faith. family. friends. love.

Keeping it real, so that you know you are not alone.

Lessons from a Banjo

Lessons from a banjo… Not something I ever expected, but that is often how God works, isn’t it my friends? God teaches us things in the most unexpected ways. Meeting us where we are… and right now, I am listening to a lot of banjo…

My husband has wanted to learn to play an instrument for a long, long time. I bought him a guitar on our 2-year “dativersary”. That was 13 years ago. It broke this past summer, right when he was finally starting to get the hang of a few chords. It would cost more to get it fixed than what I paid for it, so he has gone with out while trying to figure out what he wanted to do…

Enter the banjo. My precious has always loved bluegrass (and therefore, I have also learned to love bluegrass) and has often said that once he got the hang of his guitar, he would like to learn to play the banjo. So when talking about how he missed his guitar one day, the subject of replacing it with a banjo came up, and he started researching and finally found the one he wanted. It is a Goodtime banjo, by Deering. Maybe that means something to you, it doesn’t really to me, but it makes my man happy, and I’m covered on the gift department from now through Christmas ;) Happy Dativersary, Valentines, Anniversary, Father’s day, and Birthday my precious!

If you have ever learned to play an instrument, you know that you have to trudge through the baby steps to get to the fun stuff. My precious is struggling with that right now. Right now he is having to work on technique and mastering the “Brush Stroke” and “bum ditty” – when he really just wants to bust out some “I’ll Fly Away” or “Cripple Creek”. He keeps trying to play the songs, when he just isn’t ready yet (he hasn’t even had his banjo a week), but in his heart and mind he can “claw hammer” like a boss. One day he will be able to, he is determined to succeed, and I look forward to the day we can sit around with our kids singing some great bluegrass gospel tunes, and some fun folk songs, but in the mean time he is going to keep trudging through the boring baby steps so that one day he will soar.

It’s the same thing I struggle with. It dawned on me this week that his struggle and mine are one in the same. We want the fun, the rewards, the goal or prize, but we don’t really want to have to take the baby steps to get to it. In my mind I understand that the hard work must be put in. That grit, determination, hard work, and prayer are what it takes to succeed. But I have a goal! I see the prize – and I want it!! I want it so bad!! Just like my husband wants to be able to just pick up his banjo and strum a beautiful melody, but he just can’t yet. It’s going to take hours of time and practice, broken fingernails, and broken strings. The same goes for me. It’s going take time, hard work, prayer, determination.  A can do attitude, a willing and joyful spirit. It is going to take me getting out of my comfort zone. I’m going to have to “get busy“.

Life is full of baby steps to get us where we need to go. A baby must first learn to lift its head, then it rolls, then it crawls, then it pulls up, then it walks, then runs… The baby steps never really end do they? You have to learn letter shapes and sounds before you can read. You have to know basic math facts before you can solve complex problems and formulas in math and science. I am teaching these lessons to my children, and in turn God is using them to teach me as well. Just like he is using a banjo to teach me a valuable lesson, even though I am not learning to play it.

If I want to lose weight, I am going to have to eat right and exercise. Is it fun – no. Is it worth it – YES.
If I want to build my Healthy Home business I am going to have to stretch out of my comfort zone. But is it worth it? Yes!
If I want my children to obey, and develop godly character, good morals, and habits – I am going to have to teach them. I am going to have to set the example. I am going to have to be firm and consistent. Is it going to be hard – yes. It it worth it – YES!
If I want a clean house, I am going to have to break bad habits, and get up and do the work! I have to get rid of the clutter, actually take things to the dump or donation sites. Will it take time and hard work – yes. Will it be worth it? YES!

It is like that with all of life. Relationships take work. Marriage is hard work. Raising kids is hard work. Even friendships take hard work. Nothing in life is easy. We have to decide what is worth the hard work, and we have to pray for God to give us strength, because I know that there is nothing I can do on my own. I need Him!

That is what I have learned from a banjo.

Speaking of Scripture…

Speaking of scripture…

My verse for 2015 is James 1:22 (NIV) – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (Emphasis mine.)

I thought this was fitting my year “Get Busy”.

I also love this verse because it is so true! As a believer of the Bible, and a follower of Christ, my husband and I strive to use the Word of God as our hand book for life. If we (or our children) have questions (about anything) we first pray, and go and see what scripture says, then if we can’t find a clear answer, we seek wisdom from our pastor, church elders and leaders, our family or friends.

