Tips on Making Tough Decisions

Every day, we are faced with decisions.

Sometimes they are easy. You simply decide and go from there. Other times, they are tough and you really have to think. Hard decisions can be stressful especially if you are like me and don’t like making decisions in the first place.

I think for the most part we know in our gut what we should do. But for some reason it’s hard do what we should.

We make life harder than it has to be.

Take 5 really deep breaths and…

1. Pray

Whatever decision you’re having trouble making, pray about it FIRST. Ask for wisdom as you figure out what you are going to do, and for understanding as you read his word.

You won’t hear God audibly. You must read the bible, renewing your mind, to know what he wants you to do.

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2. Talk to your spouse

If they were a complete idiot, you wouldn’t have married them. Whatever it may be, i’m sure they will have input and hopefully your best interest at heart.

If you are not married and you need a second opinion, strongly consider the person you get advice from. Make sure they have succeeded in the area you need help in. (If it’s about a relationship, don’t get advice from someone who has been divorced multiple times, and/or is in an unhealthy relationship)

Go to someone who will let YOU decide but perhaps will have helpful pointers and encouragement. Not someone who tells you what you need to do.

3. Be Practical

Do what you need to do without letting emotions get in the way. Women especially need to work on this. We are emotional beings, and at times that is good, but it can hinder our decision-making.

If you have been offered a better job, don’t stay at your old job because of friends you would be leaving, or because you don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. Never be afraid to better yourself.

Maybe you are interested in someone. Think about the future as well as the present. Are they a hard worker? Are they good to you and reliable? Is the person someone who would be a good spouse and a good parent?

Don’t waste your time with some dud just to be in a relationship.

Before you get married, make sure they are CURRENTLY ready for a family and what you are looking for. You CANNOT change someone or expect them to someday grow up.

4. Make a Pro / Con list

It helps to visually see your options on paper. Look it over for a few days, but do not procrastinate. Weigh your options and think things through. Even the small details count, write them all down. It will help you be practical with your decision.

5. Think about the future

Will this decision affect your family (or future family) negatively or positively?

My future family has been a huge motivator for some decisions i’ve made. My future family has inspired me to work hard, cook, clean, be organized, save money, get my house paid off quickly, and to be healthy. Even if they are not in your life yet they can still inspire and help you.

Don’t let someone else manipulate you with anger, tears, and distraction once you have made your decision. Be strong and stand firm.

With normal everyday decisions, just be practical and go with your gut.

Get the most out of each dollar, never rely on stuff to make you happy, and read your bible.

Rely on Christ.

GOD Bless

Single on Valentine’s Day

I’m sure everyone at some point has been single on February 14th. Roses, flowers, candy, cards, are all constant reminders of what you don’t have. When a co-worker receives flowers, you get to watch their excitement and happiness, which can also be a reminder of what you don’t have.

Reminders can be irritating and downright depressing… If you let them.

I’m a firm believer that you choose your attitude no matter the circumstance.

Choose to be happy for those blessed with a wonderful relationship. Take the opportunity to perhaps pray for your co-worker receiving the flowers. Pray they know Christ. Pray they are kind and appreciate each other. Be genuinely happy for them.

Never be jealous, annoyed, or bitter toward someone else’s happiness.

If you are single, take a few minutes this Valentine’s Day and pray for your future spouse. Pray they are prepared to meet you when the time is right. Pray they are studying scripture and being pure. Read Song of Solomon! Learn what true love really is.

Instead of sitting at home alone or feeling sorry for yourself, offer to babysit this Valentine’s Day. If you have family or know a couple at church with little ones, I’m sure they would love to have a few hours off! Be genuinely happy for the couple, and have a blast hanging out with the kids!

I’m going to be snuggled up with my little niece and nephew February 14th, probably watching Frozen, and I can’t imagine anything better this year.

Be encouraged.

GOD Bless.

10 Ways to Help Grow Longer Hair: Tips from a Stylist

A lot of people want long hair, and some can’t seem to ever get it. I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to help grow longer hair.

1.Regular Trims

If the ends of your hair are damaged they will split and break off. This means you will notice fresh growth at the root but no length gained. I recommend to initially get ALL dead hair cut off, regardless of how much hair has to go. Talk to your stylist, and cut a tad more than necessary just to be sure the breakage is gone and you can start fresh. After the initial cut, get 1/2” trimmed every 12 weeks. (Or more often if needed)

Shorter, healthy hair trumps long, broken, dead hair.

