Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rules for Commenting

I think it's sad that I even feel the need to write this. People can be so rude, hiding behind their phone or computer screens, and apparently get some kind of satisfaction tearing others apart with the words they type. I believe words are extremely powerful things, and we have a duty to use ours carefully. I myself have been in the battle of the flesh and used my words to do some damage to those I love, but you'll never find me seeking to attack another person from the safety of my computer, using my words to make someone else hurt.

The comment section of my blog and Facebook page have been the location of demeaning, snarky, and flat out abusive talk many times over the past three years. The more I grow, the more often it happens. Rude comments are a part of blogging- it's just what you get when you share your heart, thoughts, or opinion on the giant that is the Internet. I actually welcome differing opinions here at The Purposeful Housewife. We all have a tendency to see life through only our perspective, and it helps to hear from someone else what they think on a topic we all relate to. It helps us think outside our bubbles, gain understanding and grow. However, this blog is my space, my little corner of the Internet to say what I want to say, to share my heart and be vulnerable. Nobody has a right to slander me or anyone else here.

And so here I am, sitting at my dining room table, spending precious nap time writing a post about the rules of my comment section. Sad but very necessary. So here we go.

Commenting Rules for The Purposeful Housewife blog and Facebook Page

1. You must provide a valid email address to leave a comment. Your email will not be shared or misused. It is only there to ensure you're a real person with a valid comment, and to contact you further regarding your comment if the need arises. 

2. Abusive comments will simply not be tolerated. I have a zero tolerance policy in regards to abusive language, bullying, and personal attacks. Comments like this will be deleted immediately, and since I stop reading as soon as I can see a comment is headed in a demeaning direction, your time taken to type will have been wasted. 

3. Helpful and relevant links are welcome. If you have a link to another site or post relating to the post you're commenting on, feel free to share it! I have a spam guard on my blog and any random links from spammers that don't relate will automatically be deleted. 

4. It's my call. If I feel that a comment crosses the line, is inappropriate or something i don't want on my blog, I will delete it. The comments that are and are not deleted are based on my judgement, because again, this is my blog. 

5. Lend a hand. If you see an abusive comment on my Facebook page and it hasn't been deleted, please feel free to flag it for removal yourself. If there's one thing I need with four kids, it's a little help ;)

Blogging is such a cool gift. I really love it and the community it brings, especially for mothers. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment within the guidelines and have fun engaging with me as well as other readers here in this space. I hope these rules make everyone feel a little safer about commenting. Opinions are welcome, rude language and abusive attacks are not. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Sweet Little Shop + Savings for Mama

I've been coming across some of the sweetest little online shops lately, and it's turned this into a week of kids fashion and discount codes around here. I love sharing a great shop with my readers and helping small businesses get a little boost, so today I bring your attention over to Watermelon Moon [which wins all the awards for cutest shop name].

Like I said in my last post, comfort and practicality top fashion when it comes to my own clothes, so I want my kids to be comfortable too and able to play hard in their clothes. I've always enjoyed fashion though, so it's nice to find a shop that offers both at a fair price, plus the opportunity to support a small business *insert Star-Spangled banner music* like a good American.

Watermelon Moon was started by Aaryn, who has worked as a graphic and textile designer in LA's fashion industry for eleven years, and has her own internationally recognized textile design studio, Aaryn West. After the birth of her daughter, who inspired her to offer fresh, modern prints on soft, organic fabrics, Watermelon Moon was born.

The harem pants Aaryn sent me for Bella and Leland are so soft and comfy, Leland actually ended up falling asleep in them and keeping them on all the next day [yes, we do bathe him...]. I got several compliments on them as we walked the streets of downtown sipping rootbeer floats and taking pictures, and why wouldn't I?! They are sooooo cute!

Aaryn is offering you guys an exclusive discount of 15% off with the code SAVE15, which is good through Thursday, April 16th. *fist bump*

Click your way over to her shop and get your little fashionista or fashionisto [it's a word] some cute stuff and spare your wallet some heartache!

