Who are you?

Do you ever find that depending on the group of people you’re with you are a different person? Not that you aren’t you or being true to you….but in the group dynamic you play a different role….

I’m noticing lately how that’s true for me.

Work/Church (I lump these together because for me it’s one and the same)
I’m the bubbly one. The life of the party. I like to chat and laugh and generally make the situation light. People laugh at/with me and often shake their heads at me because that’s just who I am. Don’t get me wrong….I feel respected and appreciated in my work environment because I know how to be serious and dig in to get the job done. But in general I would say I’m the “fun” one (not the only one, just one of the fun ones). ;-) **Work people correct me if I’m wrong.

Home
I’m the hammer. I’m “mean” (according to my kids). I’m in charge. Sure we have fun too, but my role is that of mom. I have to keep everyone fed, clean, healthy, and clothed. It’s a big job to keep everyone in line and love them like crazy. I’m typically not that “fun” at home. I’m not saying I like to be the hammer….but somebody has to do it, right? Trying to find balance between “mean” and “fun” at home can be a challenge. **Home people correct me if I’m wrong.

With the Girls
For some very weird reason that I can’t quite figure out, I think I’ve ended up being the “boring” one with the girls. Maybe boring isn’t the right word….maybe I’m the “plain” one. I’m not as loud. I’m not as funny. I don’t have the most interesting stories to tell. It’s weird. This is not my natural place. This is not where I see myself and yet with these women that I would consider to be the best friends that I have on this planet…my role is wrong. It doesn’t matter if we’re having lunch or if we’re having drinks…I’ve ended up being the wallflower of sorts. Maybe the word is that I’m the serious one. I don’t like this. It’s unnatural for me and yet I’m stuck. How do I fix it? I don’t want to be the “wild” girl, but how did I get to be the serious one? **Girl people, correct me if I’m wrong.

With my Husband
This is probably the most real I could get. I am me. I am Sueann. I am all of the things listed above. Fun. Serious. Mean. Honest. Life of the Party. This is where I am most comfortable because my husband knows all parts of me and loves me anyway. I don’t need to have a good story to tell or tell him to clean behind his ears or even be funny. I get to just be his wife and THIS is a pretty amazing place to be. With my husband. **Husband, correct me if I’m wrong.

I am all of these things. I like to observe the situation and adapt to what is needed, and yet I want to be true to who I am.

Does anyone else find themselves in this place?

I am not a perfect mom

I’m publishing this today….October 1, 2014, but it was written in December 16, 2013. I’m posting it today because it’s still so true. (I sometimes write stuff down and then sit on it….)

I believe that there are misconceptions out there that your life, kids, and house must look a certain way in order to be a “good” mom, wife, person, etc. I call BOLOGNA!! Here’s my attempt at showing you what my life really looks like. It’s not perfect. It’s messy. And I would bet that there are more women out there that can relate, but are afraid to tell the world. Today I’m tearing down the curtain…

 

I Am Not a Perfect Mom

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, you’re never doing enough?

I try to be that mom. You know that mom who has these good looking, well rounded, smart, polite kids. Those kids know their mom loves them and would fight for them in any circumstance. I’m the mom that wants her kids to know how awesome their dad is and that they should aspire to be like him. Most of all I’m the mom that wants her kids to know the Lord. To know His love and want to share it with the world. And in all that I want to be the mom that doesn’t lose herself. That’s still the woman God created me to be. For me it’s singing…God gave me the gift, I feel called to use it. I want to garden. I want to spend time with my friends and family. I want to read. I want to cook good meals and share them with our family and friends.

But I’m also that mom that wishes I could do more. Be more. Have more. Dream more. Craft more. Garden more. Cook more…..and on and on and on.

I’ll be honest. I usually have laundry piled high in the living room. My kitchen counter is always covered with mail, kid’s papers/artwork, DS games, pencils, boxes, and who knows what else. And that’s just one counter. :-) My bathroom counter has cotton balls, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, jewelry, pony tail holders, flat iron, and all kinds of other crap on it. It doesn’t get cleaned as much as it should – and don’t ask me how often that is because you might not want to know the answer. My dusting is behind. The beds don’t get washed as much as they should. The vacuuming….well I get around to that more than anything which still isn’t as much as some think I should. Half the time I feel lucky that I got the kids out of the house dressed, shoed, clean, and with all their “stuff” that they need for the day. And sometimes I have to run back to the school because someone forgot something.