2) “It’s a 10” Miracle Leave in Conditioner

If I was stranded on an Island and could take one product, this would be it. I was introduced to it in beauty school and I have used it ever since. I’ve experimented with dozens of brands of leave in conditioners and I always come back to this product. (It also smells amazing)

This product repairs dry damaged hair, adds shine, smoothes and controls frizz, seals and protects hair color, detangles, helps prevent split ends and breakage, creates silkiness, enhances natural body, and thermal protector.

On towel dried hair, simply spray in and brush product through. Then style like normal or let air dry.

3) The Wet Brush

This is the best detangle brush ever. I’ve been told by multiple customers that this brush has changed their life. It no longer takes forever to get your hair brushed out. The bristles are flexible, so they give a little as they glide through your hair with ease. You can use it on wet or dry hair, just do NOT blow dry with it. The heat from your dryer will damage the bristles. This brush is only for brushing out your hair, not for any styling. This brush helps prevent breakage and damage, allowing your hair to grow healthier and longer.

It’s also great for children! If It’s a struggle or there are tears when brushing out your kid’s hair, give the Wet Brush a try.

4) Weekly Oil Treatment

Organic coconut oil is my favorite, but any kind of natural oil will work. Rub it into your scalp and all through your hair and gently comb it through with a wide tooth comb. Leave it on 20-60 minutes, then wash and condition.

5) Vitamins

Your hair cuticle starts inside and grows out so take your vitamins. You’ll notice your hair and nails growing quicker and stronger when you do. A multivitamin, biotin, or any Hair, Skin, and Nail vitamin should work.

6) Don’t over process

Anything in moderation. I get customers all the time wanting to go back and forth on their color. It’s fun to change it up, and it’s great for my business, but doing too many chemical treatments on your hair can damage it. A 4-6 week root touch up or refresh is perfectly fine. Just keep your ends trimmed and no access heat. DON’T KILL YOUR HAIR. It can only take so much before it dies and starts looking like cotton candy.

7) Oil Based product

Just like your skin, your hair needs moisture. A good conditioner is needed, but your hair also needs an oil based product on the ends to add and seal in moisture. My two favorites are Moroccan Oil, and Paul Mitchell Smoothing Serum. These are oil based products so don’t put any on your roots. Your hair needs moisture morning and night regardless if you have washed your hair. One pump should be plenty on your dry hair and do this twice a day. It quickly absorbs, nourishes and helps prevent damage.

8) Be Kind to Your Hair

I’ve seen girls wad their hair in a tight knot on top of their heads, then take it down and just rake and tear through their hair with a rough brush. Please stop doing this, it stresses me out to see hair being murdered. Wear looser styles to help prevent tangles and damage. Be gentle and kind to your hair.

9) Don’t over wash

Your scalp naturally produces an oil called sebum which acts as a natural conditioner. Don’t wash your hair if you don’t have to. If you are one of those people who wash it everyday, start by washing it every other day. Get a shower cap or clip your hair up so it doesn’t even get wet. Eventually your hair to not get so oily. Over-washing causes your hair to over-compensate for lack of oil and it produces more oil. So go as long as you can without washing it. Eventually, your scalp will realize its not dehydrated and will stop producing as much oil.

10) Diet

A well-balanced diet and drinking lots of water is good for you overall health. If you are not getting the nutrients your body needs, your hair growth will slow down. Protein, and lots of water will help your hair growth.

My Crazy Mutts

When I bought my house, I decided to rescue a dog. I searched online at different rescues and nothing caught my eye. My younger brother heard I was looking for a dog. His dog Sam had been in our family for about 4 years. She was rescued as a puppy and was an outside dog until my brother took her when he moved away. He didn’t have time to take care of her like he thought, so I took her. We think she is a Shar Pei/ Boxer mix. She is a quirky dog with a ferocious bark.

 

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Then there is Chester. He’s one of a kind as well. I never realized how much personality dogs have until I had my own. One of my customers was telling me that her dog had Havanese/Bichon puppies and there was one left. The last thing I needed was another dog but I made the mistake of asking to see a picture of them. She showed me a video of these little fur balls playing and being clumsy and my heart almost burst. I asked her which one was left and she pointed out what looked like a little fluffy baby skunk.

 

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Sam is not good with other animals, so I worried how she would react to a puppy. I explained this to my customer and she said she would bring the puppy over to my house and see how Sam reacted.

That evening my customer brought the puppy over. Sam was curious and thankfully her tail was wagging. While I was holding the puppy, I got down on the floor so she could sniff him. After while Sam lost interest and wanted to play and be pet by my customer.
I asked how much she wanted for him and my heart sank at the price. I didn’t have much to spend on a dog.

An hour or so after they left, my customer called and said if I wanted him I could have him for free because he would have such a great home. I thanked her over and over again and asked if I could come get him right then. I didn’t have a crate or puppy food but I picked him up.

