High Five For Friday

Good Morning! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out her page to read more High Five For Friday posts!

1. You Are My I Love You – I found yet another book this week that I love, but cannot read to Caleb without crying. It’s so precious. I dare you to read this out loud without tearing up! I’ve included the poem below.

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you 

2. Ice Cream Cake – Last night we had one of our couple friends over to celebrate her birthday. I successfully made a Oreo Ice Cream cake, that they flattered me by saying way competitive with Dairy Queen! ha!

3. We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Wednesday. If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, then you don’t know that I’ve had a really long week! So I didn’t last too long out for supper. We didn’t leave until Caleb fell asleep (then my sister stayed  with him). We got our food, ate and then I could hardly stay awake. It was nice to take that time out of the week. One of my favourite parts of that supper was that Montana’s now serves their drinks out of mason jars. I loved the look of it! If you click on the image below you can read a little article on when you can use these as glasses, and when you can’t!

4. Focus on the Family Parenting Podcast was so helpful to me this week! It’s only five minutes long, and held just nuggets of gold truth! You can listen to one of the episodes right here. This one was encouraging moms to find their own creative style of mothering, and not try to be someone they aren’t. It was a great reminder to me to stop comparing myself to other moms and embrace my personality and the gifts God has given me.

5. Caleb – When will he not be in my High Five? This boy is stealing more and more of my heart every single day (I didn’t think I had any heart left to steal)! This week he started doing this hilarious thing where he slaps his lips together to make this faint sound, then laughs. His cheeks still right out like a little chipmunk. It’s adorable. I can’t imagine not spending every day with him! In this picture he’s where this adorable little sweater that says “mommy’s football all-star”. Too cute!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

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A Week of Separation Anxiety

This has been a long week. I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it has gone has made it feel like time has dragged on. Caleb has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming inconsolably. For the first couple nights we rushed in and held him and tried to figure out what was wrong. That made it worse. He just screamed louder and harder.

I’m going to be honest, it was terrifying. He rarely cries. The panic in his cry gave us chills. My husband and I would stand there helplessly wondering what on earth was wrong. We prayed protection over him, our home, his crib…anything! Eventually he’d settle down and the moment I would lay him in his crib he’d start screaming. Or if he calmed down in his crib, he’d start screaming the moment I left his room.

I felt like it was never-ending cycle. It started transferring to naps and bedtime too, not just the middle of the night.

I was trying to figure out why Caleb was screaming and I read that between eight and twelve months is when separation anxiety hits its peak. I started reading more and more about his emotions, the changes going on in his heart, mind and body and began to understand where this panic was coming from.

As Andrew and I talked about it we were heartbroken that Caleb can feel such loneliness, isolation and fear in his tiny person. If you believed someone closed the door and walked away to never come back, you would be screaming too!

Through doing a little research I’ve found a tactic that seems to be working well for us, but it requires a lot of patience on my part. If you are interested in what’s working for us, you can email me at monica@myredandpurplelife.com. I’m not going to spend time going into detail on it during this post.

Sitting in the rocking chair in Caleb’s room while he screamed, reassuring him from a distance until he calmed himself to sleep, I was wrestling with myself to maintain the patience to wait this out with him. Once again, the Lord said to me that if I’d stick with this he would show me things about himself that I would never have known otherwise.

It is such a relief when a frustrating situation becomes one of great purpose.

So here are the three things the Lord has shown me during my late night calming sessions with my baby.

  1. We all have anxiety about being alone. This fear often can surface as fear of being single, or an unhealthy dependency on other people. Truthfully, it just comes down to a separation from God. People all around us are screaming out in panic. They are going through their own separation anxiety. Can we lead them to the one who will never leave or forsake them?

    Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

  2. Those of us who know the Lord are bearers of peace. In a world where nothing is certain, and inconsistency is every where, we need to be that consistent strong voice leading people to truth, which is Jesus Christ.

    I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

  3. Don’t give up on people. Often when a person is at their worst and seems perhaps beyond hope, breakthrough is just around the corner. The first night, I was just about to give up on my new tactic with Caleb, and it was two minutes after I decided to stay that he fell asleep. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

    So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)

This experience has given me yet another glimpse in to the heart of God. The sorrow I felt in trying to make Caleb know we were right there, that he wasn’t alone hardly even compares to the grief the Lord feels when people are pushing away from him. He is standing there not just saying that he’s in the next room, like I was saying, but he’s shouting “I’m right here! Turn to me and I will heal your heart and make you new.”

