Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Fellowship - Shay Shull

I'm pretty positive most of you probably read today's guest's blog.  If not, you will probably be interested to! Shay Shull and I "met" about 5 years ago.  We connected through our blogs and we have met in person twice since! I count her as a friend now.

Shay is a mom of four who lives in McKinney, Texas.  She's a blogger and an author of four cookbooks! She's appeared on the Today Show and several other shows! Her husband, Andrew, is a former NFL player.  And her brother was once The Bachelor.  They have the cutest kids and have adopted the most precious girls from China in the last few years and I have LOVED following their journey.  They are also world travelers.  They amaze me because they take their kids even when they were babies on trips across the world.  I also love that Shay has such a close group of friends she met at church. 

 I love reading her blog and I think you will too if you don't already.  And you HAVE to check out her cookbooks!  "Eats" "Mix and Match Meal Planner" and "Mix and Match Cakes". 

She just came out with one just for cooking with your kids! She makes it easy on us moms! 

1.  What is your favorite Food?
A pasta supper is my very favorite meal.

2.  What is your very favorite piece of clothing right now? (FASHION)
Give me all the wedges!  I wear wedges March through October.  I love that they're typically more comfy than a normal heel and can make even the most basic outfit look put together.

3.  Tell us about your Family?
I just celebrated my 13th anniversary with my sweet husband Andrew.  We met in college and got married right after graduation.  I love him for many reasons...but one of the most important is that he just brings out the best in everyone around him (me included!).  We have four beautiful kiddos: Kensington (8), Smith (7), Ashby (4) and Madeley (2).  They are four my little miracles.

4.  What is the most important quality in your Friends? OR tell us something that a Friend has done for you that you can't forget.  
I have an amazing group of girlfriends.  One of our closest friends has been battling cancer now for the third time over the last 2.5 years and watching my friends serve her has ministered to me more than they'll ever know.  They are selfless, giving, loving, caring, loyal, faithful to pray, broken for her, passionate and  inspiring.  I could go on and on...I thank God every day for my precious friends.

(I'm adding a note here that Shay's friend died just a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't know her but I loved seeing how Shay and their friends banded around her.  Her funeral was an amazing testimony of a life well lived and full of faith.)

5.  What's something you have learned recently in your Faith journey?  And/or share your favorite scripture right now and why or your favorite Bible Study or book you have read recently. 
I just finished Priscilla Shirer's The Armor of God and it spoke to me on many different levels, but the biggest takeaway from it for me was that we're not battling flesh and blood here on earth.  Sometimes, I can get caught up in being upset with specific people, but really, it's Satan, it's's a much bigger picture than any one person.   

6.  What is your biggest Fear?
The first thing I thought of was "snakes" but after that, I would say my biggest fear is screwing up my kids.  I try not to worry about it...I pray and let the Lord take over, but not raising them the right way is something that is always on my heart.  They're such innocent little things, and I fear how hard this world is and that I might not do a good enough job preparing them for it.

7.  What are some of your Favorite things right now?
I love my Apple Watch.  It has transformed how I function during the day.  It helps me stay more active and look at my phone less.  Other favorites of mine include: binge watching TV shows on Netflix (Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Gilmore Girls are my fave), Philosophy's Fresh Cream lotion and my Ugg slippers. 

8.  What has been your biggest Failure?
I'm sure I have a lot of them!  Two things to come mind right off the bat first though: First, I should have made a bigger effort in college.  I wasn't happy about where I was going but because of a whole host of reasons, I settled and went there.  Instead of joining a sorority/clubs/and such, I got a "grown-up" job and stayed off campus as much as I could.  I wish I would invested in the people and the school more.  I think I probably missed out a lot during those years. A more recent failure is that I'm often too scheduled and on-task and I know I miss moments of joy during the day with my kids.  I know it's good to be organized with your time, but I should probably allow for some candid interruptions to fill my day more often.  My word this year is "intentional".  I really want to live more in the moments and with more intention on being fully present with my family.

