I had an elaborate Christmas planned. I would WRAP the kids gifts in the most adorable Buffalo Plaid Christmas paper. Everything would follow this elaborate Buffalo plaid meets Farmhouse Christmas and it would be GLORIOUS! In my head it was nothing short of AMAZING! In reality, I bagged more gifts than I wrapped, I did use Buffalo plaid paper and very random bags. The “bottom” of all the wrapped gifts looked like someone, probably a five year, crumbled the paper together and secured the paper with an enormous amount of tape. Yep, that was me. I wrap like a five year old in a hurry. I did have everything wrapped or bagged on the evening of December 23rd, ya’ll! Normally, I am a zombie of a person running around like crazy in to the wee hours of Christmas morning getting all the gifts wrapped! Not this year! And I only misplaced/forgot one gift this year. So, in honor of hot mess moms everywhere, I am putting this in the win column. Regardless, we had an amazing Christmas. We were healthy for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were able to enjoy a getaway to Branson for Thanksgiving with my parents and sister and her family. Our church had a lovely Christmas Eve service. We were able to venture to Branson to the Sight and Sound Theatre and see The Miracle of Christmas. We welcomed Chloe dog to the family. This sweet pup has my heart. I love her so much. She has grown so much too! The kids were busy with flag football, baseball, softball and basketball. We enjoyed cheering them on. Kinsley entered her first year of high school! What!? The boys are enjoying their last year of elementary school, including their last elementary Christmas program. 2019: We won and lost, we danced, we laughed and cried. We went to a Chris Tomlin concert. We paid a TON of in gate fees for well over 70 games. We made 2019 a year to remember. We are excited for 2020 as a family. I hope we enjoy a year full of memories and new experiences. I am also hopeful to find new ways of loving and serving others.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2020! Hugs, Tara

Worship

I grew up attending the Catholic church.  I loved my little hometown church.  I love the people that made up this church.  I loved our priest.  He was not your typical Catholic priest.  He was an older gentleman who wore leather pants and drove a Harley.  He had a zest for life and deep love for Christ.  Attending Catholic Mass was what I knew and I have never been one for change unless I initiate it.    

As someone who grew up Catholic, I never understood how people worshipped with their hands raised and danced in the aisles.  I call these folks the “front row Hallelujah sisters.”  The raising of hands was so foreign to me.  I grew up attending service that was extremely regimented.  I loved the structure of it all.  I knew what to expect and I liked that. 

My life began to take a turn that I did not see coming when we started attending our current church.  I love our church.  It is a church family based on a relationship with Christ not a membership to the church.  I felt a calling to re-dedicate my life to Christ.  I felt myself growing closer and closer to God.  Little did I know, my life was about to be forever changed. 

I am not a singer.  I honestly cannot carry a tune.  I would mouth the words but did not really vest my time into worship.  I tolerated the singing to get to the message, you know the real reason you come to church- so I thought. I will be extremely vulnerable and honest and say that I had a stirring to raise my hands long before I ever did.  I knew God was telling me to re-dedicate my life to him through baptism. but raising my hands… nope not happening- I will fight you on this one.  I full-heartedly believe that was the Holy Spirit trying to grab ahold of me and I resisted.  I was embarrassed to be considered a Hallelujah sister, I thought these gals would have shouted hallelujah at about anything. Honestly, I kept thinking about the Mississippi Squirrel Revival and at that point that was the ONLY way this girl would raise her hands at church.  

A few years later (yes years, I am a little head strong), I went to Desperation, a youth conference with Kinsley in 2018.  I went with the purpose of getting Kinsley from Kansas to Colorado to Wichita for a softball tournament.  I was not expecting this to be a life changing event.  I was not planning on experiencing an “ah ha moment.”  While at Desperation, I was surrounded by thousands of teenagers who were on fire for God.  One of those teenagers was Kinsley.  It was almost like I was on the outside looking in.  Kinsley is one of those kids that is on fire for God.  I never really witnessed her worshipping.  I was humbled and blown away.  This girl worships like it is just her and God alone in a room.  She is all in no doubt about it.  I remember just being overwhelmed with emotion watching her.  I started crying and could not stop it.  Deep down I knew this was the blockage to a more meaningful and deep relationship with God.  My hands went up and my heart opened up to God like never before. 

Throughout the Bible, we hear of characters “worshipping.”  Psalm 95:6 says, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”  Worship and prayer go hand in hand.  Psalm 29:2 2 shares, “A scribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” 

I wish I would have had a better relationship with God when my grandma JoAnn passed away, when our twins were born and when Brody broke his femur.  In each of these moments, I needed that relationship with God.  I needed those assurances.  I needed that peace that comes with having a strong foundation in Christ.  Instead, I had wavering faith.  I carried the weight of the world on shoulders that could not endure that type of burden.  Even when I was not engaged with Christ how I should have been…HE was still there.  He brought our family Kinsley when we lost my grandma.  He knew we needed a gentle soul to mend our broken hearts.  Sometimes I am blown away by their similarities- like crying on cue and having this amazing heart filled with love for kids at St. Jude’s.  God was also with us in the NICU.  He loved on us when we were treading on new paths.  He was most certainly there with us when Brody broke his femur.  He comforted our son when he should have been in horrific pain.  He calmed our heart as we raced to the emergency room to get Brody the care he needed.  When I was not present….He has ALWAYS been PRESENT.    

I am not on the front row, but yes, I am a hallelujah sister work-in-progress.  Let me tell you, raising my hands and truly worshipping God has transformed my faith journey.  I have a deeper personal relationship with Christ that entails worshipping, praying and daily conversations with God.  I start my day with worship music.  I clean the house to worship music.  I fight my best battles with Biblical scriptures, worship music and prayer.  Especially the song below.  I will praise his name through the storms, enemies and unbelief.  I believe in the hope that comes with being a believer.  I don’t think that means all my prayers will be answered in the manner I want them answered.  It means that I coming to God with my concerns and I rely on him and him alone.  He can handle my burdens.  I am simply am not equipped as a human being to handle such things.  I am able to find peace knowing that I stand firm in God’s presence and the plans he has for me. 

Hugs, Tara

“Raise A Hallelujah”

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, Heaven comes to fight for me

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)
Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)
Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)
Let’s sing a little louder (Let’s sing a little louder)
Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)
Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)
Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)
Sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)
Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)
Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)
Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)
Let’s sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)
Sing a little louder!!

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!
Oh, I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah!

Just begin to raise your own hallelujah
I can’t do it for you
There’s a song written on your heart only you can sing
And when you sing enemies flee
When you sing prison walls come falling down
When you sing Heaven invades the earth
So just begin to lift up your hallelujah
Raise it like a banner
Raise it like a flag
Raise it in the middle of the storm
Let it rise, let it rise
Like a symphony to the King
Everything to You, Jesus
We raise it all
Sing a little louder!!

I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah (In the presence of my enemies)
I raise a hallelujah (Louder than the unbelief)
I raise a hallelujah (My weapon is a melody)
I raise a hallelujah (Heaven comes to fight for me)

Reality vs. Social Media Presence

Slippers

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 could not help but think of this Bible version in Ephesians 5:8 “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” 

Until Next Time…

Hugs,

Tara

Debunking the Perfection Myth

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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…

Hugs,
Tara
Philippians 3:12 
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.

This Week….

Charbroiled Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Until Next Time…

Hugs!

Tara

A Little About Me….

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.

Until next time….

Hugs!

Tara