Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Juicing Journey: Day 3 (A day late again) :)

I woke up yesterday morning (day 3 of juicing) feeling much better than the day before.

Morning juice - no prob.

Mid-morning juice - no prob.

Lunch juice - no way.

I could NOT chug that nasty stuff again. So I had a salad. My sister-n-law was over for a playdate with her kiddos and we had lots of good convo including juicing and wanting to take better care of ourselves. This is such a journey. So many of us are on the same one too. Wanting to be healthier, wanting to look good, wanting to feel good, wanting to be proud of our choices and not ashamed of them. But you already know that you're not alone in these thoughts, because this talk is going on everywhere, right?

Since you already know this talk, you know there are a million diets and a million different ways to exercise. I am NOT trying to convince you to juice. That mess is hard. And detoxing sucks. But I do want you to really take the time to plan out what YOU are going to do for your own health and what support system you will use. Maybe it means starting a Facebook group with other people to keep each other accountable. Maybe it means starting an "exercise class" that meets once a week at your house to use workout dvds and your TV. Maybe it means joining a gym and meeting people there who will push you. Or maybe even getting your husband or BFF to sit down, come up with a plan for healthier eating and you guys do it together. Be creative and find what works for you. But also find others to do it with you. It really helps.

We started a ladies group that meets at our church once a week for an hour to exercise. Because we love sweating? Oh no. Because we all talk about wanting to change, but not being disciplined enough, or never actually starting, or simply giving up because it's hard to do it alone. So this is our way to say "HEY HEALTH. YOU CAN BE SO HARD. BUT WE WILL WIN. BECAUSE WE'RE DOING THIS TOGETHER."

There is seriously power in numbers. We were designed for community. I would not have been able to juice alone. My friend Jilly Jill did it with me and even decided to take it a step further and go TEN days juicing. You rock, girl! We're cheering you on!

So I didn't finish my Day 3 update...

Afternoon juice - awesome as usual.

Dinner juice - no thanks... I'd rather go to a birthday party instead... this could be dangerous...

And what better way to celebrate ending a juice fast than going to a Chinese birthday party where they serve dairy-free goodies, sushi, and veggie straws? (Elaine, I love you and your family and all of your healthy weird ways!!!)  :)

I passed on the dairy-free cupcakes, but decided to try sushi for the first time ever. When I was doing a little research on juicing detox symptoms, I found out that juicing can "reset" your taste buds. Whaaaaat. That's cool. I'm here to admit that this never-ever-eats-fish-seafood-shrimp-crab-anything-that-swims-lady ATE SUSH AND LOVED IT! Eel was my favorite. I tried salmon sushi and it was ok. The spicy beef one was a strange flavor.

I ate those 3 little sushi thingys and was crazy full. My stomach was all like "Woa, you just put FOOD in here." But it was nice to me.

And that's how I celebrated the end of my juice fast. With friends who care about health, a husband who is crazy supportive, and a new outlook on something I thought I would NEVER do.

Find your community, start taking care of your health today too. You can do this!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Juicing Journey: Day 2 (a day late)

So sorry I didn't post yesterday.

It was rough.

I would have whined and cried the entire post so I'll summarize yesterday with this:
1.) Morning and Mid-Morning drinks were ok. Not the yummiest things ever, but doable. I'm pushing through.... chug chug...
2.) I couldn't choke down the lunch juice. It's just so nasty. I drank half of it and quit. I just waited until I could "eat" my afternoon snack juice. Yes I was hungry and grumpy.
3.) Lots and lots of time spent in the bathroom. All. Day. Long. By about 5:00PM I decided I hated life and laid in bed for an hour whining to my crunchy husband and texting my friend doing this with me that this wasn't worth it. My stomach hated me and so did my bottom. Oversharing much?
4.) Around 6 I took a shower and then decided to weigh myself. I'd lost 6lbs since Monday morning. Alright... I can push through this....
5.) Dinner juice is grosser than the night before because I added an extra ingredient in there that I shouldn't have. Which could also translate to, "I made Kolby make the juice for me because I was anti-juice and hated life and he asked me if an extra orange would help make it yummier and I should have told him not to do that." Dinner juice wasted.
6.) I made a salad for dinner. All veggies. Ok, and I used raspberry vinaigrette. I can't not cheat. I don't know how to eat veggies without other THINGS. I am a loser. It just fell on my salad.
7.) Around 8:00PM I got a crazy burst of energy. I hadn't had to make a bathroom trip for over an hour so the sun was shining on my life again. It was great. I laid in bed trying to sleep, feeling awesome, wishing I had had this energy earlier in the day. How did such a crappy day end this good??? Oh yeah. Detox is weird.

So that was Day 2 of juicing... I will give another update soon!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Juicing Journey: Day 1 Continued....

I made it through the day y'all.

Only one serious melt down.

Y'allllllllllllll I love food!

After an insane amount of juice drinking today, on this rainy, cold,  (ok, maybe that's added in for dramatic effect) day.... I just wanted to eat something warm and cozy. And my 4 year old asked me to make her a "warm sandwich". Which is basically something I eat every day because I LOVE THEM.

So I yelled. Not at her, just at the day of juicing. And then I got smart.

The last meal of the day can be a meal of only fruits and veggies. But not juiced fruit and veggies... real fruits and veggies! Heck yes! Real food!

So I chopped up a bell pepper and half an onion... threw it all on the stove in a pan to simmer... and mixed in a little EVOO, fresh salsa, and garlic powder. The wonderful smell made me dance a little. I think technically I cheated a little. But I don't give a crap. :)

Oh and speaking of crap, I haven't had issues since this morning. That's pretty awesome.


When I had my crazy meltdown I went to the scale. I know, I know... It's not about the weight loss, blah blah blah... I was feeling crazy and I needed to know this was actually doing something.

The scale said 3.5lbs less than it said first thing this morning.

Definitely some motivation to keep going and complete the three days. It's only three days right??? Two more after today!!!

Being real... I'm a huge quitter. I don't know if I will actually make it through these three days. Even if you don't like me and my blog is incredibly boring will you offer some encouragement??? For reals.

Juicing Journey: Day 1

Not sure why I feel the need to chronicle this.

Maybe it's because I feel super accomplished when I do anything I don't really want to do. And maybe for a little accountability... you know, so I don't just quit.