Side note: the harem pants do run big, so size down!

Follow Watermelon Moon on Instagram or Facebook, or head straight to the website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Simplicity + Comfy Tees [coupon code alert]

When it comes to kids clothes today, I feel like high fashion is the standard. The clothes I see on Instagram and Pinterest seem super uncomfortable and impractical. To be frank, that just really doesn't work well for me. I have three boys and a wild girl, and they play hard and get dirty a lot. We're a tee shirt and jeans kind of family, and we like to be comfy. The first thing we do when we get home from anywhere is take off our jeans and switch to sweats. Even the kids do this and I think it's hilarious that they've taken that from our habits!

However, I do love fashion and I always have. The key for me is finding the perfect blend of comfort and style. Enter Simply Apparel.

Mystie and I found each other on Instagram, and upon seeing that her adorable designs are printed on American Apparel tees [sooooo cozyyyyy], I knew I wanted to help her spread the word about Simply Apparel. Mystie and her husband Joseph are both working parents who have a goal to spend more time at home with their two kids, Rylie and Logan. They started their tee shirt company with the high hopes of it taking off and providing them the means to experience more of their kids' childhood. If that's not a great cause to support then I don't know what is!

The designs for Simply Apparel are inspired by Joseph and Mystie's kids, which means we can all relate to their cute messages. Mystie sent me a couple of tees and my kids have asked to wear them every single day! These tees have definitely been put to the test, and they can withstand a lot of playtime!

I love dressing my sweet girl in a positive message, and the Little Love tee fits Hudson's personality perfectly.

Simply Apparel has been so excited for you all to find out about their tees that they set up a code just for you TPH readers that will give you 20% off your order and never expire! Say whaaaa?? *cyber fist bump*

Enter code "simplypurposeful" and get your littles some comfy tees!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Getting Outside {Life's Simplest Lesson}

I've been frustrated lately.

Brian and I went to Texas to look around as we are planning a move there later this year, and when we got back we found the job transfer part of our plans had hit a wall, and more waiting was necessary.

On top of that, the laundry and dishes just never seem to stop with a family of six, I'm getting tired of praying, tired of hearing "not yet", the kids have seemed extra loud, every minute extra long, and every blessing seems like an annoyance.

So the kids and I took my mom with us and boarded a train to beautiful San Diego, in search of a break and a fresh perspective.

We ate sandwiches by the harbor, indulged in the best cupcakes on earth, listened to live music in a stone-floored courtyard, chased each other on a beach-side hill, and rode a carousel.

Sometimes you just need to break the cycle and get outside, enjoy the beauty God created for us. I have found getting outside, away from the daily grind to be the perfect cure for a bad attitude.

{follow me on instagram for daily pics of our simple life}

Monday, March 23, 2015

Paper Airplanes

I had taken the kids to Starbucks to have breakfast outside on the patio. They asked a lot of questions and I answered them, mostly while skimming through apps on my phone.

After that we headed to the park. They played hard, as they always do, and I kept the baby happy in the grass. We left for home once lunch time came around. I turned the music up in the car to discourage more question-asking.

I served lunch and let them play with toys in the living room while waiting for naptime to come. Actually, if I'm honest, I was kind of begging for naptime in my head. For no particular reason, other than I've formed the habit of eagerly waiting for naptime, and bedtime...basically all the times my children are quiet and away from me.

Five minutes before it was time to lie them down, Leland, jumping up and down and accompanied by his little brother, brings me a white piece of paper and excitedly asks me to make them paper airplanes.

"No, honey. I don't know how to make one that will fly, and besides, it's naptime."

His little face dropped a little and a disappointed moan made me feel a little guilty. I brushed it off and got up from the computer, where I was browsing Facebook, killing the time before naptime.

I don't know where it came from or what caused it, but I suddenly stopped and thought about everything, the whole day, their whole lives in one sad flash... Mom on the phone, Mom on the computer, Mom saying no again and again and again.

