Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Keep it Classy

There’s an woman I know who looks, acts, (and even talks!) very much like this beautiful woman in this video.  For some strange reason, she has decided to adopt me over this past year, lol, and taken me under her wing (in advice, elegant home party planning, ettiquite, proper form, entertaining higher ups, etc.), and helps me a lot with running the events I do for our wives organization.  Her level of sophistication and class has truly challenged me to step up the elegance and effort on my part.  Wow was I ever lacking in this area!

Her sweet, beautiful and kind daughter is high school age, and I ADORE watching their relationship. 😀

So I would be remiss to not post this as “something I wish my daughter to know.”

Keep it Classy 😀

Stephanie

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Christmas Season Joy!

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A half-done tree 😉  We waited until my husband got home to do the star at the top, which is always down by the youngest in house who is able to walk ❤  Watching my husband pick up our 2nd son and let him put the star on is like winning the lottery.  So. Much. Love.

We got our decorations up last week, it’s been so much fun decorating with the kids and seeing all the ornaments come out again.  I get so much pleasure from just seeing everything again – like seeing old friends… LOL.

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My mom got us this sweet decoration a few years back.  I know Santa is a controversial figure, but I do love the story behind him, the legend if you will.  And I love this decoration because it kind of epitomizes the importance of Jesus’ birth amidst all the craziness of Christmas shopping, Santa visits, or whatnot.  It’s really about this, when it comes down to it.  None of the other stuff matters, and it’s nice to be reminded of that.  We can have all the other joyful stuff, as long as Christ is still the at the center.

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Love lights ❤

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And at night….

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Our famous skyline.

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The top of the building in the center of the above pic, is where my parents bought their chunks of land in the country back in the 80’s.  All the way at the top in the penthouse.

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So cute… 😀

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Our river ❤  There were less lights for some reason this year.  It was still gorgeous and we can’t really complain – but apparently we have new boats that light up the water below them.  LOL

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Our cutie…

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Christmas Candle… I always try to get one every year and light it every night, at least through dinner.  It’s just a simple tradition, and the light is beautiful for the kids (and me) to look at.

LOL our mischievous one!  Wait… they’re both mischievous… oh well!

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Enjoy this season readers!  Please go out and have fun!  Do joyful things… go listen to some carolers, or watch a ballet of the Nutcracker.

Do something to remind yourself of beauty this season!  To recapture how you felt when you were a child.

Go see some glittering, brilliant lights around in your city.  Really look at a well-decorated Christmas tree at a hotel.  Enjoy some wine!  Go out dancing!

Do something this season to bring more joy into your life, please.

Stephanie

 

November Patreon Dr. Peterson

Awwww  I loved this… have had to listen to it over the course of a few days (just so long and with babies there’s no way to actually listen to it all the way through).

 

Things I like and relate to in this video:

-He talks pretty early on about envy, and why it’s just ridiculous to harbor it, and how to maybe help yourself get over it by practicing the biblical concept of being happy for other people when they’re happy or successful.  It’s not the other person’s fault that you’re feeling envy.  You can’t blame another person for “inciting” your own problem within your own heart.  Unless you want to play the victim role all your life, never growing or learning how to move on.  I like how he continuously confronts envy, never letting an envious person feel entitled or blame other people for their sin… reminds me so much of the things my dad said growing up.

One thing that keeps me from ever really feeling envious is that I can see how everyone in this world has had something hard to overcome – even the glamorous movie stars and singers, etc. they all haven’t had it really that “easy.”  When you have compassion for others, you’re less tempted to envy their happiness or success.  Some of the famous people you see, are actually very unhappy.  Even the ones who have found happiness, usually they deserve it because they’ve made choices to create happiness for themselves, and they have things in their past that are horrible and very painful that they’ve learned to overcome.  I don’t know.  I just want to live a quiet life, enjoying relating to people in my sphere of influence, enjoying raising my kids and trying to help others when I can.  No reason for envy… there’s enough happiness to be found for every person, if they’ll just take a look for it.