Hey, I'm juicing. For 3 days. Just juice.

My husband is seriously the coolest crunchiest husband ever. I'm too lazy to be a crunchy parent/wife/anything. He is the reason we do cloth diapers, we make our own kitchen/bathroom cleaner, we make our own laundry detergent, and use essential oils. Out of all of those things all I do is wash the diapers... he takes care of the rest. And I have to admit out of all of those, cute cloth diapers on my babies booties make the nasty work worth it. ;)

So awesome crunchy husband watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It's this cool documentary about a 2 guys who juice fast and there are these amazing results, blah blah. I got bored in a lot of it, but I liked the results, so I half-heartedly mentioned that I would give it a try. Not for nearly as long as they did though. Oh heck no, 60 days sounds insane. I'll do a 3 days "cleanse".

Crunchy man did the research, bought the fancy juicer, went to the store and bought EVERYTHING I needed for it, and separated all of the fruits and veggies into gallon sized Ziploc bags, and then labeled them with what time of the day I'm supposed to consume them. I did ZERO work. All I gotta do is throw the stuff in the juicer.

Oh and in case at this point you're thinking, "He must think you're fat." Nope. I quit thinking that stuff a long time ago about him when he does this kind of stuff. He's a big dreamer and a fixer. He hears my little tiny dreams and runs with them to make them reality. He hears my complaining about my health and weight, and does the work to make it as easy as possible for me to get to where I want to be. He's the coolest. :)

So today is my Juicing Journey: Day1 and at this point in the day I've only drank 2 juices, but I've learned a few things...

1. Don't accidentally put too much ginger in your breakfast juice. My throat and stomach BURNED for about an hour. Gross.
2. Go to the bathroom if you think you need to pass gas. That should probably always be a rule, but ya know... just keeping it real...
3. Cucumber juice makes a pretty awesome addition to your juice mixture.

So there ya go. I've got about 3 more juices to drink today and a meal of veggies and fruit tonight for dinner (yippee), so maybe I'll do another post tonight. If not tonight, I'll definitely give a Day 2 update tomorrow. :)

Any juicing advice/tips? I'm really hoping the um... bathroom issue... doesn't become a huge issue. Maybe I just need to embrace that this is a "cleanse." :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jesus Weeps and Sustains

You know that verse some of us joke that it's the easiest to memorize?

Yeah, that one. "Jesus wept."

Do you remember why He was weeping?
Lazarus had just died.
But He rose Lazarus from the dead, right?
And He knows everything... so why would He be weeping when He knew He would raise Lazarus back to life?

Because He is a God who hears our cries and mourns with us.

And if we really believe that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever...
Can't we trust that the same way He wept back then, He sees us in our sorrow and struggles, and He mourns with us today? Take a deep look inside your heart... do you view God this way?

This is a very busy week for us. After a beautiful, relaxing and encouraging time last week at the Pastor/Pastor Wives Retreat (Galatians 6:6) it's been a little overwhelming for such a busy week to follow it. I'm thankful for the busy, because it's all been good things, but it's draining us all. I've found myself already questioning where God is in the mundane and the busy, and wrestling with the same sins I committed to turn from just last week. It's so hard to endure when you're trusting in yourself and not grasping that there is One who longs for you to lean on Him.

But I was reminded last night (at a See You at the Pole rally) that God not only sees us in our struggles and mourns with us...

He finishes the good work He has started. He provides the things we need to keep going emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, spiritually. He fills us up. Oh how bad, I need to turn to Him!

He sees us in our sorrow and does not leave us there.

Thank you God for seeing us. Change our hearts and fill us up. So we can continue to do the work You've called us to and not grow weary.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Go out and eat gelato. Just do it.

Alright mamas. I went out last night. My sister-n-law Jennie and I were losing our minds and we NEEDED this. And now YOU are going to go out too.

The poop. The whining. The drama. The dishes.

Mamas, this is our lives right? It's ridiculously beautiful and rewarding, but also hard as crap.

Mamas... you've GOT to let yourself get away from all of that sometimes.

When you feel like you will cry if you have to change one more poopy diaper. When you feel like you will SCREAM if one more kid whines at you about not liking the food you set in front of them. When you think you might tear someone's head off if they bring one more piece of pointless drama, that will not matter 5 minutes from now, before you. When you look at the sink and want to punch somebody because it's overflowing with dishes that haven't even been rinsed.

It's time to get away.

"There's no way for me to get away."
"My kid is attached to me."
"I have to be there to put them to bed."
"I don't have the money to go out."

Drop the excuses. You're going out, Mama.

There is a way. Yes, you have to use the teensy tiny bit of brain energy (<--real thing) to plan out how this can actually happen. But I PROMISE it's worth it. Use that little bit of brain energy to plan this getaway and you will be amazed at what it will do to your depleted brain energy supply.

You're crying attached-to-you child will be fine for a few hours. Seriously. Even if they cry the entire time you're gone. THEY WILL SURVIVE. But most likely... they won't cry the entire time you're gone. They'll get over it. And if they don't they will just be extra happy to see you when you get back and you have brain energy again. They will think in their little baby brain, "Wow, Mama doesn't have that crazy look in her eyes anymore..." It's worth letting your kid fuss a few hours so that you can get your brain energy back. You need it Mama. That same fussing child is the one who took it away from you. Go get it back and then you can take care of them like a sane person again.

Ok so putting our kids to bed at night as a family is kind of a big deal to us. It's something we've decided is important for our family. We always want our kiddos to know that we are there at night and they don't have to wonder where we are and blah blah blah. So if this is your life too, know that you can still go out. You've just got to plan around that time. For me, I planned my mama night AFTER bedtime. Meaning I laid the kiddos down and then took off. Freedom doesn't begin to describe the feeling I had. So do that. Lay them down and then leave. It was nice knowing I didn't have to worry about them driving their Daddy up the wall while I was gone. Or if ya want, plan it out so that you can go out and be back by bedtime. And if you're a fam that doesn't do the family bedtime thing, then even better. Just leave the kiddos to do bedtime with Daddy-O and greet them with new brain energy in the morning! After you've had a cup of coffee because you stayed out so late of course. :)

Yes you do have the money to go out. Don't say you don't. I spent $6.23 last night and was out for 3 hours. We went to a cute little Italian ice cream and pastry shop called Angelo Brocato. I got strawberry cheesecake gelato and a strawberry Italian soda. Jennie got strawberry gelato and a giant cup of coffee. We talked until the place got so crowded and loud that we decided to go sit on some benches in front of a bar next to Angelo's. We talked and talked some more until a creepy old man kept smiling and staring at us, and I decided I would rather not be hit on by a drunk old dude. So then we drove back to where Jennie had parked and sat in the van for another hour and just talked some more. We only left when we remembered the fantasy couldn't go on forever and there would be children demanding brain energy in the morning.