I’ve discovered over the years that the Bible actually has a lot to say about most of the major topics in life. (Confession: I have never read the entire Bible.)

My role as a woman? I am to work, help provide for my family, respect and help my husband, take care of my children, not be lazy, fear the Lord. (See Proverbs 31 – and no, I do not think I have to strive for perfection, and try to be a “Proverbs 31” woman, but I do think it offers great guidelines, especially in my quest to “get busy” this year.)

My role as a wife? I am to be my husbands helper. (See Genesis 2:18) I am to respect my husband. (See Ephesians 5:33)

Romance? Read Song of Solomon!

My role as a mother? Teach my children to Love the LORD!! (See Deuteronomy 6:4-7) Teach them to obey their parents (see Ephesians 6).

Salvation and eternal life? Believe in Jesus! (See John 3:16)

Empty nest? Teach the younger women how to live. (See Titus 2:3-5)

Seeking wisdom? Read through the Proverbs! There are 31 chapters, a great goal is to read one chapter a day each month!

Need comfort? Scroll through the Psalms. May I suggest Psalm 19, 23, 27, 136, 139

There are many more verses and topics I could cover here. But I am going to stop for now. My point is this: In 2015 I will “Get Busy”. I will conquer my battle with laziness. I will seek God’s will for my life, and ask Him to make my will the same as His. I will not just study His word, I will do what it says. (James 1:22!) If I have questions, I will turn to the Bible first, before I seek the opinion of man.

I think the lyrics to one of our favorite Go Fish Guys songs says it pretty well:

“How did life begin?  It’s in there
It’s in the book – huh!
How will the world end?  Guess what? That’s in there too
It’s in the book – huh!
Any burning question rolling around in your mind
It’s in the book – huh!
It’s all in here to find

The B-I-B-L-E,
yes that’s the book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E”

I did not fail…

I did not fail, and neither did you, my friend!!

Last year I attempted my first “scripture memory challenge”. I had such high and lofty goals. Visions of weekly google hangouts with my partner as we perfectly recited God’s word to each other. Storing God’s word in my heart. Setting a good example for my children. Encouraging them to memorize verses as well, or along with mommy, since I would be reciting these verses morning, noon, and night. My husband memorizing along side me…

Yeah… NONE of that happened. I lasted about a month, then got behind, then eventually gave up.

That DOES NOT make me a failure. It just  wasn’t my season for that particular project. God  still spoke to me in mighty ways. He still intended for me to learn A LOT from the book of Romans, just in a different way than I expected. My pastor spent the year teaching through the book of Romans. My Bible is COVERED in notes!! My girlfriends and I went through Chip Ingram’s R12 series. Yes, I was meant to learn from Romans in 2014, I just wasn’t meant to memorize it. And that is OK.

I spent a lot of time thinking about if I wanted to attempt scripture memory again this year. I’m still just as busy as I was last year, perhaps even more so. However, by the grace of God, I am not the same person I was at this time last year. I’ve grown. I’ve matured. I am more confident. God has given me a vision for my role as wife, mother, home maker.

I spent some time praying about this, and it was while driving one day, listening to one of our Seeds Family Worship cd’s with my kids that my answer came to me. MUSIC. Yes!!! Why had I not thought of this before? I’ve always done well memorizing songs – my husband lovingly jokes that I am a walking iPod shuffle ;)

So, I decided that I would pick several verses from our Seeds collection and use their songs to intentionally memorize scripture this year.

Enter my sweet friend Stephanie, who had discovered Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries Siesta Scripture Memory Team project. Where you get to pick 24 verses to memorize over the year. You make your own notebook, and at the end of the year you use your notebook as your ticket into a celebration in Houston. Memorize scripture with my girlfriends and take a road trip to Houston in the new year? Um, yeah! Count me in!

I love this approach, because I get to still use my idea of using music to help me memorize scripture, and I get to participate with my girlfriends, AND hopefully we will take a road trip together to celebrate!

If you are interested in learning more about the Siesta Scripture Memory Team Challenge, you can read about it on my friend Stephanie’s blog (click here) – she does an excellent job of explaining how it works, and links to all of Beth Moore’s appropriate sites to help you get going.

