I Sing Because I'm Free

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

ice cream is a necessity

fullsizeoutput_167d

Since I was a kid, I have had a love affair with ice cream.

A friend through thick and thin, ice cream was always there for me in my time of need.  Summer heat and need a treat? Ice cream to the rescue.  Boyfriend breakup and need a pick-me-up?  Ice cream always did the trick.   True story… when I was in college, I noticed that the roof of my mouth began to peel.  Thinking I had some sort of disease, I asked the dentist about my issue and sure enough- too much ice cream was the culprit!

Eventually, I realized that moderation was the key when it comes to enjoying my ice cream.  And it’s so awesome that we have tons of great options- even for those who are watching their carbs- like Halo Top ice cream!

 

Image result for halo top chocolate covered banana

My personal favorite- Chocolate Covered Banana 🙂

I happened to be in the grocery store yesterday evening and like always, I bumped into someone I knew.  We chatted for a few minutes and caught up on life, and then I noticed a mom and her middle school aged son hovering around the ice cream.  Mom was looking for the staples- milk, eggs… while son’s eyes were glued to the hundreds of cartons of ice cream.

“Mom, WE NEED SOME ICE CREAM!”

I heard the desperation in his voice.

“Honey- we do not NEED ice cream.  Now come on.”

 “But mom.  We NEED ice cream!”  A brief second later, he looked in my direction and I could see it written all over his face.  He was losing hope.  He needed some help.

I did what any ice cream lover would do…

I looked at the mom and smiled as I said, “I have to agree with your son.  Ice cream is definitely a NEED when it’s 100 degrees outside.”

The mom paused for just a second, and then gave the go ahead.  Junior got him a carton of heaven… umm…I mean ice cream.

I think often about how short life is, and how we have to enjoy the little things.

Ice cream is definitely one of them.

 

Advertisements
7 Comments »

You’re Sew Vain

fullsizeoutput_27d5

My Sewing/Vanity Table 

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted an antique vanity- with a big fancy mirror, and those little drawers to put all your make up and pretty things in.  Unfortunately we don’t have a good place for me to put one, so I have re-purposed an old sewing table as a vanity.

Several years ago, my Granny was getting rid of things and my mom asked if I wanted Granny’s old sewing table.  I thought it would be neat to have, so I  brought it home one day.  It sat in our guest room downstairs for a while, and then I decided to bring it upstairs and put it in my room.   Now it has become my make-shift vanity.

I keep my make-up bag on top, and I have a stand up mirror that I keep on top of the desk.   And there are all sorts of little treasures in the side drawers…

fullsizeoutput_27d8

I find something new every time I look in these drawers! 

 I wonder how many times my Granny sat at this same table to sew on a button, or fix a hem?  Even though Granny has been gone for almost 2 years now, I think about her every day.  And every time one of my girls needs something hemmed- or a button repaired-  I go straight to this sewing table! I think to myself- “Granny to the rescue”!

fullsizeoutput_27d6

My white Easter dress 

This past Good Friday would have been Granny’s 89th birthday.  It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long!  I had a white dress to hem for Easter, so naturally I went to Granny’s old sewing table for some help. Yep- Granny to the rescue, again!  

Sure enough, there was a sturdy pair of sewing scissors in the middle drawer… and snow white thread with a spool that must have been 50 years old! And plenty of different sized sewing needles- good for every type of fabric.

fullsizeoutput_27d7

What a blessing it was for me to sit at this old table of Granny’s on her birthday, and to spend some of the day remembering her- making use of all the little treasures that are in this sewing table.  One of the things I loved most about Granny was that she was a good listener.  Sometimes when I sit there to sew, or to put on my make-up- I imagine that I’m talking to her…telling her all kinds of tales about raising my girls…and I imagine her listening intently, smiling back at me.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens…

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak-  Ecclesiastes 3 

Leave a comment »

nailed it

fullsizeoutput_277b

My girls introduced me to a fab new Netflix show called “Nailed It”, in which ordinary folks try their best to reproduce a gloriously decorated cupcake or cake.  This show is deliciously hilarious and fun to watch!

Until one of my daughters said I needed to be on it.

Ouch. 

What are you tryna say about my baking skills?!  I was immediately on the offense.

