Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One year of a new life part 3: the village.

Life was becoming routine. We had been here a few months-had visited many churches-started having family dinner night with Todd's family. We met our neighbors (who are all great people) we had made friends in the neighborhood at the pool-life was starting to show a glimpse of normalacy...atleast I thought so. 

In the spring-the girls started a homeschool school. During their classes I would sit in the living room of the school house and talk to other moms. It was nice to just have a few hours of adult time, esp. With moms who had been homeschooling. They poured so much knowledge into me those months there. I would come home and journal everything they had told me about curriculum, getting Aubrie back on track, life skills class. It was a great start. Todd and I begin to really talk about what our role in serving at our church would look like. He has a huge desire to work with middle school/high school boys. His own experiences with not a lot of male guidance during that time really drives his desire to be a role model and mentor. I like teaching but I just wasn't feeling like that was the directions I was being pulled. I looked at other options and guest services stood out. I could still be utilized in an area that needed help. Also, the idea of leading an adult group was on my heart and I really did not want to overcommit myself right out of the gate. So Todd signed up to lead a youth class and I signed up to help with check in. 

One of the biggest lessons over this year for me is it is okay to not do everything. The girls haven't jumped into sports and extracurriculars here. Not that they haven't wanted too-I just needed some time to decompress from the go-go lifestyle of Mississippi. 

The summer was great. We ate a ton of fresh veggies from various markets, we went to the coca-cola museum, we had visitors A LOT during the summer. We swam-almost everyday-we walked everywhere. Our section of town has sidewalks and walking trails everywhere so we spent a lot of time just walking around.

I hold my "village" very close to my heart. My village is people who are in my life and who I have sincere relationships with. They know my Good and my bad. They are there for fun, silly, crazy and hard times. They help raise my kids and I do the same for them. Building a new village is intimidating. I have all these people in my life from Mississippi that I hold dearly close And they are forever in my village. But not having them daily makes me have to make room for new members. 

We decided to join a small group-which I can officially say-was a total God thing. We have 7 couples in our group and we love them all-they each bring a different dynamic to our life and I am so thankful for them.

Also, we have become great friends with a couple we serve with in Transit (youth) they are newly married and no kids but they are such a blessing to us. 

Our neighbors are huge in our village-we all take care of each other's kids. The older ladies mentor our youngins and visit with them and make sure they are wearing their helmets. Snacks our huge in a neighborhood of kiddos and everyone has them and offers them without hesitation. 

Building a village is important. In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says 
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

Moving here We had to get uncomfortable and put ourselves out there to make not only friends but to find village member. And after several long, lonely months I can say that Gods promise to restore, confirm and establish was fulfilled.

Somewhere during the summer I finally found something for "me". Most people have their thing. Some love to workout, others like spa time, me? I love to work. Like seriously love it. After lots of prayer I decided to talk to Todd about getting a job on the weekends. He knows how I love working and he agreed it would be great for me if I could find one that www just on the weekends, flexible  (bc of his work schedule) and something I was interested in. Within a week. I found it. Working for Shutterbooth Atlanta has given me a night a week to go to events, enjoy the beauty of Georgia venues, and make a little money. I have a great boss that totally gets my crazy family life and supports the job of a mom. I have amazing coworkers that make doing this fun and unique job even better. To love what you do makes work 10x better and I love that I get to be a mom and be in the event field (to a small extent). 

For the past year, we have spent our time devoting ourselves to living a life where "in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for." The past year has made me realize how hard I was making my life when I was the one trying to plan my next big adventure and every move (friend, small plan, afterschool activity) 

I still have lots of growing and learning to do. I feel like the past year has just been a small scratch in the surface of what God has in store. 

{{there is one more part to this series. Tune in Dec. 9th for it.}}

One year of a new life part 2: the silent months

So to pick up where we left off yesterday, the first seven months here taught me so much. When we moved we decided to begin homeschooling (Something we never thought we would do because of our excellent school systems in MS) but I have learned that if I say never God usually says "watch."