Look how cute and excited we are about gelato and coffee. I don't know why I'm sticking my tongue out like Miley Cyrus, I was just excited, okay?

And ya know what? I greeted my children with coffee and brain energy this morning.
Hello children, there is less crazy in my eyes and your whining doesn't seem so loud today.

So why not get out, Mama???
Don't let anything hold you back. You need to breathe and eat some gelato. :)


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sin & Grace {dedicated to my mom}

Everyone has crazies in their family, right? We've all got that goofball uncle who shoots spitballs at thanksgiving, or that wild cousin who lives in Europe doing who knows what, or a crazy great aunt who obsesses over goats. Every family is jacked up in some way, shape or form. Everybody knows that.

Well, did you know...

My Great Grandmother was a prostitute.


You want to see a picture of some of Satan's dirtiest work? Just look at my family line.

From prostitutes to pedophiles, adulterers to alcoholics, murderers to molesters... it's all covered in my family line.

People say, "It doesn't get worse than my family."


You can find "crazy" in every shape and form of the word. And you don't have to look far at all to find it.

Oh, but friend...

You want to see a picture of God's grace and how much He cares for the individual? Just look at my family line.

 I've witnessed healing, TRUE healing. The kind of healing that's incredibly humbling and painful, but it brings with it restoration. I have seen Him take broken people and change their story. Washing all of that dirty, disgusting sin away and replacing it with grace and a new life. Beautiful, precious grace.

There have been times that I've thought of myself as 'less than' or 'disgusting' because of the family line I come from. Maybe you guard your heart better than I do, but my line has caused me to be really embarrassed at times. I know I'm not them, and yet still I know I'm somehow connected to them...

But listen to this. EVERY. TIME. I think of my family line, God doesn't let me get stuck on their sin. He reminds me of what He can do.

God, I know I could easily be still on that same track they were going down. Only You in Your grace could save me from it all. You could have left my family on that path of destruction. You could have abandoned us and our line in our sinfulness and filth. But You didn't. You healed, You changed paths, You picked us up out of the mud and started wiping all the crap off of us. You literally changed thinking patterns, you restored relationships, you taught us how to live a life of freedom from sin, you showed us true love and how to trust again...

That beautiful grace that reminds me of who I am in Him... if it's available for me and my family, it's available to you and your crazy family too, friend.

- Dedicated to my mom, who was one of the first to take steps away from the bondage and into the light. Who knows who I would be if you hadn't responded to God's grace?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Like Pumpkin Chili In New Orleans In The Middle Of August

Monday morning.

I'm feeling great. Made my coffee, did "school" with the little girlies... we're off to a good start.

Such a good start, I think I'll get on pinterest and find a nice crockpot meal for tonight.

Hmm... need something dairy free, and I wanna use that ground beef in the fridge...

I think I'll just make my own concoction. Forget pinterest. I'm feeling creative.

Flash back to Friday afternoon.

It's HOT. Our air conditioner is dumb. I don't know what's wrong with it. It's just dumb.

It is staying right around 88 degrees in the house... while that may not be enough to cause a heat stroke, it's enough to make me a very angry person.

Don't talk to me when I'm hot.

I don't go outside from June through October. Not on purpose anyway.

It's too dang hot in this city.

Flash (back?) forward to Monday morning.

While it's still cool, I'm in a happy productive mood, and the sun hasn't hit that spot of the house that seems to have a magnifying glass on it (you know, so it can scorch us suffering house ants), I decide to make chili.

Now... to make chili... In August. In New Orleans. Is. A. Dumb. Idea.

Even if your house doesn't reach 89 degrees by 4:00PM.

But I did it. And I realized how dumb I was around 1:00PM. "Oh yeah... it's been averaging 86 during the afternoons in the house the past 4 days... crap..."

This is the chili recipe:

2 lbs of cooked ground beef
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 cans of chicken broth
1 can of black beans
1 lb of dry lima beans
2 cups of water (I like my chili a little more soupy)
Fresh garlic (however much you like... I like lots)
1 onion
Chili powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, thyme, oregano (again, however much ya like... I like lots of spices in my chili)

Throw is all in the crockpot for about 5 hours.

Even though I was dripping sweat while I ate it... it was really really REALLY good. The pumpkin puree gave it this awesome texture and a deep flavor that I was really surprised by.

I let the kids eat sandwiches. Or whatever else was in the fridge that would cool them off a little and keep them from whining about the heat to the overheated mama.

Just when I thought I would die of a heat stroke because the house had reached 89 degrees....

Jesus made it rain.

We threw all the doors and windows open, not caring if anything got wet and I told the kiddos to go play in the rain to cool off.

Some of them were, ahem... in their panties. Oh well. Be free children.

Then we all took cold baths and showers and went to bed with thin sheets for covers.

I highly recommend this Pumpkin Chili.

But not in New Orleans in August.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breakfast is served.

I like my coffee SWEET. And cold. Flavored (usually Peanut Butter Cup or Gingerbread) Iced Coffee with International Delight French Vanilla or Cinnabon creamer. I live with a barista so I pretty much get whatever kind of coffee I want. It's lovely. And it's why I'm a little chunky.
But today... there's no coffee in this cup. I'm out of creamer. So yeah, no coffee today.

 But there is food in that cup. :)

What is that??

3 scrambled eggs
1/2 cup of roasted red pepper hummus
and a dash of feta on top
This will change your life. You're welcome.
Oh and I have to admit this wasn't completely original. While I was on Pinterest the other day (I hate myself a little every time I start a sentence with those words) I found a "recipe" for plain hummus and eggs. I thought it sounded a little boring, but possibly yummy so I added a little flair to it with my version and BAM. It's good. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Covering up the stank.

Today I took my older girls to get some school clothes.