9.  What do you do for Fun?
Reading sounds so lame...but I do love to read.  A cup of coffee (or tea!) and a book is my favorite way to pass the time.  Andrew and I love going on adventures and take our kids on some fun trips each year.  Traveling is very important to the culture of our family and my favorite way to have fun.

10.  Tell me about what animals you have? (Furry things)
We have an almost five year old Coton de Tulear named Poppy Popsicle.  She's small, she's fluffy, she's white and she's so chill that I mostly forget about her.  She's happy just laying around the house (or Andrew's office) most days.

11.  What is your favorite FILM? (movie) 
Bridget Jones' Diary is my favorite.  I just love what a mess, yet how enduring, Bridget is.

12.  What is one Fact we might not know about you?
I have like a legitimate fear of mayonnaise.  I know that's not rational AT ALL but my disgust for it is so profound that it's basically turned into utter fear.  I don't even like handling the jar.  I know this is weird...but it is so true!  Something must be wrong with me...  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Random Thoughts

I feel like I have a bunch of random thoughts running through my head and I'm going to just spit them out.  It's spring break and I've been with REALLY LOUD children non stop so that may have something to do with it.  (Good heavens - my parents had the girls for a few days and we just had Will Holden and I didn't realize how quiet it is with just one kid until they brought them home and suddenly it was SO LOUD in our house again.  We just look at each other and laugh.)


Do any of you do this? I was thinking today that I have a really bad habit of constantly giving my kids a running schedule.  Like I will say to them "Okay girls we are going to finish our breakfast and then we are going to get dressed and then we are going to go to the store and then we are going to go home and unload the food and then we are going to go to the park............"  Why do I do this? I feel like I need to prepare them for what is ahead in our day.  But I really don't think they care.  Do you do this????

Or am I just a weirdo?


Who watches this??????

I just found it on netflix.  I'm on season two and currently DVR'ing season 4.  I'm OBSESSED!!!! It's so good.  You know I love Little House on the Prairie and it's almost like a better version.  So wholesome and good and interesting! Don't tell me anything that happens but please tell me you are watching this!!!!


I need a really good under eye concealer.  A REALLY good one.  Who has one they love????? Help a tired momma out.


I'm so enjoying our spring break.  The kids all sleep late even Will Holden. I feel like being home with the girls makes him tired.  He has taken awesome naps this week (and he's been only sleeping one hour before this week).  We have been staying up late and it's nice to have relaxed days.  It DOES NOT make me want to homeschool but it does make me look forward to summer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Waiting is the Hardest Part

I have had several people email me recently and mention they appreciated me talking about my journey in singleness and infertility.  And I was thinking that I haven't written about that in a long time.  Mostly because at this point, I feel embarrassed to.  I know that my waiting period wasn't really all that long compared to a lot of people.  I was one month shy of 30 when I got married which I know is still young but to this small town Arkansas girl - it felt like I was ancient.  And we tried for a few years with a lot of help to have Harper and it felt like a lifetime of waiting but I know that's not much compared to what so many people go through.  And now that I have been married for almost 14 years and with three kids - I feel like it's something I don't have a right to talk about anymore.  But I know my reality.  I know that I still haven't forgotten what it felt like to wait.  And I have such a heart for women who are in those same stages of waiting.

We live in a world of "you don't even know!".  I could have one child and think I was tired and there is always a mom of three waiting around a corner to say "You don't even know".  I could have financial troubles or health problems and there is always someone who wants to say "you don't even know" because they have it worse.  Your loss whatever it is is not cancelled out just because someones loss is greater.  It's still your loss or your struggle.

So this is what I would go back and want to tell college aged Kelly or Kelly in her 20's or Kelly in her 30's on waiting.  (Well first I want to tell her that good grief - she is so skinny even though she thinks she is fat and with smooth skin.  Enjoy that while you can! ha!)

