Category: Life

What I choose to remember.

What I choose to remember.

The Holidays…when our social media accounts fill with photos of happy families, beautiful Christmas tree’s, and perfectly decorated houses. And no, this article isn’t going where you think it is. I’m not going to tell you it’s all a lie. I’m not going to tell you that those people are just trying to create an illusion of perfection. I’m offering a different perspective.

Last week we dug the Christmas decorations out of the attic. Let me tell you…it’s a job. We don’t have nice pull down steps. We push an outdoor ladder up to a hole in the hallway, and the Bearded Man pushes heavy totes of Christmas decor down to me, and I just hope I don’t drop and break everything in the process. The kids get impatient. Decorations and glitter start flying everywhere . The Bearded Man and i might fight a little. We may have yelled at the kids while Christmas music blared on the T.V.

This is what I posted on Facebook that day. My beautiful tree, decorated first by my kids, then later, rearranged by my loving (and OCD) Husband, once the kids went to bed. Then rearranged again by my two year old. Was I trying to create an illusion of perfection? Nope. That was just what I chose to remember from that day. I chose to not let the stress, fighting, and grumpiness win. That moment is what I wanted to share. To see a year from now. That moment is what I chose to remember.

The other day, my sweet boys fell asleep on my lap. None of us had been feeling well, and we sat in the chair and conked out. I managed to slide out of the chair, and had to snap this precious picture. Was I trying to imply that my boys are perfect little angels that nap like this all the time? Nope. It had been a rough day. There had been weeping and gnashing of teeth. I’m pretty sure the living room was messy. This moment is what I chose to remember.

Pictures where all 3 children are smiling can be rare. This one was actually spur of the moment. That day, we had been playing in the leaves. The kids had been arguing over how the leaf pile should look. I had been trying to be productive and happy, as the dark cloud of anxiety weighed heavy on my shoulders. Maybe to you, it looked like like an attempt to be fake. To look perfect. To me, it was a bright spot in a week that I was really struggling. This moment is what I chose to remember.

Even pictures of food are a big debate. Post a picture of your meal, and it looks like you’re trying to be all braggy and rival June Cleaver. Let me tell you, I love your food pictures. It inspires me to get in the kitchen, even on days where I don’t feel like it. Some days, pushing past my exhaustion to cook a homemade meal feels like a huge triumph. Sitting around the table laughing with my family, as they fill their tummies, makes it worth it. That’s what I choose to remember.

So friends…this season, keep posting those pictures of your smiling families, pretty Christmas Tree’s, crafts, and yummy meals. It doesn’t mean any of us are trying to feign perfection. Lets reassess why those photos may bother us. Could there be seeds of envy or discontent in our own lives? Do we struggle to be happy when others seem to be happy?

Maybe we are all just looking for a glimmer of light in those days that can seem dark and heavy. Those little glimmers are what I want to remember a year from now. They are what I choose remember.

We’re Still Here! 

We’re Still Here! 

It’s amazing how a few weeks of not blogging, turned into a whole year. Whoops. As I type this, I’m using the keyboard on my phone, because our iPad is old and slow, and our laptop not much better…maybe even worse. I still find myself making mental notes through the day of things I want to post. Or Keira will suggest I post certain recipes. 

Anyway, whenever I consider giving an update of our lives, I talk myself out of it, because nothing “spectacular” has happened. I’m not pregnant. We’re still doing life in this tiny little house. Still praying and waiting on God for so many things. Just trying to hold our heads above water with all the craziness that comes with raising children. 

However, if you asked my kids, you’d probably hear a different story. 😊

I so wish I could be like them, and see the wonder in the day to day. 

Yesterday we took a “nature walk” in our backyard (which is hard to do when you don’t exactly live in the woods). Matthew immediately found this little creature and took a picture. I was impressed how he did the fading in the background, which was pure accident, but still pretty cool. In their minds we had really gone on this adventure and they were beaming for the rest of the evening.