Neuroticism – he talks a little about this trait.  It is where you’re always questioning yourself, having negative feelings about why you question yourself, and about what you’re doing in or with your life.  It robs your peace if you don’t know how to deal with it.  I’ve always been fairly neurotic – not a true neurosis like a mental illness… but having “neurotic tendencies” of wanting to do the right thing, but at the same time, not even being sure I was.  If you receive praise, you always question if you really deserve it… if you’re really “good enough.”  You tend to believe that you’re never good enough on the regular… it’s my mind’s default setting, which is good and bad depending on the situation.

This is where I’ve found mentors and advisers (real life people I trust) to be amazing help.  They can often point out if I’m seeing something off, or if I’m actually right in my assessment of a situation or an idea that seems so wrong or even evil.  I’ve had to work pretty hard mentally to overcome the constant questioning of neuroticism, though, which is ok… it really does keep me from being over-confident, while still teaching me to remain confident enough in my ability to assess things so that I’m not bent by every whim or wave of theological deception.  And to have enough confidence to keep my own personal convictions –  no matter who in real life (or here) comes and tries to challenge me on that.  Ironically, not being so sure of myself has opened the doors to many wonderful older women taking me under their wing in real life ❤ which has honestly been incredible.  Something good from having neurotic (negative) traits lol.

My dad understood how and why I was a little neurotic.  He seemed to adore it and would assure me it was much better to always question yourself, than to have a character disorder.  He also would assure me that I didn’t truly have what was a neurosis (a real mental illness).  I think when you’re growing up hearing your dad talk about all kinds of psychological disorders and things, it’s easy to try to self-diagnose.  But he was keen on what I was always thinking, and helped me avoid doing that to myself.  Character disorders were extremely scary to me – the way they’d affect a person and the person wouldn’t even be able to tell.  When you have a character disorder, you tend to always feel sure of yourself – never questioning if you did the right thing, never seeking out advice that may make you feel guilty.  Neurotics are terrified of getting it wrong.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  It can make you into an over-achiever.

On being neurotic and seeking out advice – the Bible tells us many times to seek out wise advice, and it is one of the reasons why I think I’ve been able to withstand entire communities with thousands of women hating me and attacking my husband and I, without cringing in fear and folding up shop, being intimidated by their hatred and slander and attacks and threats through these years.  I don’t talk about it here usually, because it’s such an ugly topic, and this blog is intended to be on more positive things.

I’ve seen these women gang up and happily destroy a woman’s book and reputation publicly online just because they hated her and hated her blog.  I’ve seen Christian women defend this ugly behavior toward another sister in Christ, and try to guilt trip the Christian woman being attacked and slandered into just accepting it, because accepting defamation and damaged book sales was “the Christian thing to do.”  I’ve even seen from a Christian woman who used to comment here, that she actually wished harm – real harm – would come to this blogger just because of what she writes so that maybe she’d be scared enough to stop.  That woman is the wife of a pastor.  Let that one sink in.

Anyway, on intimidation… my husband knows intimately that he holds the keys to this blog, and if he ever wants me to shut it down, I’d obey in a heartbeat.  I’ve asked him many times if he wanted me to stop or if it ever bothers him, and he always laughs and says no.  But!  If I ever disappear here suddenly, it will be because he’s asked me to ❤

Moving on….

-He talks about how to help a marriage that has lost its attraction, but wants to stay together.  Superb advice 🙂 and very kind to them.  He doesn’t doom it to failure, which I love (being an optimist myself and kind of wanting to see everyone get married… or be happy… which I know is naive, sorry).

-Dr. Peterson advises a paranoid schizophrenic young man 😥  on how to go about dating.  I really appreciate Dr. Peterson’s thoughts for this young man.  Ugh….

He advises someone thinking about going into Police work.   I totally understand that poor person’s hesitation.  This may be where I disagree with Dr. Peterson (for the first time, imagine that!).  I DO think it’s much worse for police officers in this culture, but then again I didn’t live through what he saw in the 60’s.  My dad ironically DID say exactly what Dr. Peterson was saying a couple of years ago in trying to talk to me about it.  If I remember right, my dad told me these things come and go.  Maybe they’re right.  Maybe it will “get better.”  For all my optimism, something tells me deep down that it’s not going to get better, but hopefully I’m wrong.

All I know is it is very hard.  It is very hard to watch what my husband goes through.  It’s hard to understand the depth of uncaring “sheeplike” people out there who have no idea what they’re talking about – regarding evil people and justice, etc.  It is just super hard.  Being the wife behind the badge has it’s own set of issues to deal with – none that I really talk about much here.