I see you Kelly in college who thinks you are there to meet the man of your dreams.  I see you when you are in your senior year and realize that ring by spring is not happening and you feel like a failure and wonder what on earth you are supposed to do now.  Enjoy college.  Enjoy living with your best friends 24/7.  Enjoy taking naps and the freedom you have.  Enjoy the fact that you aren't worried about retirement or paying for kid's college or really anything adult.  And since you are in college in the early 90's - REALLY enjoy that there is no internet or social media or even cell phones.  Life is SO much simpler.   You WILL NOT cease to exist because you will be out of college and not married.  You know what you do have? A really good degree.

Oh Kelly in your 20's.  You have been a bridesmaid more times than you can count.  Your high school friends all have kids and your college friends are mostly married.  You have gone on more blind dates than you have ever could dream possible.  You hear a whisper in your ear saying there must be something wrong with you.  You think if you were just prettier, funnier, smarter or a million other things the right guy would have worked out.  You dress up to go to the grocery store or put on full makeup for the gym because you never know when you might run into "the one".  You wait to really get involved in a church or really tithe or really to do any adult things like saving for retirement until "you get married".   I wish I could tell you to enjoy your freedom!!! You can lay in bed and watch lifetime movies ALL DAY if you want to.  You can eat cereal for every meal because you have no one to cook for.  You can work long hours and go on business trips with no guilt. You can shop all weekend and never have to check in or answer for your purchases! You can pick up and go anywhere you want any time you want! Travel more.  Go to Europe.  Go on mission trips.  Go to every movie that comes out.  Go out to eat as much as you can.  Never cook.  Enjoy the fact that your house can be immaculate because you are the only one who messes it up.  But most of all know that you are exactly who God made you to be.  And He will bring you the right person when He is ready and you don't have to be anybody else or look like anyone else - they will want you! And maybe the right one never comes along.  Can you trust God to fill your life in other ways? Or will you just dwell on what you don't have? Choose joy.  Even in the waiting.  It seems like forever now but one day you will be married with kids and will wish you would have just lived in the freedom of the moment more.  Your life becomes very selfless once you have a family.

Oh Kelly in your 30's who wants to be a mom so bad that it's all you can think about.  I see you crying when you see pregnant women in Walmart.  I see you going to baby showers with a heavy heart.  I see your stomach knot at every pregnancy announcement.  I see you taking pills and shots and feeling hopeful with every cycle that you will finally have a baby.  I see you grieve deeply each month when the answer is no.  I see you cry out to God and cling to His word like never before.  I see a closeness to both God and Scott that honestly was greater in this period than any other time in your life or marriage.  You wonder if you will ever be a mother.  You are weary of "trying" and the stress of all the timing.  You are broken.  I see you secretly buying baby things and putting them far back in the guest room closet just in desperate hope that one day a baby will wear them.  This was a pain that I know you have never experienced before.  I just want to tell you to trust God.  There are no words or promises from people that will ever bring you comfort.  You have to lean on God's word.  Read Psalms over and over and over.  Read the stories of all the women in the Bible who were infertile and realize how sweet God is to mention so many in the Bible to encourage women today who would be waiting.  Love your friends' kids.  Be happy for your friends when they are pregnant.  But know that it's okay to wallow in your grief or skip a baby shower.  One day your house will be SO LOUD with kids and you will never have a minute to yourself.  But even when you are overwhelmed with motherhood and exhausted - never forget how thankful you are to be blessed with the kids God gives you.  No matter how they come - through birth, adoption or foster care - they are amazing gifts that God planned just for you.  Motherhood is a mission field - enter it humbly and give yourself grace. And pray for all those behind you who are waiting.  Because there will always be more who want what you now have.  Don't forget when you were in their shoes.

Waiting is hard.  If we could only turn to the last chapter and see how it all turns out.  But all the puzzle pieces have to be there to make it fit in the end.  Your puzzle piece might be really painful right now but when they start adding up - it will be worth it when it's finished.

If you are waiting - I'm praying for you.  I see you and I haven't forgotten what it's like.