Tuesday, September 10, 2013


***Disclaimer--I love my family, I love the Lord and most of the time I love my life, Mom please don't read this and panic about me, I am fine... it's just reality***

One of my co-workers suggested a reality show should be made of my family.  Non-scripted, just good ole Carr life for people to watch and either laugh at or jump up and down screaming "Praise God that's not our life".  Some days I think it would have to be the latter.

The reality is that life is hard to navigate.  I cannot even begin to believe some of the things we squeeze into a day, week, month, hour, etc.  We have kick back days, easy going times, but honestly, a lot of them end up leading to craziness.  One of us will go to do just one little thing and that will lead to a Tsunami of issues.  I can not ever figure out why the smallest of projects, the tiniest of ideas turn into huge complicated processes.  I have never come to an answer for this quandary in life, but I have come to expect it. I expect but not accept this, because, really, who wants that??

You know the ole saying, two steps forward, one step back.  I often think the reality of the situation is 2 steps forward 18 and a half steps back.

This song comes into my head all the time, "I get knocked down, but I get up again, ain't nothing gonna keep me down."  

In reality, the song that should come into my head is this one, "I get down, HE lifts me up, I get down, HE lifts me up .... every time i'm down the Lord lifts me up".

I try not to complain all the time, I really do my best to have a good attitude about whatever comes our way. I am the optimist in the family and you have to have one.  I call my husband the pessimist, but every time he just comes back and says, "No, I'm the realist. Someone has to be." The reality is, we don't know what is going to come our way or how it is going to come into play in our lives.

Mike and I have been able to look back at the past three years.  We have always been there for each other.  There has been good, bad and pretty stinking ugly.  But we have been there for each other.  The situations that come into play aren't fun to deal with, aren't easy to accept, aren't situations that you want to ever think of yourself about being a part of, but hey it's a hurdle in our road of life that each time we have been able to overcome.

We have some big decisions that we would like to be making in the next little bit.  Some hopes and dreams and ideas that we have. Some of them are major steps that to be honest with you, as exciting as they may be, as much as I can't even begin to fathom the good that can come from them... the reality of life hits me a bit.  What if?  What if our 2 steps forward is now 25 steps back?  What if more failure comes our way?  What if we experience more loss?  What if, what if, what if??

A couple weeks ago I thought I may experience my first panic attack.  I found this slightly amusing since everything else we have already been through in life hadn't caused one, then there should be no way that the thoughts and feelings happening at the time should make me feel the way I did.  Looking back, I truly think that its the unknown.  Everything else happened.  It was real.  There was no choice, well there were choices but in reality, the choice was to survive or give up. Make it or break it.

Taking unknown steps can be exciting, thrilling, eye opening and down right scary.  I love a thrill ride, put me on a roller coaster or tower of terror any time... but I don't want those to be the theme of my life.  If they are part of the theme I want to know the safety belts are working and there can be laughter among the screaming of the ride.
California Adventures Tower of Terror Theme Park Ride.  One of my favorites! 
I posed the question the other day about why stepping out in faith is such a hard thing to do?  I know faith is about trusting God, leaning on Him.  But if I know God is absolutely always with me and I have gotten through some amazingly high and low times in my 31 years on this Earth... why worry now?  Why panic?  Why be concerned with the "what if's" instead of they "why not's" or "what if we don't".  

I don't have the answer to any of these things right now.  I am praying that God continues to reveal His everlasting love and guidance to us and I ease up on my "having to know the answer right now" side of me.

I know that without God there is no way we would have overcome the past three years of waves crashing down on us but that darn human side of me just keeps getting in the way of seeing God's path for us right now.

Reality is, God is in control.  Without Him we have nothing, with Him we cannot fail.  We get "down" because of sin, being humans and because we try it our own way.  "He lifts us up" because of His unconditional love and keeps putting us back in the right place.

Lord, I don't want to do life on my own.  Be my reality.  Be the reality of my family, be our path, our guide.  And please give me the patience to wait for you and the self-control to let go.  Amen. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I want to be His Masterpiece!

I know we all struggle with so many different things in life.  Some of us struggle with small things (what to wear, what to do, who to text, how to cure boredom, etc),  Some of us really struggle with who God has made us to be.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  I have been in a funk.  Really it isn't a small funk.  I have been easily offended, crabby, unhappy about things that I am sure I should be content with, I've been comparing myself to others (good and bad) and been totally frustrated with my schedule, organization (mostly the lack there of), my abilities, my lack of abilities, my parenting skills, if I am doing enough as a wife, mom and friend, the fact that I have like no friends that I do anything with... I could go on and on and on but it's overwhelming writing it all down right now.

I have the best of intentions.  I want to call people more, write people more, not get frustrated with my kids, do all kinds of special little things for my husband.  I want to learn more about business so I am a better business owner.  I want to have a ton of energy and pizzazz for my morning job.  I want to have working out in my schedule and when I finally do get home each day I know if I just spent 15 minutes picking things up I would be so much less frustrated walking into the house the next day.

The truth is, the last month has been super tough on me.  There are many reasons.  There are reasons I have no problem admitting, reasons it makes me sad to admit and reasons that I really don't want to.  You know those things we all have hidden in our dark corners (the self doubt, the fear, the uncertainty).