So here we are in a new place, without our friends and my family. No PTOs to join, no after school Wednesday night choirs, no small group. Our calendar was completly empty-except Todd's travel schedule. 

So to say we had a lot of time on our hands is a complete understatement. I was so lonely. Going from being busy all the time-to having so much time on my hands-was very, very hard. I was angry with God that he would put us here in this place and wouldn't provide me with a friend...really aggravated me. I mean didn't he want me to be happy? 

I spent the mornings doing school-and the afternoon while the big girls played and Mia napped studying trying to figure out what God had us here for.

As time went on, I found two verses that really stuck to me. "It is in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for." Ephesians 1:11 and "After you have suffered a while the God of all grace will himself Restore, Confirm, Strengthen and Establish you." 1 peter 5:10.

Was I searching for myself in Christ? Was I living for his purpose? Truthfully-no. He was a part of my life but my life was a lot of "keeping up" with whoever. When you live in a small town your whole life you know everyone-and your daughters are suppose to take dance here, they need to play a sport there, you need to be on PTO-don't miss church on Wednesday or sunday-there was a lot of things I was living for-God was in the mix but not the main reason.

Being alone for someone social like me is suffering. I need people, friends...I like to know about people and pray with them and have them over for dinner. I like to surround myself with people who can be apart of "my village".
When I read 1 peter and it said "after you have suffered a while..." It was on a day when I was in tears. Todd was out of town working. Homeschooling took 8 hours and it felt like no progress was being made, Mia was screaming, I was just overwhelmed and very sad. I missed my Mississippi small group. I wanted to eat their food and talk about our kids and pray with them. I didn't want to be here and be alone. But I read this verse and instantly knew that God was talking to me. He was going to give me friends, after I spent time with Him. 

I began duel reading #momentmaker by Carlos Whitaker and #thebestyes by Lysa teurkurst. Both books were about life, moments and seeking God in choices. But 2 different approaches. (I am still in the mix of this self made study) I read each one individually-then went back and started taking notes correlating how I can still be a #momentmaker without being a yes girl. I am a total yes girl. And learning about embracing the Nos...was something I needed to do. 

I needed to reevaluate me. I needed to find out who I was and what I was living for through Christ. I needed to erase all the thoughts about who I thought I was or who I use to be and really focus on if that was the person God wanted me to be...and was it the best. 

In #momentmaker carlos says "We all have limitations. We all have fears. But Jesus meets us right where we are and guides us through the steps to overcoming them." 

...come back tomorrow for part 3.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

One year of new life part 1

October 2013 (halloween week) was the week that Todd and I got serious about our life. We had been married 8 years...and had experienced more ups and downs and heart aches and pain than I think most people least that I had heard of. (But I mean most people also aren't in the blogging business of discussing the pretty and the ugly..)

This week last year, we sat down and we wrote out a 5 year plan. And we began praying really hard for God to show us His direction. Neither of us had a clue what the next 7 days were going to hold.

As most of you know Todd's mom died on Halloween 2012. it being the one year anniversary I wanted to get away and surround Todd with people he loves. Todd loves his sister Casey. They are only a few months apart ( she is technically his step-sister...but to him (us)...just sister)
I knew being around Casey would make him have an easier day. So I planned for us to go to Atlanta to visit his "Momma Donna", brother and Sister. 

Todd had just started working for his dad's company this week and some of his territory was in Georgia. We got to Atlanta and it was if life just changed.
Within a matter of 36 hours-we knew what God wanted us to do. He wanted us to live here. 

So many people ask how I knew and I can tell you. I hate(d) Georgia. There was nothing about it that I liked. I even disliked visiting because it just made me a wreck. This trip I had spent the week days prior praying for God to work in my heart and show me His plan...that weekend I loved Georgia. Not fell in love...just simply loved Georgia. I saw how happy Todd was with his other family. I saw how beautiful the area was and it was if the hate in my heart was gone.

