Sneaky Mommy (St. Patrick’s Day Pasta) — All Things Bright and Beautiful

I’m a sneaky Mommy, and I don’t play by the rules. Always one to look for ways to sneak vegetables into dishes so that my son will unknowingly devour something tasty and yet get some vitamins in him at the same time. This last week I wrote the post on how to make your own […]

via Sneaky Mommy (St. Patrick’s Day Pasta) — All Things Bright and Beautiful


From a Few Years Ago – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yesterday we took my mom to our city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Every year, since I used to dance in the street parade, it’s been something of a tradition. My oldest son’s first time there was when I was pregnant with him, I felt him jump inside me when a firetruck in the parade honked […]

via St. Patrick’s Day on the Riverwalk — All Things Bright and Beautiful

Raising Masculine Sons


We just had possibly the best first day of Spring Break we’ve ever had as a family yesterday!  😀


The beauty of spring is in full swing now here in Texas, and having our oldest home this week is exciting to me as I think of all the things we’ll be able to go and do!  But… staying in our own backyard is truly such a wonderful feeling of peaceful satisfaction.

And yesterday, that’s just what we did 😀


In the early morning, I was able to do some gardening before it got to 90 degrees (yes!  In MARCH!!! :D).  And while I was digging and planting, my husband was teaching the boys some woodwork skills.


Yes, that’s a 3 year old using a handsaw!!!!  My husband loves using opportunities like that to teach them, and I’m so grateful… because you know I’d NEVER use a handsaw unless my life depended on it LOL!  Much less be able to actually teach our sons those skills 🙂


The reason why I don’t do any posts on “Things I Want My Sons to Know” is because although I have a lot of influence over them in understanding femininity, I can’t teach them how to be men.  I could never “raise masculine boys” without the constant help and wisdom of my husband.



It’s been beautiful to watch his relationship with our older son, the way he’s diligently taught him throughout the years and given him a sense of confidence in his little masculine self ❤ !!



Reflecting on these pictures this morning, I realized how far we’ve come from that first year with our dal.  Back in 2015 when we first got him and our oldest was only 5, he had a very hard time being confident and dominant enough in his personality that the dog refused to submit to him at all!  I wrote in detail back then here, how my husband’s guidance and fatherly instructions is what was raising our son to be far more masculine than I could ever manage on my own.  


Here’s an excerpt from 3 years ago:

My husband takes control

My husband then came into the kitchen, I explained our walk and situation… he immediately took over control and began explaining to our son frame control, and having firm authority in establishing respect with the dog.

He took over and disciplined our son for acting fearful by making him stay with puppy, even forcing him to go outside with it. My husband stayed outside with our son, explaining to him what he needed to do in order to control his fear with the dog and show dominance.

It was so incredibly reassuring and relieving to feel the weight of control and discipline shift from my mommy-role shoulders, onto my capable husband’s.  A father’s unique masculinity and fortitude are so desperately needed as parenting is a million times easier with his strength and presence taking over to instruct or demonstrate.  I watched as he stayed outside a little longer with our son and the dog, teaching how to demonstrate dominant assertiveness, so thankful for his aptitude as a father and husband.  He then came inside saying that he wanted him to play with the dog outside alone for awhile.

Our son played for a good 15 minutes with the puppy, and then ran excitedly to the door and told us that he and his dog were having lots of fun together playing.  This was a dramatic difference from when he’d be outside alone with the dog before my husband had time to teach him confidence and authority.  Before, when he’d be outside letting the dog go potty, he would immediately run to the nearest chair or higher surface in order to escape any potential play-biting or jumping of the puppy.  Him being confident with the puppy and playing with him outside for a steady 15 minutes was a breakthrough!

When it was time to eat lunch, he came back inside and my husband had our son watch a few short videos of the Dog Whisperer explaining masculine dominance and calm authority in different scenarios with difficult dogs.  It led into an interesting discussion the two of them had where my husband explained leadership, and asked our son who is in charge of our family.  Our son undoubtedly answered that it was him.  And my husband asked him why he thought that was?  “Because you’re in charge.”  My husband then explained what it meant to “be in charge,” what that looked like in different situations or even environments with different kinds of people.  He explained why our son could sense that his father was in charge of our family….