Just this past weekend, a sweet male cousin of my husband’s made the mistake of talking to me and mentioning his goal of joining my husband’s department.  It’s really hard for me to see such good men go into a profession where they’re going to be so hated, and possibly murdered simply for trying to do good.  He brought up how hard it must be, and I felt tears coming – IN PUBLIC of all things.  Ugh so embarrassing and I felt sorry that he had to witness me breakdown.  98% of my energy is spent on composure in public when police issues are talked about, I’m really lucky not very many people catch me off guard by actually asking how I am doing with it all.  I’m usually very good at keeping composure, but his kindness was just so real, that it touched something in me deeply and it brought out some tears – that someone actually cared.  So many constantly show that they don’t.  I’ve found it’s very rare to feel that kind of kindness from someone.  Most people want to hate, want to criticize, want to look for something negative, so that level of kindness really touches me emotionally… unfortunately.  :/

I think marriage is much harder for a police family, but also (I think anyway) a lot better BECAUSE of having to overcome such things.  I like it… but I also consciously try to make myself like it (instead of hate it, or feel like a victim, which would be very easy to fall into), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world even with all the hardships.  It’s been a blessing overall.

He talks about the dangers of giving out advice without helping someone think it through or fully understanding the issues they may be dealing with.  Reminds me of the verse saying that the person who speaks without listening first, there’s greater hope for a Fool than for them.  Without first listening to where they’re coming from, you don’t know if your advice will do more harm than good – going on then is a sign of a major pride issue in the advice giver’s heart.

There’s a lot more in the video… but I don’t have the time right now to write it all out 🙂 Enjoy it if you watch it!  Hope you get something from this stuff, he’s really good (and very hated).

Stephanie

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Just wanted to post some pretty pictures and wish my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!  We’ve been pretty busy… lots of baking, decorating, and going to the park nearby to see lights each night!  And just dwelling on the gratitude of all our blessings.

I love this time of year.  I actually enjoy the wildness of it all.

Today we had some of my older son’s friends come over – the house was full of boys running around like crazy 😀 playing loud music in our “music station” of our game room, being silly and dancing around the house ❤

I baked cookies and set the boys all up to decorate some to take home when they got picked up.

It was SO. MUCH. FUN. ❤

I don’t think I’m ever happier than when our house is full of people – or kids – especially crazy boys 🙂  Makes my heart warm seeing them have so much fun.

 

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It’s been so beautiful here lately, and with perfect weather – and just cold enough at night to warrant hot chocolate drinks!  😀

Same scene as above, but this is what we’ve been seeing every night we’ve been able to go:

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The Christmas trees are suspended above a lake to look like they’re floating on top of the water.  Just amazing to see in person!  I tried to get a good pic.

So romantic, and so magical ❤

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Like a winter wonderland. 😀

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I love this time of year… focusing on what we’re thankful for, seeing family and friends and lots and lots of cooking and baking!  It’s hard to imagine a happier time ❤

Hope all you readers have a happy Thanksgiving!

Pearls & Lace

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So… I have a ton of jewelry, mostly gifts from childhood, that I just never ever ever wear!  LOL… I am having so much fun giving our daughter all of my jewelry.  Even if she doesn’t want to wear it when she’s older, she can always keep it and pass it down if she wants.

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Her birthstone is pearl.  And I happen to have a few strands of real, precious pearls.  Yes, I know you have to be sensitive with them!  Baby drool is not something they’d take well to I’m sure, but it was fun anyway 😀

She also will have earrings passed down to her in every shade of pearl, thanks to my Momma ❤

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And for adorable Bloopers …. 😀

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What’s this?

Baby belly button!!!

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French Makeup & Hair

This and more of the woman’s videos remind me so much of my mom’s beauty habits, especially regarding perfume – which for me, is hard to live without!

Beauty, in my opinion, should look low maintenance and mostly be able clear skin and bright eyes, and long, nourished hair.

Enjoy the video!  This woman is so cute ❤

Criticism & Being a Stumbling Block

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A couple of years ago, one of my mentors told me that you’re never more tempted to sin, than when you’ve been sinned against.

