Friday, May 11, 2018

Rachel and Leah: A Glimpse Into Every Woman's Heart (pt 1)

Take a few minutes to get familiar with the story of Rachel and Leah in Genesis 29.

As we were reading this story with my boys this week, there were a lot of moments that stuck out to me in the story of Rachel and Leah.

Today I want to talk to you about the Leah portion of our hearts.

You know that part? Oh you don't? Let me jog your mind a little...

I am not good enough.

I am not pretty enough.

No one really likes me.

I am not even supposed to be here.

I was not their first choice.

Look at her, she is so much more ____ than me.

Why would God put me here?

I know that there have been moments that many of those lies have festered in my spirit. Sometimes there is one glaring negative thought that holds my value captive. Either way, these are real thoughts of a real mom.

And you know what, these are thoughts that have been plaguing women for CENTURIES! I don't know why I find comfort in that, but I do. I am not the first lady and I'm certain I won't be the last that sat and questioned it all. And for Leah, I think that the self-doubt that took root in her probably started from before her marriage to Jacob. But it manifested itself throughout their time together, and really took hold when she became a mother.

Put yourself in Leah's shoes...

She feels like her sister is the popular one.

Her father deceives the man that loves her sister by sneaking her into their wedding.

She has to wear a veil and stand through a ceremony and live through a wedding night when she knows all along that her husband thinks she is someone else.

Her wedding, the start of a new season of her life, is not intended for her.

Oh it hurts my heart to think of what Leah endured. No wonder she felt "hated". Her father used her as a pawn, her husband did not choose her, her sister is probably not happy with her.

After they had been married for seven years, here comes Rachel- the perfect sister that her husband adored. Ouch right? Seems that this girl can not catch a break.

But the good Lord has a different plan for Leah. He saw that she was "hated" so He blessed her with the gift of children. Something that Rachel couldn't do! But again, Leah struggles.

She is searching for her value in the love of her husband.
She is hoping to feel loved because of the children God has blessed her with. 
She is looking to all the things she doesn't have to find self worth. And yet, she still comes up empty.

Do you ever feel that way? That you have overcome so much and God has blessed you in spite of yourself. But you still don't feel like you are enough? You still don't know how to measure your value? You just feel like there is still something missing in your heart...

Let us all take note of the wisdom of Leah...

"When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.Then she ceased bearing."

"This time I will praise the Lord." Y'all, if Leah can do it there is no good reason I can't. Instead of spinning in circles, Leah decided to praise the Lord. She found her value from one that gave her love without stipulations. The God that was there for her even when it seemed everyone else would fail her. She went through All. The. Things. The deception, the marriage that wasn't hers, the struggles with her sister, the birth of her sons and she felt nothing but hated, lost, lonely.

How much of her life passed her by before she took her heart, took her praise, and gave it to the Lord? How many days, nights, seasons went by with nothing but yearning for better?

I can only speak for myself, but I have had seasons where I felt like Leah. Seasons of life where joy just seemed out of my reach. Times when it felt like everything that could go wrong would go wrong. Days when the lies, the untruth and the doubt took root and made me the victim of my own thoughts. There are times when I have sabotaged the day, the fun because of my annoyance with myself.

But more often, there are days when I wake up and choose to praise my God. Moments when so many things are going any which way but right and I choose to laugh. Weekends where I have learned to look past the housework and the tasks that suck my time to find joy in my family.

And just like Leah, like women for years before me, I have to choose the joy. Today, then again after lunch, and twice more before bedtime. But having the choice is what makes it all sweeter...

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 --> 2018

Every year I pick a color. It is a color that I use as my foundation, my pallet of memories for the year. Last year I picked my favorite color of all time: flamingo pink. It will always be one of my go to colors. It makes me happy!

2017 was the year of letting go of expectations. No matter what I planned or even thought, nothing ever shaped up the way my mind sculpted it. Its like when you plan an outfit in your head, and when you put it on it fits, but it doesn't look, smell or feel anything like it did in your mind. There were so many great unexpected moments. Our family grew, my sleep shrunk. My heart is overflowing, and so did our toilet. We have upgraded and improved our home this year. It is the place I love to come now. There were new schools, first days and lots of trips to McDonalds. We welcomed two new girls to our family- one by birth and one by marriage. It has been a year like no other. We will never have a year like this ever again and that is bitter sweet. 

