Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It was long over a year ago when I finally took the step of faith to put myself out there and share my dream and passion for speaking and teaching women.  Prior to being married, I had the opportunity to speak at various conferences, camps, and ministry groups as a young woman in ministry.  After leaving my job in college ministry to get married, my speaking engagements became fewer and fewer and with the birth of my babies, they pretty much dried up!  I did teach a moms group for a season and loved that, but my heart longed for more.  I truly believe that God gifted me to speak and teach and I was beginning to feel like something within me was dying as I was not using my gift.  Through many months of prayer and inviting a small community of mentors and friends to walk this journey with me, I put up this post  announcing my desire to speak and inviting ministry groups to consider having me as their speaker for their next event.  I also contacted several MOPS groups, churches and organizations, "selling myself" and letting them know of my heart and desire.
Within a few short weeks, I was sitting in a doctor's office about to hear words that would forever change my life.
After being obedient to follow God's call upon my life I was struck with debilitating anxiety.
I quickly forgot about my blog post and ministries I had contacted.  I knew I'd never be able to speak to a crowd let alone get on an airplane to go to a conference again.  I was devastated.
But that was only the beginning of my journey with anxiety.  There were many more shattered dreams, losses, and pain that was still in store for me.
I started writing my story with anxiety here on this blog as I felt God would use it to minister to others with similar struggles.
I was amazed by the outpouring of encouragement, support and many who offered up their story of anxiety and panic struggles.
There is much of my story that has not yet been written as my path of anxiety took a sharp turn last Summer.  I still don't feel like I'm in a place to share the deepest and darkest seasons of the battle.  But I wanted to give a brief update to say that God has been healing and transforming me in ways I never imagined.  I have hope once again of living into my calling of speaking -  now with a new story to tell of His grace, mercy and healing. 
I'm excited to share that tomorrow I will be speaking to a group of women for the first time since this nightmare began.  I will be sharing with them part of my story of anxiety and God's call to surrender it ALL!
Please pray for me!
I look forward to giving you an update on how it goes!
God is faithful to accomplish His purposes through us and He will finish what He starts!
(you can read my journey with anxiety by clicking the label on the right "a new life" or "anxiety disorder")

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The candle is out

Monday night, as I put my 6 year olds to bed for the last time, one said, "I wanted you to take a picture of me on the last day I'm 6."
Already tucked into her bed, I told her, "Moma has tons of pictures of you as a 6 year old.  In fact I took pictures of you just yesterday!"
"No Mommy.  I need one today because it's my last day being 6."
So I ran and got the camera just to take this quick photo
She's funny. 
She's become very sentimental lately and wants to save everything for "her children one day." 
Even jammies that no longer fit, classroom crafts, cards - you name it! 
She wants to hold onto it and pass it on!
(I wonder where she gets that?)

We hit up our favorite ice cream shop yesterday to celebrate them turning 7.
How cool are the heat sensitive spoons that change color in the frozen ice cream,
only to change back in your warm mouth?!!
Like those hyper color shirts when I was a kid! (remember, I'm almost 40!)
After a birthday dinner, we had little cakes for some more celebrating.
Little Miss Comedienne thought long and hard about her wish!
And just like that, the candle of another year was blown out.

We ended the evening by watching the video their Papa made them of their birth story.
I cry every time!
 I too am sentimental and want to hold onto every thing and every moment!
But I can't.
Just like the candles on the birthday cake must be blown out, things and moments in life must come to an end and make room for new wishes, adventures and moments.
I'm trying really hard to learn this and apply it in my life.  To be so fully present in the moment that I suck every bit of life out of it and don't need to hold onto it for fear that I've missed something, but can embrace the end and get excited about what comes next.
Ahhh, I'm learning!

2 more days and the girls' birthday week will end with a small birthday party.
We'll be doing a little cooking party that will be toned down from the years past.
I want to really enjoy this one in the moment and not be overwhelmed with too many details!
See, I'm learning!!
Happy Thursday friends!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Today my baby girls turn 7!
When we finally got to bring them home from the hospital, it was a like a dream come true for me.
They were my little dolls and I would dress them up, several times a day, and take hundreds of pictures of them!
They were so tiny.
I truly loved every moment of newborn land!  Even the 1am feedings were exciting and new.
I can honestly say that it was the most magical season of my life thus far.
Many things have remained the same.
Like dressing them up and taking hundreds of photos!
But many things have changed as well!
 Now photo shoots require bribes!