Maybe later...
Just be quiet...
Not right now...

I realized in one very quick but powerful moment that I rarely say yes, and I've been wasting these precious years with my children waiting around for the next time they're asleep. 

I felt like something was pressing down on my chest. The realization was just so very heavy.

The boys were walking down the hallway to their bedroom with their little heads hanging low when I told them to come back. I typed in "How to Make A Paper Airplane" on YouTube and made two of the most perfect paper flying machines ever constructed.

They were so happy!

We spent the better part of an hour playing with those little paper planes. Kids are so simple, so easy to please. They don't need iPads and Netflix on a constant reel; they don't want more things or more toys to keep them occupied. Kids want you to give them YOU. 

Kids grow up, fast, so I hear. They become adults with jobs and to do lists and responsibilities and a past. That past is written by a pen that's in your hand. What are you writing?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Problem With Eva Mendes' Sweatpants Comment: A Husband Speaks Up

Eva Mendes recently made a comment that's gone viral, and has moms everywhere upset, and maybe some feeling a little demoralized. While yesterday, she came back with an apology statement (read: brushing it off as "just a bad joke"), I find it hard to believe because of how shamelessly her initial comment was said.

Whether her comment was just a joke or kind of mean, it really doesn't matter to me. I don't keep up with celebrities by any means. I usually only hear about things that "go viral" in passing via articles on Facebook, and I normally only read the titles. With Eva's comment though, I looked into it because someone that is idolized, put on a pedestal, and watched by many women in the world said something dispiriting to real life moms.

Let me say, I am not here to harp on Eva Mendes, to talk badly about her, or shame her without her being here to defend herself. What I am here to do is shine a little light on grace from this small stage this blog has brought me, because I want to do good from here. I want to encourage mothers, not discourage them with my words. And right now, I feel like there's a dusting of discouragement over real life moms.

So, I may be wrong, but from what I gathered while looking into this, Eve Mendes and Ryan Gosling have been dating off and on since late 2011. They have a newborn baby together and are not married. I mentioned her comment to my husband this morning and asked for his thoughts.

"The problem with her comment is, whether it was a joke or not, they aren't married, they're still dating, she's been a mother all of what- a few months?- and her status and her boyfriend's status means that she has a ton of pressure on her to be perfect. I think this is more about who she's dating and the pressure there than it is about everyday moms, but if she can't be comfortable around the father of her child, then there's a problem. That isn't real life."

He's right. Real life is messy and raw and hard. It doesn't consist of personal trainers and chefs, nannies and superstar boyfriends. For us, it's commitment to love no matter what, it's putting your kids before yourself, it's getting dressed for the day based on how much you're going to be crawling around on the floor with your babies, and being comfortable in the refuge of your husband's promise to love you.

As Brian said, "It's one thing to completely let yourself go and not put in any effort. It's another thing to be a beautiful person who I adore, and be comfy in sweatpants because cleaning and playing is what your day is made of. Personally, I love when you wear sweatpants. You're cute in everything, But we've loved each other for a decade, we've created four human beings together. We aren't still dating and we don't have anything to prove. The two situations aren't comparable."

If you've been around this blog for a bit, you know that I have talked a lot about putting in effort to your physical health and appearance for your husband's sake, but sweatpants are not the problem here. I've said before that most of my days at home with the kids are spent with hair fixed and a little makeup, a cute tee and sweatpants. The "number one cause of divorce" isn't your cozy pants. I'd say bitterness, unhealed heartbreak, and selfishness are the top contenders for that title.

A husband's opinion? "Take care of yourself, feel beautiful, love your husband, be a happy wife, and he won't even notice the sweatpants."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Messy Marriage Book List

Messy marriage? Clean it up!

You can't control your husband or force his heart into a better place in your marriage, but you have all the control in the world over yourself. The Word of the living God is the ultimate source for our hearts, but I believe God also speaks to us through fellow believers, and some of those believers have written excellent books! So pick one and let the work begin ;)

Here are my favorite marriage books that I've read in no particular order. These are the books that really struck me and helped me understand my husband better and inspired me to commit to working on my marriage. They're linked to Amazon for easy ordering.