I struggled this year to pick a color. I want to use the same color I used last year. But this isn't last year. This year is new. With new chances, new memories, new adventures. It deserves its very own color. So I came up with a compromise for the sake of keeping my flamingo pink in the mix.

2018 is the year of the sweet and the tart. The sassy and refreshing. The year of sitting back and taking it all it. Of taking my time to savor the moments that will never come again. The year of "front porch sittin' " and long talks with good friends. Time to soak in the fun and leave the hustle for someone else. It is the year of being intentional with our time and use words with purpose. My color isn't just a color. Its a mindset. This year is the year of the pink lemonade.

And my phrase, the phrase I am going to hold to when life gets extra lifey: Be Still and Know. Know that He has plans for me. Know that He cares for me. Be Still. Be Quiet. Be in the moment. Just Be Me.

Here's to 2018 and all it has to offer!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Barefoot & Pregnant in the Kitchen

Happy Monday friends!

I am trying to jump on the meal planning train and dust off my cooking skills! 

I am not a fan of cooking, cleaning the kitchen or eating left overs. But I'm also not a fan of Mondays, and it seems they still have to happen.

So this month, I have purchased and planned out 90% of our meals. And it makes me tired. But I'm doing it. #firstworldproblems I know...
Here's my plan, my schedule, list of things I don't want to do... call it what you'd like:

Tonight's cuisine is an oldy but a goody. In 2013 I took on the challenge of loving my crock pot. I blogged about all the meals I prepared, if we liked them, etc.

Here's the info on the easiest and yummiest lasagna you can get out of a crock pot and
the link to my previous post. Enjoy!!!

The Inspiration:
Crock Pot Lasagna

The Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
29 oz can tomato sauce*
8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese*

The Directions:
- Spray the inside of the crock-pot with cooking spray
- Brown the ground beef
- Stir the tomato sauce in with the ground beef
- Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock-pot
- Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce (I usually break them up so they fit better)
- Combine the cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheeses over the noodles
- Repeat these layers twice
- Top with remaining sauce
- Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hrs. 
(I've started the crock-pot on high in the morning before I leave for work and then put it on warm when I leave and it's perfect when I get home)
- Let the lasagna stand in the crock-pot with the lid off for at least 10 minutes

The Verdict:
* This was my first try in the crock pot and it was awesome!!! 
*The only thing I changed was I used 2 cups (16 oz.) of cottage cheese and more like 36 oz. of tomato sauce. 
* The first time I prepared it I cooked on high for 4 hours and it was amazing! If at all possible I would recommend that method. If not this next note is super important. 
* If you are leaving the meal to cook while you are gone (6+ hours) she instructs to cook on high for 30 mins then on warm for the remainder of the day. It is VERY important to put it on WARM and not low. Otherwise your noodles will be soupy and your cheese will burn around the edges. 
*Rave reviews from the Hubs and my toddler!!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Capsule Wardrobe

Here's a little Throwback Thursday to one of my favorite and most functional posts! I will be revisiting this concept once my weight is more static and my body type isn't pregnant. With the new year and everyone working to get in shape, I think that part of feeling good about where you are in the journey is wearing something that helps you out. I hope you enjoy and get something out of this post- I'd love to how you make this your own! Here's the post as well as the link to my original post.

Throwback Thursday: Make Over Your Mu-Mu: If The Pants Don't Fit
Friends, I'd like to introduce you to something that has made my life simple, made me feel better about myself and reduced the amount of stress in my day!

I know, it sounds like a magic potion or something. Now that you mention it, it does come in a "capsule"... but its not what you're thinking!

CAPSULE WARDROBE!!! If you don't know, you better ask somebody!!!! Here's the low down:

A traditional capsule wardrobe is simply this:

1. a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion 
  (i.e. skirts, trousers, coats)

2. basic pieces that can be livened up by seasonal pieces

3. these pieces should be inter-changeable, working together in multiple ways

I was scrolling through Facebook one day last spring and I came across a blog explaining the concept of the capsule wardrobe. I thought there was no way I could pull it off, there was no way I could operate on so few items in my closet. Here are the two ladies that I read about:

Why I Got Rid Of My Wardrobe...

Un-fancy: 37 piece wardrobe

I thought these broads were bananas... B A N A N A S.