Well, you’re always subbing this for that, you use coconut flour instead of regular flour…you don’t have eggs and so you’ll put something else in it…

Okay, okay, I see…. I couldn’t deny her logic.  I am guilty of all that and way more in the kitchen…

And I realized in that moment how deeply rooted my desire for perfection is. So much so, that I almost missed what my daughter was actually saying to me-

Even though you are not a “baker”- you will attempt to bake ANYTHING.  And you don’t let it stop you if you don’t have the exact ingredients- you find a way to make it work!

fullsizeoutput_277e

You know what is awesome about this realization?  That I recognized my tendency to take a comment and twist it around in my head…and that I can CHOOSE to put the brakes on those thoughts more quickly!

So this morning, I attempted to make a copycat Starbucks Lemon poundcake (low carb and sugar free, of course)  and I didn’t have the sweetener it called for, so I had to look up some conversion charts for the Sweet Leaf brand stevia I had… and then I used coconut flour instead of the baking blend it called for…. and coconut is a “thirsty” flour, so I only used 1/2 of what it called for and upped the amount of coconut milk I used…

fullsizeoutput_277d

And I literally LOL’ed as I remembered my daughter’s comments about my baking tendencies…

I had to bake it for 10 minutes longer for it to set…. but I totally nailed it! 

He continually reminds me to stop my pursuit of perfection, and to keep pursuing Him! Oh yeah, and it’s okay to laugh at ourselves from time to time, too!

 

I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.  Philippians 3:12 

fullsizeoutput_277b

my deeelightful breakfast!!! 

p.s.

Here’s the lemon poundcake recipe that I “loosely” followed 🙂

https://www.nanaslittlekitchen.com/sugar-free-copycat-starbucks-lemon-loaf/

 

Leave a comment »

One thing remains

fullsizeoutput_26d9

I think back on the days when the girls were little and I lament over how little sleep I had, and how very much I felt pulled between working part time while I stayed at home with them.   I remember the momma guilt I had when I hurried them to “get in the car because Mommy was going to be late again”… I remember how I rushed from here to there trying to fit everything in…I also remember thinking I wasn’t doing a good enough job at everything I was trying to do.

Sometimes I wonder what they remember about their “little girl” days…

Yesterday I was blessed beyond measure.  The girls found an old camera and showed me the memory card.  They wanted me to upload all the pictures onto my computer and look at them together.

Most of them were when the girls were around 2 and 5- right in the thick of my “running around” days when I taught aerobic classes at the gym and I was also teaching music lessons.

100_2077

100_2082

And the smiles I saw on the girls’ faces brought tears to my eyes.  Pictures- lots of them that they took themselves- perfectly documented giggly faces covered in juice, their favorite toys scattered all around the house….there were even short videos of them watching their favorite tv shows and singing the theme songs.

100_2062

As we scrolled through the pictures, I started to delete the blurry ones- and my oldest kept saying NO!  Every single one made her remember something special.  I couldn’t believe all the little details she remembered about those years.  Every toy and dollhouse, every outfit and accessory she wore.

And all I could see was the joy in their eyes.

100_2031

Maybe I was a little too hard on myself all those years ago- because yesterday, as we looked back on those pictures, I didn’t think about anything other than how precious my girls are and how very much I loved my babies!  Looking at those pictures made me really missed those days.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Comment »

Christmas Dishes

fullsizeoutput_24c2

I was feeling a little melancholy the other day as I was fixing a day-after Thanksgiving meal for the 4 of us.  Now that the girls are getting older, holidays just feel different.   I miss the girls being little and wanting to spend time with me.   I miss the excitement of Santa and long toy lists and just the sheer giddiness that exudes from children this time of year.

As I was cooking dinner, my oldest came out of “hiding” (she spends lots of time in her room now) and she asked me about what sorts of traditions I did with my family as a kid.

Did you have lots of Christmas decorations when you were little?

I remembered the glass candle globes with holly berries around them that we placed on our coffee table and dining room table.  And we always hung mistletoe in the hallway.  And there were these Christmas dishes…

Wait a minute- you had Christmas dishes?  For some reason, that piqued her interest.

Actually, I have them somewhere in the garage packed away. 

And like that, my oldest daughter was a giddy child on a mission to find them.