I’m happy to say that things with Caleb have improved greatly throughout the week. Last night I was only up with him for about ten minutes. He’s becoming his joyful self again!

If you don’t know the love and grace of Jesus Christ, I hope you will talk to someone you trust who does know Him, or contact me. You don’t have to live in anxiety that comes from separation. If you do know the Lord, but you haven’t been as committed or faithful to him as you want to be, take this opportunity and recommit. His heart is breaking that you won’t let him come in and be your Father.

May eternal life, love and joy be yours today!

 

Meet Katy From Our Simple Love Story

Before we get into the main part of today’s post I want to remind you about the Celebrating Family Photo Contest! There are two more days to enter. It will not take long for you to send a picture in and a couple of lines about it!

All photos should be emailed to monica@myredandpurplelife.com

Winner receives a feature post done on them and their family about activities they like to do and how they encourage their family to spend quality time together.

You can read more about the contest by clicking on the image below.

Now I want to introduce to you Katy (the main writer from Our Simple Love Story). I “sat down” with her in a virtual sense and we talked about why she blogs, her heart for people and what she has learned from marriage so far.

Monica: Why did you start blogging?

Katy: Well, I love to write.  I’ve been writing in some form or fashion since I was a little girl.  I originally started blogging to connect with friends and family while I was at college.  I was introduced to blogging by my college roommate (who is now my best friend) because she was blogging to friends back home.

I started this blog for basically the same reason, although in addition to friends and family, I also like getting to know new people.  I’ve seen amazing support and encouragement from the blogging community just in the past few weeks.  The community makes it fun.

Monica: What’s the purpose behind “Our Simple Love Story”?

Katy: I think part of it is just to record the memories – the things we do together, things I am learning about our marriage or even just a recipe or two.  I also hope that this blog encourages other people.  I have been told lately that I have an encouraging spirit.  I want to use this blog to do just that.

Monica: What have you found to be the single most important factor maintaining a solid marriage?

Katy: It’s kind of twofold.  First, God needs to be the center of a marriage.  In fact, my relationship with God has to come before my relationship with Michael!  Second, I need to accept the flaws and uniqueness of my marriage.  I was horrible at the beginning of my marriage with comparing it to other relationships (let’s face it, I still struggle with this from time to time).  When it wasn’t measuring up, I thought it was because I wasn’t good enough as a wife.  Through lots of open communication with God and Michael, I realized that I couldn’t define my marriage by another person’s standards, and I began to see our marriage as the beautiful living and growing thing that it is.

Monica: Has God placed any specifics dreams and visions on your heart?

Katy: I don’t think God gave me a particular life calling.  I think of it more as a daily calling.  Each day, He has a purpose for me.  I love to encourage others (I hate to see anyone upset or hurting), and I know that God has used me in the past for that particular purpose.

Monica: If you could encourage the world with one message, what would it be?

Katy: When you disagree with someone else, always remember that they are a creation of God, and that God loves them very much.  Once you remove that humanity from the person, you have lost the argument.

 You can check out Katy & Michael’s website at www.oursimplelovestory.wordpress.com or click on their image above.
I really like that Katy issues a challenge at the end of her posts. Recently she blogged about how they had fallen into the habit of watching television while eating. She was honest about it, and her desire to make that change. She issued a challenge to her readers about it, and kept us posted on how she was doing.
Enjoy checking out Our Simple Love Story. Thank you Katy for your time answering my questions and sharing with all of us!

Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos & Broccoli, Cheddar, Chicken Braid

This recipe is so fast and easy, you still have time to do it if you’re humming and hawing about what to for your loved ones. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually like making things that come from a mix base, but when you’re in a pinch this works great, and it’s really delicious! I adapted this recipe from the chocolate oreo cookies here. I love the chocolate too, but I happened to have a vanilla mix on hand.

Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos

1 Vanilla Cake Mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Whisk these ingredients together. Roll into balls (dough won’t hold it’s shape fully), and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 F.

While these are baking and cooling make this cream cheese icing:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

3 – 3 1/2 cups icing sugar

Chill icing.