 We hit up the consignment stores and got a TON of stuff (6 pairs of uniform pants, 6 belts, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 pairs of shoes and some other fun stuff that I couldn't resist snagging) for under $100. Don't be snobby. Buy those used clothes, Mama. These kids grow FAST and require new clothes daily. Ok not daily, but for real. Why spend so much now just to spend another ton of money in a few months? No girl. Go to the thrift stores. It's good stuff.

In between enjoying ourselves, driving around to the coolest consignment shops and shopping 'til we dropped, I got real sweaty in the van. Ya see... the air conditioner works in the back of our van, but not up front. Ghetto. Sometimes if you hit a bump real hard it will kick on (and possibly get so excited you almost pee your pants). Ghetto. The kiddos in the back are always like "Turn the air off! It's SO cold!!!!!!! We're fuh-reezing!" All while we're up front getting sweaty foreheads and thinking about the embarrassing butt sweat that's gathering in awkward places. It's New Orleans y'all and it's SO hot. And yes, we're too cheap to take it to get looked at. As much as I complain about it I still have the let's just roll the windows down and deal with the butt sweat attitude.

So I probably should have seen this conversation with the hubby coming...

"What is that smell?"

"I don't know! Probably you."

(snobby face) "No, it's you. You stink really bad. Go wipe your arm pits."

(pout face) "Aw man it is me! I was sweating so bad today in the van! It was so hot!"

(I-don't-care face) "Go clean your arm pits. Or something."

So I did the classy thing and put more deodorant on and sprayed my stank self with a lot of perfume.

Ain't nobody got time for clean armpits. Okay?

Oh don't worry, I gross myself out too. I immediately thought, "Oh my GOSH, you are really nasty." Then I kind of giggled about it. And then I just went on with my evening. La di da... don't mind me. I just smell like coconut lime mixed with a hint of B.O. and powder fresh scent. Mmmm.

Don't worry (apparently you're in a worrisome mood right now and I need to keep reminding you to stay calm). I truly know that this is gross and I don't really think it's ok to be so nasty. I'm awkwardly trying to go somewhere with this.

As I was giggling about my nastiness I thought about that verse that talks about our prayers being like an incense, a sweet aroma, to God.

"God, come close. Come quickly!
    Open your ears—it’s my voice you’re hearing!
Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising;
    my raised hands are my evening prayers." (Psalm 141:1)

For a while I wasn't praying. It was just too hard. I felt this heavy weight on me that told me I couldn't pray, wasn't good enough to pray like I used to, God wouldn't hear my prayers anymore, prayers didn't change things, prayers didn't help...

So even when I wanted to pray I felt like I couldn't. I had to battle the thoughts, and I just didn't have the strength to fight. So I was really lonely and miserable. Instead of dealing with the real issue I covered up the nasty with other stuff. Busyness, anger, hiding away in my room, overthinking, selfishness, and anything else that seemed easier and more convenient than dealing with the junk. And even though I hoped it was, I knew it wasn't a secret. You could almost smell it...

Until I got real. I finally got vulnerable. I told God how much I missed Him and how I really wanted to feel Him close to me again, and not just know He was close in my head. During my miserable time of no prayers I cried a lot, being so stuck and weighed down makes you really, really sad. But I hadn't been broken. It was when I finally turned to Him, said I'm sorry for my coldness, and told Him of my desire for Him that He changed my heart and began to lift the weight.

Now this isn't the "recipe" for everyone. I'm not saying "Here is the equation for your relationship with God to get better right now. Do this and you're fixed." Every story is different and we all have different weights. Different things that can make us "stink".

But if you read the Word you will see that this theme of turning to Him with an open and vulnerable heart always ends in redemption and healing.

And I think God has a strong stomach. As much as he desires a sweet aroma, He can handle our stench. When we bring it all to Him, He won't say "Go wash yourself. You're nasty." He says, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. Let me wash you up."

I'm so thankful for His unconditional love and restoration. And for showers. Which I should probably go take now...


Friday, June 27, 2014

All the single ladies (and guys... and widows... and married peeps... and...)

Now, put ya hands up! Uh-uh-oh-uh-uh-oh-oh-oh....

Ok, I'll stop. I recognize that I may be the complete opposite of Beyoncé. I mean, even when I typed her name just now, blogger knew to automatically put that little accent sign above the 'e'.

Does blogger know that I prefer to have an accent above my 'e'???

Paigé is what I will go by from now on, thank you very much blogger.

But y'all. I love dat song. It be playin' in my head all the time. You know it be playin' in yo head too. (Oh, yeah... I'm adjusting my dialect to fit me a little better now that my name is Paigé. Duh girl.)

No, but really... I love the excitement that song brings to the single crowd. It's got them dancing and singing and celebrating their singleness. All proud of themselves for being single. Whaaaat? Since when does that happen? Since when is your single friend flaunting themselves around talking about how truly happy they are to be single? (I'm not talking about that girl that wishes she has a man and acts like she don't care... we all know her and know she really wants one.) Although not the most tasteful song eva', I love that singles can sing this song with some pride in their singleness! Get it guuuurl. Or guuuuy. W/e.

Why am I so happy for these single folks?

Girl, weren't you married at a young age? You don't think errrbody should too?
("errrbody" = "everybody"... remember my name is now Paigé)

I love that I got married at a young age. I was 18 and he was 24. It was right for us. I love my husband so much. We've been through some junk together and I wouldn't want to walk through that stuff with anybody else. He's a dreamer, he's cray cray, he's sarcastic, he is PASSIONATE, he is an incredible leader, and he's a GREAT father. I love that man. He is a HUGE part of my life, my NUMBER ONE relationship, and one of my MAIN priorities. But he's not my finish line. I didn't marry Kolby and have the "happily ever after" ending.

 Life kept going... Children came along... God kept moving... We kept (literally) moving...

Things weren't finished when we said "I do." It was just the beginning of our journey together and a continuation of our individual journeys.

Marriage is a very beautiful and unique piece of God's creation that I'm very thankful to experience. But there are other beautiful and unique creations you may experience, that I never will. Kolby and I are still in a figuring-ourselves-out kind of stage, learning who we really are and what we want to be about. We have our own individual dreams and passions. We share those with each other, we encourage each other, we love each other through the upsets... but we may not always share those same dreams and passions. Because we're individual people. And y'all... that's OK!! God designed us both and made us really different people. We can appreciate and love the other person without everything exactly lining up.

