Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Lessons on Geocache Marathons

 The first one we ever found
I turned thirty last week and I wanted to find 30 geocaches for turning 30.  I planned 42 for us to look for, because sometimes one has been stolen (referred to as muggled in the geocaching world) or is just beyond our capabilities when we get there.  I figured that would get us to at least 30, if not more.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a few important things into account when planning a geocaching marathon weekend.
1.     Puzzles and Mysteries Take MUCH MUCH Longer!

We usually look for pretty easy geocaches, especially when Little Miss is with us.  However, when one multi cache takes us more than an hour and we only have about three hours to find eight, it probably isn’t the best use of our geocaching weekend and maybe could wait for a different day.


2.    State Parks Are Busy On Holiday Weekends!
I love that my birthday is the day before the 4th of July but when geocaching, crowds are not your friends.  Half the park being shut down to regular visitors due to a Civil War reenactment and having to forfeit seven geocaches on that side of the park does not help either.  Double check with places you plan on going ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
3.    I Do Not Do Well In Temps Above 85!
I love geocaching but I do not like too much heat.  I would gladly geocache in the rain, but bump the day’s high up to 90 and I’m wilting by about noon.  Starting super early (like around 7 am) and finishing up at noon would have been much more successful on my end. (I know there are geocachers who would tell me to suck it up.  I’m just not that girl!)
4.    Avoid Taking Those Who Would Hold You Back
Little Miss loves geocaching but only has energy for about 3-5 quick ones before she’s done.  Her patience level is not where ours is.  Also, for a couple of geocaches we had a college friend of mine along.  Not a bad thing, but geocaching marathons are not where you want to interest newbies.

5.    Sleep is Important!

Last weekend, we were going going going for four days straight.  Late to bed, early to rise, makes Charyse cranky and leads to her demise!  We spent time with people who we don’t usually see for four different events and I think that’s more important than struggling all night long trying to finish my geocache goal.  Marathon weekends work better when the weekend is dedicated to just geocaching to avoid exhaustion.
So did I make it to 30 geocaches?  Well, no.  We made it to 21.  Do I feel like the weekend was a bust?  Goodness, no!  I had a blast, between a day spent with just my little family, a day of geocaching and BBQ, visiting with college friends at my alma mater, time with just Sergeant Lobster while Little Miss visited Grandma’s house, a rodeo with church friends, and a graduation party for my cousin.  Not too shabby for a girl who usually stays home all week!

Not sure what geocaching is? It’s pretty awesome but I’m not going to explain it here. Go to the Geocaching website and watch the video:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Whom Shall I Fear?


That one word…how often has it paralyzed me?
That one emotion…how often have I let it control me?
That one thing…keeping me from God’s Will in my life.
How many times has this happened to you?

7Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.  8Be self-controlled and on alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  1 Peter 5:7-9
I have struggled with fear and anxiety my whole life.  This has only increased as I’ve experienced difficult incidents in my life and as I’ve grown into adulthood.  About two years ago I experienced more than two months of some of the worst anxiety in my entire life.  I spent time curled up on the couch watching Netflix for a good portion of the summer.  I gained back any weight I might have lost at the beginning of the summer plus an extra five pounds.  I overspent when I did leave the house to shop.  We ate fast food or restaurant meals five to seven times a week.  My daughter was unhappy.  My husband was unhappy.  But most of all, I was unhappy, anxious, depressed, paralyzed by fear.
“Then He said to them, Why are you fearful?  Do you still have no faith?”  Mark 4:40
Then, God started talking to me.  Somehow I managed to get myself awake and out the door to a Beth Moore simulcast.  In a room surrounded by strangers, God began to speak.  And for once, I began to listen.  He told me, “I am with you…whom shall you fear?”  He reminded me that the fears inside me were lies from Satan.  He showed me Scripture that pointed to His great love for me.  Whom shall I fear?  Satan lies.  God is with me.  Whom shall I fear?
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1
I began to cry out to God.  I begged Him to take away my pain, my anxiety, my crippling fear.  I told Him I wanted to trust in Him and not myself.  I wanted to be free of the bondage of fear.  As I cried out to Him, I slowly felt some tension ease from my body. I left that day a changed woman.  I knew that God was in control now.
“I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4
I spent the last two years working through anxieties and fears in my life.  I began coming out of my shell.  I talked to more people at church and at my daughter’s preschool.  I became more involved in my family and participated in various events at church.  The house began to get cleaner.  Spending was limited to a budget.  I could even kill large spiders.  The pinnacle of defeat over the enemy saw me speaking to a group of women at our church; sharing my testimony.
 “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgment.”  2 Timothy 1:7
I have been tested.  The enemy has pushed things on me that previously broke me and sent me running back to my cocoon.  Instead, God has lifted me up and wrapped me in His everlasting love.  He has guided me to various scriptures showing me how His love is protecting me.  His love has always protected me; I just wasn’t focused on it before.  I was focused on the fear I was allowing in from the enemy but no more will I do this!  No more fear of everyday situations.  God is with me.  His plan for my life is perfect. 
 “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  Psalm 56:4
God has also been showing me how important it is for me to be sowing seeds and reaping the harvest.  Jesus healed the people wherever He went because He had compassion on them.  I need to show compassion to those around me.  I have walked through dark valleys and I know the pain that others suffer.  Instead of hiding in my cocoon for the rest of my life, I can fight the enemy with God’s help and WIN!  God is my salvation and He has proven that time and again.
 “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4
Now, I don’t know how God plans for me to serve Him for the rest of my life.  What I do know is I did not let Satan win.  Instead I chose to follow God and let Him have the control.  I never want to look back.
“Indeed, God is my salvation; I will trust Him and not be afraid, for Yah, the Lord is my strength and my song.  He has become my salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

