I have been reflecting on the song, “King of the World” by Natalie Grant. This song is my faith story. For so many years, I put God and my faith in a box. I kept this box tightly shut and opened it only when I absolutely needed to. These days, that box is never shut. I openly live out my faith and my strong belief and need for God everyday, unapologetically. There is a link to this song below, check it out!
I have learned the struggle of learning to grow in my faith. I have struggled with praising God during the valleys. It is easy to praise God during the peaks. It is not easy to praise during our storms. It is hard. It is really hard. But, you guys, it is growth when you reach a point where you can praise and worship the King of Kings even when are in the middle of a storm. God never ensures that our Christian life will be easy and that we will not face challenges. He gives us him to lean on and press into the Word during those storms. Some of worst moments have been fought while still praising God and worshipping. Did I want to praise God in that moment, probably not at first, but I pressed in and knew that I needed God to fight my battles. I tried fighting my storms on my own and eh, not really working out for me.
My spiritual breakthrough happened when I let God lead and I quit caring what everyone else thinks. I quit leaning on the input from others and started seeking God. I no longer pushed my faith in a box. I am unapologetically Christian. I am led by God in my every day. I am human and I perfectly, imperfect but I am his hot mess and for his constant GRACE, I am so grateful!
How are we already in October? Time is flying by. You guys! We had an amazing women’s event, the Dare To Be simulcast. It was what my heart needed. It was an amazing evening of worship and a great message. I did not realize how badly I needed a night to worship and praise the King of the World. I truly feel like I lost 20 pounds of worry and stress that was weighing me down. Sometimes you need a room full of women to encourage you and build you up. I am blessed to have some of the most encouraging and faithful friends standing by my side. What a blessing!
Um…how much do I love FALL! Oh, so much! My favorite season is fall. I love the changing of the leaves. I do not love Fall allergies. They are less than awesome for sure. I am not sure what it is with baled hay but I love it too. I love this open pasture. It is one of my favorite spots.
And here’s my sweet walking buddy. We have been walking each morning together. We love these amazing Fall mornings. I love time with this sweet girl. I am trying to make sure I get my 10,000 steps in each day. I am working hard to exercising more and making healthier food choices. It’s tough for this Kansas girl cause I love food, especially mashed potatoes and lots of gravy. Stay tuned for updates on this health quest. Oh gosh, I love Chloe girl!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
This is the verse that I have really been reflecting on lately. I love taking a verse or two at a time and focusing on that verse.
Sometimes I am a crappy friend. I forgot to respond in a timely fashion. I will see a text message flash across my phone. I will think, girl make sure you respond to this and then here we are three weeks later and I feel like a crappy friend. I will miss a call ad again mental note to return the call and here we are in the same situation as above. I promise I am not a bad friend. I can be a little scattered. I have thirteen, nope three kids. Which does not seem like much, but it is. I have to plan meals. The absolute bane in my existence…cooking. I mean can you really get tired of spaghetti? That answer is apparently yes! I would do well with a personal chef. Hence the reason we tried Hello Fresh so my darling kids could learn to appreciate cooking more than their mom. It worked twice out of ten attempts. Not knocking Hello Fresh it has expanded my cooking to a whole new level. I event prepared a gourmet meal. Holla! And it was darn good.
Ugh. Dishes. I hate doing dishes and I despise laundry. I mean let’s be honest, you will never be fully caught up with laundry…like EVER! However, I recently found a recipe for my favorite Campbell’s soup, Noodles and Ground. I enjoyed this little trip down memory lane last nigh. I am blown away. This recipe would have calmed a lot of pregnancy woes about 16 years ago. I sent poor Keith all over Kansas and Missouri searching for this soup. I went on a letter and email writing to Campbells begging for any remaining cans of this delicious goodness. I even asked for gently expired cans. What in the world is gently expired, Tara?
The last two days have been so amazing and fall-like and my heart is so full. I love Fall. I love the changing the leaves and pumpkin spice and apple cider. We are planning a virtual/ simulcast of the Dare To Be event at our church. I cannot wait to worship and press in with some new and old friends.
