leave out the noodle. The mixture of garlic, olive oil, a wide variety of colorful veggies and some chicken with a small scoop of mariana sauce is absolutely divine! Be observant when you are eating out and figure out how you can make restaurant meals healthy at home.

No. FOUR: Amazon
I recently spent approximately five seconds making this Facebook post …
“WANTED: Titles of your favorite real/plant-based food cookbooks.”
And soon after had several suggestions from friends actively engaging in bringing real food into their households. So the natural thing to do next is open up my Amazon app and start searching. Ta-dah! Two days later, these bad boys show up.

image1

Now, I cannot vouch for them – yet – because they literally came in on Tuesday, but I do encourage you to browse Amazon and search for vegan / plant-based cook books. Consumers do a fantastic job leaving tons of detailed reviews and the descriptions for each cook book that I tapped on were very helpful.

No. THREE: Mighty Nest
I signed up with Mighty Nest about five months ago and for $10/month, we receive a surprise eco-friendly product each month to incorporate into our home. If you like the product and want more of it, you get an additional percentage off online orders for a short period of time after your monthly gift arrives. They also include a fun, healthy recipe with every delivery. Might Nest just informed me that Americans throw away 500 million straws a day. Anyone else just say a silent OMG?! This month, we received some stainless steel straws and I’m about to order a pack of six silicon straws for just $7. Additionally, they have a fantastic lunch gear section on their website that they feature in their email campaigns which includes eco-friendly products to make packing a variety of healthy foods in lunches easier. Things like silicon cups [these can be used for ANYTHING – dish washer and oven safe!], bento boxes and stainless steel dip containers.

No. TWO: Instagram
Oh where do I even begin. So many unbelievable people and companies to follow on Instagram for healthy food ideas and inspiration. Truth be told, if you were to scroll through my Instagram feed you would assume I was a plant-based chef interior decorator who follows random people who post a lot of kid photos. @Jillian.Harris is one of my favorites. She is an insta-story junkie, constantly posting about her family’s journey to moving more and more toward plant-based / vegan. You might recognize her from The Bachelor/Bachelorette or HGTV’s Love it or List It.  @Fraichenutrition is one of Jillian’s friends who is developing her first cookbook and also a major plant-based foodie. A few other favorites to consider following are @ErinIreland, @Jessica_Gavin, @cookinglight, @100daysofrealfood, @hhcoachsteph and @WholeFoods.

No. ONE: 100 Days of Real Food
You guys are in the right place, at the right time. Lisa Leake and 100 Days of Real Food is my favorite go-to resource for easy, healthy recipes that are kid friendly and mom approved! It just so happens that she relaunched her Real Lunches, Real Easy resources and they are only available through the end of August! Yes, you can stop reading right this second and click the link to get her three lunch guides for just $24. They will literally transform your child’s school lunches. In addition, we have her first and second cookbooks and follow her blog. When I read through her first, the introductory content turned my food world upside down. Let’s just say I learned there is ZERO nutritional value in gold fish – no matter the packaging says. I’ve never seen a cookbook more easy to read [layout is everything!] or more educational while packed with simple, delicious recipes that are not intimidating.

Well, I hope at least one of my go-to recipe resources helps you transform meals in your home. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned a second job that’s more of a passion – and that’s owning my own Juice Plus franchise. The people in this company are responsible for jump starting our health transformation. In a nut shell, it’s fruits and veggies in a capsules with 37 clinical research studies that back it. Bottom line, real food is the best fuel and best medicine we can give our  bodies. Read more here!

 

Why? Because I love you.

If you’ve ever been a mom of a toddler, you might recall the Why? stage. Yep. I see you baby boomers grinning. And millennials cringing. With every adult question or statement, a high-pitched Why? follows.

My ever-so-sweet three year old girl, who happens to be the middle child, started down the Why? path several months back. This is our second time around, though. And with age, comes experience, right?

It recently dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, there is a better answer to the Why? questions beyond truth and logic. Because, let’s just be real, no matter how simply and factually you try to answer their sweet, innocent, wide-eyed selves, they ALWAYS follow up with, yet another, Why?

I swear, I don’t want to be one of those because I said so parents. But after the 17th Why? I no longer have the desire to create an educational moment, my blood pressure has sky rocketed, shoulders are tense and I’ve completely forgot the original topic of discussion.

M – our middle child neck-deep into the Why? phase would be the toughest of our three children to test my new response mechanism on – so I went for it.

Mommy, can I have another cake?*

No.

Why?

Here it goes …. eyes locked in on her, huge grin on my face ….

Because, I love you.

Confused look. Silence.

IT WORKED!

I mean, what can a child say to that? They know at a young age that we as parents love them to pieces. So they simply can’t ask you why you love them – well they could, but don’t tell them that. We’ll see how long this lasts …

*I cannot promote good nutritional habits without explaining why my three-year old is asking for another cake. I use mini silicon cupcake holders to host bite-size chocolate peanut butter cups from the 100 Days of Real Food cook book. Ingredients include 100% pure maple syrup, 100% cocoa baking bar, natural peanut butter or almond butter and almond milk – no refined sugars!