At the end of the Beth Moore Simulcast, she shared a link to a document filled with verses on fear.  I would like to share that link with you:  If you find yourself struggling with fear or anxiety, remember God is with you, whom shall you fear?

 “Fear no more, Daughter Zion.  Look, your King is coming.”
John 12:15

Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Thought When I Turned Thirty...

A Poem I Wrote For My 30th Birthday
I thought when I turned thirty that I’d have a lot more figured out
I thought when I turned thirty I’d know just what life was all about
I thought when I turned thirty I’d have it all together
I thought when I turned thirty I’d find more fair weather
When I turned thirty, life would be simple
When I turned thirty I wouldn’t find another pimple
At thirty I wouldn’t be so fat
At thirty I wouldn’t constantly fall flat
When I turned thirty I would own a house
And quit spilling on my blouse
When I turned thirty I’d have a fine car
And maybe learn to play the guitar
At thirty all this has escaped my grip
And there’s still no money for a fancy trip
But all the same I don’t feel deprived
Rather in life I feel I’ve arrived
Finding our 100th geocache for my birthday
For I have an amazing love in my life
And I’m so glad to be his wife
The little girl who acts like me
Lights me up like a Christmas tree
Friends and family make life complete
What I’ve got can’t be beat
Most importantly love of my Lord
Life without Him none can afford
So while I don’t really know a thing
I can still lift my hands and sing
For I’ve found what matters most
Is friends, family and the Holy Ghost. 

I caught them cuddling while picking blueberries outside tonight!

***Please do not reuse without permission! This is my original work!***

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Quick in the Kitchen: Chicken Quesadillas

I’ve been looking for quick lunches and dinners for both the upcoming hot summer days and the crazy evenings that sometimes occur in life.  I have a few criteria for these meals:

  • Cool—something that doesn’t require much heat…quick on the stovetop, done on the grill, a crockpot meal, or a no-cook meal
  • Whole Foods—Ingredients are minimally processed
  • Quick—Under 20 minutes to fix
  • On Hand—Ingredients are usually in my fridge or pantry
  • Yummy—My family enjoys it!

This recipe is the first in my occasional series “Quick in the Kitchen” and we’ve eaten it several times in the last week!  Sergeant Lobster has become quite obsessed with my new dish and requested it often.  Little Miss is still a bit hesitant but we’re exposing her to new things!

Disclaimer:  This uses cooked chicken…once every three weeks, I bake or grill a bunch of chicken breasts or I cook a whole chicken to use in various recipes so I usually have cooked chicken on hand.

  • 2 cooked, diced chicken breasts
  • 4-5 tortillas 
  • Salsa
  • Shredded cheese (I like a combination of pepper-jack and cheddar) 
  • Something to coat your pan with (we make our own cooking spray with water and olive oil)

1.   Put tortilla flat on the counter
2.   Add a few pinches of cheese to one half of the tortilla
3.    Spread about ¼ of the chicken onto the cheese
4.    Place a spoonful of salsa across the chicken
5.    Add a few more pinches of cheese to the top
6.    Fold the tortilla over and press down gently to spread the ingredients evenly
7.    Place on a nonstick or coated skillet over medium heat
8.    Flip when the underside gets a light brown
9.    Cut into wedges using a pizza cutter

10. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Pittance of Time

Last night I was reading my favorite bloggers on my kindle while watching Wheel of Fortune.  I was curled up on my favorite corner of my couch and Little Miss was playing with something on the floor.  I always feel guilty that I don’t do more with her that’s just fun…between working half-time, taking care of the house, homeschooling, and attempting to make food from scratch I’m usually beat after dinner.  But I’ve always felt I was ‘entitled’ to curl up on the couch and ‘veg out’ before putting her to bed, thus my nightly routine.