Our house had some major hail damage to the roof and the siding. We are excited to get started on that transformation. I am team white or light grey siding/ roof and a wraparound open concept Southern porch. Keith is team green metal roof and log siding. Please feel free to cast your votes if you are leaning towards team Farmhouse Tara…
I just wanted to share a quick update and send you all love and well wishes. Here are a few prayers that are on my mind: I know my Aunt Glenda is dealing with wildfires in Oregon she is on the verge of being evacuated. I pray for her safety. My cousin, Sarah is scheduled for a c-section this Friday to welcome her first little guy or gal. I leaning towards a little boy but praying for a healthy mom and baby. Sweet Lea and her family. This darling girl and her family have a special place in my heart. I am praying for Lea’s treatment and her medical team. I pray for the health and well being of this family. I pray for mom to be enough and to know that she is more than enough. I pray that she presses in to you and leans on you. I pray that dad presses in and seeks you. I pray for Lea’s sweet sisters. I pray that they know how amazing they are. I pray that you comfort and guide this family.
I come before you today God with a heart on fire for you. I am in awe of how amazing you are. I am thankful and grateful. God, I lift each and every person reading this up in prayer. I know that you and you alone know their worries, fears and troubles. Lord, I pray that they press in to you and seek you first. It is in your holy name I pray, Amen.
I have been praying for time to slow down. I have been complaining about how crazy our lives are. Interesting fact, guess who sets said crazy schedules? Ya, uh huh that would be the one complaining. I know that my heart needed more time at home with my family. I needed time together versus a quick hello in passing. I needed a break from Keith and the boys running one direction and Kinsley and I another. I felt I was fighting for time with my OWN family. I WAS fighting for my family. I honestly did not want to contend with sports anymore. AND WE ALL KNOW I LOVE SPORTS, sometimes a little too loudly. But here’s a simple and very true fact, I love my family more and we are living on borrowed time together. I did not really know how completely out of sync we had drifted until we were under stay at home orders. My daughter is missing her first year of high school softball. She has looked forward to this day for many years. We discussed her disappointment, but we also spoke of the Senior that does not get another opportunity to play sports in high school. We talked about it being ok to be disappointed but not ok to live in that disappointment. Same with my twins who are 5th grade. They looked forward to having their farewell to elementary school. We will celebrate once the storm is over.
We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 epidemic is real and it is challenging our way of life. Actually, in our home, quite honestly, a way of life that I hope I never get back to. This pandemic has altered the way I look at life. Do not get me wrong, I know this is a serious issue that we are faced with. I am relishing in the fact that my kids are getting a Christian focused education because we are creating an environment that begins with Faith and then school and work. In a world that is surrounded by chaos and negativity, I have hope. I have been leaning on Romans 5, especially verses 1-5. “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Honestly, I cannot imagine not having hope, especially given the current climate that is thrown at us on a daily basis. I would love a newscast that was not surrounded by negativity. I check the weather on my phone and that is where I get the local weather scoop. It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity. It was Zig Ziglar who said, “I read the paper every day and the Bible every day; that way I know what both sides are up to.”
The enemy has a way of attacking us where we are most vulnerable. Relationships, family, finances, and self-worth are just a few examples. Personally, I have been struggling with self-worth and the feeling that I am not enough. I am not enough as a wife, mother, employee and now distance education specialist (aka home ipad education patrol) and friend. I have had legitimate fears that I will fail my children, my husband, my employer, my friends and myself. The fear of not being enough has really come to life in these last few weeks. In the last couple of weeks, I have called out to God more times that I can count. I have prayed to the point of falling asleep, also more times than I can count. Sisters, we are all in this together. We need to press into God through these challenges and lean on his Word. We need to take things one day at a time and allow for a whole heaping of grace. At our house, when I am struggling, I start talking to God out loud. I want my kids to know that this is how I handle my struggles. I take them to the one who can handle them much better than I can. Each morning after spending time in scripture, worshipping and praying I am better equipped to handle my days. Somedays I put on my headphones and crank up some worship music to power through the day. Seriously, I needed to adjust my unrealistic expectations of what our days would look like. Day 1 was full of tears, jeers and fears! The struggle was real. The students were dancing awfully close to be expelled and the self-appointed Assistant to the Assistant Principal was about to get a boom box and blare some jams to commiserate the resigning of her self-appointed new job after 23 minutes on the job! After googling if boarding schools are still open, we decided we need to amend our schedules and expectations. Sometimes you just need to crank up the volume and DaNcE it out. One of our family’s favorites is Grace Got You by MercyMe. Try to listen to that song and not move. IMPOSSIBLE! We usually follow it up with some NKOTB (for those of you who do not know New Kids on the Block.)