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
The Power of A Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Waiting Room

Our family has a major change on the horizon. We are seeing something we've always talked about coming into fruition, but the process is slow, and patiently waiting for something to happen isn't one of my strengths.

Things were going along smoothly, and then one day, we were following God's leading and He led us into the waiting room, said He would be back, and left us there.

Oh please no. The dreaded waiting room...


I would surely rather shoot my own foot off than be in the waiting room.

I've been here before. It's the waiting that always gets me. I am faithful, I am prayerful, I am walking in step with the Lord, then He brings me into this room, the waiting sets in, and I panic. Once the door to the waiting room closes and there's stillness, my faith loses the battle with my flesh and I start desperately trying to make something happen. I need something to happen right now.

The waiting makes me cringe.

I like to be in control. I like to be able to see what's happening, what's next. I've discovered this week, between panic outbursts in the waiting room, something crucial about myself. Something debilitating to my walk with God...

I want to be in control more than I want God's will. And that's what this all boils down to. A heart issue. Surprise, surprise. 

When I take an honest look at myself, I can see that I would rather have control and take action right now than be waiting for what God has in store, unsure of His timing.

But faith is hoping and believing in things not yet seen. It's in the waiting room that faith forms. The waiting room is like an incubator for faith.

I want to be faithful. I want my kids to look back at my life and see a calm, patient, faith-filled woman of God, not a control freak who only had faith until stillness was required. I want to grow, to be better, to be stronger, to be exemplary. But without the waiting room, I won't grow into any of these things. I'll continue to be mediocre, impatient, self-centered, and a slave to my need for control.

And so I'll stop clawing at the walls of this room that I hate. I'll stop complaining and kicking and screaming. I'll stop whining for God to hurry up and come back with what He promised us. I'll wait, because He is who He says He is. His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I'm tired of being in control, it's gotten me nowhere good. I am humbled, quiet, and willing. Grow my faith, Lord... I'm yours.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

From Failing to Flourishing: How Praying for My Husband Changed His Work Life

I've been thinking a lot recently about prayer, and about the power of a praying wife. Prayer is about faith, and faith is something God has been inking on my heart lately. It's like when God is showing you just how incredible something mundane is- something cliche that you've always known about (like faith) and He just makes it new and shows it to you in a whole new light. I love when He does that!

I get my encouragement from hearing the stories of other women and sharing experiences, so I wanted to share another recent experience of mine with the power of prayer.

My husband works for a very large company where his job performance is monitored and judged by "the numbers system". The company expects only the best from its employees, and they don't make it easy for their technicians to meet their numbers. Without meeting these numbers, you will be fine and your job is safe, but you won't be able to move up in the company or make any transfers or get any perks of the job that they offer to the techs who do well.

Brian has had sort of a cloud over him at work for the last two years. He's been cursed with the most complicated and difficult jobs every single day, and they affect his numbers in ways out of his control. He's been unable to meet his numbers or his manager's goals for him and it had him feeling very defeated and worthless at his job. As any wife knows, if a husband feels useless and defeated, he is not a happy man by any means, and his whole life is affected by these feelings.

I'm embarrassed to say that it took me two years to get my head out of the ground and realize I could do something (not just a small something, but something powerful) to help my husband. A little over a month ago, God laid it heavy on my heart to start praying over Brian and his job. I decided to make a list of the issues Brian was having at work, including the cloud that seemed to be hovering and keeping him from meeting his numbers no matter how hard he worked, and pray over them specifically.

I have four kids, and Emmett is only a few months old, so I knew I wouldn't find spare time lying around... I had to determine to make time to pray. I chose the time between 2:30 and 3:30, when the older kids nap and Emmett needs to be put to sleep. I started wrapping the baby in my arms and pacing the living room while going down the list of Brian's work-related issues, covering each one and Brian himself in Spirit-filled prayer and Scripture.

