Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anything to make my life easier!

So I'm a newbie to this "freezer cooking ahead of time" thing. My life has gotten considerably busier and more exhausting since Jake started kindergarten. Every minute is valuable and the minutes between 5:00 and 7:00 are crazy and chaotic! Hungry children, tired mommy, messy house and late daddy. So I'm on the hunt for quick and easy dinner meals and this new book might just do the trick! I'm all about cooking on the weekend and freezing it for the week ahead. I need all the help and lessons I can get so I plan on reading The Money Saving Mom's Guide to Freezer Cooking from cover to cover. While you're visiting her website make sure and check out her budgeting basics book, The Money Saving Mom's Budget! Let's take back our sanity, freezers and bank accounts.

Amazon copy of The Money Saving Mom's Budget - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451646208/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=monsavmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=1451646208
The Money Saving Mom's Freezer Cooking - http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/11/get-a-free-copy-of-my-brand-new-freezer-cooking-ebook.html

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding Joy

This motherhood thing is quite the journey. I am thankful everyday for the gift of my 2 boys. They are the most handsome little men I know. Jake is 4 years old going on 12. His brain seriously works faster than mine. He talks non-stop and asks question after question. His energy is ceaseless and his creativity awe-inspiring. What a treasure he is! Judson is 20 months and trying every last nerve that I have. He can go from super-sweet to tantrum-throwing in a matter of seconds. He's learning to say words and it's so fun to hear him make new sounds. Yet, the shrieking when he doesn't get his way or just wants to be held is unnerving. His smile and curls can melt your heart.

My husband loves to listen to Brian Reagan. Over the holidays we fell asleep laughing to his hilarious jokes. One of them was about his little boy. He joked that we as parents get caught up in the frustration of the moment and miss the joy in our little one's heart. Like when they spill a glass of milk (as is completely normal in ALL children), my mind jumps to the inconvenience of cleaning it up and steals the joy from a moment that could be funny and inconsequential.

So, the Bradford motto for 2011 is (drum roll, please)........."The joy in my little boys' hearts!" I commit to try and find the joy in all situations with my sweet and crazy boys. They are little people learning to live in a big world and I must guide them through it with joy and laughter, not yelling and scowls. They find joy in so many things, each and every day. Why shouldn't I? My track record with 'not yelling' is not so good. It's an easy fall-back when the moment gets heated, but I will continue my effort to be a laid-back, loving-at-all-costs, take-a-deep-breath, remember-their-smile kind of mom.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A new love for South Africa

I am so excited to share some stories from my 10 days in South Africa. It was an amazing trip full of God’s goodness and grace. I could feel the prayers from the moment we left home so thank you for everything!

We arrived in South Africa (after almost 30 hours on a plane including layovers) at midnight. It was nice to crawl into bed and go straight to sleep. We stayed at a Christian camp called Skogheim. It was like a mini-house for our Rockwall and Firewheel team. We ate South African inspired food everyday in the cafeteria and enjoyed coffee and tea ALL the time. The food was great – sometimes odd – but for the most part really good.

We spent the week ministering at many different places. We did a kids club for 4 days at Murchison Primary School. One of the days we estimated 500 African children. They were beautiful! All dressed in school uniforms and very excited to meet our American teenagers. They were a mix of speaking English and Zulu so we used translators quite a bit. We did bible stories, crafts, basketball, soccer, and of course, snacks!

We visited 2 other schools – one where we led a leadership day for 8th graders and one, a high school, where we did a school assembly and 2 of our students shared their testimony along with a gospel presentation.

One of my favorite days was a Toms shoe drop at St Martin’s School for the mentally challenged and hearing impaired. We handed out 320 pairs of shoes to children of all ages. This is where I met “Z” (can’t pronounce her name). She had down syndrome and was probably 6. She was so excited to receive her new shoes. She hugged me so hard she knocked me over! We also did Toms shoe drops at the Murchison School, Genesis Care Center, Assissi orphanage and Reheboth orphanage.

The Genesis Care Center was created by Norweigans Settlers Church (our Lake Pointe partner church) for men and woman who are released from the hospital dying from HIV/AIDS. Many of the people that come to the care center pass away but some are so well taken care of that they get healthy and are able to go home. Our students prayed with the men, women and care takers. I met a woman named Faith. She was mid-20’s and had a 5 yr old son. Her smile was gorgeous! She asked that I pray for strength to return to her legs so she could get up and walk again.

My heart is automatically drawn to teenage girls so when I met Precious I was ecstatic. She was a 10th grader and found us at the Murchison school one afternoon. Precious had lived in children’s homes for 4 years as a child but was now living with her brothers. She was writing a report for school on teen pregnancy and showed it to me. It was full of God’s truth; about waiting until marriage and saving yourself for that one special man. I was able to give her a Zulu bible and an English bible. Greg taught her to use his camera and she took a picture of Greg and I.

I also found my African Jud! He was almost a year old and was living at the Reheboth orphanage. The orphanage was started by a couple who had never stepped foot on South Africa. They received the need for an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS by email and sold everything to move there. The children live with ‘house moms’ (4-5 children per house) and go to school, play, enjoy life and get the care and medicine they need for their disease. This is Greg’s favorite place in all of South Africa so it was really special for me to finally see it in person!