Being woken up at 1am isn't that great!

And just the other day I was telling my mother that if someone would have told me that being a mother was so stressful, I'm not sure I would have done it!
Why doesn't anyone tell you how hard it is?!
These tiny, beautiful babies that are now 7 year olds have challenged me,
pushed me to my limits, brought out some ugly characteristics that I never knew I had, and forced me to be present in every moment of life.
What I say, what I do, how I react in the moment - they are watching it all and reflecting it right back to me.
Oh, I never knew how truly selfish I was until I became a mother!
They are quick to forgive me as I fail time and again.
"It's ok Mommy."
They extend unconditional love after I've lost my temper.
"I want you to hold my hand Mommy, because I love you."
They remind me that my worth is not found in perfection, but in truth.
"You are the best Mommy I could ever have."
Being a Mommy for the past 7 years has been extremely difficult.
But I can confidently say that God has used 2 of His most precious refining tools in my life to reshape me and make me more into who He wants me to be.
I have a long way to go. 
 But I'm thankful that these precious refining tools will be my companions as long as I live and I will continue to grow and change as God uses them to make me more into His image.
Happy Birthday baby girls!
You are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.
You both are uniquely gifted to make a difference in this world, starting with me and my world!
You will always be my tiny dolls and are still the best gift I've ever been given.
 I will always love you both so very much.

Friday, April 19, 2013


A couple of weeks ago we stumbled upon this field of precious, tiny, white flowers.
The girls stopped and picked some flowers where trying not to step on any was next to impossible!  They put some flowers in their hair, rolled around in the bed of flowers,
and didn't want to leave their enchanting presence.

It truly was beautiful and magical!
I was a little apprehensive at first, encouraging them not to step on them and telling them to be careful.  But that was silly!  There was no way they could fully embrace this beautiful gift without being right in the middle of it, even if that meant stepping on a few.  They didn't care about the ones that they stepped on as much as they were focused on enjoying them, picking them,
 and appreciating them.
In a season of blessing, it's easy to be cautious and not fully receive all that is being offered.  Sometimes as adults we think too much and are hesitant to embrace life's blessing for all sorts of crazy reasons.  We feel guilty that others that might be hurting while we are celebrating.  We fear that just after this blessing something bad will happen to take it away.  We feel that we don't deserve it.  We are embarrassed!  Yep, embarrassed!  Sounds crazy but don't you know people who feel embarrassed when good things happen to them and God blesses them?  I do. 
Whatever the reason, it's not what the Giver of Blessings desires for us.

He wants us to fully receive, embrace, roll around in the blessings of life.  It's His way of showing His love for us.  It's His way of encouraging us in the midst of tough circumstances. 
And once you fully receive the blessings of life, it's your honor to bless someone else!
Have a great weekend being blessed - don't be afraid!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Absolutely Nothing

We just got back from a week in Cabo Mexico.
It was a "grown ups" trip as an early celebration of my father's 70th birthday and my 40th.
Our first morning in Mexico my dad said, "What do you want to do today?" 
My response, "Absolutely nothing."
And that's exactly what we did.
For a week.
Absolutely nothing!
It was glorious.
Well, I guess we did a couple of things:
We walked to "The Office" every morning for breakfast.
The tables are right in the sand
We'd sit for a few hours and enjoy the view and the food!
Lobster and shrimp omelets, chorizo and eggs...
And look at this fruit! 
Doesn't it look fake?
Then we laid by the pool and read or just stared at the ocean.
We took naps.
And went to dinner.
Go to sleep and repeat the next day!
One night we went to the fiesta at our hotel.
The food was incredible!
My handsome brother strutting across the stage!
And we discovered these nuggets of joy!
Mexican doughnuts covered in cinnamon and sugar, filled will "twinkie cream"
I think I ate 6 of these!
There were some traditional folk dancers who entertained us!
I spared you the photo of their backsides! 
One guy didn't get the memo to wear full coverage trunks!
Another favorite restaurant of ours is Maro's Shrimp House.
My folk have been going to Cabo for many years and they used to go to a place called The Shrimp House.  A man from Canada came to Cabo and opened the little place and ran it for years.  There was a Mexican man that worked there named Maro.  Several years later the man from Canada decided to go back home and sold the restaurant.  Maro had many of the recipes and he opened his own place which is packed night after night and the shrimp is to die for!
Of course we love the Mariachis too!
One day the guys jet skied while I opted to do absolutely nothing
  It was such a great, relaxing trip!
Life as a mother is rarely filled with moments of doing absolutely nothing!
We rush in the mornings to get everyone ready and out the door so we're not late for school.
We run to the market, dry cleaners, post office...
just to get home in time to pick up breakfast dishes and go pick up the children from school.
The afternoon is filled with homework, dinner prep, baths and bed time!
Whew - it's a whirlwind most days.
If only I could recharge in Mexico every other month!!
So how do we incorporate moments of doing absolutely nothing in our busy days so that we relax, catch our breath, and become so very present where we are?
I don't totally have that answer! 
But I'm doing my best to figure it out.
I'm a much happier person when I'm not a slave to business.
How to you create quiet moments of doing absolutely nothing?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sloppy Newquists