Chester is the first dog i’ve ever potty trained. It requires lots of patience, and I am an impatient person. We are 7 months into this and he still has accidents, but he typically does pretty well. I have to force him outside when it’s raining because he doesn’t like to get his paws wet. I just shake my head and tell him that he doesn’t know how good he has it.

There are days my dogs are so crazy, rotten, and the house is destroyed and I just want to scream. Then there are days they are so good and I don’t know what I would do without them.

Oh those creatures…. They drive me nuts but I love them. Having dogs is a humbling, and patient building experience, but truly rewarding.

With Christ, and a dog (or two) you will never be lonely, and you will always be loved. Their faces light up when I get home and it puts a smile on mine.

They always forgive. No matter how badly I’ve reacted to something they did or how grumpy i’ve been. They always forgive and jump in my arms when I call them. They are my family, and I don’t think my home would be much of a home without them.

 

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10 Ways to Always Have a Clean House

I don’t have children or a husband so I understand my messes are my own. I do, however, have 3 pets and a life. I work, cook, dirty clothes, and have stuff-just like everyone else. There is tons of work to be done. Those who are blessed with families may have more people making messes than I do, but they also have some help.

My roommate once told me she hates to do any cleaning around the house because it looks exactly the same as it did before she started.

1. When buying things for your home-Only buy things you love.
So far, buying a house has been the biggest adventure of my life. I’m on Pinterest every day looking at home decor, and paint colors deciding what my next project will be. Over the last year I have slowly been decorating my house. Decorations are minimal but I love every single piece. Only having things you love, and a place for each thing helps to keep your house clean. Don’t waste money on junk just to fill your house with decorations.

2.Get organized
Every closet, junk drawer, nook and cranny needs to be cleaned out. Get rid of anything broken. If you haven’t used it in a year, if you don’t love it, or it doesn’t have use get rid of it. Trash things that no one else would use or want, and donate everything else. Work on one room a week.

3. Wash dishes after every meal
Yes, I said it. After EVERY meal. It’s not as bad as you think. I would much rather take 5-10 minutes 3 times a day then to take 30 minutes at night when I’m tired and ready for bed. It makes such a difference in your kitchen when the dishes are done ALL DAY LONG.

4.Do laundry when you have enough for a full load
Don’t wait until there are mounds of laundry to do. When you have enough to fill a load of laundry, go ahead and do it. Your clothes will need washed more frequently now that you have de-cluttered your closet and have less clothes. You now don’t have to dread spending an entire day working on laundry.

5. Heavy traffic rooms need swept every day, and your entire house at least once a week.
My kitchen, downstairs bathroom, and living room get swept every single day. I have 2 dogs and 1 cat and that is where we hang out so it gets pretty hairy. One day a week I sweep the entire house.

6. Spot mop when needed and mop entire house once a week
If you spill something or your puppy has an accident, wipe it up. Don’t let anything sit there. Once a week I use a vinegar and a hot water mixture to mop after i’ve swept the whole house with a broom. (1 cup of white distilled vinegar and a full bucket of hot water)

7. “Do what you need to do and be done with it. What if someone stops by?”
I have coffee with my great grandma once a week. Her house is ALWAYS clean. Even if I stopped by without calling, the house would be clean. I asked her how she always kept her house so tidy and she responded “do what you need to and be done with it, what if someone stops by?”. She never liked chores, errands, or anything hanging over her head. If she has a list of things to do, it gets done that day.  If there are things that you need to get done, don’t procrastinate. Get everything done so nothing weighs on your mind.

8.Everything has its place
Every. Single. Thing. If there is no place for it, then get rid of it. If you get something out, simply put it back where it belongs when you are done. Get into this habit and teach your children to do this.

9. Tidy up before bed
When I’m finally ready for bed, the only things that needs put away are dog toys, my computer, and a book. I might have a cup to clean, or a blanket to fold, but I do this every night. It’s nice to wake up to a clean home and to start your day off right.

10. Don’t wait to clean everything all in one day
I’ve tried this before . I’d wait to do everything on my day off. I learned quick that it took up my whole day, so my week consisted of zero days off. Clean as you go, as its needed. Maintain a clean house because it makes for a less stressful, and more organized life. Entire days off are spent not cleaning, and if someone stops by, you’ll just have a blanket to fold or a dog toy to put up. No big deal.

An Unexpected Visitor

One hot summer day, I was working on my yard.  This was my first year in my own home and I was excited to get to work on my garden.  The lady that I bought my house off of had left everything overgrown and looking dreadful.