If you are interested in learning more about Seeds Family Worship you can CLICK HERE. (No, I am not affiliated with them in any way. We are just a family that enjoys filling our car, home, and heart with the word of God and use their cd’s and DVD as a way to do just that.) They also have scripture memory cards available in the resource section of their website – which made making my notebook very easy!

So there you have it. This is my plan for 2015, pray for me.

Are you memorizing scripture in this new year? Tell me about it in a comment, and I’ll pray for you, too!

Out with 2014

Out with 2014

Hello 2015

Hello 2015

Oh the irony… 2015

Hey friends – I had this in my drafts, hoping to have it ready to go for the 1st. But due to health, and then a death in our family, I neglected to post it. I still don’t have it looking like I want, but I’ll come back and edit it later.

Last year I decided to join my friends in their tradition naming of their year, and was amazed at what God revealed to me in my year of “Discipline” – 2014.

So when a phrase came to me a few months ago (like a slap in the face) I knew it was God preparing my heart for what He has in store for me for 2015.

What did I name this year?

Get Busy

Ha! So it really shouldn’t surprise me that in the year that I am supposed to be getting busy – working on breaking my love affair with being lazy – I have spent this whole week sick and in bed unable to be a productive member of society. (Thankfully, my husband has been home and has been taking care of everyone, and everything – he is a keeper!)

My goal for this year, is that whenever I get the urge to be lazy – to say to myself “Get Busy” and use that as motivation to break my bad habits. When I am sitting on the couch, but haven’t set aside time to work on my Bible study lesson… “Get Busy“. When I am letting my kids watch a show but we haven’t finished (cough*started*cough) school yet… “Get Busy“. When I am checking my facebook feed, but there are dirty dishes in the kitchen, or clothes that need washed/dried/put away… “Get Busy“. When it is a beautiful day and I send my kids outside to play, but I stay inside… “Get Busy” – get outdoors and play with those babies! Time is flying, I don’t want to waste any more time than I already have. It is time for me to “Get Busy“!

I am still praying about a verse to go along with my year. I am not attempting scripture memory, at least not in the form that I did last year, since that didn’t work for me. But I do have a few ideas floating in my head. One of my “Get Busy” goals for the year is to blog more, so hopefully I can share these ideas (and more) with you soon. In the meantime, I hope you are all having a blessed New Year!

2014 – A Reflection

I wish I had taken better notes this past year. Blogged more. Kept a journal. Even wrote better facebook statuses. (Statuses? Is that even a word? Stati? Status?) Anywho…

God has really worked on my heart this year. I feel as though I am a new person. That I have finally “grown up” so to speak. I’ve always been an old soul, so I don’t mean that I’ve grown up, as in laid aside my childish ways. I guess I mean that I’ve grown spiritually, in confidence, in maturity. I am finally figuring out who I am. Who I want to be. Who God wants me to be. I am comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am in Christ, and nothing can break that.

While I am still flesh and bones, I still get weary, I still stumble – I will not be broken, or down for long. I know whose I am, to whom I belong. You can’t shake Him.

I named this year (2014) “discipline” – I came into it expecting change. Instead I was humbled. I was broken. I failed more that succeeded. But you know what? I am a better person for it. It has prepared me for this time in my life. For this season. For my new year. New goals. New name. I cannot wait to share with you my 2015 name, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me in this next season. He has already laid some things on my heart. It’s going to be hard, but I’m ready for His will for my life. When I try to take control, I fail. It’s time for me to follow.

There is a great song by Jesus Culture that I heard for the first time this year. It is called “Come Away” and this is what it says:
“I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me”

So come on, God. I’m ready. Let Your plans, be my plans. Your will, my will. I want to be full of You.

You Might Be The Momma If… Part 2

 

Ok friends. I was going to wait a few days before posting another #youmightbethemommaif blog, but after our son woke us up at some ungodly hour of the night, and I couldn’t go back to sleep, I decided it was a sign to go ahead with my next planned post…