I was a little more than halfway through reading the ten blogs I read regularly when this entry popped up from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  (I love & hate when I’m reading a blog entry and it encourages me to stop reading my favorite blogs and go do something more productive!)  After I read Anne’s inspiration, I looked at my daughter and then at the puzzle she’d been asking me to do for the last couple of days.

I enjoy puzzles, but I do not like to do puzzles like this one…Target bargain bin, cheaply made, won’t stay together…who needs it?  Well, my grandma thought Little Miss needed it, so she bought it.  She’s generous like that!  Since it was Lalaloopsy, my daughter loved it and just wanted to put it together.

I sighed deeply and put the Kindle away.  I told her that if she cleaned up her toys we could do the puzzle together.  Thirty minutes later, Little Miss and I had enjoyed half an hour of fun, she had received love from her mommy, and I didn’t put her to bed feeling guilty last night.  Win-win-win, right? 

Today, I remembered a video our pastor had played on Sunday in honor of Memorial Day.  The idea is A Pittance of Time, in regards to taking time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  But I was able to connect it to time with my daughter.  A half hour doing a puzzle is just a pittance of time but it makes a BIG difference to Little Miss.

Where will your pittance of time go?

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Unseen Hand of God

So many things whirling, twirling, spiraling out of control in my head.  So much confusion and fear are spilling out of me and into my day to day, impacting work, family, relationships.  So much of me is consumed by the scary unknowns we face right now.  When I search for answers, a calm, still voice whispers…

Trust…I am here.

I look at my daughter and wonder…wonder what she’s feeling inside her head and what she really understands about all the bad that I’m trying to hide from her innocent five year old soul.  I hope she never remembers the struggles we’re having at this moment in time but that these memories fade from her memory as they never will from mine.  I feel impatient and frustrated with her reactions to my emotional struggles and all the while I see my baby hurting and scared without knowing why.  I know why and I fear for this little miracle that was never supposed to exist in the first place and I’m reminded…

Trust…I am here.

I look around at all we have in our overwhelming, too much stuff society and see all that’s wrong with the way we live our lives…green shag carpet, yellow countertops, outdated television, a stain on the carpet where the cat relieved herself, too many things in too small a space.  I imagine what it would be like to win the lottery and have fine things at the snap of my finger and lose myself in the comic relief of How I Met Your Mother because I know he ends up with his happily ever after in the end.  I lose myself on Pinterest until a pin catches my eye and I break down as I see…

Trust…I am here.

I sit with my precious jewel, teaching her ABC’s and 123’s and cool stuff about the trees and we memorize Scripture.  For three weeks, we’ve been repeating “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5.  Suddenly, the lesson I’ve been trying to drill into my miracle comes flying at me and I feel the reminder so blatantly obvious in this verse…

Trust…I am here.


Breaking down in the middle of the night, nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide, no solution anywhere in sight.  The time for searching for easy solutions is past.  I’m onto looking for difficult solutions and still find none.  Failure!  Fraud!  Screw up!  Stupid!  Ignorant moron! I’m feeling lost and wish to put my lost feelings into words so I search online….He meets me where I am...

As the tears fall from my eyes, I hear the still small voice reassuring me.  I feel the strength of His arms wrapped around me.  I know the many miracles He’s performed in my life; the most significant miracle calls me Mommy.  I take the time to release my fears through my tears.  I release the worries through my fingertips on the keyboard. 

I hold the unseen hand of God and try to remind myself…to trust.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Worship

I stand to my feet.  I look up to Heaven and close my eyes.  It comes over me in waves.


This is why I pulled myself out of bed this morning.  Why I showered and blow dried my hair and wore unsupportive cutesy shoes instead of my tennis shoes.
After a sleepless night, I want to stay in my cocoon.  So warm and comfy here, but, I pull myself out of my bed and hurry everyone to arrive on time. 

I hear the sounds of the instruments, voices lifted in praise.  I make the songs my prayer as the worries of the world both rush upon me and fall away, knowing that I am in YOUR Hands, safe.  Bills, difficult family, temper tantrums, dirty dishes, crumbly floors, love handles, baby fat that’s been on my hips for more than five years.  Safe in the Hand of the Father, I let those worries come to me and then disappear as I press into Him.

Hungry, I come to You.

Thirsty, I come to You.

I fall into the arms of Jesus and know the true meaning of worship.
Linking up to Five Minute Friday!