I see you

Dear Woman at Aldis,

I see you. I see you with the tears in your eyes are you trudge in with your children. I see you with the tattered clothes and the messy hair. I see you with the children who are fighting all around you and you barely hanging on. I see you. I am not ignoring you as I give you a sympathetic smile. I do not pity you. I am praying for you. I know you. I see you everyday in the faces of countless other families. I know that you love your children. You are doing the best you know how with the set of skills you have been given. I understand you. You have been left to raised these precious babies by yourself. The  man who promised forever has now left for you for the next big thing, another woman, or just moved on with his life. I see you as you struggle with whether to buy the extras or just buy the essentials. You are weary. You wonder if this is what life has to offer, then it’s not good. You tired. You tired of playing mom and dad, when you know you shouldn’t have to. You worry that you aren’t enough and how will your children turn out. You wonder if the sacrifices you make will be enough or the cycle will just repeat itself. You dream about a better life, but that is too far out of reach. You wondered this God of universe if He exists, “Why” has he abandoned you.

The only thing I have to offer you is not words of wisdom for I have none. I can’t offer you more money, which I do not have. Just know, precious child of God, that He has not abandoned you. He loves you and waiting for you to trust him fully. When you do, His riches may not be on this earth, but it will be heaven.

As, I shop for my items around you. I smile at you because that is my way of saying “Way to go!” and “Keep it up!”. I do not know you. I do not know your past, but I do see you.


The woman next to you

Flourless Brownie

I am really trying to cut out flour and basically carbs in my life. Pinterest is the place to go if you are trying to find sweets that are healthy. I always tweaking a little. I am finding the courage to tweak the recipes. This one is from the blog Gina’s Skinny Recipes (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/04/pb2-flourless-chocolate-brownies.html#more) I love the name of her url, Skinnytaste.com. Really it may be skinny but it is not tasteless 🙂


Here is the recipe adapted:


  • applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup PB2
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a nonstick 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Beat the egg and egg white in a small bowl with a whisk. In a large bowl combine the PB2, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and mix well with a spatula. Add the egg and egg whites and stir. Add water, honey, vanilla, applesauce and stir with a spatula until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. It will be a thicker batch of brownies. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake about 25 to 30 minutes. Cut and store 🙂

I used applesauce, this made them super moist. I read through people’s comments talking about PB2 powder and the sugar. I looked the ingredients in my all natural peanut butter and it had sugar in it too. The sugar added on the PB2 label was 2g and the all natural peanut butter had the same amount. It truly did not make a difference to me. I love this powered peanut butter 🙂


These do not taste like boxed brownies or like really sugared up brownies, but they are a great sub for healthy eating.

Protein pancakes: The verdict.

On this new journey of eating healthy and trying to avoid flour in my life, which is much harder than one would expect. I have come to rely on Pinterest for all my easy recipe needs. I do try the recipes I pin. That’s the whole point right?!

Well, it’s Veteran’s Day and we are off of school. (Thank you for all who served our country well.) The girls were eating pancakes and I really wanted some, without all the calories and fat. I looked up on my Pinterest wall and found protein pancakes. The pancakes made some promises online that I was unsure they could hold up.

The ingredients:

1/4 cup egg whites ( two large egg whites)

1 scoop of Vanilla Shakeology (Need some really great protein? Shop here: http://www.shakeology.com/jennie81)

1/2 ripe mashed banana (You can also use unsweetened applesauce)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 TBS almond milk or milk

1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract


Mash up the banana first. Make sure it is ripe. Throw everything else into the batter. It will be a thicker batter. Heat up your griddle to a low setting as these burn easily. Cook, eat and enjoy. They are filling. They do have a  different taste to them as you are not using flour, but protein powder. If you are expecting a perfect fake-off pancake, forget it. This one is not for you. This is a great sub for a regular pancake. It’s healthy for you too.

The Verdict: a great sub for a pancake 🙂

Needing a new start to your fitness routine? Start here: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/jennie81

I will personally be your coach and help you begin your life changing process 🙂

5 things I wish I had known before I had children

I wish someone had written me a letter before I had children. Saying something to the fact of:

Dear young childless couple,

You have no idea where you are headed. You are married to the man of your dreams. In this moment, you think you are busy. Let me tell you, young married couple, you are not busy. You have not seen busy until that day that first child has entered your world. The 8 pound bundle of joy screaming into the world. You cry tears of happiness and to be honest sheer panic. What have you just done?! This is the biggest change in your married life. This little person will change everything you have known about yourself, your spouse and your family. Here are five things that you need to know before you make this decision:


1. Sex. Yep, sex will change. You will find yourself doing it at strange times and often very quickly. You will find that getting it in is better than maybe the foreplay you used to enjoy. The day will come when the young baby will turn into a toddler and walk into your bedroom. They will look at you and scream ” What are you doing to my mommy!!!  You are killing her!”

2. Social life. Your social life will change. The once spur of the moment plans you once had will no longer exist. The once go to couple will no longer be. The parties you throw will be around the bedtime, nap times and other sleeping times of your child. You say you won’t be those parents…but you will.

3. Marriage. Your marriage will change. It has to in order to accommodate the child. The beautiful child will test both of your patience in ways you did not understand or know. You will either come together or go apart. It will either build up your marriage because you are clinging on to each other and God or you will falter under the pressure.

4. Friendships. Your friendships change. Especially if you are the first ones to have children. Your friends don’t understand. They can’t. Your girls nights at times become non-exist. You would much rather stay home with your new baby or growing baby than go out. Your friends might not want to hang out with you and your crying teething infant.

5. Family. This is just like your friends. If you are the first ones to have kids get ready. I have been left on  vacations with my children , while the other women in the family have gone out shopping because I am the only with children. Your family does not understand why you might eat dinner  between 5:30 and 6:00 and they don’t. It might become a fight. Be prepared.

Are you ready? Can you be prepared for all that change old married self? Do you even know what you are in for? Enjoy every minute with your husband. Savor those moments. You will never have them again. Take those unexpected vacations. Enjoy it. The self-sacrifice is worth every moment. Be prepared.  You will never be the same. Lucky for me, it was for the better.

Vegan baking

Recently, I have become addicted to Vegan baking. I am not a Vegan and do not adhere to the lifestyle. I do enjoy though the fruits of many people’s labors. I have become addicted to researching Vegan breads or recipes and trying them. I have had success! I have two staple breads that I make every Sunday. One is a Vegan Pumpkin Bread and the other is a a Carrot Banana Bread. I am trying to eliminate fat and unnecessary dairy products from my life. I am finding when I do, I have fewer headaches. (I have chronic migraines , so I tweak my eating based on what is going on with those.)


I love breads and recently had really given them up.  I don’t eat a ton of carbs anyway. Now that Fall is here, I am looking for those comfort food without all the calories and the dairy products.


The one success that I will share on my blog today is the Carrot Banana Bread. I adapted this slightly from  Forks and Beans website. (http://www.forkandbeans.com/2014/10/28/carrot-banana-bread/)

First let me say, I LOVE Carrot Cake. I mean seriously who doesn’t? Next, I LOVE bananas, but not really banana bread. Crazy right?!

I thought the combo together would be perfect.

Carrot Banana Bread (Adapted from Fork and Beans)


Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 c. whole wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
    • 1 c. coconut sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed well
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1/3 c. applesauce (or oil)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 c. finely grated carrots (3-4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (use 1/2 c. more to top the bread, optional)
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add all of the wet ingredients in (except for the carrots and walnuts) and mix together until just combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Coat with remainder walnuts to garnish on top if you desire.
  3. Pour into the mini loaf pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top spring back when gently touched.
  4. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-7 minutes until it is not longer too hot to touch. Remove completely and allow to fully cool on a wire rack.


This is amazing. Next time I am going to add raisins to the mixture.  This is so good. I did the mini loaf pan in order to make more little loaf. I was able to get 9 little loaf out of one batch. It was amazing 🙂

What are your favorite Vegan recipes that you can share with me?

A broken road

I sit in my classroom and look around. The shiny faces of my students working hard is all around me. I love them. Every last one of them. I am new to the profession of teaching. New as in being this is my second year as a teacher, but not new as in life. I am an older start at a second career. I am older than most of the beginning teacher. Life has helped shaped how I interact with my students.  This has helped me to  understand my students and the world around me.

I am entering this profession at an interesting time. I am not sure if I will make 30 plus years like my fellow teachers. I am hoping to make it 10 or more. I am desiring this to be my lifelong commitment to a job. The teaching profession is no longer an esteemed profession.

We are looked down upon.

We are blamed.

We are not understood.

We are expected to do more for less money.

We are expected not to complain and if we do, then we are replaced.

I fall in line. I understand my role. I test and test. Not because my principal wants me to, not because my superiors downtown want me too, but because Washington wants me to. Let’s face it. It all boils down to the big boys up in our government. They make the decisions.

They don’t care about me.

They don’t care about my individual students.

They care about a bottom line.

They care about how we are doing compared to the rest of the world.

They don’t care about the milestones that are not on a piece of paper. They don’t understand the achievements that aren to achieved on a test.

There are many teachers leaving. There are thousands of blog posts on that. There are blog posts on blaming someone for the failures of the education system.

Honestly, I am not sure where the fault begins or ends. I know it’s not completely the teachers or the parents. Where do we begin to repair a system so badly broken?

There are no easy answers to hard questions. Hopefully, we figure it out soon.

Mother of girls

I am the mother of two beautiful girls.  I love every stage of my girls.  love watching them grow and learn. I love them interacting with each other and playing. I love watching them play dolls and doing crafts together.


The thing about motherhood is making all the right choices. I am their example. They look to me as to what being a wife, a mother and mostly what a woman is about. They look at my marriage and think one of two things:

“I want that when I grow up” or ” I want to run as far away from that!”

I am like all mothers. I worry that working takes something away from them. Am I not doing enough? What I doing too much for others?

I don’t claim to do it all.

In fact, I can’t. I can’t manage all the super mom things. I can’t keep a spotless house, make gourmet dinners and be perfect…you know perfect. I feel like pull of the world telling me that I am less than perfect. All the mommy blogs out there telling me 20 different ways to clean my house and 30 reason why I should make freezer meals.

I can’t.

My daughters get a mother who is imperfect to the core. Who is in need of her loving Savior everyday.

I melt down.

I cry.

I succeed.

I fail.

I am real.

I do things that are wrong.

I do things that are right.

I have to say sorry to my girls for my mistakes.

Guess what?

I know that every single step I take, God is right there with me.

Motherhood is hard whether you work or not. We all have things that are difficult in our paths. We all feel like giving up or shouting.

At least, I do.

At the end of my life, I will not have a lot of money. I will not have a fancy car. I will never have a huge home to make the papers.

I will have my God, my hubby and my girls.

In the end, that’s all I  need.

Crazy Cat lady










I would never have thought I would become a cat person or lady. I mean cats are so…cats! They have no personality (or at least that’s what I thought). I have wanted a dog for years in our marriage. When we got married. We had two fur babies we loved very much, Jake and Gunner. These dogs were amazing and we loved them. Okay, Gunner as really high strung. Think of the movie Marley & Me…that was Gunner.