You might be the momma silent night

Our children are 6 and 3. For the most part they sleep through the night. They wake up early though. Every. Single. Day. Which would be why I’m not an early-morning-quiet-time kind of person. (See previous post.) However, even though they sleep through the night, there are often times (such as last night) when they stay up later than mom and dad can. (What? Parents are supposed to stay up past 8:00 on a school night? Not in this house!) There are some nights, for example: last night, when momma and daddy are exhausted. We worked and played hard all day. The kids should have been tired. We put them to bed, set the timer, and went and laid down ourselves. We fell asleep before the kids timer went off… When it did, my husband went and told the kids lights out. They continued to play and talk and laugh. The husband fell back to sleep right away. I usually can’t sleep if I know the kids are still awake, but eventually, I couldn’t stay awake either. I think it was about 9:00. I couldn’t tell you what time they finally fell asleep. I assume before 10:00, simply because they’ve never stayed up much later than 9:00. However around the 1am hour we hear the boy call out “daddy!” to which Poppa Bear got out of bed and stumbled down the hall. “What?” He asked at the boys door. “I want you.” The boy replied sweetly. “No. Go back to bed.” Said the grouch Poppa Bear. I watched the monitor by my bed to see how the boy would respond. He did not cry, but climbed back into bed. However he was awake. The grouch Daddy climbed back into bed, and was snoring again before his head actually touched the pillow. Mean while I prepared to watch the boy for a while. As I said, I have a hard time sleeping if I know that kids are awake. Plus I’d started sneezing (another post, for another day). I watched him sit in his bed and play and read for over an hour. He finally laid down, so I went back to sleep. I awoke about an hour later to find him sitting up in his bed playing again. So I watched him again, for as long as I could. He eventually fell asleep. He and his sister were up bright and early (6:30) happy and ready to eat and play. Momma bear, not so much. However it was time to get our day started.

I’m well aware that this time will pass all to quickly. One day they will be gone, and I will miss these nights of hearing them play together well past their bed time. I will miss watching them in the monitor. While they do usually sleep all through the night, it hasn’t been that long ago that we were doing round the clock feedings. Middle of the night diaper changes. They still come climb into bed with us most mornings – but I wouldn’t trade that cuddle time for anything… well, as long as momma and daddy weren’t planning on some morning cuddle time of our own ;) #keepingitreal

So on this momma’s Christmas list, is the wish for a silent night. What’s on your list? I’ve got at least 2 more planned to share with you, so check back soon!

You might be the momma if…

In my quest for #keepingitreal – I’ve decided to do a series of post called “You Might Be The Momma If…”

My first few post are going to be Christmas inspired, as we are in that “most wonderful time of the year”.

You might be momma if 2
Have you ever read the directions on a bottle of shampoo? Most say “lather, rinse, repeat.” In our house, I feel like my days go: laundry, dishes, repeat! I’m learning to embrace it though. In case you haven’t read my previous post, God is working on my heart. I am learning that instead of having that picture perfect quiet time with the Lord – you know – where you get to sit outside while the sun rises, the birds sing, and a fresh new day comes alive. When you listen to some praise and worship, or hymns, then spend time in prayer, or in the Word of God, and really focus on Him before the hustle and bustle of your day gets going… Yeah, that’s just not reality for me. I’m not a morning person. God didn’t wire me that way, and I have come to peace with that. If you are one of those that enjoy your mornings with God and His amazing creation, along with a nice hot cup of coffee – more power to you! I am learning to pray while I load the dishwasher. To praise God with the laundry. To be ok with the fact that I didn’t get my Bible study lesson finished before my group meets (again). I am learning to embrace the person God made me to be – a wife, who adores her husband. Who may not always remember to set something out for dinner (speaking of which…), but who is always willing to listen to her man when he needs someone to talk to. To follow him, and allow him to lead our home. To love him passionately, and with purpose. To respect him.  To be a mom who loves her kids no matter what. Even when they take a full week to clean their room (which could have been done in 15 minutes if they would just get busy!!!!!) Who seeks to teach them about Jesus, and sin, and why we need a savior. Who actually just realized this past week, that after years of telling people that God did not call me to be a teacher (when they would assume that was my profession, since it is my husbands profession) that I am indeed a teacher! It just took a year and a half of homeschooling for me to realize that lo and behold, I am a teacher! Who knew? God did. He knows all the plans He has for me. And if I seek His will, and ask Him to make my hearts desires, His hearts desires, I just might even learn to love dishes and laundry. Until that love happens though, it’s at the top of my Christmas wish list :D

Just keeping it real folks. What is on your “mamma” Christmas wish list? Stay tuned for more of mine. Have a blessed day my friends!