I work full time. My husband works full time + and often the hours are weird. Most days consist of me getting done with work, go get the kids, go home, try to find something in the fridge/freezer to put together for dinner, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up dinner, homework, baths, bed time routine, everyone is sleeping….and by this time mommy is ready to pass out because she’s so tired. Then I often take a look around the house, see what I can pick up or work on before I pass out (but it has to be something quiet because the kids are sleeping now), then try to get ready for bed myself only to start all over again. Sometimes daddy can be there to do the evening stuff and there’s a little more space in there for fun stuff, but I can’t count on that most of the time. And I do all of this on a tank that is empty which isn’t fun for the kids. I’m tired, short with them, frustrated that they aren’t helping, aren’t doing what I’ve asked, they’re wanting more than I can/want to give (candy, movies, computer games, etc) and then complaining (and by complaining I mean throwing holy fits) when they don’t get what they want. And this is when we don’t have anything else going on….like soccer, football, swimming, AWANA, birthday parties, etc. I basically get 2 hours with my kids on weeknights and I don’t want that time to be spent on cleaning all the time.

Then there’s the weekends. Could I spend every moment of my weekends cleaning? Sure! If I didn’t have anything else going on (like church, family gathering, something fun with the kids, etc). Or maybe I could spend my weekend trying to catch up on rest and soaking in time with my kids. And even in those moments….those choices….I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

I didn’t cook a meal with them.

I didn’t do some fun art project with them.

I didn’t play the game they wanted to play at the moment they wanted to play it.

I didn’t take them to the Bison game or the UND hockey game.

I didn’t do a service project with them.

We didn’t go on some fun and faraway vacation with them.

We didn’t go to the fun play place with them.

We didn’t go over letters and shapes and colors or math problems and reading.

We didn’t study our Bible verses for Awana

We probably just stayed home and tried to breathe. Tried to cuddle. Tried to keep our heads above water. I probably didn’t accomplish half of what I ever wanted to. And to be honest…I’m not sure how to get there. My house is still a mess. My kids are probably still complaining. I’m probably still exhausted. But I’m still here and I’m still trying. Some days are easier to be hopeful that I can get better at this. Some days are just hard. Today is that hard day. I am trusting for each step ahead of me today. Trusting that the One who holds my future will carry me through. Trusting that if I am walking in the light of His truth that all things will come together for good.

As I list all the things we didn’t do….here’s what I can focus on for today.

  • Today my kids brushed their teeth without arguing.
  • They are well rested, healthy, and in relatively good moods when they left the house (even if one of them was late for school).

I just pray that my kids love their mama despite her many imperfections.

Sincerely – an imperfect mama

What she said…

You know that moment when you’re talking to a co-worker, a friend, a family member….and they are talking about someone else you know with not so much kindness? Do you join in and agree? Do you defend the person? Do you say nothing and avoid the conflict?

I have those moments from time to time and sometimes I agree. But then I leave the conversation feeling badly. What if that person, who you call your friend, heard you say those things? How would they feel? Then I think….I am not naive enough to think that the person who is saying those things about the mutual friend doesn’t do the same thing to me. Sad, huh? If people talk about others, what makes you think they don’t talk that way about you?

Then I think, what would they say about me? What could they say that would hurt me? Would it bother me? Should it bother me?

Things they could say:
She works too much
She’s really opinionated and thinks she knows everything
She is bossy
She talks to much
She’s loud
She spends too much time on the computer/facebook
She’s messy
She’s emotional

Things that would really hurt:
She thinks she’s a good singer, but I really don’t like her voice
She’s a bad mom
She doesn’t take care of her family
She isn’t very good at her job
She’s fat
She’s ugly
She’s not a good wife

And so as I think about my conversations….I think “what would I want said if it were me they were talking about”. Just food for thought….Oh and here’s what my favorite book has to say about it.

Ephesian 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear

Matthew 18:15-20 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Matthew 5:2-11

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Venison Round Steak Fajitas

So I didn’t have a lot of time and I knew I wanted to cook something at home. I have some venison in my freezer (thanks Dad), but my husband doesn’t like it. Sooooo….I thought maybe a flavorful marinade would disguise the flavor. And guess what!? It totally worked. The 8 year old boy said it was the best dinner ever and the husband had no idea it was venison. SUCCESS!! Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:
1 lb venison round steak
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 soft taco shells
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes sliced
1 medium onion
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/3 cup black beans

Directions:
Put venison into a baggy with the olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Mix around and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Slice onion into strips. Julienne carrots. Put carrots and onion into medium-high frying pan with vegetable oil. Cook about 5 minutes or until onion is clear. Remove from hot pan and place in a serving dish.
Remove venison from marinade and slice into 1/4 inch strips. Put into hot pan. After a couple of minutes add the rest of the marinade juice for extra moisture. Cook about 7 minutes total or until venison is cooked to your liking.
While meat is cooking you can slice up your tomatoes, warm up your beans, and set cheese aside for use.