I think it makes a good quote deserving of all caps…

 

YOU’RE NEVER MORE TEMPTED TO SIN,

THAN WHEN YOU’VE BEEN SINNED AGAINST

 

I went to her after I had gone through a time when I was being criticized by a woman running a gossip/slander blog that has now since become private.  Every post I made, this woman found a way to turn it into something to mock… right down to attacking my husband and children.  Other women, even Christian ones I looked up to previously, jumped in on the mocking and gossip, and it was weird to see that even the supposedly Christian ones were doing this.  It lasted for a good half a year before I confronted her at her blog source, only to have the confrontation end in more pain and frustration.  Talking about it being sin with other people was labeled as “gossip.”  It was a very interesting time as I tried to figure out how to handle slander (being called a whore, slut and a bitch by a Christian man) as well as this being tailed for half the year by this Christian woman.  What was even stranger were the other Christian women who regularly commented on these posts mocking what I was writing, yet they couldn’t see they were doing anything wrong.

It’s really sad that we humans operate this way, myself totally and thoroughly included.  It’s part of our “normal” sin nature, but it’s so ugly and harmful, I surprise even myself with how easily I can give in to this temptation.  And rest assured, I’m talking about myself here, having a sin nature is not fun.  It is kind of shocking how bad we can be when we’re not actively guarding our mouths and minds and spirits.  It reminds me of Paul in Romans 7:18-22, where he wanted so badly to do good, but would sometimes find himself backsliding into the flesh behaviors that he hated in himself.

18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

I think it’s crucial to be honest that everyone has these feelings and temptations from time to time, even a man as godly as Paul.  I believe that, ultimately, it’s how we choose to deal with the temptations that matters in the long-run.  We have to strive to be like Paul and avoid and flee temptation, repent when we do give in to sin, and then allow for enough grace for ourselves and others when or if we backslide.

Last week I was wondering why someone would focus so much energy on giving in to sinful temptations… specifically, the temptation to engage in destructive criticism about another person (aka: Gossip & Slander).  I did an experiment to try to get someone engaging in it to see what they looked like, and to understand it within myself.  I succeeded in making them understand how bad it looked, the experiment definitely worked.  Overall, it was enlightening… and scary at how once you start (even if you think you’re only going so far) it can quickly go down hill.

I think I’ve found the answer… the root of why criticism can lead to being a stumbling block, and it comes from this quote at the beginning of the post that was told to me by my mentor:  “You’re never more tempted to sin than when you’re sinned against.”

 

Being a Stumbling Block through Criticism

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Romans 14 has always fascinated me.  I’ve written on it before, here , but I wanted to look at it again from a different perspective.

There used to be a pretty benign young woman who commented fairly frequently here.  I always had a feeling that she was trying to get me to change my views on each post I made – she was always so full of constructive criticism and gave it out freely.  Everything about me was up for criticism from this young woman – from the way I dressed to my diet and breastfeeding.  A lot of it was good, and I’d take it and make necessary changes, or try to see if I was getting it truly wrong, but overtime, it started to feel more like purposeful fault-finding or destructive criticism, and I felt myself changing inside toward her as well.

It got to the point where I would find myself starting to see flaws in her posts and arguments, whereas I’d never argued with her before over her writing.  And instead of minding my own business (something I’ve written about before!), I’d feel rightful in pointing them out to her publicly – in a “constructive” way like she did though 😉 .  I knew it was probably not the right thing to do, even if I couched it in “constructive criticism“… it’s a little much to be “correcting” someone all the time so why was she doing this?  I justified my fault-finding habit at her blog by telling myself that well, SHE was doing it to me, so why can’t I do it back to her?  Let’s just say being criticized by her nearly every week affected me lol.  I actually still try not to go to her blog because all I see are the flaws and faults in her biblical arguments.  It’s amazing how the way we act toward others has so much power over the way they in turn feel tempted to deal with us.

Why are humans like this?

I think Romans 14 holds the key to this.  Criticism, especially over issues that don’t really matter that much, make us become stumbling blocks.