I have been working on the next three months of staff meetings for my morning job.  In hearing things going on in people's lives, in having empathy for their struggles and times in life, I was taken back to a few of my favorite lessons that I have done some speaking on.  There are two amazing guys.  They are called "The Skit Guys"  .  Please check them out, support them, use their video's and scripts, be encouraged and encourage others.  Ok I have digressed.

I have realized that as I have been working on bringing together the next three months of meetings, that the messages I want to be sharing are messages I need to be encouraged by right now in my own life.  I have been totally down on myself lately.  I keep feeling super inadequate.  I feel like no matter what I do, someone has to come and fix what I have done.  I feel like as soon as I get something started, I have to move onto something else and I don't get to see a project to completion.  I feel like no matter how hard I try, it isn't hard enough.  No matter how much I give, I need to give more.  No matter how I feel, I need to feel differently.   There are so many "I's" involved with my feelings.  I don't want to give too much away as I know some of the team I work with could be reading this, but we will be watching some skit guys in the next few months.  As frustrated as I have been feeling, I know that one thing is true.  I am God's Masterpiece.  I am not junk. " I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus."

I want to leave you with a video from Youtube of a skit.  Now these guys have some hilarious skits, some skits that make you feel "normal" and some that truly help you contemplate and understand God's work and purpose for your life.  This is one of those.  Be encouraged, be inspired, be challenged.  I know I watched this again tonight and I am completely challenged to ask God to chisel away at the things hindering me.  Sometimes asking for help and for something new and different is one of the hardest things to do.

I am a Masterpiece.  I am a Masterpiece. I am a Masterpiece.  I am a Masterpiece.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Produce, Produce, Produce!

This Sunday, My daughter and I went to Denio's, which is a local flea market and farmers market!  I made a menu out for the month of September.  During the month we will have 8  to 12 crock pot meals.  I did calculations, after I decided what meals we would do and went off to Denio's with our daughter!  Our first stop was to buy a little cart to hold all of our produce.  We have been to Denio's before and all end up carrying a bunch of bags and then have to figure out what to do with them when we stop someplace else throughout the day there.  The cart will make it so much easier for all of our days to come at denio's, the beach (like we ever go there), the park, or any other farmers market.

Check out this picture of Miss A carting around our produce!  This cart is FULL!  We got so many different items.  We went a little later in the day as well, we have found that the prices start to get cut at this point on a Sunday so the vendors don't have to take as much home.

We got onions, avocados, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, red potatoes, spaghetti squash, grapes, nectarines, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, kale, limes, broccoli, green beans, corn on the cob, ginger,  and more.  We got at least 1 pound of everything, many times more.  We got 5 pounds of the oranges.  All of this for $40 (and 5.50 of that was for local honey).  I thought this was really a great price.  All of the produce is fresh and we have realized how much tastier it is and how much longer it last than the produce we get at the store.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The New and Improved Open Kitchen Pantry

Our Kitchen "pantry" was a disaster.  I just had everything on the shelf in an area but there was no way to keep it there.  (This is where I am kicking myself because I didn't take a before picture),  I went to the Dollar Tree and bought these baskets.  I couldn't decide if I liked it or not (I liked that it was about $10).  The next morning I checked it out again and I really didn't like it at all.  I decided it was time to put a little more money into this project. 

I went to IKEA for several items and found these containers in the office organization area.  These are supposed to be recycle bins, but I have used them as containers to organize the pantry.  There were definetely more than I wanted to pay for them but compared to other options, I didn't mind.  I love the different sizes available.  I used the large one on the bottom for the extra Bulk bags from Winco that I use to refill other containers.  The small containers on top hold spice packets and peanut butter.  I think the small ones were $5.99, the Medium $6.99 and the Large one was $9.99. 

I bought labels this past week that I am going to print and stick onto the front of the containers.  

Coffee Filters

Coffee Filters have the most incredible uses and they are so cheap!  Looking for an easy way to save on time, money, effort, unnecessary dishes, etc. etc.

Mike bought Coffee Filters about a month ago.  Here are some of the many uses we are getting from them:

  • Spoon rest 
  • A plate for breakfast items (toast, english muffins, waffles with jelly) 
  • A small bowl to share popcorn with 
  • Spill picker upper 
  • Window washer 
  • Peanut Shell Collector 
  • Coaster 
  • Pot/Pan Separator (put it in between pans so they don't mess up their finish) 
  • Put one in between plates, any time of class or ceramic to keep them from banging together while        transporting
  • Put over a bowl or plate while microwaving 
  • portion control for snacks  

As you can see the list can go on and on and on.  Simple treasures, simple solutions, simply cheap and easy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Soapbox on Parenting

This seemed to touch many other hearts and minds and so I wanted to share it again.  I will preface this with even though this post came from an article I read in response to the "Miley Fiasco" I was truly applauding the author of the article about how they parent.  I am not supporting or bashing Miley, I am simply saying, "step up", "be a parent", "raise God-fearing, respectful, kind, caring, compassionate Children."