Once the cookies are cool, place a dollop of icing in the middle of one of the cookies and press another one down on top, to form a cookie/icing sandwich. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut out the oreo. Dip an edge in the icing, or spread it around on 1/4 of the  cookies and dip it in coloured sugar or heart-shaped sprinkles. 

Enjoy wrapping these up and sharing them with friends!

From last week…

Some of you had a hard time getting to the Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken braid I had posted about. The link to the recipe is here, but I will also post it below in case the URL isn’t working again.

Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken Braid

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
  • 2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 egg yolk
  • fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle.
  3. Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise
  5. Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.
  7. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.
  8. Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top.
  9. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

*I make a homemade biscuit dough instead of buying the can. You can find the recipe I use here. Just substitute whole wheat for white flour.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Your Dramatic Change

Do you want a thorough or dramatic change in your person, appearance, or character? Well that is the definition of the word transform! Not only do you probably want it for yourself, but the Lord wants it for you too, and He’s here to help!

Transformation of our families and ourselves is something that we all desire. While we love our families, and hopefully love ourselves there is always room for improvement.

Which of the two options is better?

a. to appear kind, gentle and patient

b. to be kind, gentle and patient

Everywhere you turn right now in our world people are offering us tricks and tactics for getting what we want. Sometimes they are extremely selfish. They teach you how to manipulate someone else to your advantage to have your needs met.  For example I have heard some people teach that in relationships if you are feeling underappreciated you should withhold all you do (maybe cooking, cleaning, communicating, etc.) so that the person gets the hint that you are not happy. While the outcome might be similar, would you rather have someone truly appreciate and thank you or have manipulated him or her into a place of needing to grovel at your feet?

In the Christian world we see a lot of self-help as well. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not at all against these types of books, in fact sometimes I overly enjoy them. My personality is like this: give me a list of instructions on how to complete a task successfully, and I will do it without a flaw.

I hate when something doesn’t come with instructions! When it was time to move to feeding my son solids I was reading a book that provided a ton of suggestions. That drove me crazy! I just wanted them to lay out step by step what to feed him everyday so I didn’t mess up.

That doesn’t work with us or with anyone else. If you try to simply follow a list of instructions for how to be happy, content, gentle or self controlled you are going to be disappointed. If you want to become like God you have know his heart.

How do you know his heart? You have to get in his Word and you have to start communicating with him.

To give you a cooking analogy, we love Greek seasoned chicken breast. There is a huge difference between when I quickly sprinkle some seasoning on top for a quick taste on our food, compared to when I allow that chicken breast to sit for hours and marinate in oil and the seasoning. The seasoning becomes a part of the chicken. There is no scraping it off; the chicken is completely saturated in the flavour. As it is cooks, the smell of that delicious Greek seasoning fills the entire house and permeates into every one of our senses.

I am realizing that I have over complicated transformation. Up to now I’ve been trying to do things to change others or myself.

But really, transformation is quite simple.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

The part I play in transformation is submitting to God. He will change how I think. He will change who I am. As I soak in the heart of whom the Lord is I will become the things of Him, instead of trying to attain the things of Him. 

I don’t want to over simplify our walks with the Lord, but I think we can get so caught up in doing certain things to become a certain way. And all results that come like that will be temporary. If you want real alteration, you’ll let God bring about a dramatic change that permanently shapes your character into his likeness.

So take a deep breath.

Relax.

Transformation will come just as soon as you stop trying.

 

At Home Dates

As young parents, it is often difficult to leave the house without your baby for a date night. We are incredibly blessed to have so much family around us who love having time with our munchkin. I have talked to many of you however, that don’t have that. So here are five of my favourite at home date ideas, followed by two links to MANY more creative ones. These cost almost no money, depending on what you have on hand around your house. You’ll have to choose to be creative and not mind “pretending” to be somewhere that you aren’t.

I have found some of our best conversations have happened during one of our at home dates. I am sort of spoiled when it comes to dating my husband. We usually guard our Friday evening and Saturday evening for at home date time, then Sunday night is our  marriage class, so we usually get an out of the house date too.