I went to the garage with her, and we dug through several bins looking for them.  Lo and behold- we found the magic tub filled with the Christmas dishes.

“I can’t believe you never told us about these!”

I helped her bring the tub upstairs, and then I watched as she took out every piece and neatly stacked it on the kitchen counter.  She snapped a picture of the dishes to send to her friend. “It doesn’t take much to make me excited!” She grinned from ear to ear as she sent her friend a text with the picture of the treasure she found in the garage.

fullsizeoutput_24c0

Why have we never used these?!”  she asked me.

“I didn’t want to take the chance of breaking them when you girls were younger.”  And that was the honest truth.  I remember my aunt got us those dishes for Christmas when I was really young, and they were special to me.

I told her if she wanted us to use the dishes then she needed to hand wash all of them.  She happily obliged, and then she set the table for our day-after-Thanksgiving meal with our fancy Christmas dishes.

And as we ate together as a family that evening, I was filled with joy.  Something as simple as eating on a plate with a Christmas tree used to make me so excited as a kid!  Knowing that those same dishes brought the same joy to my daughter’s face that day overwhelmed my heart with gladness.

And just like that- something old that had been packed away years ago became new again…and a new family tradition has begun!

    Old things have disappeared, and look! all things have become new!            

     2 Corinthians 5:17

fullsizeoutput_24be

 

 

10 Comments »

just because

fullsizeoutput_23ff

don’t need a reason

don’t need a holiday

fullsizeoutput_2400

don’t need a million dollars 

or a firework display

IMG_0412

don’t need much 

but one thing is true 

fullsizeoutput_23fe

it’s the little things 

that make me love you 

My hubby and I have never been big gift-givers.  He has surprised me with the occasional big gift for my birthday or Christmas, but really what means the most are the little things.

Like the other day.

We were walking through a store and there was an unusually large display of gorgeous roses.  While my daughter was admiring them,  I noticed my husband turn to look at the roses and he lingered for a moment…

“Babe, how about you pick out one of these bouquets?”

I love flowers.

I am also frugal.

And I know that flowers have a short shelf-life, which also makes me think that it’s not something I really need to spend money on…

But in that moment, God knew exactly what I needed.

Over that last week I allowed myself to feel like a failure… as a mom, as a wife… a failure at whatever it was that I was doing.  I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough.  It was all in my head, but that little lie raged inside of me.  I tried to fight it all week.  I read scriptures,  prayed, did all the things I knew to do and yet it was still there and I couldn’t escape that feeling that I was worthless.

But in my husband’s eyes I was worthy of those flowers…just because he loves me. In fact, it meant more to me because it was spontaneous and not because it was a special occasion.

And this week, God has used those beautiful roses to remind me of His perfect love for me, too.  He is right on time, every time!  Every time I have walked into the living room, those roses have made me smile.

He loves me just because.  And so does my husband.

In fact, there isn’t anything I could do to make Him love me more!

He loves me for who I am in Him, not for what I do! 

fullsizeoutput_23fd

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.    Ephesians 2:8-9

 

 

 

 

2 Comments »

adulting

My girls went back to school yesterday.

It brings me JOY.. and it also makes me a little bit sad.  I remember all those years I dreamed of having a baby, and in my own naiveté, I thought those toddler years would last forever.  But I blinked, and my girls have grown up overnight.

3231_73742913321_7347418_n

We celebrated so many firsts when they were little… their first giggle, their first bite of real food, their first steps… then came their first days of school… losing their first teeth…

2128_47275523321_1415_n

And now those “firsts” are becoming fewer and farther between. With one in 7th grade, and the other in 9th grade, I had to literally beg them for a first-day-of-school picture.  Gone are the days of them running to give me hugs when they get off the school bus, or them wanting to tell me all about their day.  I feel them trying to pull away from me and it is hard.

IMG_0380

But this time at our back-to-school night, I witnessed another first… 

IMG_4677

My oldest, who normally hides behind me- afraid to speak to anyone;  she actually introduced herself to all of her teachers-  on her own! And then she even asked them important questions- like about testing and whether they accepted late work.  And for the first time, I watched her beam with confidence as she walked down the hallways, waving and smiling at her friends.