While we were in Atlanta we went with Todd's "Momma Donna" to look at some houses (she is a realtor) and we found one we loved! But it was under contract already. We went home a bit disappointed but we prayed for God to make it easy if this was what he wanted. 

Within a week-7 days of returning-we had a buyer for our house, the house in Georgia  became ours-and we were moving in the next 3 weeks. 

We literally sat and watched God do everything. We did not pursue moving-it just happened. You can't deny that is your next step when it all is worked out for you.

So, next was to announce to our friends and family we were moving. Which was the hardest part. 

We lived in the best town in Mississippi. I had lived there my whole life. I went to preschool, elementary, middle, high school there. I went to college there. I started my family there. I attended the same Southern baptist church for 25 years...I knew everyone and I was comfortable in my surroundings. Todd had lived there since we were married and he too loved it. We had the greatest school system, church, small group. Our comfort was our surroundings, our friends, our family.

Over the next 3 weeks, every person that loves us helped us clear out stuff, pack, move, load the truck, was 3 weeks of full love.

Then the time came for us to leave to Georgia and for the most difficult 2 months. The girls and I were going to stay in Mississippi until school was out in December. Todd would be living in Georgia and traveling for work. We had about 7 non-holidays to see him. We survived then-Christmas brought Disney-and then we returned, packed up what was left, and headed to Georgia to began our new lives. The first 5 months we tried making our way to Mississippi atleast once a month. But that got really hard for Aubrie (the leaving each time) and it wasn't allowing us to embrace this life. So we had to make the hard choice to stop going each month-allowing visitors to come here-and start seeing what else God had in store.

The first thing-the most random-was me auditioning for On The Menu. If we hadn't of moved to Atlanta-I wouldn't have known about the audition. (Don't forget my episode is Dec. 5)

The second is our involvement in Northpoint ministries. We loved Andy Stanley studies back in Mississippi-but to be able to attend a church he is involved in wasn't on our radar. It took a lot of praying and soul searching to move from our southern baptist teachings and way of thought-to this "new way" of thinking about church. We both had to come out and say what we wanted our church experience to be. Did we want to be happy in all aspects and comfortable in a small church? Or did we want to be used by God to be His body and reach thousands of non-believers and help them in their growing relationship with Christ? As scary as option 2 was-we went that direction. We took 7 months just attending and praying. Letting God direct what our steps here were going to be. In Mississppi we both taught Sunday life groups. Every Sunday. Sometimes even filling in the second service of someone was out. We invested in these kids and they meant the world to us. So spending 7 months without "church kids" was very, very hard.

Finally in July we decided to join an adult small group-which we now lead. We also decided to get involved in our middle school program. Todd teaches and I help with check in. We have made so many new friends this way and we are so thankful that God put them in our lives.

But during those 7 months prior-I learned what it meant to "be still" and be with God. He had pulled me out of the zone I was comfortable in and placed me in this foreign land without my people. He and I spent many of days and nights talking about what it was he wanted from me. A few months in I realized, he didn't want anything from me-he just wanted me. He knew my planner, control freak self would have a hard time surrendering myself, my thoughts, my life to Him when I was in my element. He knew in order for His plan to be worked out-I would have to be far away and super, super lonely.

I hate to say it took that extreme for me to be obedient. But it did. Tomorrow-I'll share with you just what went down during those first lonely 7 month.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mia grows big.

The littlest Broadus girl is growing so big. 
She is now 19 months old. It pains me to think she is almost 2 and that it has flown by. But then I step back and I am so thankful that I have been with her everyday (but 7) of her precious life. I have seen every milestone and I am the one who gets to teach her new things daily. And boy-is she a learner.

Food: everything but favorites are peanut butter on a spoon, oatmeal pies, waffles with cookie butter, and spaghetti.

Color: Orange. She has to have the Orange plate and bowl. She will pick orange first to color with.

Toys: she loves her baby dolls.