Reach out to your squad. You know, the gals that we can cry to and with after an exhausting day of picking up Goldfish, re-washing clothes and trying to keep everyone on task with schoolwork. These sweet sisters know the value of an encouraging call or text, dropping by a latte or your favorite sweet treat. Pray with them and certainly pray for them. I would encourage you to #SpeakLife with and into the members of your #squad. Just make sure ya’ gals are practicing social distancing. Also lean into praying Psalm 91 over your family and friends.
I can tell you the most amazing thing happens when you praise God during your storms. Losing my grandpa Keith was one of the most difficult times for me. It is hard to lose someone who is so larger than life. This man meant so much to so many. He had a such a heart for helping others and loved attending Mass at St. Therese. I always loved how he would get dressed up for church and he was the SMARTEST Trivia Pursuit player- I am sure he sent several letters to their headquarters to inform them their answers were wrong. I fondly remember him singing HOLY, HOLY, HOLY! I am pretty sure he and I were both skipped when musical talents were handed down. When he passed, my heart broke. I had put this man on a pedestal. His love and approval meant so much. My heart needed peace. I dove into my Bible and I remember praying 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and all God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” God’s amazing grace was everywhere. After my grandpa passed away, my mom and sister attended church with my family. I remember hearing Kristian sing HOLY, HOLY, HOLY! You guys! My heart! I remember looking at my mom, sister and Keith and just smiling with tears of joy. We all knew the significance of this song and it is what our little hearts needed at that moment. So press in girls! Press in when times are good and you are dancing a top that mountain and press in when you are in eye of the storm. God’s got this. He will not forsake you and I hear he is a proponent of carrying the one! See what I did there?! You know, I could not help myself. Girls give yourselves an abundance of grace. Below are two verses that have been on my heart lately. Hang in there and keep hope alive!
Isaiah 26:20 “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed.”
Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
Lots of love, virtual hugs and prayers headed your way!
Over the last week, I have observed posts on Facebook. I have acknowledged how people tend to manipulate real life to fit their version of their Facebook life. I’ll be honest I have been guilty of doing just the same. You know what I am talking about. When pictures are staged to show only the best side of what life has to offer- the house tidied and decorated to the nines, the kids looking like tiny runway models. I believe this puts out a distorted view of reality vs. Fakebook. You saw that right, Fakebook. So many people live their lives for the next picture or post for social media, but only the ones where everything is shiny and perfect. Let’s be real, like really real. Here is some real life straight from my home to yours, today, my kids had late start. Late start means school starts at 9:00 instead of 8:00. I enjoy this extra time to do some much needed laundry and read my Bible and devotionals. Today, I had noble plans of making a gourmet(ish) breakfast, getting the kids up early and spending some quality time with them. Well, the reality is, I apparently hit the alarm off button on my phone instead of snooze and woke up at 8:49 a.m. 8:49! What?! One thing to note is we live approximately 20 minutes (15.5 ACTUAL miles) from the boys’ school. I tugged on my Christmas moose or is it reindeer slippers (girl, who actually cares, they were literally $0.75 at Satan’s playground/ Wal Mart, but again, I digress) for shoes and screamed like a banshee for the kids to get ready. Not my finest moment by far. Wait, let’s add insult to injury, today is only Wednesday and I hate to admit it, but it is a repeat of Tuesday- alarm and all. Yesterday and today were reflections of real life. Have I shared this on Facebook? Not yet, but I will.
I am not here to bash on social media. It actually can be very useful when properly used. I think the point that needs to be driven home is “when properly used.” I have recently unfollowed some of my Facebook friends because of their very misrepresented life on Facebook. I also have taken note of who I am truly friends with. I have no interest in helping someone reach a higher “friend count” on Facebook. Let’s be real and not paint a twisted view of what your life is actually like. Y’all, life is messy. Sometimes it is really messy. My thoughts are: let them take the picture, whether the silver stands are shining through or not. I think some of the best memories are made in the messy. I definitely do not want to indulge in the façade of living reality one way and putting something completely different on Facebook. I want to ensure that my social media posts are truly reflective of who I really am. I am imperfectly perfect. I am His. My life is messy, stressful and chaotic, but in all this there is sheer bliss and beauty. You know, the sunset that you cannot look away from, when your sweet dog Chloe runs to see you after a long day and that super awesome dreamy moment as a family when you are all together and giggles fill the room. Those are my moments. I long for those moments in chaos. I share on social media the messy. I know that the mess and chaotic are what other mamas are enduring too. We should not shy from who we really are. I challenge us all to walk in the real life vs. your perfect social media presence. WE are struggling together. And if you got it all together, then God bless you, you precious little thing.