A fresh start 2014

**This post contains referral links to the Teach Them Diligently conference. If you register using my link, my family will earn TTD Bucks which can be used in the exhibit hall at their next convention.**

I love summer. It is a time to reflect. It is when my husband is home for 2 months. It is when I can relax and breathe. We enjoy quality family time. Trips to the park or the zoo. Picnics, walks, water… It is a time to be thankful for all that we have. It is a time to plan and to dream. I love summer.

This year we were blessed to attend the Teach Them Diligently Conference {referral link}. Several of the sessions I attended really got me thinking. One in particular spoke to my heart about my role in our family. God created me to be a wife and mother. I’ve known that for a few years now, but for the past year I have really felt broken about it. I’ve felt like a failure. I’ve known what my problem was, yet seemed chained to my sin and unable to break free. I’ve spent time in prayer and in tears begging God to help me, only to hear silence. I’ve known that God has heard my cries, and I know that He will answer my prayers. He has taught me before that His timing and mine are not always the same.

I’m finally ready. I’m finally to the point of turning over my sin to God. To allow Him to change me. To change my heart. To use me in the home, as He designed me to do. My role as home maker, wife, and mother should be one filled with joy. It should be a joy to serve my family. I am to do all things as unto the Lord. Is it really so bad to be doing dishes 25 times a day? Is another load of laundry really going to be the end of me? I used to enjoy cooking, what happened? I’ve been lazy. I’ve gotten into the habit of being lazy. It’s time to break that habit.

Laundry

The reason I’ve felt God has been silent is because I wasn’t truly ready to hand over my sin. Being lazy is a sin. Like all sin, it seems fun. I thought it brought be happiness, but in reality it was breaking me, and if I’m completly honest, it was breaking my family. I wasn’t spending quality time with my kids. I wasn’t taking care of my husband or our home. It took brokenness to finally make me admit that I have a problem. That I need God.

God used the Teach Them Diligently Conference {referral link} to speak this truth to me. To open my eyes to His will for my life, I have had this over whelming peace. I know it is from Him. It is His Spirit giving me what I need, so that I can fulfill my role as wife and mother. As teacher. As lover. A friend. A helpmate. A playmate. An encourager. There is so much more to me than just being a stay at home mom.  Joy is a choice. I am handing over my sin, and allowing God to make me new. I choose joy. I choose God’s will for me. Will there be difficulties? Yes. But I will choose to find joy in the journey. Thank you Jesus for baring my sin, in this particular case – my laziness, on the cross. Because of this, I can be forgiven. I can be made new. I can find joy. Thank you.

Happy #6 My Love!

I can hardly believe that our first born, our first miracle is 6 years old!

Time. Stand. Still.

O bday 6

O loves all things girly! Dresses, shoes, jewelry, accessories, baby dolls, and playing with mom’s old Barbies. She loves checking the mail, and was super excited by all the cards she received for her birthday this year!

O Bday Cards

She enjoys school. Her favorite subject is math, and she really enjoys science as well. She doesn’t like history, or handwriting. She also does not like to clean her room – but is always willing to help in other parts of the house! She is a great helper with dishes and laundry – even sweeping or moping. Just not her room. She loves healthy food. Green smoothies, fruit, salad. She will at least try everything we make. However given the choice she will always ask for chicken and french fries.

school

She is my little shopping partner. She loves crafts. The girl can read! She is currently reading through the Winnie the Pooh books, by A. A. Milne. She loves to pray, and prays for her daddy each morning when he goes to work. She loves the Go Fish Guys, still. She also loves Slugs and Bugs by Randall Goodgame. She enjoys watching Paw Patrol, Strawberry Shortcake, Peg+Cat, and Bruno and the Banana Bunch. She loves going to church. She enjoys dancing during worship. She loves her family and her friends. She is kind and compassionate. She has a sweet spirit. She cares for others. She is an amazing big sister. Her little brother absolutely adores her and they are best friends. She brings joy to everyone who knows her. She is going to be used in a mighty way by God. I cannot wait to see the plans He has for her, and how she will be used for His glory. It’s going to be amazing, because she is an amazing little girl.

IMG_8869

I love you O!

4 Things I’ve learned from going gluten free (guest post from my husband)

I have a confession. I’ve got about 6 blog post in my drafts, just waiting to be finished and posted. However I’ve been feeling blah, and haven’t taken the time to finish them. I apologize. Hopefully soon, as sitting here typing this out makes me yearn to get back into writing and sharing my ramblings. Please pray for me, as I pray for the Lord to show me how to best utilize this blog for His glory.