Gunner was my hubby’s dog. They were buddies. I tolerated Gunner. I still miss him now that he is gone.

When those dogs passed, we could never find another dog that fit in our home with our children. My husband wanted a big dog and I wanted a small one. My husband hated hated winter time with the dogs. We went dogless for a few years. I was miserable. I love animals. I love having an animal to cuddle with on the couch.

Well, we were invited, My oldest daughter and I to a birthday party at an animal welfare center here in our town. My oldest was so excited! I mean really excited. We brought our donations. The animal welfare volunteer or worker, came out with a kitten. (Now for YEARS, YEARS I had told my oldest that we could not have a kitten because of my husbands allergies. I might have embellished on how severe her dad’s reaction might be.) So, my daughter being super sweet and careful, informed the welfare lady that the kitten would “kill her daddy.” (I said I embellished! No judgement.)

We went into the cat room and all the cats just loved my oldest. I went home and told my husband what a great time it was and how much our oldest loved the cats. After talking with several people, my hubby and I decided to try to see his reactions. We went back to the welfare center.  We explained to the girls what we were doing and why we needed to go there. My husband went into the cat room. Held some cats and no reaction.

We went home and talked about it. We figured a kitten might be the best addition. They are lower mantiance than a dog, but we wanted one that liked to be held.











We were advised to get two. We went and picked out Elsa our first kitten. She loved being held…at first, but after the first few weeks, the girls began to understand Elsa’s moods and vice versa. A month later we went a adopted Anna. (yes, we like Frozen and yes our cats are named after them.)










I have become a crazy cat lady. They love me the best and are social. You can see our cats throughout the day. They let the girls hold, carry and love on them. I know you are wondering about my husband…he is just fine.

This has been the best for him. We are all happy and he doesn’t have to get up in the morning to take the animals out. It’s truly a win-win for the family.

My 21 day fix journey

I have finished up my 21 day fix. I have enjoyed this journey so much. I started this journey not intending the benefits, feelings and body changes. Both some I expected and others I did not.  I did drink the Shakeology. I had no idea what I was in for as I started this journey.

I began thinking I was going to stop on day 21. I was going to end the journey and begin eating “regular” again. I figured I would “suffer” through the 21 days and not eat normally. I basically cut out processed foods.  I found out that it was not as hard as I had expected.

What is the 21 day Fix?

This is a 21 day program that is designed by Autumn Cabrese. It is a Beachbody product. I began this program in a challenge group started on Facebook by a friend. I bought the program with the DVD’s, Shakeology and containers.  It came and I started.  It comes with an instruction booklet and workouts that only last half an hour. The color containers indicate what food group you are eating. (For example, purple is fruit, green is vegetables, red is protein, etc). You figure out your baseline calories and which set of guidelines you fall into as far as how many containers you get per day. No calorie counting.  Just put the food (that are included in the booklet) and eat.



I had heard mixed reviews on Shakeology. I bought the Vanilla.  I was so excited to try it out, I made one right away. I loved it. I LOVED IT.  I make them into shakes, normally using one of my fruits for the day and some type of almond milk and water. It is a wonderful breakfast or snack. I love it. I drink it everyday and could not imagine not drinking it.



I came up with 5 non-scale victories:

1.  I can see my abs. I have an actual line where my obliques should be 🙂 (the side of your abs)

2. My butt doesn’t juggle when I run anymore. I am a marathoner and I juggle when I run. No longer because of the toning of the workout.

3. I feel stronger. I just feel stronger. When I run, I feel so much more in shape.

4. There is less cellulite at the top of my legs in the back. That is getting rid of the fat.

5. My food tastes 10 times better. I can taste all the flavors and everything is better.

My husband agrees. He has begun the fix as well and has said the same thing. We have made this our lifestyle now. We won’t use the color containers when the fix is over, but we do know how we should be eating and what portions. If we need reminders we can always go back.

If you are interested in your journey join me! I was not a coach when I signed up for this program. Through this program I fell in love so much. I have decided to become a coach. Start your journey with me by your side. I will share in your struggles and encourage you all the way.

Check out my website: www.beachbodycoach.com/JENNIE81

I would love to help you!

Can you get over it?

Being left out stinks! I mean really it does. I have struggled with this aspect of my life for years. I do not like being left out. Especially when you know should have been included.  You feel me? It just stinks.

Last week, I found out that it happened. I won’t go into detail, because does that really matter?! The details that hurt me. No! I would love to out the people that hurt me and scream ” YOU HURT ME! HOW DARE YOU?!” But you know what? It would not do anyone any good.


How do you get over it? Do you say something? How do you approach it? I have just learned that at times you have to move on. I used to fight the battles. I mean really fight them. I learned at times with some people, it doesn’t matter. They will continue to do the same thing that they want to because it suits them. Walking the road of Christianity is hard.  I want to wallow in my hurt, self-pity and denial. God doesn’t allow me to do that for very long. I am called to love everyone. Say what?! Yeah love at all times. 1 Corinthians 10:24 ” No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” Well, you say that isn’t about love. Your right, but let me tell you there are a lot of bible verses about love. 1 John 4:10 “This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

I am sure I am not the only person who is struggling to get rid of the hurt caused by someone else, but we are called to do it. If you aren’t a Christian, you life will be shorten by not doing it. You are giving away your power to the person.  I am still working on my issues with it. It will never be easy, but with God on by my side, I can never go wrong.

21 day fix, energy bites and work

I am a school teacher. I teach young minds all day and love it. I went back to work last year. I was able to go full-time this year. I struggled all last year with fitting in fitness with just a part-time schedule. Enter in full-time, the struggle became worse. Add the fact we have children in some activities and our life is busy.

Then one day I saw my friend mention something on Facebook about having a better you in 21 days. I am not a large person at all. I don’t need to lose weight, but I do need to tone up. I signed up for the 21 day fix. Why did I do this? I wanted to begin whole food eating and begin working out regularly. I also wanted to be strong. I think as women we all get caught up on the magic number on the scale. How about just being strong?.

I began this journey that corresponded with my two week break from school. I did not want to be super cranky while detoxing off of sugar and caffeine. I had gotten into some really bad habits. Like eating candy EVERY SINGLE DAY! I was drinking pop way too much. So, I started. The first few days were good, then day 4 hit. I was super cranky and hungry. Just plain hungry. I wasn’t use to portion sizes and I was’t used to not giving my body non-junky food. I also had headaches from the detox of sugar! I was like my body hates me. Then the second week came and it got better.

I have not lost a single pound now entering week 3, which I am very okay with, but I am losing inches and toning up. I will not share photos of me, due to personal convictions.  I also have struggled staying within the necessary limitations. I am eating whole foods. I have not cheated by eating junky food, but some days I get more carbs then I should or too many fruits etc.

I don’t believe in doing something for 21 days and then quitting.  I am trying to make this my lifestyle. This has to be a change in how I cook , shop and eat. This is a mind thing, not a 21 day thing. I would rather have the set backs with support from my coach now, then after the 21 days.

I go back to work on today.  I do believe I have formed some habits that now I can stick too. I also desire to workout now. I have been doing it for 14 days straight. I did miss Saturday due to feeling a little icky, but I did workout again on Sunday. The desire is there. On the days it wasn’t, I did it anyway.

As Autumn says in her video “To get what you have never had, you have to do something you have never done.”

Now onto the energy bites! This is a quick recipe that takes 20 minutes. It is an adaption from every pinterst recipe out there:

You need:

1 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond butter)

1/3 cup honey

1 scoop of Vanilla shakeology

1 tsp Cinnamon







Put all in a bowl and mix.








Scoop out with a mellon scooper and roll into a ball.








Freeze for about 30 minutes. Then stick in the fridge until you are ready to eat.I really like them. You can use any protein powder or leave it out!



A new attitude

I have not blogged in a while. I miss you!  I am changing the blog a little bit. I am going to focus more on journey in fitness and being a working mom. I have noticed that a lot of blogs out there are written by stay at home moms. (or maybe it’s just the blogs I tend to follow.) So, after much thinking and prayer, I have decided to open myself up a little as a working mom struggling to maintain fitness, being a wife and mother.

As my blog takes this change, I want to make a few disclaimers:


1. This is not against stay-at-home moms. At times, there seems to be a hidden war with women. I am not sure why, but the two sides : Stay-at-home vs. working moms. The battle lines get drawn and it’s on. Well, I have been both. I have been a stay at home mom with working mom friends. Now, I am a working mom with stay at home mom friends. Listen folks, we are all moms with unique struggles.

2. My blog will have mistakes! Grammar, word usage etc. I am not perfect. I proof the blog as much as I can, but hey I am human.

3. I am a Christian. My posts will reflect my beliefs.

4. I will not disrespect my husband or family.

5. I will not blog on my profession as a school teacher. This is to maintain privacy for my professional life (well as much as possible!). Parents will always be able to find my blog. I will keep that in mind as I blog on certain subjects.


I am not expecting anyone to read my life journey. This blog will never go viral, but if two people read and find something they need. Well, then it was well worth it.


Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Are you laughing?

How often do you laugh? I mean really laugh. The kind of the laughing that makes your belly hurt. The laughter that fills your lungs. You laugh so hard you snort or can’t breath. If you haven’t laughed that hard in a while, what’s causing you to stop? What is stressing you out so badly that it takes away your joy and laughter?

We just recently did a photo shoot for our family pictures. Instead of being completely stressed out and it being enjoyable, we decided to do something fun. Our photographer brought color powder. The type that is used in the color run. It’s a powder that is lightweight and it is like chalk. We were instructed to wear blue jeans and white shirts. We did just as we were told. We explained to the girls what was in store that day.

View More: http://christinagregorphotography.pass.us/schrempf-color-shoot

It was a bright sunny day. We walked down a beautiful wooded park. We let the girls run ahead.

View More: http://christinagregorphotography.pass.us/schrempf-color-shoot


We got into the stream and played in the water.

Schrempf Color Shoot-0022

After exploration, we had to find the perfect spot to throw the powder. We walked and found the perfect little path in between the trees.  We got the powder ready…

View More: http://christinagregorphotography.pass.us/schrempf-color-shoot


And began to throw…

Schrempf Color Shoot-0031

It was the most fun we have had yet as a family. We laughed so hard and made memories. It was not a stressful day. It was fun. The pictures turned out beautiful and we still look at them and laugh. We remember how good it was to play and have fun.  My oldest daughter #1 still talks about it. She wants to do as an extended family with her cousins. It was so fun.



View More: http://christinagregorphotography.pass.us/schrempf-color-shootSchrempf Color Shoot-0102


Schrempf Color Shoot-0160

Every time I start to stress and sweat the small stuff. I go back to these pictures.  I look at them and laugh. I thank God for the blessings that He has bestowed on me. I remember He is in control. I try to find something to laugh about everyday. I find the joy and laughter surrounding me. I have to look for it. I have to find it in my children, my students, my husband and my everyday life. It’s hard some days, but there is something in every single one of my days to laugh about and find joy in. I really have to look and find it.