My oldest was adulting… and it was one of my proudest “mom” moments yet!  Those little girl days may be a fading memory, but growing up is a good thing!IMG_4676

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 

2 Comments »

pardon me, dude-

fullsizeoutput_2010

Pardon me, dude-

I don’t mean to be

rude,

but I’m not

in the mood

for your

‘tude!

We had the most aMAZing week earlier this summer! The girls and I took a trip with our friends to Florida.  We went to Universal Studios Theme Park and it was absolutely fabulous!

If you know anything about my girls, you know that they are huge Harry Potter fanatics. So to say that their dreams came true is a slight understatement.  Harry Potter World at Universal did not disappoint- and even I was amazed!

But what I didn’t expect was how much fun we had in the Dr Seuss park! The lines were incredibly short and even I found my inner child as we rode the whimsical rides and listened to the wild rhymes of Dr Seuss.

IMG_4911

One night we were so tired that we couldn’t stop giggling.  You know how when you get overly tired how everything seems funny?  Well all of us girls were snuggled into the hotel beds, and I came up with that poem and I laughed so hard that I couldn’t even get it out.  I was trying to be serious, trying to get them to settle down and go to sleep, but even I couldn’t stop myself from laughing!

I am so thankful for that special week with my girls, and also for the reminder that you’re never too old to be a kid!fullsizeoutput_21f0

fullsizeoutput_21f3

fullsizeoutput_21f1

fullsizeoutput_2033

fullsizeoutput_2055

 

fullsizeoutput_2029

 

fullsizeoutput_2056

 

2 Comments »

10

IMG_5384

Oh my, oh golly-

how long it’s been

since I have seen

that number “10”

I’ll shout it from the roof tops,

I’ll say it again-

It’s the number 10

for the big WIN!

Remember my new year’s resolution to get  Lean in ’17?   I am happy to report that I’m still going strong!  In fact, I had the joyous experience of wearing a pair of size 10 jeans today!  I haven’t worn a size 10 in over 10 years!  Praise the Lord!  And more importantly- I’m feeling groovy!

I bet you’re humming that old classic Simon and Garfunkel song now, aren’t you 😉

As I got ready to leave the house yesterday, I went tell my hubby my good news-

“Babe!  Guess what?!  I am wearing a SIZE 10!  Can you believe it?!”

He lovingly smiled and said-

“You’ve always been a perfect 10 to me!”

Husbands, love your wives, 

just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her- Ephesians 5:25

IMG_5383

 

 

1 Comment »

remember the “green lights”

photo 1

I began dating my husband when I was 17 years old.  We worked together at a movie rental place inside of a grocery store for about a year before he asked me out on our first date.

My parents had recently separated and I was a little bit jaded about the whole idea of  marriage, and what a happy family should looked like.  I met my husband’s parents early on in our relationship and I remember wondering why they were so happy all the time!

I spent lots of time at my husband’s family’s house that first year we dated.  So much time, that it was pretty much assumed that I was going to be there for dinner every night.  My  (future) in-laws frequently brought home a Wendy’s frosty for me- knowing how much I loved ice cream.

One afternoon I was riding with my (future) mother-in-law to get ice cream.  I clearly remember the light turning green and hearing her say Thank you, Lord.

In my mind I remember thinking that was a little bit over-the-top.  Really?!  Who thanks the Lord for the light changing to green?  But in reality, I wasn’t thankful for much of anything  during that time in my life.  I felt sorry for myself for lots of reasons and I was completely oblivious to all of the many blessings I had to be thankful for.

But praise the Lord- years later, somewhere in my misery, God’s grace found me.  He opened my eyes and He came into my heart.  I am so thankful for how my husband’s parents have selflessly loved me with a Christ-like love all these years.  And over the years, I realized the source for their happiness- it’s simply the JOY of the Lord!

I once was lost, but now I’m found

was blind but now I see 

Whenever I feel myself begin to slip into that bottomless pit of self-pity, I think of my mother-in-law and how she praised the Lord for something as simple as the green light that day.

When we begin to thanking Him for the little things- we realize just how much we have to be thankful for! 

And just as my wise father-in-law says- “give God all the glory- even when you think He doesn’t deserve it…  because He does!” 

Be thankful in all circumstances-  1 Thessalonians 5:18

fullsizeoutput_1f39

4 Comments »