  1. Do a “Pinterest Project” – You can find all kinds of projects on Pinterest for varying amounts of time. Over the Christmas holidays we spent many afternoons and evenings working on little projects. This one was lots of fun for us. We chose the paper and painted together. The only part we didn’t do together was use the saw to cut the wood. That was all me. Just kidding. It was my husband. You can read more about this project here.
  2. Coffee Shop Night – I am not the type of person who likes the idea of a date night involving me slaving away in the kitchen to create a fancy meal that we will then spend the rest of our at home date cleaning up. No thanks! I do LOVE going for coffee. Whether it’s a quick trip to Tim’s or a lingered over Caramel Macchiato, there is hardly an outing I like more than going for coffee. One of our local coffee shops has this well-known saying written in it: Sit long, Talk much. Laugh often. That is the basis of this at home date. Did you know that couples that laugh together have a much high success rate? You can read about laughter and marriage here. Create an atmosphere like you’re favourite coffee shop and experiment with a new latte or tea, then sit and visit. If you don’t have an espresso machine, check out this easy stove top Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe or my gourmet  Cinnamon Chocolate black tea recipe.
  3. Paper Airplane Contest – If you and your spouse are competitive, like my husband and I are, this is lots of fun. Be really extreme. I found this on one of the links I’m including below.
    Okay if Andrew and I had not got married, I would feel really awkward about this photo! This is from a pre-dating days (I was 19, he was 20) at Bible School where a bunch of us were having a paper airplane race. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. It seems like Andrew is taunting me, and I’m shamelessly flirting (which yes, did happen)! 
  4. Organize a zone – This definitely comes down to your personality on whether you’d enjoy this one. We love picking something random (like our ottoman) and reorganizing it. Weird? Maybe, if you view it as work. If you view it as exploring a cupboard or container you haven’t looked through in a while, you’ll find a few pieces of buried treasure!
  5. Childhood Glimpses – My husband and I, like most couples, come from quite different backgrounds. Any time we get the chance to talk about what our lives were like as kids, we love to. It’s wonderful to get to know someones favourite books, cartoons, cereal and relatives. It’s humbling and intimate to be brought into someones past hurts or painful memories. Either way, you grow closer. For us, these are two the little people that we want to get to know better: 

Here are some links to many more at home date ideas!

http://healthymarriage.org/homedates.htm

http://improvemymarriage.blogspot.com/2009/10/at-home-date-ideas.html

With Valentines Day falling on a Tuesday, I’m sure a lot of you won’t be able to do something on that day. I don’t think we’ve ever gone on a date on Valentine’s Day. Our first year together we were on a ministry trip with our Bible School, second we had pre-natal class and this year it lands on the day we teach our leadership class! Just use the special day coming as a chance to force yourself to make time to do something together this week, whether you feel like you have time for not!

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list? Share them here*!

Enjoy your weekend, and plan an at home date night!

 

 

 

 

*This website must remain appropriate for all readers, any unsuitable comments will be removed. Thank you!

High Five For Friday

Good Morning to all my beloved readers! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out the rest of this week’s celebrations!

1. Yesterday I announced that My Red & Purple Life is hosting the Celebrating Family Photo Contest! I am so excited about this, and I really hope you take the time to join in and enter for a chance to have a feature done on your family. This is a great opportunity to encourage people about the importance of investing into others!

2. Monday my husband was home sick after battling a brutal bout of the stomach flu. We were up most of the night on Saturday while he threw up. So Monday was a much-needed rest day for us. We spent Caleb’s first nap back in bed sleeping, and the second watching a movie. It was so good to rest and relax!

3. I tried making this extremely delicious, visually impressive, but extremely simple supper: Braided Broccoli, Cheddar and Chicken. We really enjoyed it. You can find the recipe here.

4. We indulged in President’s Choice Brownie Ice Cream. Well, I did. I needed some motivation while my household was sick, so I went out and bought it. It’s unbelievably delicious. Just don’t eat it with really hot tea, my teeth ached from the extremes I was putting my mouth through!

5. Okay, I could have had three points about my son Caleb, but I’m combining them all into one so as to not bore you with too much information on him! This week he cut his first tooth (you can’t see much of it yet), ate Cheerios for the first time and went out for coffee with just me. It was adorable. He sat in the high chair at Tim Horton’s, ate his snack, and talked in his language about everything he saw. He’s so precious and has just been an even extra blessing this week to us!

Thankfulness is the key to contentment! Celebrate the simple things you experience in life. Find strength in joy.

Be bold and share with the world your top moments of the week!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!