Schrempf Color Shoot-0150


Photographs by: Christina Gregor Photography. https://www.facebook.com/Christinagregorphotography



Naturebox is a product line I found randomly on-line. I am constantly looking for easy ways to find clean snacks for me to eat. I found this actually on an ad on Facebook.  I liked the variety of gluten-free, low carb, and diary free items. It has a mix of sweet, savory and spicy. It is $20.00 (Well, $19.95) a month for 5 full bags of your pick. Then you can add-on additional for $3.00 . The first box was $10.00 for trying it out.

In my first box I picked out:

Pb&j granola – This is amazing! I love it. I snack on it, but you can put it on your favorite yogurt, dessert or really anything that could add a little peanut butter kick!

Chili munch mix -this was a good spicy mix. I couldn’t stop eating it. It was the right amount of crunch and spice.

Big Island Pineapple Rings– Have not tried yet, but they look good!

Chocolate Nom Nom-OH  MY WORD! Seriously, you eat one of these and it stops the craving for chocolate. This is a healthy version something sweet.

Mana Crisps– these were a little salty, but good. I am trying to cut down on my salt intake. These really a good sub for chips.

Blueberry Almond Bites– This to me was a glorified rice cake. Not my favorite.

Yellow Curry Peas – Loved this so much that I will be receiving them next month. They are unique in flavor and help with the snackies.

Dried Pears- I have not tried these yet either.

Overall, this is the best risk I have taken. I will continue on with this membership for a long time.

This is not a paid review.  I just love it and I wanted to share. 

Going to Kindergarten

My oldest is started Kindergarten yesterday! Oh my gosh, where did the time go? My baby is a going to school all day. I can’t believe it. My mind is blown and sad all at the same time. It felt like yesterday, I was holding her in my arms. The first summer wrapping up and thinking to myself, we have all the time in the world. In a flash, the years are gone. GONE!

My beautiful girl1(BG1) is having a hard time with going to a new school. The safety net of what is familiar is now gone.  BG1 is really not understanding the whole “big” kid school. The whole day thing, the eating lunch with a lunch box, the recess etc. She is freaked out. She is freaked out to the point that she making up imaginary scenarios  in our home. For example, Sunday rolls around. Bed time comes to our home. We put BG1 and BG2 to bed. Then all of a sudden BG1 is bawling her eyes out because there could be a fire that burns the whole house with her beloved Lambie. She is crying and we are at a loss. We talk to her about how God has protected her and Lambie, how he will continue to do so. That seemed to ease her mind.

She is completely my child. I have allowed fear to enter my life many times and it is now showing up in hers. It is heartbreaking to watch this BG1 struggle through this. I want to take it all away. But alas, I can’t. I have to teach her that God can. I have to model this behavior in my own walk with Him.


Running Playlist

Long run Sundays have entered back into my life. Before the month of August, I will complete a 20 mile run to get ready for the Chicago Marathon.  This will be my 3rd marathon, my first time raising money for a charity 🙂 I am raising money to support Oasis. They help Kenyan orphans.  (Want to support me? Click here: Oasis for Orphans 


This Sunday I woke up extremely late. I had been preparing my classroom for the school year and I was wiped. I decided to do my long run at the gym. (Most runners just shook their head in either digest or pure brilliance.)  I looked at my playlist and realized I needed a change in my life. I had been running to this one for at least six months.

I googled so cool playlists…I could do better than those…right?!

This is my attempt:

1. Clarity (feat. foexes) – Zedd

2. Girls Chase Boys- Ingrid Michaelson

3. Ain’t it Fun– Paramore

4. Fix My Eyes- For King & Country

5. Timber (Feat. Ke$ha) -Pitbull

6. Somebody to love– Queen

7. Problem ( feat. Iggy Azalea) Ariana Grande

8. Alive – Hillsong Young & Free

9. Wake — Hillsong Young & Free

10. Sinking Deep — Hillsong Young & Free

11. Come and Get your Love– Real McCoy

12. Pompeii-Bastille

13. 22- Taylor Swift

14. My Walk- Caton Jones

15 Popular Song (Feat. Ariana Grande) –MIKA

This playlist lasts a little over an hour. I loop it for as long as needed. What should I add to it?

Failure and Victory

10523724_1500808026823540_2318229284230353014_nIt started it out with a lost pair of keys. The keys were not in sight. I looked high and low. I looked at the two eager girls ready to go conquer Target to tell them quietly ” We won’t be going today. I can’t find my keys.”


My daughters looked at me with disappointment shining in their eyes, quietly said ” Okay, we understand.”

They walked out of sight.


The feeling hits every mom somewhere at some time. It being the lost car keys, the broken promise of some kind. It truly inevitable in our life. We will do it to our children. We are human beings.

Failure is like a cloak we wear. The feelings of failure is accompanied with the thoughts of other areas of failure.

My house is not organized (clean, but not organized).

My laundry is behind.

My classroom is not completely set up. 

Failure is something I don’t wear often. I take it off like a bad pair of jeans. The feeling sometimes just won’t leave me. I can’t shake it. I feel it in the pit of my stomach all the way to my heart.

I sat and cried about the missing car keys. I have yet to find them. Even as I write to you. I am struggling with not crying.  The missing cars are symbol of things much bigger. I know it. I know it will leave.

Are you living in failure today? Let’s take victory today instead of the failure the world will give us. We are not super moms nor do we need to be. We are just moms. I told my husband last night, I was not a super mom. I am too needy. I need the Lord too much to be super.  I can’t make it a day without Him. I will swap super mom for being the Lord’s any day.

Victory. Jesus gave it to us. Let’s take His hand and run with him.

Confessions of a working mom…

Today is my last day of summer break. I go back into the teaching world for my second year as a teacher, my first full-time year. This is new to me. I am learning to work full-time with two girls. I have one going into kindergarten this year and one entering her second year in preschool. The time has flown by and taken the years with it. My babies are no longer babies and I am not in my twenties anymore.

I have not worked full-time, since my oldest, was 16 months old. Last year was a sink and swim time in my household. I struggled and struggled hard. There is no doubt. My personal life changed. The things I once held as important are no longer important. My time is spent differently.

Confession time: working full-time while running my house hold is hard. Note, I am not saying that staying at home isn’t hard work. 

My full-time day looks like:

6:00 a.m. wake up get ready for the day with my daughter in tow. Get everything going for the morning.

By 7:15  a.m., I will be walking out the door with a five-year old in tow. My youngest waking up and hanging out with her dad until her sitter arrives to take her to school.

Get ready for school between 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. …then I teach until 3:00 p.m.. I will pack up and get ready to go home with the five-year old in tow. By 3:30 p.m., I will be home and ready to be mom again to do the night-time routine.

I am just tired thinking about it and I haven’t even gotten to dinner or running my mileage. Did I mention I am training for a marathon?

By 8:00  p.m., I will put the kids in bed and turn my attention to my husband. By 9:00 p.m., I will be passed out in order to do it all over again the next day.

I know you are thinking : ” You are a teacher, you don’t work all summer long!” Not true, I have been working the last three weeks in order to get ready for school. That’s setting up my classroom, buying materials and finding awesome curriculum.

Confession time: Some days I love it and some days I don’t.

Some days are amazing as a teacher. You see kids learn and you get to experience everything with them. The others days can be hard. With meetings and expectations that are high. I constantly try to keep creative ideas flowing (which doesn’t come easily) and then all the grading, prep-work and other stresses. Some days staying at  home looks more appealing. It looks inviting. I miss the playdates in the afternoon and lunch dates with my friends. Those days are gone.  Even in the summer,  I found it hard to balance it all.

The youngest first race this summer :)

The youngest first race this summer 🙂

Confession time: Stay at home moms are tough to be around.

I love my friends that stay at home. It’s awesome, I use to be one of them. But the other perspective , I did not fully understand until I worked full-time. I see my friends be able to stay at home with little to no financial difficulty. They get to do fun things with vacations etc. It’s hard at times to realize that God gave me a different life. I LOVE MY Life, but we all struggle at times. This is where social media I have found to be dangerous. I have found that the pictures of the constant bombarding of pictures of the joys or not so much joys of staying at home on my Facebook feed all the time.  (One of the many reasons, I deactivated my Facebook account.) Working moms can do that too, but I think it’s viewed that we choose to work. The choice is sometimes voluntary and sometimes not.

Confession time: I hate the view that if a wife/mother works she is not giving all she can to her children.

I have struggled so hard against this in the church culture. I don’t like it. There is a view that if you work, then you can’t possibly raise “good Christian kids.”  People have told me that I should have stayed at home until the girls are in at least junior high.  I heard a sermon by Tony Evans about Kingdom Women. HE is preaching on the proverbs 31 woman. This is the woman/wife/mother verses in the bible. The verses everyone looks to to be the perfect woman. In  the sermon,  he talked about how this woman gets up early to get ready for the day (v13),  she works hard in labor including outside of the home (18-19, v.24) and she looks good doing it (v.22).  A woman in Proverbs does not over commit herself, but she is serving God and her family. Can I get an AMEN!

Confession time: I love my job.

The kids in my school are in 85% below the poverty line. I am blessed to be their teacher.  I am blessed to walk into their school everyday and teach them. God gave this job and I intend to my best.

It’s hard to be a mom. It’s hard to stay at home or work while raising a family. As women, we should encourage each other and love each other.

Let’s run this race we have been given with endurance. Let’s do this woman thing with God by our side, our husbands and raise some awesome God-loving children. Let’s not doubt our call in life, but understand it and thrive in it. Let’s not wish for a life we don’t have, but enjoy the one we do. 



A learning curve: My life on Paleo

I blogged last week on my favorite things on being on Paleo. I have been successful in my way to clean eating and being on this way of living. We have switched the kids over at dinner. Not quite 100% in all areas in our family life, but I am pretty much 100 %. I have found eating out is difficult. I have managed to pick places that have a gluten-free menu items and are friendly in those areas. I constantly look on Pinterst and find new ideas.

Then I have my moments. Tonight was one of those moments. I just wanted cheese and crackers. I rarely crave these combination of food items, so on my way home I picked up each of these items.  I wanted to be as natural as possible in this splurge. I went to our very small and limited health food department. I looked for veggie cheese, because I had heard wonderful things about it. I really wanted to try it. I couldn’t find it in the blocks of cheese. I did what any good girl would do and begin to read labels. I picked up Super Natural Pepper Jack Organic Cheese. I am not always fooled by the front label. I read the ingredients. It did contain milk but everything was all natural. I bought it. Next was the  crackers. I wanted to stay way from gluten. I found Curnchmastter Multi-Grain Crackers. Again, found the ingredients to be all natural. (not necessary paleo).  I felt like I was on some what of a good kick. Not 100% Paleo but all natural for processed food.


How did it all taste?