Keira has been studying Ancient History for school this year, and I love seeing her excitement about everything we are learning. She was showing me how the Mayan Number system worked last week, and I told her how impressed I was. She replied, “Yeah, that’s what happens when you have a daughter way ahead of you!” Did I mention how humble she is? *cough*

And let’s not forget this little guy. He makes life an adventure. His vocabulary has exploded, and I love hearing tidbits of what’s going on in his little mind. Keira and Matthew like to zoom down the lane on their bikes, leaving Elijah in the dust on his tricycle. He’ll sadly say, “Everybody leavin’ me….” That’s Elijah in a nutshell. Small, but determined not to be left out. 

I’m hoping to get back in the habit of posting more regularly, even if it means using my phone until we get something better. My life may be a yawn for some, but if you’re like me and smack in the middle of the mundane, maybe you can get a laugh, or an occasional cry. 

I’m off to another day of teaching, cleaning, baking, folding piles and piles laundry, and little backyard adventures, and I’m perfectly ok with that! 

When God Asks Me to Wait. 

A few years ago, the Bearded Man designated a spot in the backyard as a wild flower patch for the kids and me. While we watched him sprinkle the seeds, he warned that they wouldn’t be up that season, but the next. He went on to say, “These aren’t going to grow in Shandi’s time, you have to be patient.” Um yea, I have quite the reputation of not wanting to wait on anything. 

I’ve struggled with this my whole life. Some of the dumbest things I’ve done, revolved around taking the instant gratification over waiting for what God had in store. 

I’m in a season of waiting right now. There are several things we are praying for as a family. I have a terrible tendency of giving God suggestions and helpful hints on how my life should go, and the timeline He should do it in. You might be laughing, because you do the same thing, or you might be aghast because that is so prideful of me. 

I know it is. What in the world makes me think that I know better than the God who created me? He already has my days numbered and goes before me, and yet I get antsy when he’s not taking my “helpful suggestions.” 

I’ve had the Lauren Daigle song, “Trust in You”, playing over and over in our house, because the words are exactly my hearts cry right now. 

I’m tired, I’m emotional, and I’m getting discouraged. I’ve been a Believer most of my life, and yet I still struggle in trusting God to handle the most delicate parts of my life. 

My health. 

My finances.

My future.

My kids…

Sure, I talk big to others about trusting God. Talk is so cheap. When anxiety starts taking over, and fear grips my heart to the point where my family can see terror in my eyes…that’s when I know deep down that I’m not fully trusting God. 

It hurts to lay out my failures, but how my unbelief must hurt Him so much more. 

I admit, the day my Husband planted the wildflowers and said it would take a whole year, I thought, “Puh! What’s the point if we can’t enjoy them this year?” 

Ugh, I really don’t like to wait. 

But once they came up, they came up beautifully. My kids and I have gotten so much enjoyment over the past few summers from those flowers. I’ve had memories of flower picking with my kids and mason jars full of beautiful bouquets thanks to waiting for them to come up. 

I found this little beauty waiting for me this morning, despite the frosts and cold nights we’ve had this week.

I wish this post was about how I’ve arrived and overcome this issue. 

Not even close.

Prayers are so greatly appreciated as I struggle in this hard season of waiting. If you struggle in this area, I’d love to pray for you as well! 

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 

Why I moped around today.

Why I moped around today.

When I started blogging, I decided that I’d never write out of obligation, just for the sake of posting every day. I don’t want this blog to be full of “fluff.” This summer was great, but left me a little worn down and with not much to say…Until…

Well, I turn 30 tomorrow, and I have a lot to say about it. 

Now, to all of you in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond, 30 is laughable. But today, I’m not laughing. 

Nor was I was this morning, when I spent a lot of time moping around. I’m so ashamed…

The Bearded Man finally called me out on it. He’ll be 40 in February, so he has little sympathy for my plight. He asked what was stressing me out so much, and it was hard to pinpoint exactly what it was. I shared that a lot of it was knowing that my “prime” is over. My prime childbearing years are coming to an end in 5-10 years. I’ll never look as good as I did “back then”, and frankly I didn’t even look that good back then. 😂  Can I have a do over?