When the meat is done warm up your shells (I like to pop mine in the microwave covered for about 30 seconds) and serve! Enjoy.

Again…I don’t have a picture of it, but it was quick and easy and low cal. Here’s what I calculated for nutrition information.

Per Fajita
305 Calories
19 Carbs
12 Fat
26 Protein
380 Sodium
2 Sugar

Yay! Another one under 500 calories! Unless you have 2….which I did.

Chicken with tomatoes and celery greens on buttery orzo

Here’s a recipe for my friends.

5 chicken breast tenderloins
1 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic
1 small onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon diced celery greens

Orzo:
1 cups orzo
2 tablespoons butter
1 can chicken broth (I used Better than bouillon chicken broth)

Start Orzo first: melt butter in medium sauce pan and toast orzo until golden brown. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15 minutes or until done.

While orzo is simmering, dice up onion into small pieces and put into skillet on medium-high heat with olive oil. Let onion sweat for a few minutes and then add garlic. Slice chicken breast tenderloins into bite sized pieces and add to onion, garlic, and oil mix in pan. Cook chicken until about half way done and add sliced up tomatoes and celery greens. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until everything is warm. Serve over orzo hot/warm. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

492 calories
48 carbs
19 fat
35 protein
794 sodium
4 sugar

Sorry I didn’t get a picture, but believe me….it was pretty and yummy. I’ll make this again.

Thanksgiving Pies

In our family we split the duties of Thanksgiving meal prep. This way there isn’t one person totally stressing out about getting their house ready and timing everything just right for the meal. My job for the past ummm….probably 10 years…has been pies! At first I bought them (usually from Village Inn). Then I decided I could do this and I started baking. Now I love this part of the holidays!

This year here’s what I’m making -

  • Classic Pumpkin Pie – I like this recipe because it uses Sweetened Condensed milk instead of just evaporated milk. It just sounds better, right?!
  • 3033930460_91c1a25af0_oThe Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie – The best, hands down, recipe for this pie ever! I never liked Pecan Pie until I tried this one.
  • My mother in law’s apple pie (secret recipe) – Sorry, you’ll have to bribe my mother in law for a taste of her yummy pie.
  • Sour Cream Apple Pie – Trying this one for the first time this year. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Grasshopper Pie –  Don’t tell my nephew that it’s called Grasshopper Pie. He asked for Mint Oreo and this is what I’m making him. This is another first time recipe. Wish me luck!

I might do some Christmas baking this weekend too. I found some yummy ones to try on Pinterest this year….

nutter-butter-snowmen-1-550

 

 

 

 

 

What are YOU making for Thanksgiving this year? Share your recipes! I’d love any tips you might have too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and happy baking! God Bless!

We have all sinned and fallen short

I’m totally borrowing this from an email I read a few days ago, but I had to share it. I was struck by a comment someone made on facebook. It made me sooooo mad! I don’t normally get involved in the drama and reaction commenting that happens there, but I was compelled to respond. And now….everywhere I turn, everything I read seems to be from God saying “you did the right thing…you were right in calling that person out”. Thank you Lord. Here’s parts of what I read.

“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isa 59:2

What is God’s standard? God’s standard is perfection! The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all for sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of perfection” When we slip up, what are we to do? Does God still love us? Has Jesus left me? “He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whosoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.

Confessing our sins to God simply means, “agreeing” with God that we have missed His standard of perfection and that Jesus would restore us back into fellowship with Him again. Our relation with Christ is secure, but our fellowship has been broken.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

We are encouraged by reading Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us”. He no longer remembers our sin! Beautiful!

It took me a long time to figure out that once I’ve asked for forgiveness for that sin….it’s gone. God forgave me and it’s wiped clean. The only one that continued to hang onto it was me. Satan wanted to use my sin to bring me down, make me feel unworthy, dirty and by hanging onto that sin, that’s just what it did.

Then this morning I read this: Luke 6:37-38 37“Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”

Thank you Lord for filling my cup. For being my all. For forgiving this dirty sinner. Help me to let you carry my burdens and not try to fix it all myself. Thank you for loving me despite my imperfections. You really are an awesome God.