In the meantime, I came across this old post from my husband when looking through his facebook page today. It is a “note” he wrote almost two and a half years ago when he first went gluten free. The months and years leading up to that were some of the most difficult in our marriage. Perhaps one day, if the Lord leads me, I will share my side of the story. For now, just know that his health was failing. He wasn’t truly “living” or enjoying life. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I was so thankful when he finally hit rock bottom and went to the dr. – finally understanding that he couldn’t fix it on his own.

My husband, for those of you who may not know, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 30. He chose not to go on medication for it at this time, although he is not opposed to it should the need arise. For now he is treating himself through diet, and it is working to manage his pain. As always, do what is right for YOU. Do not go by what some random blogger on the internet post. Be smart! Talk to your dr., do your own research through well documented and published medical journals and reviews. Knowledge is power, but so is common sense! We are not medical professionals, and we are not offering advice. This is just my husbands ramblings about his experience in cutting gluten from his diet. There. That is my disclaimer.

Why am I sharing this here? Because it made me laugh. It made me remember that dark time, and rejoice in how good God is. AND because my husband has been feeling the desire to “cheat” on a regular basis here lately, thus resulting in aches, pains, and migrains. I think he needs a friendly reminder of how bad he felt, and then how great he felt when he first started this “thing” as he likes to call it. So, my precious, this is for you. <3 Me!

4 Things I’ve Learned From Going Gluten-Free (+1 Bonus!)

July 3, 2012 at 8:38pm

One month and one day ago, I went gluten-free..and I have survived! (I’m sure you don’t hear or see anything right now, but there’s a ticker-tape parade going on in my head. It’s awesome. I just received the key to the city.) I started gluten-free living not because I wanted to stick-it-to-the-man and avoid buying their gluten laced goodies nor did I give it up because I wanted to brag about having to go to Whole Foods just to eat and live (which, by the way, you don’t.) No, these are not the reasons why I made a drastic change in my diet. My reason was a little more personal–pain.

My body was in pain and not only that, it was locking up more than Tin Man without his oil can. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve been suffering on the inside due the ailments of rheumatoid arthritis. After some blood work which confirmed it and some web searching, I was not about take any RA medicine. So, what is a man to do? Turn to his wife, that’s what.

Google called Amanda and told her to lay off the searches because she was burning up their servers. She searched more sites and sources than I care to count and, at the end of all her research, her solution boiled down to just one word: gluten. That just means no Wheat Thins, right?…Wrong.

After the tears, emotional outburst, and tantrums at the thought of not eating pizza again, I calmed down and listened to “Dr. Wife”. I didn’t like what she had to say, but I couldn’t ignore her because 3 things were floating in the back of my mind:

  1. I’m in pain from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night,
  2. I just bowed out of teaching Pre-K because I flat out didn’t think I could physically do it next school year, and most importantly,
  3. I could not play with my daughter and son.

I listened to Amanda rattle on about no-wheat-this and no-pizza that, but I’m glad I did. I don’t recall the last time I had this much energy or the last time I didn’t have pain just from walking down the hall. I’m back to my old self again a new person. With all that being said, I have not mastered the gluten demon. I’m still a greenhorn trudging on one meal at a time, but I’ve learned some things along the way…all 31 days of it. (Wow…that’s it? 31 days? Oh well, at least I feel better :)

4 Things I’ve Learned From Going Gluten-Free (+1 Bonus!)

1. You will get depressed

Depressed? (Way to start out glass half empty, Cody.) Over food? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Think about it: You are having to make changes in your day-to-day life you don’t want to make in the first place. For people, like me, who are used to swinging through Taco Bell/Sonic/Chick-fil-A/(fill in the blank) at any time of the day, you just took out a fun-run to go visit Target! What’s that? You want a Hot-n-Ready Meal Deal from Little Caesars which comes with a medium pizza, a package of Crazy bread, dipping sauce, and a 2-liter drink for only $9.74 and feeds the whole family? That’s a gluten filled nightmare! (Oh, you think the dipping sauce isn’t made with gluten? You better check yourself before you internally wreck yourself!) Oh and don’t think it’s limited to restaurants. I know about those Girl Scout Samoa cookies you have hidden on the top shelf behind the garbanzo beans and flaxseed for those late nights thinking the rest of the family doesn’t know about them. You might as well hold graveside services out in the backyard this evening for those cookies. (We never did eat those beans, by the way.) I miss my go-to foods some kind of bad and you will, too. It’s okay. This, too, shall pass.