Then I did a little homework. I was only wearing 20% of the clothing in my closet. That was so much wasted space. And so many moments of disappointment. Putting that cute shirt on only to realize my mommy pooch was prominent enough to mistake for a 4 month pregnancy. Trying those jeans on for the 137th time and guess what, they still don't fit. Ah, these yoga pants will always fit, let's wear those again.

If you have walked down that path of thinking, this is going to make you a better, happier, more confident person. Here's where you'll want to start...

Pinterest is a great source for options for a capsule wardrobe. Since we live in Florida it is hard to swap the seasons because summer tends to be 10 months long. I opted to keep most of my warm weather stuff available in case we have an extra sunny December day. That's what those in the biz call an "all seasons" or "life season" capsule wardrobe.

This was my favorite website and worksheet, and I loved her approach!

Elisa Pulliam Capsule Wardrobe Worksheet

Here are a few other great websites I found to be very helpful:

Un-Fancy Capsule Wardrobe Planner

Before you even start purging, there are steps to consider:
  • Start a vision board- or use the one you already have on Pinterest:
    • Notice trends: colors, style, repetition of items
  • Create a color palette:
    • Look at the colors you have pinned and the colors you love OR
    • There are color analysis websites that will help if you'd like to be scientific
  • Choose specific items:
    • Think uniform
    • Not just with the items but the repeated style
  • Analyze your lifestyle
    • I tend to find that wedge heels are not a mommy staple...
    • But its nice to have a pair in case I want to get fancy :D
  • Assess what you already have
  • Make a shopping list using one of the linked worksheets suggested
  • GO SLOW!

After 3 days of making lists and checking them twice, I started my purge. I spent 2 weeks making piles, debating and driving the Dashboard Dad nuts! But one huge mess turned into something beautiful!!! I slimmed it down to 75 items and its still a work in progress.

Here are a few of my basic pieces that I wear most often and that are the easiest to accessorize. On a rushed or blah day, these are my go-to, my comfort pieces. They look put together but they are still very functional for my life.

One thing I found important was making my closet a place of joy. I made an awesome display for my hanging jewelry, up-cycled a painting and made it a place that I like to go now. So getting ready for the day is less stressful and takes up less of my time. I'm all about streamlining my processes- hence taking 2016 to make over this momma! 


I would LOVE to see some of your wardrobe redos!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Morning Musings: Keep on Marching

Yesterday in my quiet time I read Joshua 6. (If you don't know where to start with a quiet time, download the First5 app- its amazing).
Joshua 6 is the story of how God instructs the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho for 6 days without making a sound... "I can’t help but wonder what murmurs circled through the camp as they looked at the towering walls of Jericho. I’m sure there were no shortage of ideas or opinions on how they should tackle the problem before them. But God didn’t ask anyone for their opinion. Not even Joshua. Instead, He asked for their complete and unwavering obedience. Obedience in the face of a battle plan that would make no sense at all to their rational minds. A plan that actually involved no “battle” whatsoever.
All God wanted them to do was march. For six days straight they were to march around the walls of Jericho. Then, on the seventh day of marching, they were to end with trumpet blasts and a great shout. God declared this mighty sound would bring the walls down.
What moves me most about the Israelites’ part in this story isn’t so much their willingness to take that first crazy step of obedience. It’s how they kept taking steps of obedience. Step after step after step. Even though nothing appeared to change … even though there wasn’t a single sign of cracking or crumbling in those massive walls … they kept marching. What if they'd stopped after day two? Or day three? Or even day six? Think of all they would have missed. They would have cheated themselves out of certain victory from God. I don’t say any of this casually — as if it’s easy to keeping going when there’s no evidence of our situation changing. It's hard to keep marching when we don't see God move the way we thought He would. It’s sometimes difficult to trust that He’s working behind the scenes.So what do we do when He asks us to move in ways that don’t make sense to us? How do we keep “marching” when the situation still looks hopeless? Their victory never hinged on their ability or any of their well-thought-out plans. It was dependent on their unswerving obedience offered up to a loving and mighty God. Let’s not stop short of our victory with God. He is working things out. He is present. His plan is still good and He can still be trusted. These are true certainties even when life feels so very uncertain."
I feel like I am in a marching for days season, but not sure where I am going or what will even happen. I am in a season of step by step obedience. Growing in my faith and trust in God's promises to me. I was really beating myself up about how I feel stale and diluted in the areas of life that once gave me joy. I am putting one foot in front of the other right now. And who knows how long my marching will take. But he has promised me the "city", and I trust that is exactly what He will give me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Power Color 2017

Each year I pick a color to represent that year. In 2016 I picked a soft pink color. I used that color for my planner, when I had a case of the blahs I wore that color, and it was my default for shopping, etc.