If you are my friend…

If you are my friend you know some things about me. Like…

  1. I’m pretty blunt, but I don’t say or do things to hurt others. Ever. My intentions are always good, but sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me. If you’re my friend, you are quick to forgive me  if my words bite.
  2.  I’m social. I thrive in social situations. Noise, busyness, discussion, music…I need this stuff to function. If it’s too quiet, too long…not good. It’s like when a 2 year old is quiet in the other room too long…you know it’s going to end badly.
  3. I am not one to get jealous. It’s a trait that I struggle to understand. When others are jealous of me or something I have…it confuses me and I’m very slow to recognize it. Sorry for being dumb and naive friends.
  4.  You never have to wonder what I think. I will always tell you the truth. If I’m NOT talking to you about something it probably means that I don’t have anything nice to say…so I’m choosing to shut up. If you don’t want to know…don’t ask. As the saying goes…”If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Yup. That’s me. The good news is, if there is something ugly to be discussed I will always talk to you about it. Even if that means we aren’t friends for a bit.
  5. I despise people talking behind my back. There is nothing more hurtful to me. Since I try to be honest with you…I expect you to be honest with me. If you choose to talk to others about your “beef” with me, I will not lose sleep over it. You are not my friend.
  6. I cry. Kind of a lot actually. This does not mean that I’m depressed or that you should worry…I’m just a ball of emotions all the time. I cry when I’m happy. When I’m sad. When I’m lonely. When I’m touched. At weddings. Funerals. To the lyrics of a song. When I’m singing. And the list goes on.
  7. I love the Lord (as in Jesus Christ, son of God, Holy Spirit…that Lord). I have since I was very little. I try very hard to live my faith out in a way that can show others what it means to be a follower of Christ. I like to share my faith, but not push it on those around me. I try to show Christ’s love and not judgement. I haven’t always been very good at this…but I’m a work in progress.
  8. I am a dreamer. I struggle because I have some pretty big dreams and I’m not sure how to get them right now. I have lived in a dream world since I was about 12 and reality has only recently set in that some of them MIGHT never happen. That’s kind of rough…but I’ll continue to strive towards them and whatever else the Lord has in store for me.
  9. I’m quick to trust someone new. I’m easy to forgive. The first time. And maybe the second time. But after that…I might consider you a friend, but I won’t trust you for a looooong time.
  10. Words don’t mean that much to me. I mean…don’t get me wrong…they’re nice. But if you don’t back up your words with actions….then your words mean nothing to me after awhile. (Call me scarred). If you are my friend…you know what I mean. ;-)
  11. I’m weird. I don’t mind being weird either. I’m sometimes loud and obnoxious. I’m goofy and bright and colorful. I like to enjoy life and have fun. I’m messy yet organized. I don’t get why everyone isn’t like this!? ;-)
  12. I am NOT perfect. I remember in High School someone said to me “Oh you just think you’re so perfect!” I didn’t then…and I don’t now. I will always strive to be the best version of Sueann that I can be…and I was raised to not concern myself with other’s opinions of me. It stuck. I will not waste my time with what others think of me. As long as I know I’m on the right path, I have my family and friends by my side…I’m all good.

These are just a few things that my friends know about me. Thanks to those of you that have stuck with me through all these years. I love you more than you’ll know. I know I haven’t always been the most pleasant person to be friends with…but know this…

If you are my friend I will always be here for you. Through thick and thin. Through cancer, babies, husbands, parents, financial struggles/successes, and so much more….I love ya.

My heart is heavy…and yet I rejoice!

My 7 year old said in church on Sunday, “I love Bible trivia! I love Jesus, because He’s my true Father! I love to read the Bible and learn more about Him!” He said it with such excitement and joy and it blessed this mama’s heart like crazy even though I’m not sure he REALLY gets all the words he’s saying.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a parent it’s that my worst fear is that our kids wouldn’t get it. That they wouldn’t know the Lord. That they would choose to NOT be followers of Christ but rather followers of their own ambitions and of men and the world. We work hard to weave our faith into every little thing that we do everyday so that we can be good examples for our kids and also to those around us. We don’t get it right all the time. In fact we probably get more wrong than right…but then we can have the conversation about forgiveness and grace. Phew!

And then there’s always a nagging question of “are we doing everything we can?” For our kids, for those around us, for the world. Are we making a difference? Are we doing what Christ called us to…making disciples. It can be so overwhelming at times and devastating to think that something you say and/or do or maybe don’t say could affect your kids, your friends, your families eternity. Thank you Jesus that you are in control. That it isn’t up to me. Thank you for carrying that burden.

