I am really trying, but… (when intentional living is met with resistance)

I am really trying but (when intentional living is met with resistance) - One mom's story of trying to make the most of the day, but struggling to embrace it.

I’ve been struggling to feel connected to my life. Perhaps that sounds silly, but I bet that you know what I mean. At times it feels like my entire goal is to make it through the day. Then I turn around and do it all again the next day.

It is like I am waiting for that moment when my real life starts, but this IS my real life. Do I feel this way because I’m still waiting to feel like a real grown up? Is it because there seems to be a lack of deep purpose behind preparing meals, doing laundry, and picking up toys? It is because my spiritual life needs a tune up? Or is it simply the constant level of stress that comes from having little ones?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed. I’m not sadden with my state of life. I just feel like I’ve lost my focus somewhat. I’m living day-to-day without fully embracing it.

I want to embrace each day and cling on to these moments with my little ones. I know that in a flash they will be grown and I will desperately long for a do-over.

I don’t want to live with regrets. I want to live intentionally.

So today I tried.

Our day was wide open and I decided we would make today all about enjoying the fall season. The first stop was a pumpkin patch to pick up pumpkins we will carve later today.

Noah and the wagon

It was adorable. Noah was determined to pull the wagon.

Grace spent a lot of time looking closely to be sure the pumpkin she picked was perfect.

pumpkin patch

They smiled and let me take the classic we-are-at-a-pumpkin-patch-look-how-cute-we-are pictures. It was fun.

But it was also not fun.

There were too many choices and they struggled to pick a pumpkin. They cried and fussed when I pulled out my camera. They whined. They fought over who got to pull the wagon. Someone wanted two pumpkins when I said they could only pick out one.

Eventually we picked out the perfect pumpkins, bought some apple cider, and headed out to get doughnuts. Drinking apple cider and eating doughnuts was the next autumn activity to do today.

pumpkin patch - Grace

Once home we had a lunch of apple cider, doughnuts, and cheese sticks. It wasn’t healthy and I was proud of myself for allowing them to eat doughnuts for lunch.

Then the whining started. Someone was mad that they weren’t eating a chocolate doughnut even though they had picked out blueberry. I explained that we would all split the chocolate doughnut later when we carved the pumpkins.

Later?!?

Later wasn’t a good enough answer. There was a lot of complaining until I put my foot down and said to knock it off.

pumpkin patch - noah

Next up was a game of Candy Land. Look at how intentional I was being! Playing an organized game with my little ones that will teach them about colors, taking turns, and playing by the rules. I am such an awesome mom.

Until I won.

Then there were tears. Lots of tears.

Little feet storming up the stairs.

Gasping sobs and the awful words, “You don’t even love me!”

*sigh*

I am trying. I am really, really trying. I want to be a good mom. I want to be an intentional mom. I want to embrace the days with my little ones and cling on for dear life, but…

It is so hard.

It is hard to live with a constant level of chaos. Constantly teaching life lessons. Constantly feeling like what you offer isn’t good enough.

pumpkin patch - grace's pumpkin

One pumpkin per person wasn’t enough.

Doughnuts at lunch weren’t enough.

Playing a game wasn’t enough.

And I bet that later tonight when we carve the pumpkins, somehow it won’t be enough.

Can you relate? Are my words connecting with you? I’m not unhappy with my life. I don’t regret my children for an instant. I don’t want to wish away any of this, but it is still hard.

Parenthood is hard. Intentionally living in each moment is hard. Not taking this stage of life for granted is hard. Focusing on what is right in front of us instead of the dreams that are ahead of us is hard.

But I’m willing to keep trying. Are you?

Posted in Life, Parenthood | 15 Comments

Happy 5th Birthday, Grace!

Grace's 5th Birthday

Every year I write a letter to my children in honor of their birthday. This is Grace’s 5th birthday letter.