I will also say, Mike and I don't have it all right.  We mess up daily with parenting.  I was a Junior High minister for years, but having your own, whew, that is a whole different story!! I will also preface this with a couple of facts.  I am "Mom" to A and N, but I am also technically Step-mom.  Our kids have dealt with their face share of cruddy situations when it comes to their upbringing, their hurdles they have had to overcome, their situations and their lack of key people in their lives at a young age.  I will also tell you that we have never allowed this to be an excuse for disrespectful or bad behavior.

We will all parent different from one another, we will likely all judge each other at some point or another about our parenting choices, we will have our victory's, our major falls and our "thank God we just made it through the day" moments.

No matter what, I don't think there is an excuse for parents to not parent.

Here's what I wrote on 8/26/2013 about this article entitled Dear Daughter, Let Miley Cyrus Be A Lesson To You. 

I didn't watch last night, I don't know what went down, I honestly don't care too much, but I love what this article has to say and I know that this article says a whole lot about how Mike and I raise our children. People don't always understand and that is ok, but our job is to be there parent first, teaching them about respect and life and how to be a well respected citizen of their school, city, country. 

I watch far too many children from far to young of an age on think that they are entitled to anything and everything. It is not ok. It does not help our children, it hurts them. 

Tonight I sat at a Boy Scout Court of Honor while many boys were recognized for some very prestigious awards. Three Scouts sat in the front row laughing, talking and even at one point "boo-ing" during this event. I left just feeling absolutely sick. I personally asked them 3 times to be respectful, all while their parents just say back and watched this happen. 

Parents, WAKE UP! There is a time for everything. There are times to laugh and joke with your children, their are times to celebrate their accomplishments, but there are also times to teach and to discipline! 

Jesus gave us rules to follow and obey, to help us have a full life and to teach us right and wrong. We have consequences, why give your child a false sense of reality? You are hurting them! 

Our son called our daughter a bad name this afternoon. He had his brand new Kadama (he has waited for this for 6 months and just got it this weekend) taken away, his phone is in my possession, he didn't get video games or TV time, he also has to work on finding 3 special things to do for his sister and give her 5 genuine compliments. When he does those things he will get privileges back. He has been doing whatever he can and truly taking time to think about what he can do for his sister and how he can do special things for her that normally wouldn't happen. 

We have to stop laughing off things our kids do and we must teach them respect and show them respect. One of the ways my husband and I respect our kids and respect God for giving us our children is by teaching them, disciplining them and though we love them no matter what, we also let them know when we are not pleased with their choices. We don't do this to be mean, we do this so they can live! 

I know I am on a soapbox, and I know you may not agree with me, but I am truly at a point of disgust with some pre-teens and teens I am around on a regular basis, they aren't just going through their "awkward teenage stage", they are going through the "mommy and daddy don't ever tell them no, so they do what they want" stage.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Before I head off to bed tonight, I want to share with you the Picture that has become the new favorite here at the Carr Household.  This is called "Forgiven" and it is by our favorite artist.  Rodney Lough Jr.  Check out his website here.  He has an absolutely amazing gallery in San Francisco near Pier 39.  Mike and I stumbled across the gallery on our 2nd wedding anniversary.  We had to go to the bay area to be at an intense City Council Meeting.  We were the Noise Consultants on a controversial Car Wash.  There are so many things to say about that statement but none the less, it helps put food on the table and quite honestly, noise affects us hugely, so there was a lot to be said about this car wash.  (It didn't pass and it wasn't because of a noise issue, though that is the easiest to blame).  I have digressed.

It wasn't the ideal way to spend our anniversary.  Our dinner was spent with Mike prepping for the meeting and then listening to people get upset over something that was a non-issue.  We started driving, just wanted to see what was still open and if there was anything to go do.  We walked in the gallery and spent the rest of our evening there. We fell in love with the photography and the beauty that lies in each photo.  There is a very special process, special film, special camera, and special paper.... on and on... these are one of a kind.  As you brighten or dim a light, the photo changes and pulls you in, makes you feel like you are right there.

That night at the gallery, we closed the place down.  If you know our story, Mike and I have a way of doing this.  Dana, our consultant/salesman, truly loves the art and knows so much about it.  We ended up getting to know Him and he found out it was our anniversary.  Shortly after we were served wonderful glasses of wine as we browsed the gallery and view truly amazing pieces of art in special viewing rooms.  I will never forget our evening as we fell in love with God's amazing creation over and over again through the eyes, talent and wisdom of this artist.

Our new favorite is "Forgiven".  We LOVE this picture, but we know that behind every picture is a story to go with it.  Let me share with you what Rodney wrote up about this Photo, 

“I awoke the other day questioning my faith wondering which was the greater of these:forgive or be forgiven. Many of us have experienced both. For me the greater is most definitely ‘forgive’, but I’m not so sure I’ve truly been able to do it. Ever. So for now I’ll have to just be satisfied with being ‘Forgiven’.”

As I finish this post, I just wanted to share this piece with you, the thought that goes along with it and the peace that comes in my heart after seeing this picture and hearing that I am FORGIVEN.  I’ve really needed to be reminded of that a lot lately.