The cheese tasted great. I loved it. I really found it to be no different then non-organic cheese. The crackers were not Ritz. They were thin but really crispy. It did  help with the craving for the cheese and crackers. I did not have a  headache afterward. This was a win night for me.

I also made a Cobb Salad with Green Goddness Dressing.  It’s super simple. I did opt out of the bacon and cheese just for personal preference of taste.


The recipe is as following:

2 heads romaine lettuce (or a mixture of lettuces), chopped ; i used Kale.
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 2.25oz can sliced olives, drained
2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 2 grilled chicken tenders  and shredded them)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
3oz cooked bacon, chopped
2oz bleu cheese, crumbled

Recipe from: http://thedomesticman.com/2013/12/17/cobb-salad-with-green-goddess-dressing/

The dressing was amazing as well. I also opted out of the chives of the dressing and did not have tarragon. The dressing turned out okay. A bit strong taste of lemon, so I will reduce some of the lemon ingredients.  Click on picture for recipe. Overall, a great salad 🙂

Recipe from: http://thedomesticman.com/2013/12/17/cobb-salad-with-green-goddess-dressing/

Recipe for the dressing:

1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup full-fat greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
rind of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tsp), minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp each chopped chives and fresh tarragon
1 tsp each salt and Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper




I am experimenting with avocados because it is a staple in the Paleo Diet.  I found a spread that I love, love , love. Did I say how much I lOVE this spread? I really feel like it’s more like a  dip than a spread. I will use it on my cut veggies and other items.

Cilantro Lime Avocado Spread:  http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2014/05/cilantro-lime-avocado-spread/


  • 1/2 lime, juiced (I used 1 whole lime juiced)
  • 1 ripe avocado (I used two ripe avocados)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic ( I doubled this and used 1 TSB of garlic power and 1 tsp of garlic salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro ( I subbed 1 tablespoon of dried parsley)
  • salt and pepper, to taste (none of this)


  1. Place all ingredients in a small food processor and process until smooth or at desired consistency.


I had to avocados tonight to use up before they went bad.  I had to use them up.  I doubled the recipe . I also did not have fresh cilantro, so I subbed  dried parsley in for it (just the recommended for a one batch) and used 1 TSB of garlic powder and 1 tsp of garlic salt. It was awesome!

What are some of your tried and true recipes? What are some must-have’s in your pantry?

A new Paleo life

I have blogged about my attempt at clean eating. The failures with it. I am now back on the wagon with a new ambition to really feel better. I am on a new path of a life style. I want to feel better. My headaches are ramping up again and to avoid more medication, I believe the food is a good place to start.   I am on summer break from teaching. This is a good time to start learning new recipes and quick and easy breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas.

I have discovered some new recipes and products that I will share:

1.  Avenno face wash, lotion and BB cream. I began using this after a suggestion from a friend of mine. I was tired of having my skin breakout and using the same old products that are not working on my 33 year old skin. I have found this is working so far. I love the BB cream. (Don’t get it in your eyes, it burns!) The BB cream is amazing. I have found it can build up to a great coverage. Then with a little powder, blush and lip gloss, I am done! unnamed-1

2.  Frozen fruit in water. I just started adding frozen fruit in my water to give it a little more flavor. It is amazing and tastes great. It also helps me get in the water  I need for the day.

unnamed3.  Apple chips: This is a pinterst thing. I first made this with a flop. I cut them to thick and they turned out chewy. The second batch turned out much better. I cut them paper thin and added just cinnamon. I baked them a little higher setting and boom, they are pretty good. Disclaimer, they are good, but it won’t take the place of real sweets.


4. Whole fruit pops. This is also a pinterst thing. We went to this amazing whole fruit popsicle place in Dallas. In the Quad Cities, we don’t have such a thing. This type of stuff we have to make on our own. Enter pinterst, the Ninja, fruit, honey and lemon juice.  They aren’t ready tonight as I blog. There will be an update for adjustments on these. I will have to let you all know, how they turned out.



I am also trying homemade marinades for chicken. It does take more time to eat this way, but I feel the benefits out weigh the prep time involved.  Any suggestions for more eating clean/Paleo?



Learning in Africa



I am home from my trip to Kenya, Africa. It was an amazing experience to be in Kenya; the food, the people, and the land.

I did not meet my team until JFK in New York. Well, three of my my four team members. I met my first team member on my second flight to NYC. I found my seat and my first team member in my row on my flight. We were able to talk on our way from Boston to NYC. Then we would meet the next two members and pray our last two members would make our flight to Africa. God had every detail planned to the minute.

The team Kenya, our first meeting, Live in Love.

The team Kenya, our first meeting, Live in Love.

My team members was made up of six (including me) American women. This would make for an interesting trip. I was the only married/mother of the group. I feel though I am very young at heart. I was sought out a few times by single Kenyan men. This was amusing to me as there were five other beautiful  single American women and I was the “old” married lady in the group.


Africa was life changing. There are only five other women in the world, who truly understand what we went through over there. We can try to explain it to our friends and family, but these women will always be my “sisters from another mister.”

The most life changing moment came when I was able to teach in the classroom of a Kenyan school. God brought the opportunity for this teacher (really three teachers) to teach in their schools as guests.

The first lesson, I was literally, given a book, asked to teach out of it. I stood in front of the class and quietly got it together.  I am a teacher that taught over the top, rowdy, opinion giving 7th grade students. In Kenya, the students are respectful to the point of not engaging with you. I stood up there and expected them to engage with me like American students. I being a counselor as well, stood in uncomfortable silence, and waited, until the students finally caught on to my style of teaching.


The problem was I didn’t understand the way Kenya teachers taught. The teachers taught, the kids listened. If the kids were disresptecful, they were displined. Think corpal punishment.

We were asked to teach the next day.  I began to ask more questions. I wanted a clad picture of what I could teach. I found out I could teach anything including the bible. Again, very different from American schools. I prepared for a second day,which went much better because I understood, what they expected out of me. I was uncomfortable. My ideas of teaching had to be pushed out the door. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the students being so respectful that they didn’t express anything. I liked my rowdy, opinion giving 7th grade students.


But then I began to understand the plight in this country. The unemployment, the jobs, and the low income. All around me was poverty. Not poverty like we know it. The gut wrenching, no pants wearing, poverty. The kind of poverty you see on T.V, and switch the channel because you are uncomfortable. The kind that smacked you in the face where ever you went.  I saw children crying out of hunger and ignored because they only ate once a day that was the expectation. Their hunger was normal. That was the day I broke down. I saw my own children in those precious faces and my heart cried out as a mother. I didn’t understand it. I gave the little boy an orange that he struggled to eat because it seemed he had never had one. I taught him how to eat it. He was about seven years old. I knew in that moment that was a hunger that he had known more than once and that my moment  of relieving him of that hunger was only that, a moment. I cried the most that day. After that, I had to pray that I could sustain the rest of the trip. Which was another three days. God was good. He allowed me to see that He cared far more for these children than I did. His heart broke for their physical hunger, but He cared more about their spirtual hunger. The next few days, I played and loved on those kids.

Racing the kids

Racing the kids

I will return to Kenya soon. I will see those beautiful faces again. I want to see what happens to them and how they grow. I want to take Maddie, who desperately wants to minister to the people as well. I learned much more that I will share later. Thank you for those who supported me. Please continue praying for what is happening over there. Pray for the people are experiencing suffering and loss.  Continue to pray for Live in Love as they  continue on with their ministry.


Father’s Day

I chronicle my life on this blog. I often get personal on my life, but don’t include too much of my extended or even my kids.  My mother can kill me once I get back in the country. This post is dedicated to my grandfather.


This Father’s Day started out like any other. My husband got his gifts. We ate breakfast and prepared to go to my grandfather’s house for lunch. This is our tradition. I am lucky that at 32 almost 33 that I still have both of my grandfathers living. My daughter’s have the privilege of having relationships with them. We all have a special relationship with my mother’s father. Let me start at the beginning.

I moved to the great state of Illinois at the ripe old age of 12. We moved back to my mother’s home state from North Carolina to be closer to her side of the family. My parents had divorced and my father lived in Georgia at the  time. I remember my uncle and grandfather coming to pack up the trucks and moved back  us “home”.  I won’t lie, I didn’t want to move. What 12-year-old does? On top it, I was starting middle school. The worst two years of my life, well, at that time. Yet, it was a blessing in disguise. I had a relationship with my grandparents, but it would blossom into a full-grown close relationship. We would stay at their house when my mother had to work. We would eat at their house all the time. I have many fond memories of them. I remember taking care of my grandfather when he had heart issues. My dad lived far away. He was present but not physically , he tried but couldn’t be. My grandfather was and I learned so much from him.  My grandfather was my “ideal” guy. He was kind, loving and had a short fuse.

We found out a few weeks that his cancer has come back. It is fast growing and in multiple parts of his body. On our way over to his house, I realized that this could be my last Father’s day with him. The man who I adored and loved was not going to live forever.  We all know that in our hearts of heart. We all know that we are all going to die and if we love Jesus, we will be in heaven. I know that he does and that brings me comfort.

We had made him a video of pictures celebrating his life for Father’s day. My husband being ever so wise had kept pictures on our computer of him from when he was young. As he watched, he began to cry, actually sob. There are very few times I have actually seen this happen. I had to walk out of the room. That is when I realized, he realized, that this time, we might not get next year.  After tears and unspoken words by the family , we celebrated the rest of the day.


At the end, we took pictures of the kids with grandpa. My husband being ever so wise, took just one of the two of us. Something that I could keep forever and remember.  There are no words to describe this man I love so much. It is inadequate and would come close express the depth of love I have for him.

Proverbs 16:31  “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”

Africa…Here I come?!



In less than a week, I leave for Kenya, Africa. I am scared, excited and any other adjective that would describe sheer panic. I will have limited access to my cell phone, my family and really anything that connects me to the my world. Not the outside world because I will be traveling beyond my comfort. Beyond quick and easy access to cell service, the usage of my cell phone without the cost being sky high and my family.

My utter dependence is on God.

My comfort zone is about to be shaken to the core and I love it. Yes, you heard correctly, I love it.

I don’t want to live a life that is comfortable. Let me explain.

In America, most of us live in comfortable situations. Comfortable meaning that we have clean water, food, clothes and shelter. The basics. We may not have all that we want. Around the world the issues of malnutrition, clean water and illness plague many countries.  Poverty looks very different in many parts of the world.

Poverty does exist in America. I have seen many hungry faces at meal sites that hurt my heart. I have seen it kids be truly hungry and fearing summer break because they won’t have access to food.  We have homeless that need our help. We have families in true need.

What do you do about it?  Do we turn away and ignore the problem? Give our checks and walk away?  Do one time mission trips in the U.S.A and think we are good?

What about around the world? It’s easy to give but much harder to go.  It was not easy to ask for money, to accept help, and to give up time with my children. Yet, God didn’t say it would be easy. God didn’t say I could give him excuses. I said “Here I am God, send me.”  He didn’t say that I could choose the time. He gave me the time, the money and the opportunity. He gave the husband that would send me with a smile on his face and willing to take care of our beautiful children. (Ages 3 & 5).