My dearest Grace,

I am so grateful that I am able to be your mommy. We had a lot of fun this past year and you’ve grown up in so many ways. Happy 5th Birthday, darling!

In this past year…

In December we took you to the movie theater for the very first time. We saw Frozen, which ended up being a huge Disney hit. It was also a big hit in our house! Your obsession with the characters and the songs is intense. I can’t imagine that you’ll ever let it go. (See what I did there?)

You love all things girly and anything princess related. Your favorite colors are pink and purple.

Your most favorite thing in the world used to be books, but I think that has officially changed. Your number one obsession is probably coloring and drawing. You can be hard on yourself if you go outside of the lines or don’t draw something as nicely as you wanted to. I’m trying to teach you that it doesn’t have to be perfect to still be beautiful. You love to draw princesses with  long braided hair like Elsa and Anna.

You think bikinis are called zucchinis. I hope you call them that forever. I have no plans of correcting you.

Grace, this was your first year going to Vacation Bible School at church. You LOVED it! I had tears in my eyes watching you dance to the worship music as I helped out with video from the balcony. The CD of music from the week was on constant repeat in the car for a very long time.

We had an extra long stay at Grandpa & Grandma’s house over Christmas this past year. Grandma introduced you to the curly iron and curled your hair almost every morning. We brought the curling iron back with us and used it on special occasions like Easter and your birthday.

You love eating pizza, spaghetti, and cheese sticks. You started eating soup this year despite claiming that you hated soup the year before.

Although you still crave some girl time, you have become super close with your cousin Matthew. The two of you play very well together. You are even in the same preschool class! You are also good friends with the older neighbor girls, Nicole and Amanda. We are so lucky they live on our block!

Grace and Noah March 2014

Watching you play with Noah is such a treat. I tell you that the two of you are best friends all the time and I hope it sticks. Of course you have your moments, but for the most part you play together very well. He looks up to you so much.

You and Noah have this game that you play all the time called “Hi, what would you like?” Mostly it happens when we are outside at the sandbox. You like to pretend you are a waitress and you ask me for my order. Most of the time we are at Chick-fil-A. I must have heard “Hi. What would you like?” at least 100 times from you and Noah this past year.

You love to play “baby” in the mornings before we get out of bed. You crawl into my bed with me, go under the covers, and then pretend to be born. Then you’ll take your first steps, say your first words, and take a pretend nap. Haha! It is sweet.

Nap time is over! Instead of taking daily naps, we have quiet time in your room. At times it is a struggle. You really don’t like being alone in general, so being asked to play alone in your room is a big deal.

Along with being alone, you really don’t like bugs and water splashing in your face.

All last year you looked forward to your 5th birthday. It meant that you would finally be “big enough” to go to school. In September you started preschool. So far you are thriving there, and I can’t wait to see how much you blossom this year.

Your 5th birthday also meant it was time for your wedding birthday party. I have never heard of a little girl having a wedding themed birthday, but you were dreaming about this since December! It was adorable.

Grace, you are sweet, adorable, creative, polite, and kind. I am excited to see how much you grow this year.

I love you!
Mommy

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

How Clean is Your Drinking Water? {Berkey giveaway}

Berkey Giveaway Banner from Positively Real Media

This post contains affiliate links.

My dear beloved readers, today I am super jealous of you. Why? Because you have the chance to enter today’s amazing giveaway and I’m not able to enter! I have teamed up with several bloggers from the Positively Real Media Network to give away a Berkey water filter.

I have been wanting a Berkey water filter for a couple of years now. They are super well known in the “natural living bloggers” community and seem to be the best free-standing water filter out there. I want one!

Since I don’t own a Berkey myself (yet!), I’m going to turn things over to Positively Real Media to explain the benefits of a Berkey and the details of the giveaway.

How Clean is Your Drinking Water?

My guess is that you are blessed with access to clean running water. We don’t really worry about getting parasites or other waterborne diseases when we turn on our tap.