This is my 5th year picking a color and sticking to it. Something about having the color, consistent shades, makes me happy. It reflects what this year means, what this year held, and where I was in that time.

It changes the way I purchase my marketing materials, my planner, the color I pick for my nails, my drinking cup, everything. Its my anthem for the year.

This year I have decided that the flamingo is the theme of the year. The color of the flamingo is one of my favorite. I also happened upon this planner that embodied what 2017 was going to be for me.
(If you'd like your own Erin Condren Life Planner, follow this link:

So here's to a year full of being present not perfect, to starting slow and going steady and to making the most of the wonder 2017 holds. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Baby Grice Thrice

I'm just going to put this out there- we Grice's march to the beat of our own drum. We go against the grain. We do what we want. I am so thankful that Casey and I take the same angle when it comes to pregnancies. He lets me sleep and eat when I need to, I'm a nicer person when I'm pregnant, and we don't find out what the baby is until its born. Everything else is just water under the bridge right?

With pregnancy #3, we decided early on that we wanted to do it a little differently this go round. We took it to the next level  We kept a secret for 4 months from everyone. So watch this video of our gender reveal and be ready to #getonourlevel to close out your 2016.

If you loved our gender reveal, please share! I feel like we might be onto something...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Amazing Grice, How Sweet the Sound...

Well here we are! 2016 coming to an end and all the hope and sparkle of 2017 waiting at our fingertips. Who knows what this year will hold? Where we will be at the end of 2017? Will there be memes about how this year ripped us up and spit us out? More great SNL parodies of our fearless political leaders? Or will we kick back with a Coke and a smile, soaking up all the goodness that came out that year?

I am trying to do that for 2016, looking back at all that this year held. I went new places, made amazing new friends, embraced adventures and messes. My oldest lost his first tooth, started big kid school. My youngest was potty trained and became my little sidekick. We prayed and decided our family wasn't whole without baby Grice #3. I feel my husband and I are in a great rhythm in our marriage, and I watched his passion grow in him. My niece was saved & we got to watch her baptized in the mighty waves. My sister welcomed a new little bundle into her family. My baby brother popped the question to his high school sweetheart. So much good came out of this past year.

There was also a lot of indifference, in myself. I took a pregnant pause this past summer and fall- both literally and figuratively. There were days where I cleaned my house and made dinner. But most days I did only what I had to do and filled the rest of my time being still. Watching my boys play, reading books, watching all 10 seasons of the Office, snuggling whenever anyone asked. Just being. And y'all, I needed that.

It wasn't that our life was in a bad season, in fact things were very good. However, there was a lot of going through the motions. Doing what we had to do to get to the things we wanted to do. By the time we got there, we were so tired it was hard to enjoy it. Taking that pause helped me realize that we were not thriving, just surviving. What kind of life is that? Taking pictures only to rush to the next event. Grabbing a meal in the car so we can scurry over to do whatever it is that we were doing that day.

I feel like the month of December has been full of all the moments that make life worth remembering. My kids singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs with all the words wrong- but being filled with joy. Hearing my boys squeal with delight at the fact that they made their own bed- and seeing their faces full of pride. Laughing with my husband at all the wrong moments because we can- and seeing that sparkle in his eye. This month has been the refreshing breath I needed. Its also been a time for fresh starts. This is my new beginning.

I am leaving my first love, The Hot Mom Checking In. I have decided that in today's world, what it means to be a hot mom is in fact nothing that describes me. AND I am so very thankful for that. I am looking forward to sharing with y'all like I always have, just under a new, more accurate web address. I will bring all those beloved posts here, so if you're new you'll be able to catch up. More than all that, I need to share my story. There's someone out there that needs to hear it and my indifference can't get in the way anymore. I'm grabbing 2017 by the tail and holding on for dear life. This is our year friends- no fear, no laziness, not too much craziness, just amazing joy, endless adventure and embracing the strength that only the Good Lord could give us.

So here's to 2017- embracing the mess, missing phone calls, dancing in the rain, falling down and getting back up, loving, eating, praying, sleeping (sometimes), birthing babies, adventures, learning, laughing, loving but most of all, living.