“Here I am Lord, Send me.”

I told my five-year old about my trip to Africa. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t leaving her to go on vacation without her. We began the talk about Africa.

She asked ” Mommy, what are you going to do there?”

I thought just for a moment. ” Maddie, I am going to a mommy for a few days to  children that don’t have one. Can they borrow me?”

Her answer: “Yes, make sure you love on them. Tell them I said hi.”

She gets it. She’s five. Do you?

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift has  received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms.”  1 Peter 4:9-10

Why am I running the Chicago Marathon?

Why am I a marathoner?  Why did I choose this marathon? This marathon is awesome! This is my second time running the Chicago Marathon. I loved running downtown with all the people cheering me on. It was amazing to see everyone holding signs for their loved ones. My mom and sister came with me that trip and for moral support.  I would wait to see them  at certain mile markers and they would cheer me on. My favorite part was turning the curve of the marathon to see my mom and sister waiting at the finish line. It gave me that extra speed to finish. I loved it.

My finish in 2012.

My finish in 2012.

This time the marathon is set up a little differently. The last time I ran it  all I had to do was sign up in time. This time there was a lottery system in place. My husband, cousin and I wanted to run it together. I knew there was no way all three of us would get chosen. My husband and I decided on the charity route. We are raising money for Oasis for Kenyan Orphans. This organization has a special place in my heart because I am going to Africa this summer to Kenya to work with orphans. Not with Oasis but with another ministry. I am excited for my trip to Kenya.

Before a run in my Oasis for Orphans shirt :)

Before a run in my Oasis for Orphans shirt 🙂

On my long runs or short runs, I pray for the orphans I am raising money to help. This is so close to my heart that at times it feels like it can break in two for these children in orphanages. This is the first marathon I have done for charity. I am hoping it won’t be my last.

Who is Oasis for Orphans? (http://www.oasisfororphans.org/about-oasis/mission-vision-strategy/)

The Oasis Mission:

Oasis for Orphans exists to rescue orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya and to develop them physically, spiritually, economically, and socially, enabling these children to one day be contributing members of their community and future leaders in their country.

The Oasis Vision:

We see a day when thousands of vulnerable children, neglected by society, are connected to loving sponsors and rescued into homes where they will be developed holistically, restoring hope to the children and the communities where they live.

The Oasis Strategy:

In order to accomplish our mission, we must excel in the following four areas:

  • Develop Committed Relationships: Two key relationships must be established and fostered to provide love and security to an orphaned child – the sponsor/child relationship and the guardian/child relationship. A committed relationship between a child and sponsor can be transformational for both parties.  A devoted guardian provides security for the orphan’s future.
  • Implement a Holistic Development Plan: Rescuing children is not enough. Oasis’ success will be measured by our ability to develop the child into a contributing member of their community.  This will not happen without being intentional about the process of development.  The Oasis development plan is holistic meaning that it grows the child in four key areas – physically, spiritually, economically and socially.
  • Maintain a Sound Financial System: Oasis is committed to fundraising in order to provide for the needs of orphaned children and stewarding those resources responsibly both in America and Kenya.
  • Form Strategic International Partnerships: To accomplish our goal of rescuing and developing children in Kenya, without creating an unhealthy dependence, we must be prepared to establish, grow, and release partnerships as they become self-sufficient.  Oasis is committed to partnering with Kenyan leaders and Kenyan staff members who will lead and manage the complete care of the orphaned child.

Would you be willing to be support me?  Would you be willing to help these orphans?

Three ways to give:

1. Prayerfully consider giving toward my goal at my FirstGiving Page: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jen-schrempf-2/bank-of-america-chicago-marathon-2014

2. Prayer. Please pray for these orphans and for all orphans around the world.

3. Lastly, encouraging me to continue on training for my race.

And if you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
Then your light will rise in the darkness
and your night will become like midday.
The Lord will guide you always,
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land,
And will strengthen your bones;
You will be like a well-watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail.
– Isaiah 58:10-11


M & M’s : Marathons & Monday’s update


I have really begun the hardcore training.  Work is winding down for the summer and more time is being devoted to my running. It is also becoming nicer outside. Well, it’s really hot. This week was my first “long” run Sunday. I was suppose to get up early and run before brunch with friends. My husband trying to be sweet woke me up an hour late. I decided that I would run later in the day around dinner time to my grandparents. My husband and kids would be meet me there an hour later.

I began the run around 5:00 in the afternoon. It was a balmy 88 degrees outside.  I started off too fast and told myself to slow down. I knew that if I didn’t then I would die out in the last phase in the run. I didn’t slow down. Can you guess what happened? I began to wear out before I should have and my time began to slow down. I was praying that my husband would be early with the kids and see my poor self running and pick  me up.

The Lord was good because none of those things happened. I had to work my way through the run. I had to mentally prepare myself . I began to think about the last two marathons. How hard it was to finish well.  Today, I felt the mental preparation begin. I believe that in marathon training mental awareness and preparedness is as important as being physically prepared.

How do you mentally prepare for a marathon?


5 ways to help this working mom…

I had the privilege of staying home with my children for three years. I loved every aspect of that season of my life. I loved the play dates, lunch dates,  dates with my girls and being able to set my schedule (under the demand of my kids) as needed. I could make doctors appointments in the middle of the day , run during nap time on my treadmill  or stay in my yoga pants all day long.  This sounds like a rosy picture, but I also had the demands of the housework, laundry, and a husband. I had bad days, where screaming babies were the norm.  Yet, looking back, I would not have changed any of those moments for the world.

Recently, I have blogged about going back to the work and the feeling that goes with it. The struggle of the balancing act.  The how to’s of relationships with my husband, children, church, outside obligations of work and my girlfriends.

After a slight melt down with a friend on the phone and the questions was asked : “How can I support you? How can we hang out now?” My answer was “I don’t know”.

I had felt disconnected. I had this picture in my mind of  all my friends getting together having all these play dates, lunch dates and social lives without me. Forgetting I even existed. Your mind can paint pictures that reality does not support. Pity party of one please. Ugh, extremely self-serving and frankly not my style.

I began to really ponder the question posed by my friend.  How could she help me? How could we still be friends? Then I came up with my list of “helps” that I thought I would share with the rest of the blogging world.

Here is my list of 5 things that might help a working mom, especially one that might need a nudge to get out.

1.  Invite a working mom on a play date on a day and time she can do it. This might take planning and work. I know this may just be me, but I felt like no one wanted me around the minute I started working.

2. Be interested in the struggles of the working mom. I have one working mom friend.  One. It’s hard. I  don’t feel as though I relate to anyone.

3. Couples night. We have a two household income. This means both of us works. We never see our friends, because I used to set those up. I have had not one friend ask us for a night out.

4. Judgment free zone. Working mom’s struggle with lots of different things. I believe the divide between working moms and stay at home moms is the perception of judgement. People judge no matter what choice you make. “Oh you work. I could never do that!” or “Oh, you stay at home, it must be nice not to have to shower.” I have actually heard both. Yet, nothing drives me more batty than judging someone on the basis of their  choices.

5.  Calling your good friend and asking what they need. I can’t do last-minute anymore. Everything in my life takes planning.  But sometimes, especially if you are good friends, you can call them to make sure everything is okay. Maybe some coffee on a Saturday morning with kids running around is just what a working moms need or just calling their husband to set up a blind date with your girlfriends.

This survival guide for back to work moms is not for everyone. Really this is to help others understand that we all have different situations. These tips can be applied to anything. This is a list I came up with to help me deal with how to allow my friends to help me. This list is things I pray on to help me work through, when feelings of insecurities creep up. This is also a list I wish I had known to show support to working moms, while I stayed at home.

What other tips could other working moms add?


M & M’s


This is after Sunday’s run. I was hot and sweaty, not looking beautiful in the least. This is real training.

” The biggest mistake an athlete can make is to be afraid of making one” L. Ron Hubbard 

Training is one of those endurances in my life that I find particularly difficult is finding time. I am “part-time” teacher that actually works full-time. I am finding that I have every excuse in the book not to run. Today, Sunday, I made the choice to begin my run weeks on a Sunday instead of a Monday. I have also made the choice to get up early to run in the morning. I have tried this a thousand times before with no luck. This time I have to make it work. I know that the strength of the Lord will help me to get through the beginning torture of the morning run.

I went out for my new routine Sunday run and clocked a three-mile run this morning. It rocked. I felt great and my time was just a tad slower than normal.  I am getting back to the rhythm of my pace and feeling that my body is strong. I feel as though I could conquer the world, but know that I will only be able to do this with God by my side.

I am hoping my new routine takes shape quickly. Kenya is coming up quickly. I want my body in tip-top shape, before I venture to Kenya for ten days. Then we will be traveling to Dallas for about a week.

Any advice for improving times for a marathon?

Who am I?

Unknown-1Hello, My name is... (click here for a music video)

“Hello, my name is defeat. I know you recognize me. Just when you think you can win, I’ll drag you right back down again. Til you’ve lost all belief”   is pouring through my head this week. This song, this moment of truth. This song, Hello, My Name,is by Matthew West.  

“Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies And I have believed them for the very last time.”

” Hello, my name is….”

What pours in my head is not the next line in the song.  I wonder, how many of us are the same and why? (If you haven’t heard the song, take the time to watch the video.) We like a song like this. It’s beautiful. This should reflect that defeat and the other things that named are lies.

“Hello,  my name is…”


Control Freak

my past



people pleaser

Never good enough for the world.

This is what the world wants me to believe that  I am. The world wants me to buy into the defeat, regret and being defined by my past.

“Hello, my name is…”

What is my name? Who do I belong to? Who has my heart?

“Hello, my name is…”

 Child of the one true King. I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free. “Amazing Grace” is the song I sing.”

Who am I? I am the child of the one true kind, whom  I serve. My identity comes from the Him and nothing else. On the really bad days, I turn up the volume, sing this with all my heart that reaches the heavens and prays that on that bad day, my disbelief is taken from me. I then know my what my true name is.


Last week,  I  was supposed to start my training for the upcoming marathon season. As a seasoned runner,  I had to listen to my body. I have issues with my body that are unexplainable in this moment. I have the privilege of health care and am able to go to specialist to figure out what is wrong with my stomach. The outcome is unsure but I will hopefully know soon.

This is a hard lesson for many runners. Whether you have been running for 20 years, 10 years,  2 years or 10 minutes. Listening to your body is the most important aspect to training.

My thought process is : ” I can run through anything.” In my heart I know,  I can’t. I am unable. I have had multiple injuries to let me know otherwise.

This week’s update is a bummer. I have restarted my training with an easy week this week. I know that I am able to complete the Chi-town marathon. I just need to have more faith in the process of healing.

Here is my  M & M update this week. I am hoping next week for a better report.

Advice? Tips?





