For so long I have avoided this blog…I have not only been busy with life, in general, but I’ve been too busy to stop and allow myself to be inspired enough to actually put a pen to paper.  Today (thankfully) I am humbled…..I am inspired…..I am grateful……and I am compassionate.

Some of you may think you feel these emotions daily…….some of you may be asking if you’ll ever experience these emotions.  I, honestly avoided them.  I guarded myself and allowed myself to resist these feelings altogether.  I allowed my heart to ‘harden’ so-to-speak.  I lost the desire and the will to do anything for anyone other than my family, because let’s face it – that’s almost impossible.  I truly started to question if God was even present in my life anymore.  And I knew why He wasn’t……it was because I quit inviting Him. 

Instead of inviting Him to be a part of my daily life, I resented him for not showing up.  It was like I threw a party, didn’t send out any invitations, and then got mad at everyone because they didn’t come to my party.  I have always struggled with this in my relationship with God.  I KNOW BETTER! But I am also a human being! So I try not to beat myself up too much when it all just clicks again!

I purposefully didn’t invite him because I wanted to see if he would come anyway.  It was like I was testing Him.  Have you ever done this?? Have you ever expected someone to “know what you’re thinking?”  Like your husband??  “I didn’t say anything because you should’ve already known how I was feeling!”  HAHA! I learned rather quickly, that if I don’t say the words, it’s never going to be understood!  {And why do we do that????? Women brains are just weird!} 

God taught me a lesson.   He stayed silent.  He stepped back and allowed me the freedom to experience the necessary events until I was ready to admit that I couldn’t do it alone after all.  That’s because he knows that’s the only way I ever learn.  J 

My point of even writing today was to say that I’ve had a revelation!  I am taking my life one day at a time, (which, by the way, has been the best thing I’ve ever done!) and making a conscious effort to just ‘chill out!’  I set out to accomplish a certain amount of tasks for the day and cross them off of my list as the days goes on.  I feel so much happier now that I’ve done this.  I am not worried about tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that!  I am simply focused on today.  I LET THE REST GO!!!

The Dalai Lama says, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the RIGHT day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” 

And in the day we call ‘today’, remember that if you want God to be there, you need to invite Him to be.  I don’t think of Him as ‘pushy’.  I think of Him as gentle.  I think of Him as kind.  I think of Him as loving.  And He’s going to let me handle situations on my own, unless I ASK Him for help. 
Maybe you’re asking, “how do I invite him?” The answer is Pray.  Tell him your feelings.  Tell him when you are doubtful of His plan.  Tell him when you are worried about something.  But when you want to really see changes, start claiming the opposite of what is causing the worry.

 ‘Thank you God for making me a strong woman who is determined for greatness.  Thank you for creating me to be the wife and mother you intended me to be.  Thank you for filling in the ‘weak’ spots of my faith.  Thank you for amplifying my strengths because I know I have you on my side.”

Thank God in advance for His answer to prayers.  Thank Him for His faithfulness.  Start telling Him how you are confident in His plan and that you are thankful that you will soon see the outcome and be grateful for your journey along the way.  

We will always see EXACTLY why His timing was the RIGHT timing. 

And maybe you’re not much of a religious or spiritual person….and that’s ok.  Maybe you don’t have an image of who your God is.  Is something missing?  Is there a void?? What do you fill the void with??I always find that something is missing when God is not a part of my life…..just a thought! J 

Hopefully I am not the ONLY one in life who has ever had doubts in my faith! And now you know you’re not the only one!   As always, I love every single one of you who reads this!!  Until next time……

White Chicken Green Chili Stew Recipe

This is THE BEST recipe EVER - but forgive me if I'm not 100% accurate on my measurements, because I kinda just made this up as I went along and don't measure my seasonings!