So what am I getting at?

Marriage isn't The End. And sorry (not sorry) if this rocks your world, but it's not what life is all about.

Knowing God, through Jesus, is what life is all about. And THAT is a reason to celebrate! Because whether you're married, single, dating, divorced, courting, engaged, a widow, a single parent... whoever you are... all are welcome in His kingdom. He's crazy about YOU and has a plan for YOU.

Hey YOU. Your journey isn't taking it's time, waiting to start.

Hey YOU. Your journey isn't over.

Isn't that a reason to celebrate??

So where are you at on this journey? Are you rocking out to single ladies and celebrating that God is using you in your singleness? Are you a widow who is embracing God's unique and beautiful plan that still seems so fresh and new? Are you courting and feel like no one else in the world understands this personal journey you've chosen to walk with some one else, yet you're loving every minute? Are you married and watching in amazement at how God is using your family? I want to hear what journey you're celebrating!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

I didn't like His answer

After about a week of taking medicine for depression I realized that I'd been depressed much longer than I had originally thought.

In 2011 (pre-children days), Kolby and I spent 6 months living in Greece. I look back on those 6 months as the best time in my life. Greece is my happy place. The food, the people, the lifestyle... it was an incredible time of learning more about ourselves and drawing near to God. When it was time to leave we prayed that God would let us stay. He said it was time to go.

I obeyed Him, but I sure didn't like His answer.

The minute I stepped off of the plane back into America I felt the weight. I couldn't have known at the time that the weight would grow heavier and heavier for the next 3 years.

You see, pre-medication I thought I'd been depressed for about a year. I'm a very self-aware person and I need to know what's going on inside of my mind. So I put the blame on pregnancy hormones, post-partum hormones, "family problems" (for lack of better words), being 22 with 5 children, not getting enough sleep, not eating healthy enough,.... whatever I could snag out of the air to use as an answer. All of these certainly contributed to the overall problem (the weight getting heavier), but I think the negative thinking patterns could be traced back to that moment I stepped off of the plane. Once the medicine kicked in and things began to clear up, I could see that I have been depressed for about three years. Three years is a long time.

I obeyed God, but I sure didn't like His answer.

In Greece, Kolby and I accepted the call from God to overseas missions.
Nobody in our lives was shocked. Except for me and Kolby.
Shocked and thrilled.

But that calling came about a month before we came back to the States.
So we decided that must mean Kolby should immediately go to school to get the education needed to go back overseas, and as SOON as he's done we'll head back to Greece.

One incredible church home, five children, and three years later...
The unspoken questions...

How did this happen? Weren't we called? We knew it would take some time to figure things out before could go back... but all of this?

Guilt set in the day Kolby answered the call as pastor at Rio Vista.
How can a person feel guilty answer a calling from God? Because we thought that answering this calling from God contradicted the previous calling. How can You call Kolby to be a pastor when we're supposed to be overseas?

I knew we were being obedient, but also felt like we were betraying our friends in Greece. Like somehow in our excitement about ministry overseas we had lied to them about coming back.

At the same time, it's been so clear that we are where we need to be. So we clung to that truth and stuffed the other feelings down.

Well, I'm TIRED of feeding the LIE that says...
  • You're a betrayer.
  • You're not where you should be.
  • You spoke too soon.
  • Greece is the ONLY happy place for you.

I spent so much time stuffing down the lies instead of staring them in the face and speaking truth. Since I left all that nastiness underneath the surface for so long it began to spill into other areas of my life. I was scared to bond with my children. I was angry with God for calling us to hard things. I didn't feel like I could trust my own thoughts or feelings. I thought I would be miserable forever and I could never go back to the Paige I used to be.

But I'm done with that.

THIS is what we're speaking now...
  • We are loyal to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for them and share in their struggles. God, show us how to team up with them while we're here in America and give us the resources to help their ministry overseas.
  • We are where we are called to be. Doing ministry with and for the people of New Orleans isn't "lesser" than doing ministry with and for the people of Greece. We are all created in His image and where He tells us to go and serve, we will go and serve.
  • We didn't speak too soon about our excitement to be called to ministry overseas. The was a God-given joy He placed inside of us and sharing that we are called wasn't wrong or dumb. We can trust that one day God will fulfill the calling He has placed on us.
  • Greece may be my "happy place" but isn't the only place I can be happy. I can thrive wherever God calls me. Life for Christ isn't easy, but it's SO worth it. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I don't have this all figured out. I still don't always like His answers, but He is God and He can (and will) do what he wants to do to accomplish His perfect plan. Either I can stay depressed about my circumstances, or I can join up with what He's doing. I am blessed to know Him and to be a part of His plan. He's given us an incredible ministry here in New Orleans where He is moving!. Freeing myself up to enjoy the ministry and life He has called me to here is such a weight lifted off of me.

One day Kolby and I will be overseas again, serving others for Him wherever He calls us. Maybe our 5 kiddos will be with us, or maybe they will all be grown by the time we go. Whatever the outcome, I choose to trust in Him, knowing that His ways are higher than my own.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Proposal

All day long my friends avoided me.

They would be around me for 10 minutes max...
then make up an excuse to leave.

I didn't really notice it the first half of the day because Kolby was hanging out with me a ton...
and not acting much weirder than usual.

But around 6pm I thought, "WHERE are all of my friends?!? I've been with Kolby all day. PLEASE - can we do something fun, somebody!?!?!"

It was October of 2009 at Brewton-Parker College.

Hanging out in the BCM building, skipping class, laying out in the front lawn, blasting music in our dorm rooms...

 I. loved. every. single. second. of. college.
Hanging with my peeps 24/7 was what I did. Loved it.

So I was pumped that night when some my punk friends finally stopped ignoring me and suggested "sneaking out."

Brewton-Parker College is a Southern Baptist college that has rules for students that include a curfew. Curfew is for losers. I can't share here what exactly my friends and I used to sneak out and do... but if you ask me in person I just may share. ;)

This particular night Kolby and I joined up and snuck out around 2am. Our friends were texting him to let us know where to meet up at.

I am terrified of the dark. My imagination starts taking off and going places it shouldn't. I'm always certain a giant man, who has been stalking me for 45 minutes, is going to chase after me every time I walk into the darkness. Being afraid of the dark isn't a completely irrational fear, but it does make you feel kinda silly when you're in college sneaking out and your friends are like "What's your deal???"