I just finished a documentary entitled Stuck. This documentary is based on families trying to adopt children internationally. I watched as families struggled to get their children home from various countries. It was heartbreaking to watch.  It was heartbreaking to watch even more because I know a family with a daughter that is stuck.

Ryan and Katie Ganshert have been waiting to bring their daughter home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She has been legally adopted since July. They closed the doors on the “exit permits” in September.  They can’t bring her home. She needs the exit permit to get home to the United States.  They were suppose to be grandfathered “in” to get this “exit permit”, but that hasn’t happened yet.  They are one of several  hundred families going through this crisis right now.

I have sent letters to everyone from local government officials to national government officials in my state. They are turning their backs on my friends. I received a letter, stating, I could not advocate on behalf of my dear friends.  I am and will continue until this child and all other stuck children come home.

How can you help?

1. Mindset: not everyone agrees with international adoption. People will cry “What about our children in the United States?” I agree. We have needy children everywhere. God has placed orphans on the hearts of Christians everywhere.  It’s not your place or your choice to judge on where people choose to adopt from, but as a Christian is your duty to act on behalf for orphans.  Sorry, that was bold. Let me say it a different way: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Orphans are everywhere.

2. Prayer: God can move mountains and governments. We need to pray for a movement. A movement that will bring these children home. Not in orphanages alone and unloved. Not in orphanages where they are under staffed and underfed. No one wants these children in some of these countries, yet they are being denied to loving homes in the United States.

3. Do something: Write a letter, sign a petition, write a blog post. Just do something. The more noise that is made the more action the United State government will be required to take.   Don’t know where to start? Start here:  https://bothendsburning.org/help-out/sign-the-petition/)

4. Still unconvinced? Watch the documentary Stuck.( http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com ) After watching this documentary, I was more convicted than ever to write a blog about my friends and their situation. I felt that it was my duty as a Christian and as their friend to speak out even more.

Don’t allow one more day go by and these children remain stuck.

” Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27


A joyless Christian

My husband looked straight at me with concern in his eyes and said “You just have a grumpy look on your face.”  It was true. I was tired, short with the kids and my mood had been off the rails. I could not put my finger on what was happening.  I was grumpy, moody and not being kind. I was complaining about everything and praising nothing.

1962686_1444619569109053_58350192_n(Bella in a grumpy mood)

Saturday night rolled around and we went to church. It’s our ritual. One we do not take lightly. We enjoy our Saturday night church and Chick-fil-A dinner afterwards. It’s our routine.  I won’t lie, I had a busy Saturday day. I was tired and I didn’t want to go. Now, as I write, that thought  fills me with saddens. We begin to worship and it takes at least two songs for me to get into the songs but eventually it does. The songs begin to penetrate into my heart. The meanings and my grumpy look begins to fade. I am eager to listen to my pastor. He reminds me of a few things.  “A joyless Christian is a contradiction of terms.”  Basically, my grumpiness needed to go. This way of thinking needed to take a backseat and go.

He also said ” Make your tent bigger.” He was reading out of Isaiah 54: 1-10.  This was after the prophecy that Christ was coming in chapter 53. God was telling his people to stretch out their belongings and materials even further than they ever had.

Two things about this sermon hit home. One, I needed to praise God instead of being grumpy about  anything. Everything out of my mouth should start with a praise.  Second, Kenya is a what I should be doing. This mission trip was put in my path to make me stretch even more.

If you get one thing out of this blog post: Praise God with the start of every conversation. I am going to begin to try .

Marathon Updates and Mondays

I actually took this idea from another blogger about updating my readers on my running progress.  I am running the Chicago marathon this October with my husband. I am starting my training this week.

We are doing the charity route to run the marathon. This is our first time my husband is running the marathon, my second. We are raising money for Oasis. Oasis is an organization that takes care of Kenyan orphans.

I am ready to get back on the wagon. To begin to eat well again. To see my feet hit the pavement. To feel the sunshine on my face. I want to finish a marathon again.

So, tomorrow, I will be running my “real” run in months. I am excited. I need motivation.  Three miles is tomorrow and the long run Sundays will begin again. So, until next Monday 🙂

Any advice?

A new path



I went back to work this year after three years of being home with my children. I loved my time at home. The decision to go back to work was not made lightly. I began the process of finding the perfect job for my new life. I honestly thought God would put me as a counselor somewhere. God had a different plan. I have landed as a part-time middle school teacher. I fell in love.


God had a different set of plans right after college. My plans included two kids, graduate school and three years full of learning what living within in your means really means. I began the search in late July and early August for a job. I ended up getting a fluke interview with my now boss. I don’t believe in flukes. I believe in God’s plan. This year has been difficult. I have cried a lot, was schooled a few times, and laughed. God stretched me in ways I never knew possible.


Being a working mom is hard. It has been hard to adjust to being somewhere by a certain time with kids in tow. They have to be at school and I have to be at work. I, at times, have to choose between conferences at school that run late and being home with my kids. Teachers can’t get all of their work done in the time at school. I often work on weekends and sometimes late at night. I am tired. My stay at home mom friends are no longer around, but a certain few.   I can’t do playdates , friend’s lunches out or dinners out during the week. It’s very hard. I feel lonely. My running has gone down because there are so few hours in the day.

So, I need to balance it all….finding my way through a new territory. It’s hard, but it’s good.  Any advice from the working moms out there?

Learning through uncertain times

Photo: Rhiannon Walker Flickr 2012

Photo: Rhiannon Walker
Flickr 2012

Fundraising has been a humbly experience for me. This post is not about asking for more money or promoting my online donation. This blog is about the experience of relying on others and God.

Africa had been on my heart since Bella was around a year old. I have had a heart for other nations as well as our community. I have wanted to do another mission trip.  I felt called to Africa. I was finally obedient to the call.  I found an opportunity to go to Kenya this summer in February with an organization called Live in Love ministries. They are a God-fearing ministry that serve the people of Africa, India  and Mexico.  I applied to go and in the matter of days. The fundraising began.  The money is all due in May. February to May is a not a long time to raise money.

I have been blessed with supporters coming out of the wood work to help me. I am amazed, honored, and floored. There are so many great causes out there and many missionaries to support. When I post updates everyday once someone gives, I am truly honored. It’s not to get more supporters. It’s to praise God from whom all blessing flow. It’s to give thanks to the people who have loved on me. It’s to thank those who even not giving financially are praying for me.  It’s to recognize that God provides without me doing much but giving Him the glory, honor and praise.

Fundraising has been a test in my patience. I am an action person. I am not a wait to see kind of gal. At times, God requires that of me. There are times that God prompts me to take action. I spring to action. When God requires me to wait, I get antsy. I get nervous, anxious and act like God can’t, won’t and is unable to take care of it. Ben and I through  praying believe that God is wants us to wait on the Lord.

There are thousands of way to fundraise. I began last night listing what we could sell and how to make a quick buck to fund my trip.  Ben stopped me. We have never sold our belonging once we are finished with them. We have always given them to people who need them more than we do.  Ben didn’t want to begin now to suspend our generosity because I was living in fear. Our generosity  should not suffer because I am fearful that God will not provide. Life is uncertain but God is not. God knows. He  laid this on my heart. Gave me the opportunity. In less than a month, we have seen $1,200  flood through.  God will put on my heart when its time to do more. The action girl will spring to life again, when it comes time.

Matthew 6: 31-34 ” Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink” or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Thank you to God for whom all blessings flow. Thank you to all the supporters of every kind.  Thank you for believing in me and what has been placed on my heart.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful: A book review


Synopsis of the book: Ivy Clark is a model with a failing career. She was the “it” girl in New York City but is finding that age and time have not been kind.  Her  career is hanging on by a thread of bridal wear. In trying to salvage her career, Ivy is going home to  Greenbrier, South Carolina. She is the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear. Greenbrier is a far cry from New York City. Ivy is finding out whether you can really go home. Will the career be saved or crumble under the hands of a photographer, who walked away from it all? Will Ivy be able to face the past that plaques her?  Is there beauty in a broken woman?

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

My thoughts on the book: This book is the third of Katie Ganshert. I am a fan of her first two books. Her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter,  was one of my favorite Christian Fiction books. I was honored to  receive an advance reading copy of the book A Broken Kind of Beautiful.  I tore into the book with a somewhat open mind. I had fallen in love with Bethany and Robin, would I fall in love with Ivy? Ivy and I are completely different. I am a far cry from super model material. Could I relate to someone…so beautiful?

Yes! Ivy is as a real as they come. Ganshert does a nice of job of building the background tension in Ivy ‘s story.  The struggles are real. Unlike many Christian Fiction, Ganshert, does not shy away from the reality of society. She does it with grace and humility. Ganshert clearly understands the world in which we live in that seems to be missing in some Christian Fiction.

What I did not like: I can honestly say there isn’t much about it I did not like. I wish she had left the ending at the last chapter. I believe that would have been more realistic.

I highly recommend this book to anybody. Ivy’s character is every woman’s struggles.  At times, I could see myself in this character more than I liked. I enjoyed that Ivy was complicated. In reality, there are very few people who are uncomplicated.

You can pre-order this book  A Broken Kind of Beautiful at the following links:

Books a Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Broken-Kind-Beautiful/Katie-Ganshert/9781601425904?id=5759345486341

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Kind-Beautiful-Novel/dp/1601425902/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395278001&sr=1-1&keywords=broken+kind+of+beautiful

Happily Ever After

My husband and I are fans of the show How I Met Your Mother. It’s a show about a man telling the story to his children about how he met their mother. There are two shows left to the series ending. We have never met the mother until this season. There are many theories out there about how the show will end. I could dicuss all the theories out there, but one stands out the most. The mother is dead. Ted, the father, has been telling the story (for nine seasons) to preserve her memory. There is outcry everywhere about this ending. Even I don’t like this ending. I began to think and read blogs on the subject of happy endings. Every sitcom,we expect, are to end happily. Ted is expected to met the mother, fall in love and live happily ever after. That’s it.


But is it? No. Real life is not as easy as the ending to a great show. My story with my husband did not start off with the romantic look. Our love story is nothing hollywood would write about or any writer for that matter. Our wedding day was not a happily ever after the moment we said “I do” because we had a day after and the day after that. You see happily ever after only happens in pretend. The happily ever after happens every day, when you are put to the test and you stick to it. Today with divorce being so easy and quick. It’s harder to stick with a spouse until death.

Side note: IF you are in a domestic violence relationship. Please leave and seek the help that you need. It does not say anywhere in the bible that a woman should be mistreated. Your husband is to love you like CHRIST loves the church.

Single women, love stories are amazing, but they are just that…love stories. The greatest love story is found in the bible.  You see Jesus is the love you have been looking for and He will fill your heart. Jesus has been waiting for you.  Allow Him to fill your heart and stop looking for Prince Charming. He doesn’t exist. Then allow God to find your mate. He is the perfect match maker, but quit looking for the perfect spouse.