My husband explained how even without violence or force you can establish yourself as a leader in any given situation.  He described how he is assertive in our family – he simply employs a feeling of authority in his manner, body language, and voice.  He used the example of how he has managed to show our extremely stubborn and at times rebellious cats, who’s in charge.  They obey him simply by his commanding voice – and its no small feat to get a cat to listen to you and obey you.  He doesn’t use violence or brute force, however, his voice alone has the strength and authority that makes them feel like they have to obey.  (From here)


Now it’s so different!  They can go outside and run and play soccer (our dalmatian is WICKED GOOD at playing soccer, which is funny, because he looks like a soccer ball himself!).  They are becoming admirable little men because of my husband’s leadership in guiding them in that way.

Enjoy your Spring fellow bloggers and readers!  I am SO EXCITED about the sunlight, gardening, and playing in the sand and with our athletic dal!

I hope y’all have a wonderful Spring Break as well 🙂



Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Will Grow into Your Feminine Beauty


I am a major book worm.  In case you haven’t noticed that I’ve NEVER changed the cover of this blog in nearly 5 years!  Because books are life!  There is so much knowledge and wisdom and beauty to be found in other people’s thoughts, that I can never get enough of reading it seems.  I had a few favorite books growing up – but Jane Eyre is hands-down one of the most memorable ones, and one that I STILL cannot get enough of!  I loved Jane Eyre because I was (what I thought of anyway) an ugly-duckingly, and she gave me hope LOL!  Growing into my femininity and beauty has been a long journey for me, and one that I hope I’ll be able to help my daughter navigate well in the future.

We were out yesterday selling some clothes for extra cash and I found a little historic novel based on a true story about a young nurse, only 16 years old (!), who tended injured men during the Civil War.  She became known and loved among the men she tended to for her gentleness and kindness to them ❤ .  Many other girls who volunteered to help had actually run away once the war came to their area, but this one girl stayed and became remembered for her character.

I had planned to buy some earrings I found for a good deal to build up our daughter’s stock, but I put them back and decided to get them next time in lieu of this awesome book!  I told my husband, “it’s for her future ❤ 😀 !!!”  I want our daughter to understand that character is what makes a woman truly beautiful.  Outward beauty shows self-respect or graciousness to those around you, but who you are as a person is what people will fall in love with and want to be around.

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She is such a little beauty already – almost strikingly so, and her happiness and joyful laughter are SO endearing!  But I want to raise her to love good books!  I want her to enjoy knowledge, and to know and understand that true beauty comes from very deep within – from the soul of a person, and that it takes time to grow and flourish… and that it can be lost if not safe-guarded against bitterness throughout life.

And I want her to know that it’s a process of becoming.


It doesn’t usually happen all at once – being truly beautiful inside and out – for most women.  In fact, I’m not sure “most” women achieve both inner and outer beauty to their fullest personal extent, at all sadly.

Just like outer beauty takes A LOT of hard work and diligence over time to achieve and then to also maintain.  Inner beauty takes even more work, discipline, diligence, perseverance and even then if you manage to achieve it, it is MUCH harder to keep over the course of different circumstances one will face in life.  It’s a constant process of correcting your own character flaws, and that takes a TON of self-reflection, introspection, and acknowledgement of your own failings.


Hence why I think a lot of women (and men if you’re thinking about men in that way) don’t even try to maintain inner beauty, or they may try but then give up or give in to their natural states of ugliness… since human beings all have sin natures… and our sin natures make us VERY very ugly.  That and we constantly fail.  Success in this regard requires a lot of perseverance and endurance.

So becoming a beautiful woman over time is very hard.  The inner beauty work is very difficult, and since I’m Christian, I do believe there’s a spiritual aspect to this where knowing God, having his help to get through life’s difficulties, really TRUSTING Him with EVERYTHING in your life (all those ugly emotions feelings and such), is the best or most proven way to maintain a beautiful character throughout life.

Avoiding all the vices that come so naturally to us, and working hard to develop the virtues that come from the Holy Spirit – that takes constant coming back to God to prune and develop you – to grow you and break you.  It’s painful work – which is probably why so many avoid it!  He’s molding you into a reflection of Christ, but again, that all takes a lifetime to achieve, and one has to be really working out their salvation with fear and trembling in order to achieve it at all!