 Don’t even get me started on the rapid slowing of my metabolism, and the collection of extra weight in the wrong places. I shared with my healthcare provider recently, that losing weight is so stinkin’ hard compared to 5-10 years ago. She gave me a knowing nod. When I shared my anxieties with The Bearded Man, he quickly replied in his southern accent, “Babe, just cuz ya turn 30, doesn’t mean ya gotta let yourself go!” He’s so right. He loves me no matter what, but I don’t have to let myself go. I’ll just have to walk a little more. Cut back on portions. Be more vigilant with the anti-aging products. Please tell that’s all I need to do…😊

I think my anxieties are stemming from feeling like it’s all “downhill” from here. I’m getting older. My kids are growing up way too fast. We haven’t built our dream house yet. We aren’t debt free yet. I haven’t done this or that…

But then, God gently started reminding me of all that I have accomplished with His grace and mercy. 

I’ve had the privilege of walking with God most of my life. He’s never abandoned me, even when I pushed Him away. He’s kept His loving hand on my life, even when I’ve struggled with fear and unbelief. Amazing love. 

I’ve been married to the love of my life for almost 10 years. We’ve surpassed the national average on how long most marriages last. We have our problems, but I can honestly say, marriage is getting better everyday. He loves me unconditionally and has never threatened to leave. I would’ve left me a long time ago. My heart still flutters a little when his truck pulls in the driveway in the evenings. There’s nothing like curling up with him at the end of a hard day. 

I’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful children on this Earth and 1 in heaven. Many women at my age are still questioning whether they will ever get to be Mother’s. My children make me crazy and bring me so much joy and happiness. I became a Mom at 22, and it was the best day of my life. 

There’s no doubt in my mind, that God made me a to be a Mother. We ordered Chinese tonight, and ate it outside to soak up the beautiful weather. These kiddos are so precious, and I can’t imagine life without them. 

I don’t have a brag worthy career, or a big pay-check, but I get to be both their Mother and their Educator. That is such a privilege, and I don’t take it lightly. Homeschooling is hard, and the paycheck stinks, but I am so incredibly blessed to be able to do it. 

I don’t have the body of my dreams, and it’s not likely I will anytime soon, but I’m healthy. I can take care of my kids, clean the house, go for walks, even run a little (just don’t make me), and I’m just fine. Praise God for good health, because not everyone has that in their lives. 

We may not have built our dream home, but we own a home. That in itself is a huge blessing and accomplishment. It keeps us safe and warm, and is full of laughter and too many toys. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

We aren’t debt free yet, partly to our bad choices and partly to circumstances beyond our control, but we are working towards it together. We have a common goal in mind, and don’t fight about money. We just don’t have any. 😎

I haven’t traveled as many places as I imagined I would, but I have built a life I don’t feel like I need a vacation from. Sure, we enjoy the occasional weekend trip, but my life isn’t a constant state of waiting to “get away from it all.” 

We have friends and family that love and support us. I don’t surround myself with a slew of people, but have built quality relationships. 

By posting all of this, I’m not trying to humble-brag, but genuinely give God the glory for what He  has allowed in my 30 years. I know with His grace and mercy, my future doesn’t have to go “downhill” but as Tim McGraw once sang, “My next 30 years will be the best years of my life!”

That will be in your head all evening now. You’re welcome. 

Here’s to turning 30! 

The Family Rule that Ticks People Off

The Bearded Man and I have a rule in our home that ticks a lot of people off. You know what? I don’t care. In light of my newsfeed being filled with a sickening news story of a woman being raped, and the joke of a sentence the man received-I realize more than ever that we’re right to implement this rule. 

What’s the rule? 

Our kids don’t have to give hugs. 

No matter how much a well meaning friend or family member begs. 

They don’t have to put up with tickling and unwanted touch- even if playful. 

