A Mustard Seed

A year ago I began to feel that God was leading me in another direction. It was a very strong feeling. I wasn’t sure what it all meant or what direction I was supposed to be going in, but I believe that when God speaks, you listen. So I decided to do just that.

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After months of thinking, planning, and praying I decided that I was going to embark on a career as a stay at home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and business owner. It was an idea that I had visited in the past but I never truly opened myself up to. This time though, I felt good about it. I sat down and talked to my husband about my ideas and we decided together that I should go for it. Then I got cold feet.

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I started doubting myself and making excuses. I began to panic. What if I’m not successful? What if this doesn’t work out? What if don’t make any money? What if the financial strain is just too great? What if I can’t get my old job back. The list went on and on. I was literally spiraling out of control with doubt.

I began questioning the plan and the intentions that the Lord had for me. I cried out for him to show me a sign that I was going in the right direction. Now I don’t believe that God is an on demand God, but I know that he is an on time God. He may not show us that sign right when we want to see it, or the way we want to see it; but he always shows us.

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Shortly after that I had my first freelance job and my blog was featured on a major site. I was ashamed. How could ever have questioned him? When has he ever NOT provided? Two days after that, I turned in my letter of resignation.

It’s not always easy to listen to your heart, but to not be obedient is to sin against him. Giving up complete control and surrendering yourself can be downright scary, but we have to trust in God and his promise.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that God always has my best interest at heart. So with my faith in tow, his love surrounding me, and my family by my side,  I’m stepping headfirst into this new adventure. Stay tuned!

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Peanut Butter Crunch

 

 

Peanut Butter Crunch                                                    Photo credit: http://www.food.com/recipe/eunice-peanut-butter-crunch-247174

The first time I tasted Peanut Butter Crunch I fell in love. Literally. How can something be this good and who came up with this deliciousness? I’ll tell you what, whoever it was, I am forever indebted to them because this desert is pure heaven.

I’m not exaggerating. Every time I make this desert my husband and my kids go crazy, which pretty much makes me feel like a superstar chef. There’s just something about their sweet crunchy taste that makes everyone go nuts.

Just wait until you taste them, you’ll see what I mean.

Disclaimer: SouthernMocaMommy is not responsible for any erratic behavior or withdrawal symptoms that could be caused by this recipe.

This recipe is pretty simple to make which happens to be one of the many things I love about it. You can use all generic ingredients so it’s pretty cheap to make. I like to use an aliminum pan for easy clean up but you can use any type of  baking pan or these can be dropped onto wax paper. Make sure to spray your spoon and pan with non-stick cooking spray. Also, I like to crunch up my cornflakes a bit before I put them in the pan.

Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) cup of sugar
1 ½ cups of peanut butter 1 cup                                                                                                                 (8 oz.) of Karo light corn syrup
6 cups Corn Flakes Cereal
*If you’d like it to be more crunchy add 8 cups of cornflakes

Directions:
Pour Karo syrup and sugar into a pot. Stir together. Bring to a boil. Boil until clear and bubbly. (About 60 seconds) Remove from heat and mix in peanut butter. Stir. Fold into (pour on top) corn flakes. Press down with a buttered wooden spoon. Cool, cut, and indulge in a little piece of heaven. You’re welcome.

 

The Elephant In the Room

Anxiety. If you’ve ever suffered from it, then you’ll understand how terrible and how scary it is. I try not to think about it, but it’s there. Constantly looming over me and taking up all of the space. It consumes me and takes my breath away. It makes me feel like an outsider.

It causes my family to constantly walk on eggshells wondering what my mood will be like each day. Some days I recede into my own world and isolate myself from everyone. Other days, I get really nervous and I’m scared to be left alone.

Anxiety causes me to have random outbursts about the smallest things. It makes me hypersensitive about everything. Sometimes it comes in the form of ocd, insomnia, and depression. Sometimes it comes in the form of panic attacks about everything. Or about nothing.

Anxiety. I try not to think about it but it’s always there. Stealing my life. I want to cage it up and send it back to wherever it came from. Far away from me. I want my life back.

I pray that i’ll be free from it one day. Until then, it’s looming over me. The Elephant In the room.

Transition

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A year ago I was on maternity leave with my new baby girl. She was 3 weeks old. I was officially a Mom of three. I would soon return to my full time job in Law Enforcement. Life was good. Happy marriage. Beautiful children. Nice house. Dog. Two trucks and a car. We were living the American Dream.  I had no way of knowing then, but my life was about to change in a big way.

Fast forward to 3 months later. I get a call at work. The baby had some labs drawn and some of the results could be abnormal. They need to us to come into the office. We go into the pediatrician’s office the next day and we’re told that her liver levels are high, her bilirubin is elevated, and her spleen is enlarged. What? They tell us that we need to take her to Children’s Hospital. Now.

We get to Children’s and they admit her for observation. And the wait begins. Over the course of the next week we meet doctors, nurses, surgeons. She undergoes CT scans, more bloodwork, a liver biopsy. Diagnosis. We find out that she suffers from a rare liver disease. Our sweet baby girl. Oh God, oh God, oh God. This can’t be happening.

