Goals with Grace

As the last days of the old year count down and the first few days of the new year begin, I feel the air abuzz with possibly and hope. The world feels fresh and full of possibility.
But despite the feelings, I lost hope and somewhere in high school I quit New Years Resolutions. And I stuck with it until two years ago.

I don’t quite remember how, but I learned two things that changed how I looked at goals, and why I set them…


{continue reading on The Creative Home Keeper}

I am so privileged to be sharing today’s post over on The Creative Home Keeper blog. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this community and I hope you’ll hop over there to read the rest and maybe stick around to read about Victoria’s sweet new baby boy!

Be blessed

Day 13: This Journey {Guest Post}

Sisters, today let me introduce you to a sweet, gentle hearted blogger that I’ve gotten to know the past year or so. You can’t read her blog without seeing how deeply and beautifully she loves God. I hope you are blessed by the words I’ve asked her to share today. So take a deep breath and let the truths of her heart ring true in yours.

I am so thankful to be sharing with you ladies here, to be part of the encouragement Alesha is doing so effectively. Its funny because the more I grow older and go through different seasons in life, the more I see how the Lord uses each of us in so many different ways. 

Our lives are often ministries themselves. 

Our struggles show how God was at work in us, how He was changing us.

I particularly love how blogging can relate to that.

Whether you are a mom who can relate well to other young moms, struggling with infertility, finding yourself in a difficult marriage, stressed out with small preschoolers, pulling all nighters to finish your college papers, a single young professional or a stay-at-home daughter…we all have so much to offer!

So many different people will understand and be encouraged there is someone else walking through the same thing.

I had a wise friend share with me these words,

‘Let your mess be your ministry.’

And a year later, I’m feeling like I finally understand what she meant.

At first it made no sense to share something that I wasn’t together about and use it to encourage others.
But slowly I have realised that when I am a mess, Christ is able to work through me.
When I surrender to Him, He is able to come out.
Sometimes it takes getting to the messy to see the grace.

The Lord has placed so many passions on my heart, areas I really would love to explore more. Things which stir something deep within my soul, stir me to action. In fact I have spent this month exploring just that in a series called 31 days of exploring the pieces. Because I feel like there are so many of these passions in my life and I can’t seem to see how they are all related, how they piece together to form a bigger picture.

How they fit into something that I can use to glorify Him. 

So these past 2 weeks, I have been writing through the mess. Exploring the confusion that these pieces have caused me, explaining why I am passionate about things….all to see how God is using them for a bigger purpose. Wrestling with them in the stillness to figure out the next course of action. Figure out which direction the Lord is leading me in.

The ministry he currently has me in is as a wife and a caregiver to 2 sweet little girls.

But there are so many more areas I hope to pursue and serve in.

I’m still in a process of growing and figuring out where I can most glorify Him.
So for now, that is what I will wholeheartedly do for Him, be the best wife & caregiver I can be.

As for what else I figure out on this journey, God knows. I don’t have any idea.
But I’m excited to see what He does & to find out.

Sisters, aren’t we all on this journey? Do these words resonate with your heart the way they do mine? Let’s breathe deeply of the freedom that He “knows” and we are simply to be obedient where He places us. Be sure to go read her series to hear more of her beautiful heart.

Be blessed

P.S. I am over on her blog today sharing my heart on serving in kids ministry.

{This post is part of my 31 day series called “Breathe” that I am linking up with The Nester for this October writing project}

Mama and Grandma

{Some of you may have seen the instagram and twitter pleas for prayer over the last week and a half. This post is an excerpt from my Mother’s journal. It tells the story of what has been going on since Friday the 15th with my grandmother who lives with my parents and younger siblings. It has been so hard to be on the other side of the country with all this going on, but God is faithful. The words are beautiful and heartfelt and said so much better than I could on my own. Be blessed.}


Dear Lord,

It has been too long!

I took Mom to the doctor on 2/5/13 – 10 day stay at the hospital – Lori and Chip came out – reconciliation – healing – Mom moved to rehab

…and that is when all the recent events started.

On Friday afternoon Tony called to see what the plan was for the night – how could he help? I was speechless – um – well – okay? So we met at Deschutes – gave him kids so I could go see Mom. I drove to the new facility and walked in her room.

There she was – laying in a ball foaming at the mouth.

The next events I would like to forget – but I believe they will be scarred with me for life.

ER – again.


Dr. Zola – what a wonderful man! So compassionate and caring! I could not believe how he helped me through that night. Tony and Adam came to see G’ma – told her they loved her.