First, what you will need:

-3 cans of Great Northern Beans
-3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (diced into small pieces, trimmed, and watch out for any gristle)
-1 box of chicken broth
-2 cans of hominy (I like the white hominy better than the yellow)
-2 small cans of diced green chilis (I ALWAYS buy HATCH brand.  They are a New Mexico grown chili and are the absolute best EVER, so if your grocery store carries this brand, choose it first!)
-1 small can of diced jalapenos (I've also used the sliced)
-1/3 of an onion diced
-2 tbsp. real butter
-1 spoonful of minced or chopped garlic (I use the jar located in the produce department)
- 2-3 bouillon cubes ( I LOVE the Knorr brand, and only use 2 of those)
-onion powder
-Grill Shakers poultry seasoning
-Cavendars Greek Seasoning (which by the way is the BEST seasoning to have at all times.  Great on steaks, burgers, chicken, vegetables, it's sooooo amazing!)
-Cayenne pepper

  • In a large soup pot and on medium heat, sautee onions and garlic in the butter until onions are soft. 
  • Add chicken and all of the seasonings.  When I am seasoning the chicken, I pretty much just shake a few shakes of each seasoning to cover the chicken.  I use quite a bit of the greek seasoning, the poultry seasoning, and the cumin (approximately 1-2 tbsp.).  I use less cayenne pepper so it's not too spicy (about 1/4 tsp)! Add more or less depending on your spicy preference!
  • Add green chilis and jalapenos to the chicken just as soon as you've added all of the seasonings.  This combination is magical and really gets all of the flavors right into your chicken! 
  • Allow chicken to cook fully while stirring occasionally.
  • Add great northern beans and hominy (I add the entire can, but you can also drain them if you prefer)
  • Add the entire box of chicken broth.
  • Add 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for NO LESS THAN ONE HOUR!  (This allows for all of these seasonings to combine and makes your house smell amazing!  The longer you simmer, the longer the seasonings have to really cook)
  • Add shredded cheese and dip fresh tortillas in it too! ENJOY!!!

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit

Each December I find myself wishing the month away.  And come January I find myselfe regretting the fact that I wished away life! I have Finals for school, Christmas programs and parties, Nutcracker ballet performances, Addison’s birthday, Christmas, Christmas shopping, Christmas wrapping, etc., etc., etc., - the list could go on forever it seems.  But this December I want to change a few things…..for starters a lot of people in Hobbs are going to ger RACK’ed (Random Acts of Christmas Kindess).  I have researched some cute little ideas (like here), and of course my kiddos are going to get involved and I will see what ideas they come up with as well.  Last month I ordered some little cards to include with our ‘RACK’

I am looking forward to experiencing this with my kids!

I am also changing my focus on life.  Here are a few ‘less and mores’ (inspired by this blog here)….

-       Less clean surfaces and more projects that reach across the table or countertop for hours….maybe even days
-       Less drawer usage and more piles
-       Less keyboard typing/online activity and more facetime
-       Less treadmill running and more unconventional forms of exercise
-       Less baking perfection and more helping hands
-       Less watching TV and more watching the sun set and counting stars
-       Less ‘hurry up’ and more ‘pause’
-       Less time spent on appearance and more hats on unwashed hair

Overall, I just want my life to seem meaningful and full of fun family memories! The busy-ness of life always seems to allow us to forget what’s really important.  It’s not the ‘material things’  it’s simply the ‘meaningful things’ that are truly important!!  

Love you all!!! 


30 Day Cleanse...

Ahhhh it's back to the grind of school. And with this semester comes a new major - that's right...I am no longer attempting my Early Childhood degree, but instead have changed to Business. After lots of thoughts, prayers, worry, stress, anxiety, and everything else in between - I decided now was the time to decide, and Business it was!! After 2 weeks in school, I'm not sure if I am going to get the hang of it, but hey - a new challenge is always welcomed!!

I decided after the realization that the whole 'social network' just got on my last nerve, that I was going to do a '30 day Facebook cleanse'. HAHA! I came up with that on my own....I thought it was rather clever!

I got tired of the extremes - it can't ever just be mellow, its either 'my life sucks'.....or 'I can't believe how people think there life sucks'....and not so many 'thankfuls and blessed'! The unfortunate thing is that I usually post my blogs to my facebook page - so here's to seeing if anyone actually reads these things!!!