But sweet, sweet, joyful little girl, you will grow into your beauty and femininity, and your daddy and I will be there every step of the way to guide you in the way you should go.




Labor of Love – Painting!

So… my oldest has officially inspired me to start painting again.  I think it’s been… over 10 years since I’ve actually sat down and painted anything serious on an actual canvas.  Finger painting with toddlers – yes!  But actually sit down, sketch out a portrait and landscape, do all the colors and shading and back-painting a real painting requires?  Nope.

That actually changed today, and I sat down and painted a rather large sized canvas of my oldest (because he’s the one who has inspired me to paint again 😀 ) when he was about 2 years old.

This is what happened today:


It just took the afternoon, and it’s going to be a gift to my sweet Mom… I had to keep stopping to tend to the kids and then to make dinner 🙂  but wow was it fun to paint again.



I used to draw portraits in high school for fun… and then my friends started actually paying me to draw them.  I could never draw (or paint) faces of people, even though I tried a lot growing up… until finally something “clicked” when I was 17, and suddenly, it made sense in my brain and I was able to draw them.


Honestly, this felt so relaxing and was so easy tonight.  I think I’m going to make it a point to paint more LOL.  I forgot how enjoyable it was…. 🙂

All the tiny little details, the millions of leaf prints and different shades of green and blues… it does take some time, but it is so worth it to make all the little leaves.





Kung Pao Beef & Asian Chicken Meal Preps!

This was SO incredibly delicious!!! BOTH Asian dishes just came out amazing. And it was really pretty easy… Asian cooking doesn’t have to be as hard as it appears, it’s mostly just certain flavors in the spices and sauces they use that brings everything together. I’ve never made Kung Pao Beef (or Chicken)… it just […]

via Kung Pao Beef & Asian Garlic Chicken Meal Preps! — The Fit You

8 Months – There’s No One Like Dad!


Someone just turned 8 months recently!  We are so ready for SPRING… it’s been raining for a couple of weeks – gray days, no sunshine, but now the sun is just beginning to peak through the trees.

It’s beautiful!


Her little pink onesie says,”There’s No One Like Dad!”  And it is SO TRUE!  And so cute!  My husband is seriously the best father I could ever have asked for to our children.  She adores him, as they all do.


She is just the happiest little baby I’ve ever seen, and so easy!  Her joy affects everyone who knows her – even the girls who take care of her while we’re working out at our gym, just adore her and tell us they love when we come in because she’s such a sweet, happy baby!


And she laughs so much!  She thinks everything her crazy, wild brothers do is hilarious!  LOL 😀


I can’t wait for more sunny days, gardening to my heart’s content ❤ and playing in the yard with our kids!  The Spring and Summer are just such a welcome change… yes, even for Texans ;) LOL


Godliness Requires Choice & Action

I know this probably sounds like common sense – but go there with me for a moment.  I’ve only recently really thought about how weird it sounds when Christians make bold statements that whatever good things have come about in there lives, that it was ONLY due to God and had zero effort from them.

I know that I could not have done anything good enough or helped create a beautiful marriage with my own actions – there’s just not enough goodness in me to be able to do that.  So to God be the glory, for all things HE has done!

I know on the surface this looks pretty good and spiritual.  Let’s be honest, the way it’s worded, it’s supposed to look spiritual… but is it actually true?  Can we really be or do nothing good to “help” create a beautiful marriage?   I wondered why it sounded so spiritually fake, until it became clear a few months ago that it is a form of false humility.  False humility is when a Christian tries to look really humble, but in reality they have ulterior motives of pride buried beneath the surface of their spiritual statements.  Let me break it down piece by piece.

Normally, giving all credit to God is a good attitude to have toward our lives and the gifts we’ve been given.  To realize that yes, ,everything good given to us IS from God… but when it comes to being realistic with other people on actually achieving godliness, which realistically, is becoming more like Christ in our marriage, or with our kids, or toward our enemieswe should be honest that the transformation happens through our own choices in responding to God and in allowing Him to do the work in us that changes us.  That’s a huge piece of the puzzle that’s missing from statements like the one previously mentioned – the admission that we have allowed God to have His way with us, and to affect the way we behave toward others.  It is always a choice to follow Him, and a choice to develop godliness by clinging to Him overtime.  So yes, we can have the power to do good in our marriages, with our children, and toward our enemies – that power is given to us from God, but only when we submit to Him and allow Him to.