You wouldn’t believe the looks and snide comments I’ve received because I won’t make my child give a grown up, “One little hug.” Mainly because their pride and sense of entitlement gets hurt. 

What does this have to do with a rape case?

I’m teaching my kids that, “No means NO!” 

It goes both ways, for both genders. 

Nobody “earns” their right to touch another human being without their consent. 

Nobody owes another person a hug, a kiss, a tickle. 


Can I ask you a favor before you go begging my child (or any other) for a hug? 

Let them hug you first. My kids aren’t denied affection. They aren’t weird. When they’re in the right frame of mind, and comfortable with you; they’ll come running up and put their pudgy little arms around you. You won’t have to beg or bribe. 

When my daughter is on a date(you know, when she’s 30), I don’t want her to feel as if she “owes” her date physical affection because he bought her flowers. 

I would never want my sons to believe they have the right to force a horrific act on a woman because she was wearing a short skirt, or because they have never grasped “no” and that none of us are entitled to anything. 

Maybe you think I’m being dramatic. I don’t care. This stuff is serious business, and it starts when they’re young. 

My son is going through a “big boy” stage where he doesn’t want Mommy to kiss him goodnight. 

Does it make me sad? 


Am I going to force him to allow me a kiss goodnight just because I’m his Mom? 


I don’t care that he’s only 3. I don’t care that I’m his Mother. It’s his body. Besides…I would never want to force physical touch on someone that didn’t want it. The thought of that just makes my skin crawl. What makes other adults think it’s ok to force hugs and kisses on a child that clearly doesn’t feel comfortable? 


Do me a favor. 

Before you buy my child a toy, an ice cream cone, or anything kid related, and do it with the intent of receiving a hug or kiss…put the stupid toy back. I’ve taught my children to say “thank you” and write a note, or make a card. But that’s it. They don’t “owe” you physical affection.

If you start in on our kids, begging for hugs, or giving unwanted tickles, we will kindly remind you of our family rules. If you continue after they decline, we tend to get a little hot headed .

It’s my job to protect my children, not to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

No means no. 

Maybe the other person isn’t vocally saying “no” out of fear, intoxication, mental challenge, or simply being 2 years old and unable to speak. But their body language certainly isn’t saying “yes.” That still means no. 

How sad that we live in a world where the lines of things that should be so obvious are constantly being blurred. Where “no means yes” and where even Christians justify wrong so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. 

To end my rant, in case I didn’t say it enough…

Whether you’re 3 or 23. 

No means no. 

Whether someone says it with their voice, their face, or their parents are about to slap you six different ways to Sunday. 

No means no. 

I’m a bad blogger, so here’s some randomness. 

I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. All I can say is, my kids have needed me. For the past week and half, I’ve had at least 1 sick kid in the house. We’ve dealt with fevers and puke buckets, and rainy day after rainy day. We somehow trudged though. 


The sun finally came out too. Hallelujah. I try not to whine about the weather too much, because the weather isn’t up to me, it’s up to God. I’m glad that rain spurt seems to be over though. That’s not whiny, is it? 

My kids did manage to be well enough to be in Mom’s wedding last week. Once she has seen all her pics, I want to do a whole post with tons of pictures about the wedding. It was absolutely beautiful! Here are a few pics of my family from the big day.

My little family!
Beautiful Babies!
My sister(Sara),Keira, and me!
It wasnt’t our wedding,but we sneaked in a few kisses!

We finished school for the year! Keira is a second grader! We will be doing some light review and fun reading this summer, but other than that, our mornings will be laid back and fun. Keira needs a break. Mama really needs a break. 

I was able to enjoy coffee on the porch this morning with my kiddos, without stressing about starting school. The kids watched our neighbors bale hay. It was my kind of morning. I stepped inside to grab something, and turned around to this;

Keira has a copy of “Pride and Prejudice” she’s been carrying around and “reading” for a couple days. She’s been trying to put together sentences and finding Mr. Darcy’s name. Funny, I always look for him in the movie. ❤️

Speaking of movies…to pass the time while Keira was sick, we watched the Anne of Green Gables movies. She has been listening to the audio books, and was tickled to see what the characters are supposed to look like. I’m going to get really corny, but there is so much wisdom in those movies. I seriously might do a blog post on all the awesome lessons I overlooked from Anne Shirley in the past. 