So here we are in the dark looking for our friends at the meet up spot.

Nobody's there.

Kolby gets a text.

Hey, we're not going to blah blah blah tonight. Let's meet up at the soccer field.

"Nope. I'm not walking down there, Kolby. It's creepy and dark out here. Let's just go back. Who knows what they are doing out there anyways!"

"No, no, this will be fun! Come on, you'll be fine!"

So creepy. So dark. I hate it.

We get to the soccer field.

Nobody's there.

Kolby gets a text.

Hey, meet us at the field  down behind the baseball field.

"What the heck? NO WAY. I'm NOT going out there. It's even darker and scarier down there Kolby. They're going to do something to us if we go down there. They wouldn't have dragged us out here like this if they were really going to meet up with us. Something is going on. I'm NOT going out there. Let's just go back to our dorms now. For real."

"No, no, we'll be fine! They won't do anything to us... for real. We'll be fine. Just stay close to me, babe. I've got you. Don't worry."
I still melt when he calls me babe...

So as you can imagine, I went with him.

We turn the corner around the baseball field to get to the open field and my nerves are going wild...

What on earth are they going to do to us out here???

As I walk around the corner...

There's music. There are 2 trucks parked parallel to each other and there's a huge white sheet hanging between them. There is a slideshow of pictures of Kolby and I shining onto the sheet, and there is a couch in the middle of the field facing the slideshow. Two of our best friends walk up seemingly out of nowhere, hand us glasses with sparkling grape juice in them, and tell us to take a seat.

I look at Kolby. "What is going on?"

"Just sit, babe."

The whole experience became a fog of music, anticipation, and giggling.

"Is this what I think it is???"

The music ends and the slideshow stops.

Kolby gets on his knee, places his purity ring on my finger, and asks THAT question.

"Will you marry me?"

"Of course! YES!"

As soon as I say yes a crazy loud celebrating group (close to 50 of our friends) burst out of the bushes that were around the field! They'd all been watching us (like the creepers they are).

It was so exciting!

Some people were crying, some people were taking pictures, and some were yelling.

Someone drove up in my car that had "SHE SAID YES" written all over it.

It was the BEST moment EVER.

Four and a half years later and I still couldn't have imagined a better proposal scene for myself. Kolby is still just as creative and unique in his approach to our marriage and our lives today. I'm still just as much of a spaz. I'm so thankful I said "YES!" to my Kolby and the journey of life he offered to me. Enjoy these pics from that special night. :)

"AH! People!"
Overwhelmed and happy! Obviously. :)
"Hey Mom... I'm engaged!"

 Yep. Now I was riding around like a cool kid. ;)

 <3 <3 <3


Monday, May 19, 2014

Medicine for the Blind

I went to the eye doctor for the first time in about 4 1/2 years. Yep.

The eye doctor was amazed at how awful my eyes are/have become since my former prescription.

She light heartedly, yet seriously, told me I'd been driving illegally because I'd been driving BLIND. Oh my...

She also told me my astigmatism is on the severe end of the spectrum now. That's nice...

She gave me sample contacts of the new prescription to try out and...

y'all... I feel like a new person.

I can see so much!!! It's amazing! I've been thanking Jesus for giving me true sight again! I had no idea how bad it was until I put these new contacts in! I can't wait to go back in 2 weeks and buy contacts and glasses with my prescription. I'm a new woman!

This whole eye event seems like a mini picture of what I've been going through the past 2 years.

As a word I've used to describe my depression before... things have felt "foggy."

I felt stuck, angry, hopeless, and scared of the future. So blinded by the fog... I couldn't see the hand of God holding out things like joy, peace, and patience...

knew He was holding out in His hand with wonderful things for me... and I continued in faith to believe that He was there and that those things were real. But it was so hard to see when the fog was so thick. And I was so tired of the mental fight. I failed often.

I really struggled with taking medication for my depression. I didn't want people to know, and I didn't want to admit, that I couldn't handle things on my own. I didn't want people to think I was crazy... I didn't want to think of myself as crazy. I wanted to STOP thinking those awful things and start DOING the things I knew I should be doing. But I just couldn't. The heaviness was too much for me to bear. I remember thinking, "Paige... taking depression medicine is just another way you're failing. You're failing to trust in God to heal you." When I finally let go of tiny piece of my pride and admitted this to Kolby he said something profound that I will never forget, "What if this medicine is the healing that God wants to bring to you?" And the same way I thank God for benedryll when I take it because I'm having an allergy attack and need to rest, I thank God for creating depression medicine to lift the fog out of my mind so I can really process the world I'm in.

I'm seeing hope again. I can feel the reality of the story of Jesus using mud (dirt and His own spit) to make a blind man see.

Jesus is taking that nastiness and saying "Look. I can make you see again, Paige. Your dirt, your hurt, your depression - it's not too big for Me. Nothing is impossible with Me. Not even your depression."


love your neighbor(hood)

Something I've always wanted to do, but have never lived anywhere long enough in our marriage to be able to do until now, is make friends with the neighbors.

I love being able to walk up and down our street and not only know who lives in the houses around mine, but be able to say "Hey! How's your baby boy doing?" or "Hey! Sorry our girls' lawn umbrella flew into your yard again!" or "Hey, umm... I need some eggs...".

 Although I haven't met everyone on the whole street yet, I'm working on it. It's a new goal of mine. :)

One of our neighbors is a Mexican family who doesn't speak much English. I don't speak much Spanish, so Sanquena (the wife) and I mainly communicate by pointing and smiling and shaking our heads. I've been trying to teach Hadi and Rebecca to say "Ola" and "Adios" to this family's baby boy who is about a year old. Rebecca is usually too shy and doesn't say anything at all, but Hadi usually repeats over and over "OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA." until she decides to choke hug the little boy who doesn't receive well the overwhelming affection.

Yesterday we were at WinnDixie with some friends and Rebecca saw our Hispanic neighbors before any of us did.

She yelled, "HEY! Y'ALL!" at them and turned to her little friend with her and said, "That's Ola... I know her. Her name is Ola."

Not exactly, babe...

I'm just glad she's getting over her fear of talking to the neighbors...