When thinking about this topic of false humility, these beloved verses came up below.

12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] [c]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13 Amplified Bible

These verses have fascinated me since about 2009 when I really started to study them and ask Bible teachers and leaders what they meant.

It’s a two-fold process – we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (actively be pursuing God daily and growing in spiritual maturity… repenting when we’ve fallen or become discouraged).  AND God does His part by working IN us, making us want to please Him even more, and giving us real grace (power) to be able to do more than we could without the Holy Spirit in us, extending our abilities beyond what they would be.  

The latter verse would not be able to happen without the first.  That means God would not be working in us like that if we were not inviting Him in, pursuing Him and His ways, putting His will over our own as a daily thing, and constantly seeking to grow in spiritual maturity.

I think when it really hit me that the previous mentioned statement is a form of false humility meant to look super spiritual, was when I realized that if it solely depended on Jesus alone – if we had nothing to do with following Him and reaping those rewards – then everyone who was a Christian would look and act exactly like Jesus did by default. ALL Christians would have ALL the fruits of the Spirit down pat, and with perfection.  Obviously, spiritual growth doesn’t work that way LOL!

No… it’s just not true that we have no goodness in us or power to affect our spiritual growth, although it sounds true to give God all the credit for our good marriages, or relationships with our kids, or how we deal with enemies.  It looks good – very spiritual and “right.”  But unfortunately it’s deceiving to leave out the fact that a Christian who has developed godliness in their marriage… or with their children… they did so because they sought after Him.

Remember, the second verse (Phil 2:13) of God working in us, can’t happen without that first verse (Phil 2:12) where we decide to keep working out our salvation in fear and trembling.  We have to invite Him in so that He can have His way.

What a beautiful reminder that the grace God gives us – which is the power to go beyond what we’d normally be able to accomplish – is available to all of us if we only seek Him and live out Philippians 2:12.


Always Have Great Sex!!

Hi Dr. Laura!

My husband is easy. He’s pretty much in the mood all the time. Whenever, wherever… we have sex at least once a day, sometimes two or three (and we’re in our 40’s). But because women are different, I found that it’s good to always stay “prepared”…

One way is, I NEVER go to bed with clothes on. The second is that I have a few things I rotate inside of my head about my husband throughout the day. Things I love about him, things that attracted me to him in the first place. I focus fully on one or two things and before I know it, I’m ready to go. And yes, even with a headache.

My mother taught me to never say no to my husband, but I realize that there is a difference between just being a willing participant and being right there in the moment with him. It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.



I’ve talked on the blog before a few times, about how I listened to Dr. Laura on the radio fairly often when I was a little girl.  My mom always had her on (when she was on air), and wow was it insightful LOL!  The female callers complaining about their husbands were always the worst and most annoying people to behold.  They’d complain about their husband’S normal male-habits, or negative things like having a porn addiction, or that he didn’t clean the house the way she wished he would, or that he had no motivation to move up in his career or make more money, and on and on the complaints were.

She’d speak very harshly to them, although I enjoyed hearing her tell them those things, I always thought to myself that being that harsh with the women was not something I’d want to do.  But perhaps I was wrong… ?  Maybe those types of women truly do need a smack to the head or to be treated as harshly as they’re more than likely treating their husbands.  A lot of the stuff I heard that the men were going through (when the men would call in) sounded like emotional and psychological torture or abuse!  So maybe I was wrong to think they didn’t need some very harsh “slamming” of their own behaviors, perhaps that’s the only way to help them gain humility – by giving them a mirror to see themselves the way other people see them.

And how many women that were like that, were Christian women going to church?  You would think Christian women would set the bar high for being kind and gentle and extremely respectful of their husband and his “flaws,” guarding him and protecting him from strangers’ misjudgment.  I could always tell, even as a young girl, that these women were very sure they were “right” and “good” even though it was pretty obvious they were gossiping and slandering their husbands to strangers on the radio.

The good callers were the ones who were humble, and who listened to Dr. Laura’s advice and allowed her to call them out if what they were doing was wrong.  Like the woman who penned this letter above ❤  She’s taken Dr. Laura’s advice to have LOTS of sex with her husband, and to not only do it because of duty, but to do it enthusiastically and with a good heart towards him!