So, how will this series end? I am not sure. I will find out in two weeks 🙂


Flickr artistsactivists January, 2010

January, 2010

Where to begin this blog? I am leaving for Kenya in June. Many things come into  play during this current season. This is one of the worst seasons of my life to pack up during the summer and go on a mission trip. Why you ask?

I am a part-time, first year, English/Literature teacher. What does this mean to the outside world? Unlike most jobs, I will lose my job at end of the year. I am on a one year contract that has not and will,most likely, not be renewed. This means that I have to reapply for teaching jobs or jobs in general for next year.  I love my school. I love my students. The thought of leaving this school usually causes tears; the tears for missing my students and my co-workers. I am a control freak with no path for next year.  As the year continues, the Lord has given me peace of mind.

The mission trip is coming in the middle of the summer. This could happen when jobs are being posted and others are being hired. Not me. Not me you ask: I will be in Kenya.I will be following the call that I believe God has placed on my life. I am feeling peace with it.

The mission trip is coming, when we are not in the place to  afford it. I have to fundraise like crazy.  I am at peace.

I feel weirdly calm.   I am being obedient and God’s plan is awesome.

God is good. I am pumped. He will provide. Thank you Lord!

Romans 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…”

Kenya online donation page: http://www.gofundme.com/7eudm0

Buy a T-Shirt and support Kenya : https://www.bonfirefunds.com/jens-fund-6

Kenya or Bust

I don’t even know how to begin this blog. I am overwhelmed, honored, and blessed. God is good. I am going to Kenya over the summer. I am going to spend around two weeks serving the people of Kenya, Africa. I will be  doing various tasks such as working in orphanages, construction, and other work projects. I am going with a team from Live in Love Ministries. I am beyond excited but also nervous. I am a mother of two young children. I am leaving them for two weeks.  Yet, I feel the Lord pressing on my heart to help the people of Kenya. Africa has been on my heart for at least two years.

Producers, Africa, 2006, East Africa, Kenya, Trinity Jewelry

Producers, Africa, 2006, East Africa, Kenya, Trinity Jewelry

I have no clue what I am going to learn. I know that it will be good. For my readers, could you pray for me. Pray that God reveals his plan in his timing. Also, pray that provision for the trip comes through. I have some fundraising things in the works, but trips like these are not cheap. Pray for my team members and for our hearts to begin knitting together. Pray that God will use these months leading up to the trip to protect us from anything that could distract us from what God is calling us to do.

If you would like to help with my trip:

You can send it to:

Live in Love Ministries

Memo: Jennifer Schrempf

9042 San Fernando Way

Dallas, TX 75218

Thank you all for your support. I love this community God has given me. I love my team


“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalm 96:3

A new attitude

I walked into a warehouse. I am not sure if it was a real warehouse, but it looked like one. There were ropes hanging from the ceiling.  I wonder if I had walked into some type of torture. I had walked into crossfit for my first class. I had no idea what I was walking into.  I am not doing the intense  “real” crossfit. I am doing the  toned down version. I do everything cross fitters do without the heavy lifting.

Flickr  2013 Ali Samievivala

Ali Samievivala

I walked into my second class. Excited, ready and feeling a little too self-assured about myself. I was humbled really quickly. They pulled out a real jump rope, a box (which required me to jump on top of it) and a serious amount of exercises that I had never done.  I began steady and on top of it. I was on my game.  I am in decent shape, not horrible, not the best. Then I began the burbee and jumping on top of a box. I actually was able to jump on top of the box.  I was excited that I had made that achievement.  All of sudden it became difficult. I was on my high of jumping onto the box and realizing how much more I had to do.  I was already tired and I had to find my strength. I asked God for the strength and He supplied.

At the end was five minutes of abs and running. By the end, I was panting and sweating like a dog. I had never felt more accomplished in my life. I have a lot of room to grow, but I am excited to see how this helps my running career this summer.

Do something you always wanted to do, but too scared to try.  Ask God for guidance and just jump in. Sometimes all you need to do is jump. Take the first leap to whatever is holding you back.

I am also thankful for a husband who support all my wild ideas. Without his support, I could not take care of myself.  Thank you Ben. You are amazing.

10 things

My first day as a junior high teacher

My first day as a junior high teacher.

This is my first year as a junior high teacher. I have learned a lot about myself and teenagers. I have self-reflected this entire school year. This ended up with a list of things I learned about myself and the others around me.

Here are the top 10 things I have learned as a junior high teacher:

10. Junior High is hard. All the kids are trying to find their identity. They are learning how to fit in the world around them. They are exploring new areas of their life that they never knew existed before.

9. I am a counselor everyday. I have my master’s in counseling. I was unable to find a job in that field. I went back into the classroom. I do more counseling in this position as  a junior high teacher than I did in grad school. The skills I learned there, I use every single day.

8.  Girls and boys create drama. The stereotype is that girls are all drama. I have learned in fact that both sexes contribute to drama. The students again are trying to find themselves. They are going act in ways their parents have never seen before and test their limits. This causes  drama with each other, parents and teachers.

7. Teachers are super heroes. I am not a super hero.  My co-workers are the real super heroes. They put in countless hours that are unpaid.  Teachers are the overworked, underpaid heroes of the world.

6. You should smile all the time. Smile at the students and say “hello” as you pass them in the hallway. Give random students high-five’s. Talk to each student and love on them. You never know that just might make their day a little better.

5.  The more experienced teachers  can be helpful, if you are willing to listen.  You have to be willing to take feedback and use what you can from it. The feedback may be good, bad or invaluable. I have learned so much from my fellow co-workers.

4.  The administration can make or break a building. An administration can build the rapport with the staff and students. They can aide in your professional development and help you become better.

3. Not everyone is your friend. This is a general rule in life. Not everyone on your staff is looking out for your best interest. Find the people that look out for each other and surround yourself with those people.

2. I am not strong without God. I have been torn down by man to be built back up by God.  I have gained wisdom in areas that I thought I understood and depths of love that I never knew possible.

1. The students need to know you care about them. They won’t remember the math problem, the book, the grammar taught, but they will remember if you liked them. They will remember if you cared about them and loved them. They will remember if you wanted to be there.

I love my students and parents. I love my school and co-workers. But I have had some bumps in the road. I have learned some hard lessons and cried a lot.  I have learned that I will never stop growing as a person. I have learned, I love being a junior high teacher.

I fell off the wagon

Taken by: Mike Baird February 24, 2013 Flickr

Taken by: Mike Baird
February 24, 2013

I fell. I fell hard. The wagon was going too fast and I slipped. The ground was hard against my face. I lay there face down in the dirt. I could feel the grit of the brown, ugly, dirt in my mouth.  I lay there hoping that I could muster the strength to get back on the wagon. The wagon has patiently waited for me. The wagon has stood there, waiting, ready to move on. The destination is unclear.

I lay waiting for a miracle to pull me on the wagon. The miracle came in the form of a week’s worth of headaches . The realization came that I cannot continue eating this way any longer.  I pulled myself up with the strength given to me by the grace of God. I got back on the wagon this week.

Clean eating is hard. It is hard to eat out. It is hard to see everyone around being able to eat in the teacher’s lounge and not worry if this will trigger a headache.  It’s hard to watch everyone around you be–normal. It is hard to be different.

I already stick out because I am a thin person. I work as a junior high teacher. I literally blend in with the students. The students comment on how “tiny” I am. They have no idea, the health issues associated with my size. (the height, not so much.)  I already feel different. Now, I am trying to eat in a way that is uncommon.

It’s never too late to begin again. It’s never too late to start over. I started over today. I pulled myself up after two weeks of eating horribly and now back on the wagon. I will fall off again. I will learn the hard way. My eating has to within the realm of what I can handle.

Those trying to be in the clean eating/healthy eating club; keep at it. It’s hard. People around you may not understand. temptation will always be there. But whatever your reason may be, success will find you.

On a lighter note: 

I have also begun my half marathon training for the season. My husband and I will end it by running the Chicago Marathon in October. This will my second time running it and my husband’s first.

Also, any thoughts from my readers on cross-fit? Wanting to try it out, but not sure if its worth the money? It is affordable? In our home, money can be a little tight.  If it’s worth the money, then I might try it during my training season. Thoughts?

Valentine’s Day


Today is Valentine’s Day. You won’t be reading this blog on Valentine’s Day. I will post it the day after on February 15th.  This post will come to women that have had the best day, the worst day and just an okay day. Some women will read this as a single woman and wish for the love of their life, the perfect soul mate (He doesn’t exist.)  Some women will have completely boycotted the day with their loved one, because it’s  a “Hallmark” holiday. They will scream in rebellion against the overpriced chocolate, flowers and other cheese ball gifts out there.

Which woman am I? I am the lover of this holiday. I love Valentine’s day. I love being spoiled by my husband and seeing my girls spoiled by him. I love being loved in this way. Some might view this as shallow and materialist. Some might even question my Christianity.  Side note, Jesus is the first love of my life and Ben is the second.

Valentine’s Day in our house represents to our girls how a man should treat a woman.

I already hear the rebellion women in protest, “He should treat you this way ALL year-long”.

I will simply say, ” HE DOES”.

My girls see my husband doing the dishes after dinner has been eaten. They see him compliment me when I am in sweats or all dressed up. They see him kiss, hug, love on me all the time. To the point that my oldest has said ” You kiss too much.”  But on Valentine’s Day, my husband, steps it up a thousand degrees. He brings home flowers, chocolates, small gifts and most importantly his love for us. To us Valentine’s Day is treated no differently than any other holiday.  We center it around the love Christ. My husband is the demonstrating the love of Christ to his wife and children.

Take or leave Valentine’s Day, it really doesn’t matter. But in our home, we will take it.

A life in pictures

Our oldest daughter is five on Super Bowl Sunday or February 2nd for the rest of the world.  I can’t believe it’s been five years. I felt like I was just rocking her to sleep and singing her Billy Joel songs. (Yes, at one a.m. things became a little crazy in her room.)

Madelyn Elizabeth a life in pictures.

Born: 2.2.09; Weight : 8 pounds 3 oz; Length: 21 inches long


First picture with daddy:


First picture of mommy:


First birthday picture:


Second birthday picture:


Third birthday picture:


fourth birthday picture:


Pictures that capture our hearts:

Our last family picture of three. This was taken a month before Bella was born.


My beautiful girl. 20110325-DSC_0113

They truly do love each other.
IMG_6863Studying with mommy during my grad school years


I am blessed beyond measure. I thank God every day of my life for the gift He has given me. My beautiful daughter. She is now five. I am sad, yet happy because God is already working in her life. I praise God everyday for her.

Beware of Christians

Beware of Christians  caught my attention right away on Netflix. This documentary is about four college age young men on a journey through Europe.  It is a five-week journey throughout Europe is to find and live like Jesus. The young men find in each country something to focus on in their interviews.  For example, in Germany, they talk about the issue of alcohol because it’s the beer capital of the world.

I found the documentary  a testament to how God works. These young men had been churched their whole lives. They spoke the church world talk but lived a different life throughout the week. They had to look within to see if they were truly following Jesus or just following a legalist form of Christianity.