Elijah has decided he hates his crib, and the floor is the place to be. I stuck a clean, unused wash tub in the living room, and he loves it! It keeps him off the floor, and reduces the risk of getting trampled. When he gets sleepy, he climbs on up in there and falls asleep. He’s a quirky little fella!

Hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend! I’m working on a list of recipes I want to post next week! I’m hoping for a productive weekend and healthy children! 

This year, like every year, we talked big about how we hate Air Conditioning, and we weren’t going to put it in this year. It only took a couple days of it hitting 86 degrees in the house to change our tunes. We always crack by Memorial Day. It’s like a Sours Memorial Day tradition now. Looks like tomorrow we’ll be dragging AC units out of the building. We know how to party. 

Sorry for the randomness! If you know me, you’re used to it. If you don’t know me, get used to it! 

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Mother’s Day blessings for an imperfect Mom. 

Mother’s Day blessings for an imperfect Mom. 

I hope everyone had an awesome Mothers Day! The Bearded Man really outdid himself this year! I noticed early last week, that he was doing a lot of texting. I kept asking what was going on, and he would just ignore me or tell me not to worry about it. The thing about me is, I don’t let stuff go. I kept on prying, until I got it out of him. He and my friend Christine’s husband, were planning to send us out for Mothers Day. 

We ended up going to get pedicures. We are some of the most cheap and practical women on the planet, so spending 30 dollars on our feet doesn’t happen often. I hadn’t had a pedicure in over 7 years. It was a fun, semi-embarrassing experience! I realized later on, that we spent most of the time talking about our kids. Anyone else do that when you finally get out? 

After our feet were finished, we left and went to a festival going on in town. Walking around without the kids sounded exciting. Once I got there though, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I’m so used to pushing a stroller, or lugging a baby on my hip. We kept pointing out things that our kids would like. We were in line to get ice cream, and saw a man walking around with a pet monkey on his shoulder. That’s when we decided to call the Dad’s. We just needed our kids to come see the monkey. 

Once the Dads and kids arrived, we were comfortable and in our elements again. We came to the conclusion, that life is so much more fun when you view things through the eyes of a child. Kids make things even more fun than they already are. So I finally got my hour away, and that was just enough to make me realize how much I enjoy my kids. They know we love them, but they also need to know that we enjoy their company. That’s something this sometimes grumpy Mama doesn’t convey well. 

We had dinner at McDonald’s, because sometimes you just need some of their awesome french fries. Somehow I never realized that the kiddy cones are free? Can I just get 10 kiddy comes, please? 

Sunday morning, I was greeted with doughnuts for breakfast, and a card made by Keira. What I loved the most about this card, is that she utilized the cursive we’ve been working so hard on this year! That was the best Mother’s Day present of all. She even made a pocket to slide her baby picture in, and included a piece of candy. I love seeing their little love languages come out as they grow! 

We went to Church and then came home to do some landscaping. We laid down newspaper in the flower beds to hopefully prevent weeds?! We’Il see 😉 We then planted flowers and mulched. The kids used their gator to haul mulch to us. It was a fun and tiring afternoon. 

When we were cleaning up the yard, Matthew hopped in the truck with Rich and I could see him looking out the window, grinning from ear to ear. Just sitting in the truck with his Daddy made him the happiest kid in the world. I got a little teary eyed watching the two of them. Sometimes when I watch my kids play, I get overwhelmed at how incredibly blessed we are. 

Before I had kids, I imagined being the perfect Mom. I wanted to do and be so many things. Here we are, fighting the battles of sleep, eating vegetables, and chores. I go to bed so many nights feeling like I failed my kids. God knew I wasn’t perfect when He blessed me with them. He did it anyway, and I’m so grateful. 💜