 After Spring break, followed by a week in Cabo, I'm having a really hard time getting back into the "groove"!  I'm getting a little sloppy!  For example, this morning: we all got up, got ready for school, packed lunches, and walked to school.  The girls kept complaining that they didn't want to go.  One had a tummy ache.  The other didn't want to stay if the other was going home...
We got to school, the bell rang, they didn't want to stay.
I didn't have it in me to persuade them so I said, "ok, let's go home."
Now all the little monkeys are home today and it doesn't bother me a bit!
I think I'm still on siesta!!
We celebrated Daddy's birthday yesterday with an unseasonably cool visit to the beach!
We believe in birthday "weeks" around here (if not birthday months!) so there will be more celebrating this week to let our Daddy bear know just how special we think he is and how grateful we are that God has blessed him with another year of life!
Before I go play with my "sick" children!  I want to share a favorite recipe that you should try tonight!  Or this week!  It's a fam favorite!
Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes
aka "Sloppy Newquists"
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced small 
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  •  1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  •  3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 4 large potato hamburger buns or slider buns
  • Directions

    1. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion and sweet potato and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds; season with salt and pepper. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 6 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until sauce is reduced by half, 5 minutes. Serve on buns alongside kale chips.
    Happy Monday!
    See you Wednesday with some photos from our Mexican adventure!

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Easter Wrap Up

    Last night I flew back home with the children.
    We spent Easter and most of their Spring Break up in Northern California
    with Grammie and Papa, where I grew up.
    It was so nice that on Easter, ALL of my in-laws came to my parents' home for supper.
    It's really special to have the whole family together. 
    I'm blessed to have really lovely in-laws!
    One little dude was done with photos and just wanted to get on with the egg hunt!
    Our favorite Auntie came!
    And our favorite Uncle Kenny was there too!
    (Happy Birthday today brother!  I love you!)
    Then finally, onto the egg hunt!
    There's one!
    Run for it!
    Great Uncle Jim came to share some tickles and fun!
    And after dinner the Easter Olympics began!
    Everyone was down in the yard playing all sorts of games. 
     It was a perfect Spring day after a full night of rain.
    We played a little Corn Hole!  Do you know about this game?
    We're in love with the name and the game!

    Shuffle Board - where little dude incorporated his own "shuffle"!
    Granny and Papa watched and cheered everyone on!
    And Ladder Toss!
    Every time I go up North, I wish we all lived up there, closer to family.
    I'm grateful that we're only a 5 hour drive or 50 minute plane ride away, but still I dream of calling my mom at 4pm and asking her and my dad to come for dinner that night!
    April is a big birthday month for our family.  Today is my brother's birthday!  Followed by my husband, my mother in law and my girls! 
     It will be a full month of celebrating those that we love most!
    Our celebrations will begin Monday with a little trip to Mexico to celebrate some major birthdays coming later this year - 40th & 70th (one is mine, can you guess which?!!)
    So blogging will continue to be spotty for a few weeks as relaxing on the beach in Cabo begins and party planning takes over!  But  I'll be back on track in May with many updates, recipes, and thoughts on this beautiful life that is almost 40 years old!
    Enjoy your family this weekend!  No matter how close or far you live from them - they are always just a phone call away!!


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...