Because investing in others is important. Not just because my husband is the pastor of the church that basically sits in most of our neighbor's backyards. But because people matter. We were all made in the image of God and relationships are something God designed because WE need them.

Relationships were designed to point us to Him.

And what better way is there to share the gospel and be disciple ourselves than with the people who live next to you? These are the people who see our REAL lives. The people who see your overgrown grass, hear you yell at your kids to come inside, bring your trash cans back up for you, give you advice for how to get rid of weeds, nag you to join the city civic association, and let you borrow endless amounts of ice and eggs (Michelle I'm giving you a shout out here!).

Because when we help each other, cry together, eat meals in each other's houses, talk about our kids, and simply live life together... We learn, we grow, we change. It's community.

Yes, on a certain level this takes vulnerability - instead of getting home from work and keeping to yourself, you go outside when you see your neighbor watering his plants and you start a conversation with him.

And on another level it takes changing your perspective - instead of being grumpy towards your neighbors who have that crazy dog who never stops barking... you see THEM as people... more than people who just have a psycho dog.

I hope this is something I can teach my children. To love their neighbor. Just as Jesus commanded us to.

Because even though it's uncomfortable sometimes and it causes me to step out of my comfort zone... I can truly see the enormous amount of blessings!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hadi's birth story

While she's not my oldest, she is my first.

The first baby I knew I would be able to mother forever.
The first child I knew I didn't have to hand back over at the end of the day.
The first child to poop all over my shirt.
The first child I breastfed.
The first girlie-girl to put pink cloth diapers on.
The first sweet baby to give me the title "Mama."

I vividly remember finding out that we were having a girl at our gender reveal party. I had wanted a little girl to love on so bad! What a gift from God!

Hadassah Kolbie DePratter <3

I've always been attracted to different names that stick out in the crowd. But more than that I wanted her name to be meaningful and filled with the weight of a story from the Word.

So one day, when I was (extremelymorning sick  all day sick in bed, sucking on peppermints because that was all I could keep down, watching movie after movie by myself while Kolby was working 2 jobs  so we could keep a roof over our heads... I popped into the DVD player the movie One Night With the King. And that's when I decided we would name her Hadassah. Watch the movie if you haven't seen it before, it is a great interpretation of the story of Esther.

And her middle name was pretty obvious for us. She's named after her daddy. Although I altered the spelling some because I love Colbie Caillat (and probably because I'm one of those people who tend to make things more complicated than they have to be. :P)

Hadi's due date, April 4th, came and went.

I ate pineapple non-stop, walked until I lost about 5lbs, and stomped up the stairs to our apartment. Nothing.

On Monday afternoon, at 40 + 5, I went to the doctor for a checkup hoping to find that things were finally moving along. Kolby had brought home from work a piece of chocolate covered cheesecake and a brownie from a fancy chocolate store because all women who go past their due date need something fattening to make them happier decent people. I demolished the chocolate covered cheesecake in the car on the ride to the doctor's office and shoved the brownie in my purse for later. Disappointed to find out I was still only at 3cm (I had been for about 3 weeks)... we decided to schedule an induction for Thursday morning.

And just to be sure Hadi-boo was doing ok, I was sent to the labor and delivery unit for some monitoring.

"Do you feel that?"

The nurse was seeing some contractions on the monitor.

"I guess so. But I didn't think that was a contraction.... My stomach just feels kind of tight."

"That's a contraction and they're coming pretty consistently. Let's see what's going on..."

4 cm dilated.... hmmm....

"I think you're in labor!"

Although a little in shock, I knew it was my last chance to get a bite in before the big show. I let the nurse walk away before I grabbed the brownie out of my purse and shoved it in my mouth. In birthing classes they told us "No food while in labor and delivery!" Well, I just can't let a fancy brownie go bad...

So they check me into the hospital, I'm in the L&D room, it's about 6:30PM and they say something about starting some Pitocin.

 I may be the biggest baby you'll ever meet when it comes to pain.  Getting an epidural wasn't ever something I questioned. Pass out because of contractions? Uh, no thanks. Give me the needle.

But Kolby needed to run home and get our stuff.

So I told them I knew how rough Pitocin could be... and even though Kolby couldn't be in the room during the epidural... I really wanted Kolby there for when they started either one of those things. Just in case something went wrong or something crazy happened, I wanted my man there.

So during the next hour, while Kolby is running back to get our stuff, I start really feeling the contractions. And they were coming FAST and STRONG for this big baby (<--- me, not Hadi).

"Ummm... I really want the epidural now. Can I get that NOW?"

I had the sweetest nurse who basically let me lay on her while they did the epidural. The contractions were strong and hard during the procedure but she talked me through them.

They finished just as Kolby returned and he joined me in the room again.

Epidural + My Man = Relief

I couldn't feel anything in my legs besides this weird pain that would move back and forth from my right side to my left side. The nurses said that sometimes epidurals don't cover errrrthang and sometimes there are little "hot spots" that will still hurt.

It was just enough to wake me up during my napping through labor...

Yeah you read that right. I went to sleep soon after the epidural kicked in and woke up occasionally because of nurses checking on me and the "hot spot" bothering me. I slept through labor. Around 6-ish Tuesday morning I was dilated to around 8 cm and the on call doctor called my personal OBGYN to let her know what was going on so she could come in to work a little early just in case things picked up speed.

My OB got to my room at 7AM.

She checked to see progress....

BAM. Water broke while she was checking me.

Gross... yeah, kind of embarrassing. (And yet I'm sharing it here... hmm... I guess I'm thinking if you're reading this and gotten this far you must be cool with hearing the whole sha-bang.)

"Whoa. It's time to push! She's ready. Wait... um... dad? What are you doing?"

"Oh I'm on facebook! I've got to tell the world what's going on!"
"Well you've gotta get off of there or you're gonna miss this! It's time!"

Two pushes and Hadi was out by 7:15AM Tuesday, April 10th 2012.

I remember Kolby holding her and singing Shane & Shane to her. I remember not being able to get up and pee 4 hours later because epidurals take for-eva for their effect to wear off of me for some strange reason. I remember them wheel chairing on down to a room. I remember some friends visiting, but not too many (Which is nice... I don't like a lot of people visiting me in the hospital. I'm just too disgusting and tired to be around other humans). The rest is a big blur of exhaustion up until she was about 4 months old and I finally got some sleep again.