2. Don’t compare apples to oranges (or to gluten-free bread, for that matter)

Amanda, my wife, is awesome in case you didn’t know already. She has prepared many meals over the years which were very healthy trying to get the whole family to eat better and I, for the most part, always gave her the “this is great and all, but…pizza is who I am” look. So for her, this gluten-free cooking proposal gave her the go-ahead to make any kind of crazy meal she wants. (I really think I heard an evil genius laugh coming from the direction of the stove one evening. Don’t ask her. She’ll deny it.) Even though she has made some kick-butt gluten free meals over the past several weeks, there are some things she has yet to produce GF. (That’s shorthand for gluten-free. That’s right. I’m in the know.) By “things” I mean bread. I really…really want some bread. So, what does my awesome wife find for me (at Wal-Mart, of all places)…GF BREAD!!

I’ve never wanted to make a sandwich so bad in all my life as I did that day. I’m talking meat, mayo, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and bacon. That’s right. Bacon. It looked so good sitting on my plate. I just knew this was going to be the best sandwich a GF guy could have…until I actually took a bite. It was an anomaly unknown by human taste buds. In case you didn’t know, bread without grains doesn’t taste like bread at all! Therein lies the problem. I wanted my GF bread to taste like non-GF bread. It isn’t happening, Jack, so quit trying. Don’t compare your new food to your old food. It will lose every time because it’s not what you’re used to eating.

3. Stockpile your new go-to snacks

I messed up starting this new lifestyle at the beginning of summer. (I hate saying “lifestyle” so can I just say “thing”? Thanks.) When I’m at work, I’m busy. I don’t have time to snack all day. When I’m at home, though, I can make our pantry look like Old Mother Hubbard’s in about two days. My name is Cody. I am a snacker. (There. I said it.) When you can’t eat most of the awesome food in your house, you need a fallback snack…and a LOT of it. Why? Because you’re weak. You know you are. You’ll start twitching at the sight of chips, cookies, and cereal still in your house because everyone else can have them. You need something to get you through the 9:00 hour. (I’m not talking about PM. I’m talking about 9:00 AM. Not too far after breakfast. Don’t hate.) For me, it’s GF Honey Nut Chex Cereal, Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips w/ sea salt, and Enjoy Life Soft Bake GF Snickerdoodle cookies. Whatever your go-to snacks are, stock up on them. They just might save your sanity.

4. Get an app, because you’re going out to eat

All kidding aside, I cried when I realized I will never taste the savory goodness that is Chick-fil-A nuggets again. Of course, that just lead my thoughts on a downhill roller coaster ride of all the other delicious restaurant items I will never partake of in the months to come. Enter Gluten Free Restaurant Items and Find Me Gluten Free. (Hit the links for the Google Play version for all my Android users out there. iPhone folks. They’re out there for you, too. I’m just a Droid man. Sorry.) The first one is my favorite so far. It has a long list of fast food chains listed as well as sit-down restaurants. All it does is pull gluten-free info off of each restaurant’s website and conveniently puts it all together in one spot for you. Better yet, it stores the info on your phone (or tablet in my case, which is wifi only) so you always have it readily available. It isn’t free, but it was worth it to me. The other one just takes your location (or provided zip code) and displays a list of restaurants with GF options near you. This one isn’t robust as far as info goes, but hey, it’s free and it gets the job done. I’ve been out to eat multiple times now and I haven’t had a problem yet. I have a feeling neither will you. Just don’t think you’ll be eating the before dinner rolls, though ;).

**BONUS TIME!!**

5. Get yourself some Awesome in your life (a.k.a. My Wife)

There is no way in the world I could have or would have done this without my wonderful doctor/cook/therapist/researcher/drill sergeant/partner. I say partner because you see in theory, if I were Richie Rich, I could have my meals and the rest of the family could have their meals. But, alas, I’m not. We can’t afford to buy my food and their food. My food is their food. It’s a family thing. If I try to go solo on this, I will crash and burn (and be broke). So, Amanda searches for recipes and GF food tips/tricks that are super tasty, but also tolerable by me. That’s love right there. I don’t have awesome websites to post for you, because I have a helper and she has taken up that task. Like I said, you need some Awesome in your life. I don’t know who that is for you, but here’s mine.

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