I have felt refreshed since boycotting facebook. I feel I spend a lot of time doing things I normally would put off because I wasted so much time seeing what everyone else was doing. Now I actually work on my homework, clean house, do laundry, get on Pinterest (notice I now have a Pinterest 'Pin It' button on the right side of my blog page, so if you ever want to 'Pin' my blogs, you can do so!!

SIDENOTE-{I may have just came up with the idea of a 'Pinterest Challenge' where I take recipes, or home projects I find on Pinterest and talk about how well it worked for me or what I did differently, etc. I have spent a lot of time on projects as well as recipes and have had nothing but success!! I really enjoy being creative!}

Anyway - just wanted to stop onto my blog, and say hello! Please feel free to communicate with me here, or by email @ or if you know my number, just call or text me!

As always, LOVE to Y-O-U all!!! Until next time.....

Opportunity Unexpected....

I am so thankful that God is allowing some new opportunities in my life. I desire to feel as though I'm making a difference in the world. I will be reporting back on my experience, not in detail in order to avoid sounding like I am bragging, but I will be describing my internal love, joy, and peace to you - so stay tuned!!! I hope God will reveal to me what it is he has laid upon my heart. I have the desire, I'm just not sure what it is he wants me to do yet. I will know......when the time is right! And I'll be ready!!! I pray for direction....I pray for confidence....I pray for peace.....I pray I can make a difference....

You never know who you were meant for. Seriously. You never know whose life you were sent to change. Don't take any opportunity for granted!

Love to you all!!!!

A Story to Share....

Back in November, I posted about the precious life of Princess Lala that ended at the very young age of 21. Well, for those who read it, (if you didn't, then go back in the history of my posts and you should find it) here is the story as told by her best friend. Cori is another precious life who is taking her loss and turning into something bigger than herself. She is currently organizing a foundation that will raise awareness/money for cancer research. She experienced cancer as a daughter of a cancer survivor, and as a friend to one who lost her battle....her story is wonderful, and I just had to share with my sweet friends whom I also love so dearly!!!! Hope you enjoy!!!

"So here is the sad story to begin my blog. When I was like 14 or 15, my good friend Christie introduced me to this vibrant girl named Lauren Skillman. When I first saw her she was coming out of a little pizza place wearing this white flowy skirt and a pink shirt that had a guitar on it. She also had this HUGE beautiful smile on her face. We hit it off right away and were instant friends. As the years went by our friendship was strong, we went a few months in between where we didn’t hang out much but from the time I was 17 on she had become my best friend.

Lauren was not like anyone I had ever met before. She was a little firecracker and was not afraid to tell you what she thought. I have always been the same way, so I really liked that about her at times. We were both really hard headed so yes we did fight, and would go a while without speaking to one another. For some reason though we always found our way back to each other. It was like we had this sisterly connection. Something I had never had with anyone. I grew up with four brothers so I definitely did not know the ins and outs of sisterhood. But I believe she taught me that.

Lauren was the type of person that if you didn’t have a smile she would give you hers. Her smile was like sunshine. She could liven up any room she walked into, and made friends where ever she went. It was hard to not like her. And if you didn’t she wanted to do whatever she could to become your friend, she wanted no enemies.

When Lauren was seventeen she found a lump in her neck. I didn’t really think much of it, not knowing that her family had a history of cancer. When the lump was looked at, it was found to be cancerous. She had a rare cancer called peripheral nerve sheath tumor. They removed the tumor and Lauren thought she was home free. When she was eighteen, I believe, they found seven more tumors in her neck. This was going to be a little more tricky because she had to have a big surgery and also had to go through radiation. I was so incredibly scared for her…I remember going to my parents and telling them about what was going on. I started crying in that process and expressed how scared I was for her.