I pray that each of you knows Christ on a personal level. I pray that you understand on some small measure His great love. I say on a “small measure” because can we really truly understand the love of the Father? I think it’s far too big for any of us to get. I pray that you have a taste of that child-like faith the Bible refers to.  Don’t try to over complicate it. We don’t have to be intellectuals about everything. We don’t have to have all the answers. We don’t always have to be able to explain it. God is so amazing and true. He is the answer. Period.

It’s always been easy for me. I never doubted it. I’ve had highs and lows, but I’ve never doubted that my God says who He says He is. I wish that for you. For everyone. With all this world battles and debates…it’s just simple. He is who he says he is. He loves you. He came here to save you. He will return again. Will you go with Him in the end?

I pray you will. I pray your spouses will. I pray your children will. I pray you aren’t afraid to share His love and His message. God is so good.

Top 10 Favorite Restaurants

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a week. My favorite places to eat. And go!

10) Old Chicago

Love their pizza better than the rest. I like a Chicago style pizza with pepperoni, green chilies, olives, and mushrooms. NUM.

9)  Olive Garden

I worked here for 2 1/2 years. Ate the food all the time…and yet I still love it. I can never decide what to get because I just love it all. My favs here are Eggplant Parm (light on sauce with extra cheese), Ravioli di Portobello, and the best dessert EVER…Berries and Zabaglione (well it’s close to the best dessert ever).

8)  JL Beers

This place wins best burger. I like a classic buttered and toasted bun with a plain old cheeseburger. No extra fuss…just a clean classic and they know how to throw that down.

7)  Capital Grille

Best drink! See previous post regarding the “Grapefruit Soda.” The service is top notch and the food was perfect, I mean…perfect. But it’s a bit on the pricey side so save your pennies.

6)  Red Lobster

I know that I’m a little biased, but this was my first real job. PLUS it’s where I met my awesome hubby so it has to be on this list. But seriously I learned a lot working here and I’m proud of this restaurant. They try to do everything with excellence as far as your service, your food, and your experience. I always go away satisfied and get to try new things from time to time as well. I love how they’re always thinking about what’s next. And I love the coconut shrimp, fresh fish, scallops, and so much more.

5)  Lambert’s

I’ve only eaten here once. It was on a youth group trip to Springfield, MO when I was in high school, but I won’t ever forget it. First off, everything was HUGE. You ordered a soda (or a coke as they call it there) and it was practically a bucket of soda. You ordered a burger and it’s enough to serve 4 people. But the best part are the people that walk around and yell “Hot Rolls. Get your hot rolls here!” And in order to get a roll you have to raise your hand and catch when they throw it at you from wherever they are in the room. You might miss…and they’ll throw another one. Careful, you might get hit in the head with a missed roll. But I tell you, they’re yummy when you get one. And hot! Things also handed out upon request are fried okra and molasses. So fun and quite an experience. I recommend it.

4)  Leela’s

New discovery. LOVE. Thai Food. Try it. Especially the fried rice or the Chicken Panang.

3)  RC Otters

I ate the best crab of my life in this wonderful place. Stone crab caught right off of Captiva Island beach. The bartender caught it himself and showed us his scars from getting them out of the trap. PLUS the entertainment is the best! My brother plays here a few days a week and he’s quite gifted and witty! PLUS it’s outside…a block from the beach.

2)  Maggiano’s

I got to share in a fun experience with great friends as one of them prepared for her groom’s dinner in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. We got to try food and eat until we were ready to burst. All kinds of wonderful Italian delights made their way to our table. When we got to the actual groom’s dinner months later it was just as great as I remembered. I just wish the one in Minneapolis didn’t close so I could eat there more often!

1)  Sarello’s

Oh Sarello’s. You are near and dear to my heart. Your food is always better than I could imagine. Your service impresses me every time…even though I know what to expect…I’m always in awe. You have the best Filet Mignon I’ve ever had, the best dessert I’ve ever had (Chocolate Zabaglione with Strawberries), the best appetizer (Scallops in a curry sauce), the best everything. You are my favorite place to eat and when I try new places that people say “compare” to you…a) I feel like I’m cheating on you and b) they never compare. I think about you the whole time I eat at the other place.
So there you are my friends. I just needed to get this out of my head. Maybe this blog will inspire you to go and share a meal with the one you love. I hope so. Now I want to eat…hmmm. Sarello’s anyone??