I prayed with Mom.
Cried with Mom.
Prayed again.
Asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins and to welcome her into His heaven. I believe He did that.

I stayed as long as I could – then had to go pick up Abigail and Anna. The night was long with phone calls from the hospital. Asking hard questions – what type of comfort measures would Mom like. Each phone call thinking it would be the one to tell me that Mom gave her final breath.

But 5:45 came and I awoke – if you could call it that – I did not hear those words.

I showered and went to the hospital to find my Mom unable to talk or move – better than the night before – but in a bad place. Then Dr. Kats came and walked me through her history.


The prognosis – nothing.
Too many questions – not enough answers.
MRI – ultrasound – antibiotics…wait.
Saturday was a total blur.
Family made arrangements to come – Lesli from North Carolina, Chip from Spokane – Alison from Seattle.


I stumbled through Saturday
visiting Mom
loving on her
giving kids what they needed
comfort – whatever I could from this empty soul.

I tried to catch as much of Abigail’s performances as I could but as she played Mama in “I Remember Mama”, but I could not help but think of my Mama struggling for life at St. Pete’s. I did my best to enjoy the gift of seeing my daughter in her lead role – I wept at the end – WOW! What an amazing job she did!

Lesli and Alison arrived – I needed sleep.
I tried – wrestless – in the AM we went to see Mom.

photo 2-1

Met with Dr. Kats for over one hour. Mom has a likely chance to fully recover. Yes – fully recover. All day I had to tell myself the words the doctor said
walk & talk again.

It was a day of telling myself time and time again what the doctor said. It was – whatever is true … Think on these! Was it really true? I heard myself telling others – repeating the words

…but what I saw did not compute with the prognosis
will return to baseline!

Dinner with family
good food
back to the hospital – with Lesli, Alison and Anna.
Time with Mom
telling her we love her
repeating those words again and again.
Today – we awoke to Chip gone at the hospital
Mom can hold her eyes
she can focus
she grabbed for Chip’s hand

That is the journal for now!
Oh Lord – You are good!

Guest Post: Light Brownie Cheescake Bars

Hello everyone, I am really excited to be guest posting for Alesha today. Please allow me to introduce myself

My name is Shirley and I blog at Motivated Mommy of Two. I am a mom to the two most wonderful kids and a wife to the most loving and understanding husband.
I love to write about what motivates me to keep going with my weight loss journey, the awesome times I spend with my family. And of course all of the different projects I like to work around the house.
Today I wanted to share with you a recipe I shared with my readers a couple of months ago.
I love brownies and who does not like cheesecake?? So when I saw this on Pinterest I needed to try it out.

One day after work I stopped at the grocery store and bought my ingredients:
I decided to try and make a light version of the desert.
  • Two boxes brownie mix, prepared according to package
  • 3 (8oz) 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Sugar (I used a little less than a cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Light Sour Cream
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees 
  • Grease a 9×13 baking pan 
  • Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar

  • Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one 
  • Mix in vanilla and sour cream. Set aside

  • Prepare brownie mixes according to package directions

  • Pour and spread a little more than half of the mixture into the greased pan.

  • Spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter

  • Spread the remaining batter evenly over the pan. 
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake appears set when jiggled. (Mine baked for about 45 minutes) 
  • Allow it to cool, chill for several hours or overnight. (I left it overnight)

And in the morning the desert looked like this

I cannot begin to tell you how delicious this desert was, I could not stop eating it. I cut it into bite size pieces and when I was done I ended up with 38 of them.
I used My Fitness Pal to calculate the calories and it ended up being 153 calories per brownie. WHAT?!! No way??, yes way!!!, I was so glad when I saw that number because it made me feel a little less guilty.
Since I could not stop eating them. I took more than half to work and decided to share it with my co-workers. Placed the dish in the kitchen and I do not lie when I say that before lunch time desert was gone.
Please stop by and let me know if you guys tried the recipe. Alesha, Thank You for having me over.

This looks amazing! Thanks so much Shirley.
Be blessed!

On the Road


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You may have heard that I’m headed out of the country. Well, of you have heard that, then you are correct! Every other year, the youth group at our church takes the youth on a missions trip. This year we are driving to Mexico (from Washington State). We met at our church at 7:30 this morning an have been on the road pretty much ever since about 8:15 am! Whew! Loooong day…

BUT, no worries! Today I am over here…
with Shirley from Motivated Mommy of Two for a Summer Fun Party Guest Post!
(If you’ve been around since I only had like 10 followers, then you may have seen this post…but I added a little summer twist! So go check it out!)

Be blessed!

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