And that's how Hadi joined us. :)





Thursday, May 8, 2014

Depression & Love

As I was pulling up to the drive thru window at Walgreens to pick up my prescription of generic Zoloft, just before I drove off to week 30-something of counseling, I thought...

"This isn't exactly where I thought I'd be at the age of 22."

Sometimes I look at my 14 year old and remember the (about) 9 year difference between us, and wonder, "What will she be doing 9 years from now? I hope not what I'm doing."

Don't get me wrong. I'm living a life of purpose. A life of meaning. A Called life. I'm RARELY bored. And good thing because when I do get bored I google things like Redneck Pool Time...

But life's thrown a lot at me in a short amount of time and it's hard. I don't wish this for my kids.

Maybe one day I will, but right now I don't. I want them to live a Called life that doesn't include depression medicine and processing through traumatic experiences. I want them to love on orphan babies in Africa, counsel 4th graders in a public school, be a nurse in Mexico, or teach nutrition and sex-ed classes in India.

Oh wait.

Those things can get pretty depressing and traumatic.

I read Hosea this week. And being really REAL for a minute, I'll admit that this pastor's wife hasn't been great about getting into the Word lately. When you feel punished for being obedient to the Lord, sometimes it's hard to talk to or hear from Him. Am I getting too real for ya?

But yeah... So I read Hosea this week. If you don't know the story it's basically about this guy who was really dedicated to God (he was a prophet) and God tells him to marry a hoe harlot. GOD TELLS HIM TO MARRY SOMEONE WHO WILL CHEAT ON HIM AND RUN AWAY TO FORMER LOVERS.

 That sounds depressing and traumatic.

And in my study bible it has a little commentary at the bottom of each page to help slow people like me understand the passage. The little commentary said something that made me think. It said, "Would you be obedient if God called you to do something hard? Even if you couldn't see the good that would come out of it all immediately? Even if you NEVER saw the good that would come out of it all? What if your obedience will effect people generations from now, but YOU will never see the fruit? Will you still be obedient?"


In the story of Hosea, he ends up BUYING her back. And it was a pitiful amount (or atleast that's what my commentary told me). Can you imagine how humiliating it would be to have to buy your spouse from someone that he or she chose to run to in the first place? I mean Hosea's wife ABANDONED him. She thought the grass looked greener on the other side and it wasn't even grass... it was straight up poop over there.  She wasn't worth much of anything to the people who owned her anymore... but Hosea saw her worth as his wife. He loved her.

This isn't the only story you'll find in the Word where things get depressing and traumatic. But although the characters and situations change... there is one constant. God's love for us.

That love doesn't make things easier. It can actually make things harder. I believe it was His love that compelled us to make the crazy life changes we made... so, that love is actually to blame for my suffering! That same love is what held Christ to the cross. I have a really hard time understanding and grasping this love, but it's the love that changed my life and heart.

 For some reason I'm programmed to trust in lies and hate over truth and love, so in counseling I'm working on accepting what God wants to pour out on me. The generic Zoloft is helping clear my brain (ahem... and hormones) to process and GET RID OF those lies and hate. The Holy Spirit is pouring the truth and love in.

If you're struggling with depression please reach out. There are so many people who want to share God's love with you and get you the help you need. Living a Called life can be depressing but God freely gives out faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love. I've made the choice to not see my situation as being punished for obedience. Something greater will come for me and my children. God clearly loves us. He's fought so hard for us already.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm the April Fool

As I sit here with my new favorite purple thermal mug (filled with gingerbread coffee and vanilla soy milk) looking at the pictures above my computer (of my kids, my parents, my hubby, myself... I taped them on the wall in an "artistic" pattern because I can't hang anything perfectly straight. And that bugs me.), I can't help but feel all cozy. I like thinking about my kids. When they're not around to bug me. ;)

Children make you insane. But they have chubby cheeks, beautiful curls, gorgeous blue-green eyes (all of my kids do. so does my husband... i'm the only brownie in the group), loud laughs, sweet voices, and dream up the most fun! So while you're slowly going insane, you're able to smile.

 :D A big crazy grin.

Like Monday night for instance...

After the crazy routine of "bedtime" (diapers, potty, singing, praying, "NO MORE TALKING", "love you" "DONT GET OUT OF BED AGAIN", "love you", "OK... time for the older girls to get in bed", "love you")....

I laid down in my own bed to chill. Ugh, I was exhausted. Like always.

But then I had to pee. :/ (check out this other post where I was TRAPPED... peeing always gets me into some kind of trouble...)

So about 45 minutes after the bedtime craziness, I walk into the bathroom to find my 9 yr old at the sink...


(smile changes to fake sleepy face...)

"I just woke up. Wednesday (my 13 yr old) drew all over me with marker for April Fools while I was sleeping!"

"There is NO WAY you were sleeping already and there is NO WAY you slept through her drawing all over you like that!"

And then I walk away... because I'm really not sure what to do...

Ya see... that sounds pretty funny now, right? I mean... home girl had marker ALL over her FACE. And BODY. It was ridiculous. And hilarious.

But it wasn't funny at that moment. I was TIRED. I just went through the BEDTIME ROUTINE. All the  mamas out there know how exhausting it can be. When they're all in bed you're like "I'M FREE!" For 5 minutes before I fall asleep and start over tomorrow.... oh...

So I walked back into their room, flipped the light on, told Nat (9 yr old) to go wash off "BEFORE IT WONT COME OFF AND YOU GO TO SCHOOL LOOKING LIKE THAT!" , and then said that they couldn't get on the computer or watch TV for the rest of the week.

But as soon as I walked back into my room to tell my hubby what happened I realized how dumb that all was when he laughed about it.

Oh yeah... that laughing thing is ok to do in situations like these... sometimes I forget. :/ Maybe I'm being the April Fool.

So the next day I took back the "no TV" thing and said something to the effect of "I love y'all, don't be dumb, go to bed when it's time to go to bed, y'all are goofy kids, I love y'all, oh and I love y'all."

And I laughed about it. Because it was funny.

It's easy to get so uptight as a mom. Especially when you have so many kids. Things can feel crazy and you want to feel a little in control of SOMETHING. But that's dumb. Only God is in control and He makes good plans for us. Plans we can laugh about.

I made the choice to laugh. What are things you have to choose to laugh at?