The missionaries we served with and the staff members at the church are amazing! They seek to love those that are lost and dying each and every day. Cala and Steve Flippo (the missionaries with IMB) served in student ministry in the states for years before selling everything and moving to South Africa, also having never stepped foot on the country before. What a sacrifice!! They are amazing people who LOVE God and LOVE South Africans.

There are so many more names of people I met, each serving God faithfully. This trip was inspirational. You can’t come back unchanged. I am SO grateful to have gone and so excited to hopefully go back one day. Thank you for your contributions to my trip and for your prayers. I felt them! My biggest prayer request was to fully engage and not miss the boys too much – both were answered!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seasons of Life

I had the pleasure of having lunch with a former student today. Her name is Grace and it describes her perfectly. Along the way God allows you to join the journey of special people and Grace is one of those people! She graduated a year early from UT Austin and will be going overseas as a missionary to Italy (tough place, huh?). I am so proud of her. We joked a little at lunch how sending your personal thoughts out into cyberspace is so easy so here goes....

I got in my car from lunch and felt so blessed at hearing Grace's story. I remember those college/single days when it was you and God ALL the time. If you wanted to stay up till 2 am reading your Bible you could. If you wanted to take a day and sit by the lake and think about God you could. God was so PRESENT and your time with Him was often. Marriage seemed to change things...time with God was still special but now you had another human being to spend time with and typically you were up till 2 am with your husband! Motherhood changes things even more...and multiple children changes things A LOT!

Here comes my honesty...sometimes motherhood is a desert. You are so consumed with diapers, feeding little ones, picking up toys, doing laundry, staying emotionally balanced that God is...well, where is He? Of course He's present but it looks different. Church is like a breath of fresh air (free childcare, woohoo!) and sitting in service (with no little voices breaking in) in so peaceful. I am SO excited to be in His presence. At home I am so busy and so tired by 8 pm that I literally fall into bed and don't think twice. Listening to Christian music in my car (when I can convince Jake that we really don't need to listen to Elmo this time) is amazing. I sing, I focus, I pray. As soon as the car door opens the focus is lost on keeping up with diaper bags and surviving the Texas heat. I mourn the days of God-time all the time. I know this is a season and one day, when the kids are grown and gone, that time will be mine again (let's not go there yet because that is scary and means I will be very old).

I love my Savior. I love the gift of my 2 precious boys and amazing husband. Even though I whine I love the chaos and excitement that comes with a full house. But sometimes my desert seems very dry and I long for the refreshing drink of a day with Jesus.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Life with 2

Life with 2 kids is definitely different than life with 1. Here's my reflections...

1. You can tell by my previous post that finding time to blog is few and far between. There are always a million things to do when both boys are sleeping or entertained. Those quiet moments to myself are long gone.
2. Taking a few minutes to use the restroom used to be somewhat uneventful. There's usually a little one popping their head in to see what mommy is doing but now that is coupled with a screaming infant from the other room. Take my time? Never, always rushing to get done!
3. Running errands is doable but tiring. I took both boys to my chiropractor appt last week and came out an hour later exhausted. This is me...using my toe to make the baby carrier rock so that Jud will sleep, bending down every few seconds to reinsert the pacifier, answering a million questions from Jake (I kid you not...Jake can ask a lot of questions), trying to make conversation with the other patients who always seem to comment on how big Jud is (Yes, he's 8 weeks old and 14 pounds), praying that the Dr would finally call my name and convincing myself that bringing them both with me was not a horrible idea. When I got in my car I was "done" which basically means "nobody talk till we get home because I need quiet!"
4. Laundry - why do we have so many clothes?
5. Meals - I'm used to eating what's left on Jake's plate since he tends to want whatever is on mine. Now I don't even have time for that, so grabbing a handful of pretzels is all I can hope for.
6. Sleep is so precious. I can never have too much. Please let me have more!
7. Having 2 boys is amazing and I can't wait to see how Judson's personality develops. He is a wonderful baby and I pray he and Jake will be best buds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If you need to laugh today...

I read the most hilarious (and realistic) article in Parents Magazine. It allows a new mommy to share her deep and honest thoughts about how her life has changed. Here's my favorite paragraphs - this is so true!!

"I see how people look at me-with that mixture of pity and disgust-in my old nursing tank covered in spit-up and the same maternity shorts I wear every day. I'm like The Elephant Man. I put my daughter in fancy clothes to comepensate for the monster pushing her around. I see the stares. I know what you're saying. You small-pants-wearing Miley Cyrus fan. I just had a baby. I am not always this fat."

"I should have slowed down and enjoyed my freedom more when I had the chance. I used to beat myself up if I slept past eight or stayed out too late. I was a fool. A fool. What did I know? Oh, to do anything at a leisurely pace - shop, eat, read the newspaper-and anything without having to wear a monitor. Waiting. Listening. For her."

"I'll never be sorry for deciding to become a mother, though. There may be no going back to my old body or my old lifestyle, but having (insert child's name here) is worth everything I've had to give up and then some. But you already know that."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Definitely Brothers

We took a picture like one we took of Jake three years ago. It's amazing how similiar they are! Judson has the darker hair. Definitely brothers.