But while we are blessed with clean water coming through indoor plumbing, are you aware of some of the environmental contaminants that are frequently found in that water? Traces of heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, pesticide residues, and volatile organic compounds can be found in our drinking water!

This is why the bloggers of Positively Real Media are so excited to be teaming up to bring to you a Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Stainless Steel Water Purifier giveaway sponsored by United Environmental Solutions!

About The Berkey Water Filter

Berkey water purifiers are truly unique water purifying systems. According to UES, they are able to remove red food coloring from water while still allowing beneficial minerals to remain!

As free-standing units that put the power of gravity to use, the Berkey systems don’t use any electricity. This makes them excellent systems to have on hand while camping or during power outages.

Positively Real Media is giving away a Royal Berkey

While whole house filtration systems can be fantastic solutions to the problem of residual water contamination, they are simply out of the budget for most families. However, a Berkey system is a fraction of the cost and can filter 4 gallons of water per hour, making it a great fit for families!

If you want to ensure that your family’s drinking and cooking water is as clean and pure as it can be, a Berkey may be just what you need!

Win A 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey!

The bloggers of Positively Real Media, a network of naturally-minded Christian bloggers, are thrilled to be able to offer one of our readers a 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey Stainless Steel Water Purifier, valued at $300! Many thanks to United Environmental Solutions for providing this fantastic prize to one blessed reader.

Just use the Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Details: This giveaway is open to the USA only. This exact same giveaway form is displayed on several other blogs in the Positively Real Media Network. If you follow any of these other blogs, you don’t need to enter the giveaway again on their blogs. In fact, you’ll only be able to enter once.

You will be rewarded with extra entries for liking my blog’s Facebook page. Liking my page, or any of the other blog’s pages, is not mandatory for the giveaway, but it will increase your odds of winning. Feel free to like the pages that resonate with you and skip the rest.

I hope a Simply Rebekah reader wins!!!

Disclosure: Giveaway is open to USA only and ends on October 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. The winner will be notified by email. This giveaway was organized by Positively Real Media and sponsored by United Environmental Solutions. I was not compensated for this post, but this post does contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Giveaways & Annoucements, Green Living | Leave a comment

An Awesome and Affordable Dinner Party Menu

For our daughter's birthday, we had a simple, delicious, and affordable dinner party menu. Your guests will be coming back for seconds and it won't cost an arm and a leg!

For Grace’s wedding birthday, I came up with a simple, delicious, and affordable dinner party menu. The meal was so well received that I wanted to share it with you.

crock pot cheesy pasta and beef casserole - an amazing dish for an affordable dinner party menu

The main course was crock pot cheesy pasta and beef casserole from Tammilee Tips. This recipe is so much better than regular spaghetti. The homemade sauce makes all the difference. All of my guests went back for seconds! In the picture above, I used mozzarella cheese. The recipe calls for cheddar and, I like it better with cheddar. However, you can use whatever you have on hand.

There were 10 adults and 6 children at the party. I doubled the pasta recipe, and we had a little leftover.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Salad Dressing Recipe - This takes any ordinary lettuce salad and turns it up a notch!

I served the pasta with a simple lettuce salad and my homemade sweet & sour salad dressing. The dressing can be made in advance. Just make sure you shake it well before serving.

garlic and herb bread - a great side for this affordable dinner party menu

To round out the meal, I served garlic and herb Italian bread. You can find this bread in the bakery section at Walmart. It is pre-sliced and tastes really, really good. The best part is that it only cost $1.00.

I lightly buttered one side of each slice of bread, loosely wrapped the buttered loaf in tinfoil, and warmed it in the oven.

This meal was easy to pull together, affordable, and kid-friendly. Give it a try for your next get together!

What is your favorite affordable dinner party menu?

Posted in Frugal, Recipes & Freezer Cooking | 3 Comments

My Blog’s Biggest Secret

My Blog's Biggest Secret

This post contains affiliate links.