Clothes: her Olivia tshirt
Loves going to church (finally)

Loves to color on herself. 
And anything else that sits still.

She talks when she is comfortable. Take her to a new place and she won't say a word. Her vocabulary is growing everyday and she loves to watch me say a word and then try to repeat it.

*shoes* is the cutest word she says.

Loves her sisters.
And her daddy!
And has a whole mouth full of teeth!!

And did I mention-shes a total hipster.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The girls.

One of my biggest reasons to leave this blog in a few months is the girls. Madyson and aubrie are at an age now where they understand that their lives have been recorded over the last 5 years and they don't really care to have them recorded for the next five. I understand this and I have promised, come jan. 1,2015 they will no longer be shared. But I have 3 months so let me tell you about this precious kids of mine.

A few weeks ago our neighborhood friend turned 7. We of course were pumped and attended her birthday party-then the next day she came running over and had to show the girls she got the new American Girl Isabelle for her birthday. My girls adore Isabelle. She is on both of their Christmas list. They have read the books, seen the movie and just love her story. I was so proud of them on this particular afternoon. When neighborhood friend brought over her doll-instead of jealousy(like I assumed one would have) they were both so excited for her. It was her first doll. It was Isabelle and they were so proud for their friend. And I was so proud of them. When we became a single income family and a single income commissioned family-we gave up a lot of luxuries. Eating out, shopping for fun, and the occasional spoiling of our kids. They don't get things like they use too. And one side of me aches that I can't go to the store and buy them the newest toy. And the other side makes me proud that they are learning needs over wants. It's a constant battle that I face when they get excited over handmedowns and extra snacks at the grocery. To be thankful of blessings and not have the desire to want the extras.

They are both turning into these amazing young women. They are compassionate and thoughtful and the best big sisters. They have big plans on curing cancer and attending art school. They are best friends and sometimes...sometimes my heart burst when I hear them sneak into one another's rooms at night to laugh and giggle. And to find them asleep in one twin bed because they like being together. 
I spend everyday with them-except 12 hours that I work at my big girl job. And I get to see their good times and their bad times. And even when one is bossy and the other dramatic. I can usually say-"treat each other how you want to be treated." And the argument is over. I love the big girls my babies are becoming. 

And I am so thankful to be their mommy. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Fancy chicken" a $7.00 family favorite.

Tonight is the premier of "on the menu" the girls wanted me to cook what I cooked for the show..but I can't tell them what it I asked them what else they would like. And they said fancy chicken.

Here in our house we eat normal food-not fancy food-but because this is a multi step dish it gets dubbed "fancy". 

45 minutes start to finish-about $7.00 to make a family of 5 meal...

Let's do this.

First-boil your salted water and add the orzo (about a cup & 1/2) let it cook for 9 minutes. 

While this is going i boil my broccoli as well.

Take your skillet (cast iron) and heat a half a stick of butter and about 1/4 cup chopped onions.

I used 4 chicken breast-but I cut one into cubes for Mia and aubrie-they aren't huge meat lovers but so this works well for them.

Take 2 table spoons of sour cream and add 5 dashs of hot sauce. Coat the chicken in this.

Then crush up a sleeve of ritZ (I use my mixer for this!) add a table spoon of AP flour. Then toss ur chicken into the crackers.

Put it in ur skillet and lightly fry it.
Once it is cooked through (about 13 minutes) remove and set aside. Then deglaze your skillet. I do this with 1/4 cup of chicken broth and then add a tablespoon of flour to "make some greaty" as aubrie calls it. 
Add the chicken back on top-combine the orzo and broccoli (i shredded mine with the mixer) cover with foil and Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
When it's done squeeze a half a lemon on it and crushed black pepper (or lemon pepper if you don't have a lemon on hand) and tada 
Fancy chicken.

Or by my name lemon pepper fried chicken and BrocOrzo :) 

Your kids will love it. Promise.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

One the menu promos start!

Tomorrow is the season premier of ON THE MENU! Watch ty and emeril break the pancake stack record here!