It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.”

Yes!  I’ve told my man this many times 😀

Let’s look at her tips for having a better sex life:

  • NEVER go to bed with clothes on (lol… yea that does work!)
  • Focus on good things about your husband throughout the day – things you like about him as a man, and things that made you attracted to him in the first place
  • Don’t just have sex  more, have MORE FUN SEX.  Don’t just give him “duty sex” (bleh) but actually enjoy giving him sex

I actually think there are different “kinds” of sex (no I’m not talking about sex positions – Eek!).  I mean there can be different motivations for having sex.  One of my favorite motivations to give my husband sex is being thankful for him and for everything he does for us as a family.

I call it “Gratitude Sex!”

It’s when you’re so thankful that your husband provides for you, is such a good father to your kids, and is so good in a myriad of little ways, that you just want to knock his socks off with really good (grateful) sex!

I think husbands are often taken for granted.  They’re expected to work hard and expected to do the dirty jobs around the house… but do we as wives really thank them enough?

Is it so bad to thank them with our bodies?

In my experience, it’s more than good 😀


Parenting – Teaching Your Children to Use Their Gifts


Our oldest is just amazing.  I know I’m his mom and so of course I’m biased… but oh my gosh, God has blessed him with many talents and gifts!  He’s kind… he’s gentle… he’s a strong leader and he’s only 7 years old!!!!!  Watching him is so inspiring to me to be a better mom – to be the mom he truly deserves in life (and yes, I feel like I fail constantly)!  We all deal with some amount of “Mom Guilt.”

Anyway… his school was having a city-wide art competition, and right away I was like, “You have to do this.”  He doesn’t believe in himself, just like I was growing up and still have issues with at times.  But his raw talent and gifts can’t just be shut up inside him and never used or developed!


This is something I wish I had learned earlier in life myself – that my gifts, whatever they were, were supposed to be used and practiced and developed and strengthened!  It’s nice to have people loyally on your side, watching you with a gracious intent, gently encouraging you to use your gifts, but usually none of us really have people like that around, so we develop self-consciousnesses or neurotic beliefs that we’re always wrong or not very good.

And I see them reflected in my son.  His self-doubt, his belief that he’s actually NOT a good artist, or that he’s not funny, and not that smart (when he makes All A’s and B’s and excels in things like math!!).  It’s weird to me how we can have such a distorted view of ourselves when in reality, we are given so much more than we see.  This is what I imagine Paul was referring to when he was encouraging Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for other believers and to USE his gifts, and practice them and develop them.






It took him 3 days doing it a few hours at a time, and I had to keep reminding him that he probably wanted to work on it or it wouldn’t be finished in time for the contest, and he did want to finish it.  The more he painted, the more he enjoyed it, too!  As he and our other children grow older, I’m not going to be harping on them as much so that they can learn that if they don’t hustle and do their work on time – or be consistent in it – they will miss MANY opportunities in life and some that they won’t get a second chance at.





But for now, I’m like the woman Jesus talked about who kept pestering a man to do what she wanted 😀  I will encourage him, remind him, love him, prod him, and “train him up in the way he should go,” according to his gifts I’ve seen God has given to him.


His art teacher came up to me with excitement yesterday when I picked him up from school, and told me with wide eyes that he had placed in the competition… out of THOUSANDS of other kids who entered all over our city!  He won his school somewhere between $1,000-3,000 in art supplies!!!  Of course we were so proud of him!!!

And I asked him in the car when we were driving back home, if he was glad that I pushed him to enter… because he never would have known if he could win if he hadn’t even tried.

I explained to him again that when God gives us special gifts like that, He expects us to USE them for Him, and that others are BLESSED through our gifts – but only if we have enough confidence in ourselves to decide to step out in faith act.  We are also blessed when we bless others!  As he found out when he won that much money for his art teacher!  It’s a blessing to be able to bless other people!

He’s heard about the parable of the talents, but it will probably be a deeper lesson saved for when he is a little older – that if we don’t use our gifts, that God may decide to take them away.  I know it sounds harsh, but we are stewards of the things God has given us, and that includes our giftings and talents.

May we all learn to be more confident in the gifts God has given us, and to use them, practice them, develop and strengthen them for His glory.