But it is happening. Biliary Atresia. It occurs in 1:10,000 infants. It’s a rare disease of the liver in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver don’t have normal openings, or don’t exist at all. Because of this, bile does not flow properly and remains in the liver which causes cirrhosis. It is the leading causes of pediatric liver transplants. There is no cure.

The next day we release our tiny baby girl into the arms of surgeons for a major surgical procedure called a Kasai. Her bile ducts were removed and a piece of her small intestine was attached to her liver in an attempt to restore bile flow and prevent further cirrhosis. The ideal time to have that surgery is 12 weeks and under. She was 14 weeks at the diagnosis. She comes out of the surgery well but we’re told that there is still a chance that it won’t be successful in the long run.

And just like that, two weeks after our world fell apart, we’re home. Shell shocked. Every cough, sniffle, sneeze, sends us into a panic attack. We have doctor’s appointments twice a month to monitor her liver function. Even a cold could be life threatening. Over the next few months she’s hospitalized twice for an infection called cholangitis. Sleepless nights. Depression. Anxiety. We’re on an emotional roller coaster.

Next come the monthly doctor visits with the gastroenterologist. Monthly visits turn into biweekly visits. Biweekly visits turn to weekly. Finally, we get the news that the Kasai has failed. Our daughter needs a liver transplant. Without one, she’ll die. We break down, we pray, we rage. Why? Why are you doing this to us? Please, please! Let us have her.  How do we come to terms with something like that? Knowing that there is a chance that our child may not get a chance to grow up? That she may be taken from us before she even has a chance to live.

Finally, nearly 10 months later, our life is almost normal again. Our daughter just celebrated her first birthday. We still haven’t come to terms with it yet and I don’t think we ever will. But I can tell you what we do. We fight and we love. As hard as we can. Every. Single. Day. We take every single moment and make it special. We spend as much time together as we possibly can. We hold onto our faith. We celebrate every day. Most importantly, we live.

 

 

 

An Early Morning Passenger

This morning I got up at my 4:35am. I dragged around the house as usual thinking about how I didn’t want to go work and how I wished I could crawl back into bed.  Finally, about 5:20am, after psyching myself out I grabbed my lunch and was about to head out the door when I remembered that the night before, I had only seen one of our new pet kittens on the porch. We have two. So I looked out the window and I noticed that little Michelangelo was still all alone. (My son Logan is a huge Ninja Turtle fan, hence the name Michelangelo. The other cat is a girl so can you guess what her name is? Wait for it. April O’Neal.)  So Michelangelo (let’s call him “Mikey” for short), sees me peeking out the window and starts meowing. April O’Neal is nowhere in sight.  I look over at the bowl and there’s no food.  I’m already pushing it because I have to stop for gas but by this time I’m worried. I’m also thinking that what kind of cold and heartless person leaves their kittens to fend for themselves this early in the morning, with a whole possible 4 hours until the other human wakes up? (insert sad music) So I grab some cat food out of the pantry and head around to the front porch to feed Mikey. I’m hoping that maybe in the process I can lure April O’Neal out of hiding.

5:22am. I get to the front porch, feed Mikey, and wait around for a couple of minutes. No April O’Neal. I look through the bushes and call out to her, but still nothing. I’m starting to panic. We live in the country. It’s a big wilderness out there! Two kittens before April O’Neal met their untimely demises by the vicious dogs of our neighbor. Thoughts of all the terrible things that could happen to little April O’Neal are running through my head! Logan loves her so much already. What am I going to tell him? What do I do? Should I wake up my husband?

5:25am. Work is 20 minutes away and I have to stop for gas. So I say a quick prayer that little April O’Neal is okay and I jump in my truck and head down the driveway. 5:26am. I pull up to the gas station, go inside, grab a cup of coffee and head towards the register. The sweet girl that works behind the counter has her husband and baby with her. I stop to see the baby. He’s a really cute little fella. The husband, well let’s just say he seems less than friendly. I instantly make up my mind that he seems mean. Good riddance to you Mr. Meanie. I pay for my items and head to the pump.  5:30am. I put my coffee up and start pumping gas. Then I hear it: a tiny meow. I look on the back of the truck. Nothing. It is early. Maybe I’m hallucinating. I start pumping gas and I hear it again. Meowwwww. Oh gracious.

So I lean down and start to look in the wheel well and up towards the engine. And I see a tiny white face. It’s April O’Neal! I’m elated but that quickly turns to terror. What if she’s hurt? What if she’s burned or smooshed? And she’s too far away for me to reach! What am I going to do? Now I’m panicking again. My only option is to go back in the store and ask the sweet girl behind the counter if her husband (Mr. Meanie) could help. To my surprise, he comes right out! After two or three minutes, he coaxes April O’Neal from under the engine. Thank God!! I was so grateful all I could do was continue to thank him! 5:35am. I scoop up little April O’Neal and deliver her safely to the front porch. I guess “Mr. Meanie” wasn’t so mean after all and maybe today won’t be as bad after all.

How often do we automatically judge people by the way that they look without knowing anything about them? And in judging them, do we give them a fair chance? Are our judgments kind? Why not approach people with open hearts, and in turn, they may do the same. 

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7