“Therefore let us stop criticizing one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”  (vs 13)

Why does the Bible warn us that criticism can be a “stumbling block” to other believers?  I think the answer is that when it’s not done in love, or even when it’s done over and over again in a constructive way, it’s actually sinning against the person you’re criticizing or leading them to exasperation with you.  So when you SIN against that person, you’re TEMPTING them to sin back.  Or if you’re trying to just constantly correct someone on their convictions (which Romans 14 tells us blatantly not to), you’re going to make them tempted to view you negatively.  This is especially true if you’ve been overly harsh or engaged in sinful destructive criticism, you’ve just become a stumbling block for that person, making it harder for them in their spiritual walk.

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Wow, right?  Pretty scary how criticism, even when we think it should be “constructive,” can be so hurtful and harmful to our Christian brothers and sisters in damaging their walks with God.

Pretty serious stuff.  Now that I carried out my own psyche experiment on this topic, I think I understand even more so just how important this post was in the past.

Instead of being a stumbling block, why not become a stepping stone to helping build others up on their spiritual journies?  I’m talking to my own inclinations here 😉

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Good food for thought.

Stephanie

 

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Staying Focus: Don’t Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young

The Old Days…

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I was having a kind of sentimental mood earlier, and went through a bunch of our old pictures… mostly from our college and dating days.  It is amazing how fast time flies and that we’ve already been married for 10 years!

Reasons why I fell head over heels for this guy are almost endless….

He teased me constantly, in a good way.  We had the best time going back and forth flirting even before we were ever officially in a relationship.

He was so passionate and fun, and always just did his own thing (still does actually).  He’d go a little wild for the sports games at our college and paint his face which I thought was crazy and teased him about.  Then he’d tease me about painting my face and getting me to come with him sometime.  ❤

You can tell his incredibly energy in the old picture below where he went out with a bunch of friends (I didn’t know him yet I think).  He’s the one on the far right with the laughing smile.

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Another cute pic from before we were together, (nope that girl’s not me lol).  Look at his face!! LOL

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This one below was when we were on a date ice-skating.  He skated like a pro!!!  Which is rare for people in Texas lol.  This was because he played hockey before though.  I, on the other hand, kept falling on my butt!  Looking at my smile, I’d say I still had tons of fun.  Everywhere we went together, we just had so much fun and we still do! ❤

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I adore him ❤ ❤ ❤

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2nd year of marriage at one of those live country concerts in Texas that are full of really fun people and dancing.

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When our oldest was an Ewok for Halloween… we’re big Star Wars nerds 😉

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Being all country at the rodeo when our oldest was little…

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At our 8th year anniversary before going out.

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Yea it’s been wild 😉

Our 3-month Beauty

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So September is my birthday month, and I feel like I’ve been given the best birthday present in the world!!!  ❤

After having (and loving) boy stuff for 7 years, it still feels surreal to my husband and I that we have pink stuff around the house and especially all the itsy-bitsy girly clothes in the laundry.

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I think I’m enjoying this a little too much 😉

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Fall Routine Simplicity

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I love the beginning of the school year!  The getting supplies (the smell of books & pencils!), getting the classroom ready and organized, and just plain getting back into the routine is somehow really peaceful.

Monday was the first day of school for us in our household, and it’s been going pretty smoothly for now.  With my husband’s schedule, the only time he gets to see our older son during most of the days he’s here, is in the morning, and only for about an hour and a half each day.  Not very much!  And since it’s becoming more and more important for him to have those deep talks with his dad, our morning routine revolves around making this easier.

So to optimize their time together, I try to get up around 5am.  This is often after having fed the new baby at 3am or 4am.  It is hard, but it is SO worth it to watch them eating breakfast together, sitting by themselves, almost as though they’re having breakfast in a cafe.  I feel like I work in a cafe!! LOL  But I love it, being a natural morning person, it’s not too too bad.  I also love cooking… and breakfast foods are my all-time favorite to cook and eat ❤  So cooking them up a nice breakfast, having it all laid out with their drinks etc. and then retreating to the living room to eat my own food and write so they can have more privacy… it’s really nice!

Anyway, I’m going to miss the Summer days of going to parks and walking more and seeing museums etc.  Maybe we can sneak in a few trips here and there, but it’s getting a little harder with each child we add unfortunately, to be able to get out and handle all my work at home.  We’ll see.

Pictures of our adventures semi-recently!!

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Hunting for crabs at night!!!  The boys (wtth a lot of help from their dad) caught 4 I think!  It was so much fun to watch them doing this n the pitch black on the beach with their nets, buckeets and flashlights!

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