A giant weed was giving me a hard time. I pulled and pulled until the root finally broke. With a sigh of relief, I tossed it on the weed pile. I went to wipe an escaping drop of sweat from my brow when I felt a sharp pain on the back of my arm like a pin prick.  I didn’t see an insect, but I quickly scratched and rubbed the sore spot. Ignoring it, I continued with my work.

The next day the sore spot became very red and itched like an infected mosquito bite. Each day the circumference of the spot grew. By the fourth day it was the size of a half-dollar and the skin was bumped up about a quarter of an inch.

The evening of the fourth day, I was reading in bed and happened to glance at my arm.  I hadn’t noticed it before. Perhaps the light was hitting it just right, but I could see a red line the size of a number two pencil coming out of the half-dollar spot and traveled upward along the back of my arm towards my armpit.

Confused and curious, I called my mom and had her google the red line (there is no way i’d be able to google that without passing out). She tried to keep calm but found out it was probably infection and that I could lose my arm.

We rushed to the ER and right away a doctor took a look at it.  He said we must act fast because the poison was headed for my heart and could cause a heart attack.   He grabbed a rolling tray with scalpels and syringes, slapped on his latex gloves, and started to cut into the bite attempting to extract the poison.

Finally, he rubbed ointment on the bite, pressed it with gauze and medical tape and gave me a pill.  He told me I made it just in time. He didn’t know for sure what type of insect had bit me, but we all assumed it was a poisonous spider.

He sent me home with a prescription and said to watch that it doesn’t look any worse over the next couple days. Two days later the red line was gone and the next week, there was nothing left but a mark from the scalpel.

From then on I wore bug spray and long sleeves while I did yard work.  Never underestimating the insects that were in my yard again.

 

A Letter to My Future Children

My Dear Children,

I already love you and your daddy is not even in my life yet. I think about you all of the time. I wonder what your names will be and how many of you I’ll be blessed with. I’m always praying for you. When the time is right we will meet.

I pray that God would be first in your lives. Love him with your entire being. Life is mostly hard. You will find disappointment, heartache, and pain. Life with God will not necessarily be easier, but It will be rich and everlasting. You will learn what true love is if you come to know him.

Study scripture every day, and trust it . Proverbs 3:5 ESV “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” When you sin, understand how serious it is. Sin will leave you empty, no matter how gratifying it may seem. You will sin every single day, but I pray you faithfully endure, and grow to be more like Christ.

Your mommy is a sinner too. I am not perfect, as you will know well, but I hope I can be the mother you need. I pray I’m wise and give you only biblical advise. Never hesitate to come to me if you mess up in any way. I pray I can help you and point you in the right direction. You will always have my love.

Lord, give me the wisdom I need to raise my children well, and to be able to teach them about you. I pray I love them and their daddy with all of my heart. Help me to be self-controlled, and pure. May I take good care of my home and all who are in it, and may I submit to my husband so your word would not be reviled. (Prayer inspired from Titus 2)

Boys, I pray you grow to be strong, wise men that lead your families to Christ. Work hard, love your wives and children with all your heart. Take care of them. Be patient and tender with them. Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Teach your family about Jesus and always have their best interest at heart. Be very patient and careful with your heart. Marry a woman who fears the Lord and be a man worthy of her submission. Save your heart, and body for her.

Girls, I pray you know that your value is in Christ. I pray the man God has for you would see Christ in your heart, for there is where your beauty lies. I pray you become the woman described in Proverbs 31. Love your husband and children. Be very patient and careful with your heart. Marry a wise man who protects you and teaches you more about Jesus. Be a woman worthy of a strong, Godly leader.  Save your heart, and body for him.

All my love,
Mom

Chicken Cheesy Rice Casserole

This casserole has been there for me. In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. This was my first staple meal. It’s cheap, easy, and delicious. That is the kind of cooking I like.

This is pretty much a no-fail recipe and I typically have all of the ingredients in my cupboard already. I also stalk up on the ingredients when I have a coupon or its on sale. (That’s how much I make this) This meal costs about $6.00 to make, and I can get about 4 meals out of it.

I sometimes double up on this recipe and freeze leftovers. If you double up, cook it for 130 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender.

I use a bag of Kroger frozen vegetables in mine. Whatever mixture you like. I’ve used peas, carrots, broccoli. This time I used a broccoli, carrot, cauliflower mixture and It’s probably my favorite so far.

This is also a good meal to have on hand for unexpected company. It takes 10-15 minutes to prep and not a lot of mess to clean up.

Seriously, you must try this.