I found this documentary to be thought provoking to say the least. This left me convicted in areas of my life that I need to change.

Am I truly an example of Jesus?

The answer is no.  I have many areas of my life that need to be examined and really reflected upon.

My favorite line among many on the salvation prayer, ” At the end of the little prayer you pray, the pastor should tack on, this is the hardest choice you will ever make. You are handing your life over to God.” (Beware of Christians, 2011)

This is bigger than a five minute prayer. It is truly a lifestyle.

Never never land

Flickr  2012 By: I-Believe

By: I-Believe

Have you ever wanted to go to Never Never Land? Be one of the lost boys? Ride around with Peter Pan all day and be “free” of life expectations. I had never thought of this concept before the approaching birthday of our oldest.

She is turning five in February. February 2 to be exact. I feel as thought I was just pregnant with her. I feel like I was just holding her in my arms and singing “The Lullaby Song” by Billy Joel to her, wishing she would never get older than that moment. The moment fades into another and life moments begin to blur. Until one day, you wake up realize, I will have a five-year old very soon.

Experienced parents may or may not have struggled with the age of five, but for us, it means kindergarten. It means going to school all day. It means interacting with possible bullies and other children who will break her heart. (My daughter has some sensitivities and I am not naive.)

But all of these thoughts would not be in play, if Maddie herself was not freaking out.  Everyday she talks about when she is a grown up. Not a five-year old meaning of grown up, but like my age. She is fearful and scared. Ben and I are baffled to say the least. What five-year old worries about the future? What five-year old worries about who she is going to marry ?  What five-year old worries that she will be leaving us one day and we won’t have “children” any longer?

We try to tell her these are all good things. That God will pick out her husband, so she doesn’t need to worry. That she will always be my child.

Then one day comes the whooper of the question: Where will she live? I explained to her that she will live in her own house with her own husband and kids.  Then she states : “But you and daddy will be alone”.  (That’s the whole point!) We want her to grow up and move on. We want her to meet the man God has set aside for her. We want her to have children, so we can be grandparents.

Off handedly said,  “you can move next door to our neighbor’s house.” She sincerely looks at me and says: “Should we write Marge a note to tell her that I will buy her house?”  She is not even five yet!

It is continually with her and turning five. We can’t figure out what is awful about five. But five to our oldest is awful. I believe if Peter Pan came right now and promised she could stay four, she would jump on the bandwagon and fly away.

Do we do that as adults?  Do we hate certain ages? I know I hated 25 and then I hated 31.  I can tell you exactly why those ages bothered me. What is stopping me at my age to do the things I am meant to do set before as God has planned? Will I continue to hide and wait for Peter Pan or will I take the hand of Jesus and go?

What are you waiting for? Let’s jump!

Clean eating fail

Clean Eating Flickr, 2008 Taken By: Jo

Clean Eating
Flickr, 2008
Taken By: Jo

If you have been following my blog since the 2014 has started, you have been aware of my desire to begin the “clean” eating habits in my life.

I have blogged about weeks one and two. I have one word for week three: FAIL! Big fat FAIL!  I was doing really well in fact. I use the 80% clean and 20% processed.  Then week three hits and for some reason,  I caved. I didn’t have start with a craving. I just caved and it started with a piece of cake. Then it lead into a brownie at work and so on. I know it’s not easy to replace all my old habits.  I know that at times, I will relapse into unhealthy food. I try not to deprive myself of “fun” treats. This is not about weight loss for me as well. (Trust me!)

It’s Sunday night, I look forward to next week. I went grocery shopping today which helps. I bought very little processed food (even for my husband and kids).  We are all learning to eat better.  I had so many headaches last week, I could not even tell you the triggers. That is the whole purpose of the “clean” eating.

So, blogging world, I failed! I also failed at working out. I worked out once. I have signed up for a new challenge at work to work out most days  of the week until spring break.

Here is me admitting my failure and looking forward to victory.  My victory will be found in looking toward the Lord’s strength. I have been finding that a lot lately.

Psalm 118 is really my verses right now. The entire thing. If you need strength, look these verses up. They are amazing!

Keep on fighting.

Jo. Clean Eating . Flickr. Los Angles.

My clean eating journey

b68e45adf700c8206bf91ebc0a47f49bI have begun what people call “clean eating”.  I am cutting processed foods out of my diet and sticking to more natural foods. This means that I am spending more money on items that have a shorter shelf life.

I have discovered, how much processed food, I actually eat.  First, what is a processed food? That is the main question, I am asked.

According to Livestrong.com a processed food is : ” The United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Section 201, Chapter II defines processed food as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.”

Processed food is just as its sounds, its processed in a factory and put in a box. It has added ingredients to make the shelf life longer. If you are grocery shopping and you are eating “clean” you stick to the outside perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the fresh produce and meat will be located.

Well, back to my journey. I am getting use to eating this way. I am still on the 80% non-processed and 20% processed food way of eating.  It is too difficult for me to completely cut out processed food.  I have begun to notice that I don’t crave sugar like I use to and I am constantly wanting to drink water more.  I am still lacking in energy, which I found to be surprising. I thought I would be jacked up on energy. I have begun to eat smoothies with all kinds of crazy things in them in order to gain protein, iron and other key nutrients.

I am finding the more I eat this way, the more easy it is to cut out the processed food, because my body just does not want it.

Journey on this clean eating: week 2 to 2 1/2, doing fairly well. Still learning to navigate my way around what is and is not natural. Just because it says its natural does not make it natural.  I am also learning that I like eating healthy. As for the triggers, I have discovered, Oreos and cheese are triggers to my migraines.

I don’t believe this will prolong my life. God has numbered my days, that is a biblical truth. I know that He is in charge of my life. I want to take care of the body He has given me and treat it with respect.  What I put into my body is important.  I am learning balance and most importantly discipline.

Daddy Doin work and the infamous photo

Ben doin' work with the girls and their AWANA

Ben doin’ work with the girls and their AWANA

Daddy Doin Work is a website of a daddy blogger.  There was a photo posted that was heard literally around the world. You may or may not have heard about it. It was an African-American male getting his daughter  ready for school,while holding the other one in a carrier in  the front.

Here is the link to the photo and his story behind the photo. I won’t repost that photo on my blog out of respect for his blog. Plus, his blog is hilarious. It is a must read for parents. My husband now secretly has a bromance with this guy.  I am not sure if the male blogger, Doyin, knows but my hubby loves him.

Now remember: I tend not to use swear words in my writing due to my faith beliefs but this guy does.  That’s how he drives home his points. Its his belief that he does but I believe that this story and his blog is a worthwhile read.  http://daddydoinwork.com/dreamin/

Now, back to the photo that was heard around the world. I began to ponder, why aren’t all “good” daddies posting pictures of themselves doing great things. My husband is a great father. When we had our oldest in 2009, he was taken with her the moment in he held her in his arms. (He got to hold her first due to my C-section).  My mom told me: “When I saw Ben coming down the hall with your daughter, he was gone.”  The man has been gone since.

Looking back on who I could have picked out to be the father of my children, I am so glad I did not choose. I am glad God choose for me. God did a mighty work in this man, that I love as my husband and daddy to our girls.  As, Doyin, says “daddying” (Yes, he uses it as a verb. It personally drives me crazy.) is for every male.  He believes that his picture should not have been that big of a deal.  He also says: “If a mother had posted that picture, it wouldn’t have been.” He’s right.

Ben doin work on the ginger bread house with the girls

Ben doin work on the ginger bread house with the girls

I post pictures all the time of my husband doing wonderful things with our daughters. Yet, it didn’t make national T.V.  We aren’t going around doing interviews because my husband is the same as this man.  Don’t take this as hatin’ on him (as my students would say) but merely pointing out, that all MEN should BE doing this!

If you have noticed throughout this blog, I have posted pictures of my husband doin work. To the husbands/ boyfriends out there handling it and taking care of their family. Great job! The rest of you, STEP IT UP!

I teach everyday to students missing daddies doin’ work. It’s heartbreaking and has lasting personal effects on them.  Be the Change you want to see in the World!

Sources:  www.daddydoinwork.com

Is clean eating for you?

Photo by: Masahiro Ihara 2008

Photo by: Masahiro Ihara

The new year always brings new challenges for people. Some want to get fit, start eating healthy, or just improve something in their life.  My new challenge is to begin the eating clean fad. I am not sure if it is a fad, but I digress.  Why am I beginning to eat “clean”? I suffer from chronic migraines. I make drug reps very happy with the amount of medication I am on currently. Due to my medication, I have lost some weight and am currently very petite. You might be wondering, why are you writing a blog on “clean” eating or even doing a doing this fad?

I have started “clean” eating  to see what foods are triggers  trigger of my migraines. I am beginning by eating very little to no processed food. This is a difficult task. I will then reintroduce some processed food, such as cheese and chocolate to see how I fair.

I hate it. I hate “clean” eating. It takes 21 days to form a habit. I am on day 4 or 5. I seriously hate that I can’t eat my junk food. I have a serious sugar intake issue. I hate having to cut up everything I eat and watching where I pick up food. Which makes eating out impossible.

After some research, I have decided to do 80% “clean” eating and 20% non-“clean” eating. I believe this will help my test to see what my triggers for headaches and I won’t feel as deprived in my food intake.

Any advice for you “clean” eaters out there? How can I make this work?

Seriously, all I want is a piece of cake or a pack of Skittles!

Insane or Insanity?

“Dig deeper ya’ll!” is screaming out of my television as sweat is pouring down my face.  ” I am!” is the scream back at the television.  The sweat by this point is penetrating my much-loved Dri-fit shirt.  I have started insanity.

What is insanity you ask? Well, the name speaks for itself. It is a at home exercise DVD set. It should take you 60 takes to complete it doing it like 6 times a week. A video in month 1 can last between 30 to 45 minutes. In month 2, the videos become a much longer.  It is  high intensity interval training.

I have started the 60 days before but then  3 weeks into month 1. I became pregnant with daughter number 2. I felt as though insanity was a little insane for a pregnant woman. After Bella was born I went back to running.  Bella is now 3 years old.

The winter months are the hardest for me to run and stay in shape.   Winter months can be the hardest to workout. By the time I get home from work, I am less likely to go back out to the gym. Enter insanity into my life again.

Why am I blogging about something like this? Because If I put it out there in social media, I will have to complete the two months. I will. I want to be in better shape and faster for my upcoming half-marathon year. I want to get out of the winter working out rat hole that I currently find myself. I want to challenge myself.

Insanity  By:Speaking Latino 2012

By:Speaking Latino

Today, Shaun T and I will workout today. I might say nice things to good ole’ Shaun T through the television. I might put my head down in frustration and yell, ” I am working as hard as I can!”  and he will yell back  ” It’s time to push!”.  We have a love/hate relationship.

I have never meet Shaun T. But If I ever do, I would tell him one thing,  my daughter thinks you are hilarious.  I do not find you hilarious at all.

It’s time to dig deep for the next 52 days.

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