Among other things, some of my prayers were...

1. That Brian would not meet, but exceed the expectations put on him at work. That his numbers would go beyond the bare minimum.

2. That the work of his hands would be blessed (like Joseph's in Egypt), and that he would find favor from those above him in the workplace.

3. That he would feel useful and valued at work, and hear praise from his manager.

Things don't always happen this way, but in this instance, results came immediately. Brian told me about what a good afternoon he had at work when he got home the first night I prayed. After a week of daily time spent in prayer, his numbers were higher. Finally the end of February came around, and his numbers were so high, they exceeded the expectations of his managers. He got noticed by upper-level managers because of the positive reports coming in about him. After the last day of the month, his direct manager called him to praise him for how well he did and what an amazing, drastic change he'd made in his numbers. He went from the lowest performance bracket to the highest in less than 30 days. 

My husband is a very hard worker, dedicated, and loves his job, but the demands there were high, and I believe the enemy was using his work to bring him down and make him feel defeated. It was leaking into every area of his life. I listened to the leading of the Spirit and submitted myself to prayer for my husband. And through my submission, God was able to break chains and do an awesome thing. My husband is like a new man.

We wives have so much power. I thank God for that because I tend to be more spiritually aware of things, and can cover my husband in prayer when he doesn't even realize he needs it. Let's stomp on any footholds the enemy may have in any area of our husband's lives and use our power for good. Let's start praying over them and being their helpers as they go out and conquer the world for their families.

Their calling is to look ahead, work, and be warriors at the front of the battlefield, protecting and providing for their families. Our calling is to be the heart- dedicated to standing behind them with prayer spilling from our lips. And what a beautiful calling it is.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Matthew 21:22

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Prayer Saved My Husband's Life

photo from my instagram feed

It was about three o'clock in the morning when I abruptly woke up. The nightmare was so violent, so real.

I saw the rain.
I saw my husband driving to work.
I saw the huge white semi-truck skid sideways across all four lanes.
I saw my husband try to swerve.
I saw the windshield bursting, metal crunching, his body jerking.
I saw the violent end to his life in slow motion.
Then it went black, and I was awake.

I'm no stranger to nightmares. Since I was a kid I've experienced them in vivid ways. The Lord taught me how to pray against fear by allowing night terrors to be a part of my life. This one was different. I was not afraid the way I normally am after a nightmare. I was calm, and I felt a heavy layer of peace over me. I felt like God was right there, waiting for me to talk to Him about what I'd just seen.

As I prayed I felt an urgency, not fear-based, just a calm urgency to tell Brian he should go into work late. I nudged him awake right then and told him that I had just been woken up with a very strong feeling that he needs to be home in the morning. He seemed a little confused but agreed. In that moment, peace flooded my mind and I was asleep again right away.

That morning, we woke up and talked over breakfast while we listened to the rain out the window. At that point I told Brian about the nightmare and my time with God earlier that morning. He listened and understood, and left for work later than usual. About thirty minutes after he left, Brian called me with a shaky voice.

"There's an accident on the freeway.... the semi involved is exactly like the one you described, and it's positioned along the freeway exactly like you described, in the very spot you said it would happen. I for sure would've been in it had I left on time...thank you for being a praying wife."

Sometimes I wonder what would've happened if I hadn't been a praying wife. What if I believed that everything that's going to happen is going to happen, and there's nothing we tiny humans can do about it? What if I didn't believe in the power of prayer? What if I didn't think prayer could change things?

Prayer grows our faith, and God uses it. 

As Christian wives, prayer is vital. It can literally be the difference between life and death, like my story shows, and it can also metaphorically be the difference between life and death in your marriage, your motherhood, and other relationships. It's so easy to get comfortable and forget just how much our prayer life matters. I'm sharing this story today because I feel like God wants to jar some of you awake in your prayer lives. If it's you, wake up and hit the floor in prayer right where you are- it matters.

"Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while one ascends, the other descends." 

Arthur Hopkins

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