I always wanted everything to be perfect. I had a distorted Disney view of perfect. You know the one, where everyone lives happily ever after and everything looks like it is straight out of a magazine cover. I remember being a young girl dreaming of this picture perfect life, white picket fence and all. Well…I am calling crap on the whole ideal of PERFECTIONISM. I have a great life. I have been searching for “perfection” in almost everything under the sun. I wanted the perfect wedding. Nope. Not perfect. The unity candle melted in the trunk of my car for crying out loud! I am pretty sure wages were made as to whether or not my dress would fit me (cause it did not three weeks before the big day and I refused to try it back on before my wedding day.) Not sure what I was trying to prove there. I expected the perfect balance as a working mom and wife. Still working on that one. Y’all I expected my kids to be these diligent little people who always had it together and ACTUALLY would want to keep their rooms clean. Uh ya, not so much. I set completely unrealistic expectations for family and myself. I held us to a standard that we can never achieve. We are fallible. We are human.
It is only in recent months, that I have finally learned a hard lesson. We do not find ourselves through perfection, we find it through our Faith in Jesus. I mean, let’s be real here, the only “perfect human” to walk this Earth is Jesus. And last I checked he still owned the only title of “perfection.”
Life is messy. The cars and house do not self clean, but man if they did! Kids are humans. they are going to lose it from time to time or basically everyday. You are going to charbroil cinnamon rolls. Your husband is going to fail you. Bottom line is our contentment does not come from people, Hobby Lobby (I do love some Hobby Lobby, but I digress.) Our peace comes from our faith and a personal relationship with God.
I was not putting God first. I was trapped in that circle of putting the world first. For a long time, I searched for perfection in my home, my children, my husband, or my job. I was certainly not finding contentment through a relationship with God. I wanted perfection in worldly things.
I am no longer searching for the perfect in everyone and everything. Let’s be honest, my house is LIVED IN. On any given day, my house is somewhere between Better Homes and Gardens and an episode of Hoarders. My kids like to keep everything like their dad, including packages things come in.
What have I learned from all this? I have learned that I need to press into Christ more and the ways of the world less. This is tough. Everyday I am struggling. I am perfectly imperfect. Some days I am a straight up hot mess. You know what? That is just fine with me because I am HIS mess. He knows I am flawed and I know that I am flawed too. Sisters, we need to love on each other and encourage one another. We need to join forces as a strong tribe of women who are there for each other through the storms of life, and there will be storms, but hopefully the storm of perfectionism is no longer one of those storms.
Until Next Time…
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
I am a pretty certain Monday only comes once a week, however, this week….I think Monday made several appearances. It was one of those weeks where you have to laugh about it to avoid crying in a corner in the fetal position. This week was a mess of a week. I got up extra early on Thursday to make these deliciously amazing cinnamon rolls for the kids before school. And…I burnt them to an unrecognizable charbroiled mess. The smoke alarm was blaring. The dogs lost their minds. It was NOT the start I had envisioned for our day. We got in the car with dry cereal in little sandwich baggies. I just started laughing. Like this deep belly laugh. My kids thought I had lost my mind and perhaps for a moment I did. I wanted them to see me laugh off what started off as a crappy, no good day. I wanted them to see me not get stuck in the muck. I have a bad habit of getting stuck in the muck and hanging out there too long. I am on a quest to reclaim my joy. Part of that quest is no longer hanging out in the muck and making the best of the situation. Praising in good times and well as trying times. Y’all this is not easy, but down the line it will be so worth it.
Hi Sweet Friends! My name is Tara. I live in rural Kansas with my husband and three kids- Kinsley and twin boys Brody and Brogan. We have a hobby(ish) farm. We have three dogs- two Dobermans, Jordy and Daphne; and a Great Pyrenees named Chloe. We have a gaggle of chickens (cause eggs are so expensive), a horse named Angel (not quite living up to that name) and a barn cat that I call Kitty. Y’all… this is the perfect life for me. I love living out in the country. I love having lots of pets. I am campaigning for a couple goats, a llama and may be a miniature donkey or two.
I decided to start this blog as a method of journaling and a way to lift up other moms. I am excited to share the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Life is messy, but I believe a tribe of women who stand in their faith and stand beside one another are nearly unstoppable. I have some amazing friends! True sisters in Christ! They are the best tribe to walk through life with.
I cannot wait to share my journey through life with you all. Topics will range from kids, faith, pets, work…skies the limit. Stay tuned.