I started this blog in December 2009. Only a few short months later I wrote a post that changed my blog in ways that I could have never imagined. Suddenly this blog became bigger than a place for me to share my thoughts on saving money and living a natural life. It became a lifeline to women desperately searching for answers to the devastating question “why does my breast milk taste bad?”.

It all started because my 5 month old daughter, Grace, refused to take a bottle when I was gone. I was frustrated. My husband was frustrated. Babysitters were frustrated and poor little Grace was very frustrated.

Oh a whim I decided to taste one of the bottles of breast milk that Grace had refused to drink. It tasted terrible. TERRIBLE!

After many hours of research and many more tears, I self diagnosed myself with excess lipase activity. Excess lipase activity is a rare problem in breastfeeding that causes expressed breast milk to develop a horrible taste. I shared the details of my journey on Simply Rebekah with the intention of updating the family and friends that were regular readers. At this point I had less than 25 subscribers to the blog.

Surprisingly to me, traffic started to trickle in to Simply Rebekah from mothers searching Google for answers to their own breastfeeding struggles with excess lipase activity in the same way that I had been searching just months earlier. As time passed, I became one of the best resources online for excess lipase activity education and encouragement.

Google Scree Shot

Currently Simply Rebekah ranks #2 on Google when you search for “excess lipase” and the #1 article contains a link to my blog. As of writing this, there are 418 comments between moms and me on my posts about this rare breastfeeding issue.

And all of this has been going on behind the scenes here at Simply Rebekah. I haven’t written a blog post dedicated to excess lipase activity since 2010, but that isn’t because of a lack of passion. If anything, my desire to educate and encourage women has only exploded over the last 4 years.

In December of 2010 I had the idea to turn my knowledge about excess lipase activity into an eBook. The idea started to become a reality in 2013 when I began the writing process. Writing proved to be a lot more difficult than I had expected, but I finally finished writing in the spring of this year.

Now after the editing has been finished and the design has been polished, it is with tears in my eyes that I am extremely eager to present to you my book.

Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? cover

It would make perfect sense for me to write an eBook about living a frugal lifestyle or how to begin an eco-friendly journey, but instead I decided to write a book that no one has written.

This is for the mamas crying over their keyboards searching for answers.

This for the babies who are frustrated at the bottle.

This is for the dad who is wondering how they’ll be able to afford formula if he and his wife can’t figure out this breastfeeding thing.

This is for the mom praying that she doesn’t have to throw away a freezer full of bad tasting milk.

This is for the mama with excess lipase activity who feels completely lost and alone.

So the secret is out. My blog is bigger than money saving tips, natural living advice, and cute pictures of my kids. This is the reason why my blog exists. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is how God is using me.*

I know that not every reader is suffering from excess lipase activity. I know you don’t all need this book, but I cherish your excitement and support. If you don’t need this book yourself, would you consider showing your support by…

  • Sharing my book on social media along with the important message that mothers should taste their breast milk.
  • The next time you hear a mother complain that her baby is refusing a bottle, point her towards my book as a possible solution.
  • If my blog has positively impacted your breastfeeding journey with excess lipase activity, leave a review on Amazon or send me a testimonial for my sales page.

ELA_336x280

I am selling the eBook on my site as a PDF file that you can download and read on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. The book is also being sold as a kindle file on Amazon. If you search for “excess lipase” on Amazon, my book pops up as the very top of the search results. The world needed this book!

Thank you for celebrating with me! Now go check out Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? – One Mom’s Journey to Overcoming Excess Lipase Activity.

* I can clearly see God using my blog beyond my mission of excess lipase activity. I don’t mean to diminish the positive impact that I can have on my readers through the other subjects that I blog about. However, writing about excess lipase activity is definitely a path that God has put me on.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Buy purchasing my eBook you are helping to support Simply Rebekah and my family. Thank you so very much!

Posted in Breastfeeding, Giveaways & Annoucements | 13 Comments