Ingredients:

1 can of cream of chicken
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cups of uncooked long grain white rice
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups frozen veggies (Optional)
1 1/4 lbs thawed chicken breast (cut into 1” cubes)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Stir soup, water, rice, onion power, pepper, and veggies in large mixing bowl, and pour into a 2 QT baking dish.
  3. Top rice mixture with chicken.
  4. Cover with foil and bake until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 50 minutes.
  5. Top with cheese, re-cover, and let stand for 10 minutes to melt cheese.
  6. Stir before serving.

Two Years Without Facebook

It has been almost two years since I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. I’ll admit, It’s hard to get my blog out there and get more readers without Facebook, but I’m not going to reactivate it just to advertise. If I reactivate Facebook, it will be because I want to, and can control the amount of time I spend on it better than I used to.

I am not against Facebook. It is a wonderful tool and a great way to keep in touch. It is great for business, advertising, and being able to share your life with friends and loved ones. This is just my personal history with it.

Facebook took up too much of my time. I had a hard time controlling how much I was on it. I would catch myself mindlessly scrolling through the news feed, mindlessly ‘creeping’ and getting irritated with people. Any spare moment, it was like instinct for me to hit the Facebook app on my phone and scroll through my news feed.

The day I deactivated Facebook and deleted the app on my phone I honestly felt a sting of emptiness for a while. How sad is that? Throughout the next few days, I would unlock my home screen on my phone and instantly go to click my Facebook app then remember It wasn’t there anymore.

It has been almost two years since i’ve deactivated my account. I realize how productive my days are now. I’ve read my bible more in these last 2 years than I have in my entire life. I started cleaning more, maintaining my house better, and paying more attention to my dogs. I began calling people, and writing letters to friends.

My great grandma started coming over once a week for coffee. Those days have been some of the best days of my life. Simply sitting on my porch swing with her, talking and listening to her stories, without the distraction of an electronic device.

I get my dishes done every night. My face gets washed every night. I have time to read and write more. I’ve been working puzzles and going for walks. The simplest things in life have become the most enjoyable.

When I’m with a group of people, I pay attention to conversations more, notice and learn more about other people.

I don’t want anyone to look back on their lives and remember spending it on their phones. I want to be able to tell my great-grandchildren interesting stories about my life and friends and family and how much they meant to me.

I’m not saying Facebook should be done away with. But I do wish we could comment in real life more and online less, and build real relationships with people.

Live your life fully. Don’t let Facebook live your life for you. Time is going by so fast, don’t waste it. Love your actual friends and family, not just your “Facebook friends”.

God bless.

Confessions of a Preachers Kid

About eight years ago, I flew to Nashville with a friend from work to visit her brother. One night, we were all hanging out in the living room. He was drinking a beer and somehow it got brought up that my dad was a pastor. He freaked out and got so uncomfortable around me that I ended up just going back to the bedroom that me and my friend were staying in and reading a book for the rest of the trip. I could hear him through the walls saying he couldn’t believe he was drinking in front of a preachers kid, and now he was probably going to hell. As if I’m the one to make the final judgement, and as if I cared one bit if he was drinking a beer. I was so embarrassed but didn’t know enough about christianity to be able to discuss anything with him. So I hid.

Since the 5th grade, I have been a preachers kid. I grew up in church, went to Sunday school, was in AWANA club, VBS, I’ve been on mission trips, you name it. I went to church every Sunday with my family. I sat in the pews, sang songs, pretended to listen to the pastor. I smiled and greeted people who I pretended to like.

I was supposed to be a christian since I did all of this… right?
Well, I wasn’t.

I was a mean kid, and a rebellious teen. I had a lot of hate in my heart before I met Christ. I’d like to say I have grown out of that but to be honest it’s still there sometimes… but I am working on it. Just like everyone, I’ve got sin that I struggle with, and i’ve made mistakes in the past that I regret with every fiber of my being. My heart has hardened from grudges i’ve held, I get moody over dumb things, but guess what… I’m doing better. I am growing as a christian. My hate, and mood swings are less and less by Gods grace and I have more love in my heart for other people now than ever before.

I didn’t care about church or God or reading my bible growing up. But since my dad was a pastor, I was treated as if I should know all the answers and be able to hold my own in a theological debate or discussion, when I didn’t really have a clue what it was to be a christian. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I even became interested in christianity and began to understand what being a christian actually was. My dad taught me about Jesus when I was young, but my heart just wasn’t open to it. Therefore, I didn’t really listen to his teaching, so I lacked any understanding.

Just because someone is raised in church and their dad is a pastor, doesn’t mean they are a christian. I know for sure that I was not. Thank you Lord for saving me and my hateful heart.

Psalm 51:10 ESV, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

This is my prayer… for life.

God Bless.