I can remember being there at Lauren’s house and how sick she would get from the radiation treatments. She hated for me to see her get sick so she kind of pushed me away. I was persistent in being there though. I thought to myself that I was going to do what I had to do as a friend in order to make this time a little less hard on her. When she got through that treatment, she was so ecstatic to be able to begin her life. She had overcome a great obstacle and knew that her life was just waiting for her. A few weeks after her last treatment, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a complete mess when my dad told me, and the first person I called was Lauren. I remember her answering the phone and I was trying to tell her what was going on but I couldn’t get it out because I was crying so hard. Throughout that whole process she was a great friend to me. She was there for me when I cried, and made me laugh when I just couldn’t seem to smile. I remember her and Christie made these cute little cards to give to my mom, with words of encouragement. My mom is now a 2 year survivor.

I think it was when Lauren was 18 and Christie was 19 they set off on a new adventure…College in San Marcos. They got an apartment together and were going to the same school. Before they left I threw them a big going away themed party. We all dressed like the people from Jersey Shore (they both loved that show). I cried a lot before they left. They were my two closest friends and they were both going to be 4 hours away from me. It was hard to adjust to that. I feel like we all got busy and didn’t talk as much as we promised we would. But we remained just as close.

After they had been in San Marcos a while, Lauren got sick. They thought it was pneumonia, then bronchitis, but it was none of those things. She told me when she went to the clinic they did an x-ray and told her that it didn’t look good and that she needed to go back to Fort Worth that day. At this point her and I had gotten in a fight over something extremely stupid and hadn’t talked in a few weeks. So when I saw on her Facebook that she was headed back and hoping the cancer wasn’t back, I text her and told her I was praying that everything was alright. She told me everything that was going on, and that she was really scared. This was on a Monday…I wasn’t able to see her until Wednesday. I knew how serious everything was because she was completely honest with me. I’m not going to lie I was hysterical, in fact I had my first panic attack.

That Wednesday she called me crying and said “Cori, the doctors said it doesn’t look good, that they don’t know if treatment will work for me, and that I might pass away today. Will you please come up here”….I lost it. I was crying so hard that I was throwing up. I didn’t know how to handle a situation like this. I had never dealt with death before, and I wasn’t prepared to handle it now. I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to compose myself in order to go to the hospital. But I called my mom and she told me that I had to be strong for her…her exact words were “A cancer patient does not want to be treated like a cancer patient.” she told me to go in there and treat her as Lauren, not as Lauren with cancer. So I composed myself as much as I could and I went to the hospital. When I got there her family gave us a minute alone. She told me that they said she could start chemo but that she was refusing it because her biggest fear was loosing her hair. I told her what I thought about that and encouraged her to start the treatments, but ultimately it was Dillion, her boyfriend that talked her into doing it.

The doctors had done a scan on Lauren and had found 9 tumors in her lungs, one being the size of a grapefruit, wrapped around her bronchial tubes. She had less than a straws worth of room to breathe through. But when they started the chemo, it began working right away. Her tumors were shrinking and she could breathe better. It was a miracle!!! The first of many. As the months went on she got better and better, except for the being sick from treatments. The doctors didn’t know why the treatments were working, they did not think she would leave that hospital alive. But Lauren told her mom “I got this”, and she showed us what true courage was. She did everything with a smile, very few tears came from her eyes.

In an effort to keep everyone updated about Lauren’s condition, I made a group page on Facebook. I just added all of her friends and posted what was going on. I had no idea what this would turn into. Within 2 weeks of starting the group there was over 3,000 members, and NBC wanted to do a story on her. People were just blown away by her story. This 20 year old woman, with a life threatening disease had the spirit of an angel. She was so positive and bubbly and excited to see everyone and ask them how they were doing. It was an incredible thing to witness.

Throughout all of her treatment Lauren had many extraordinary things happen to her. The first of which was that Tim Halperin from American Idol called her and told her that he was going to come to the hospital and serenade her! Then Lyle Lovett called her…a lot! He just loved Lauren and wanted to know how she was doing! He even had her as a special guest and dedicated a song to her on stage when he did a concert in Dallas. On Easter she got a HUGE surprise…the door bell rang and when she came to the door, Steve-O from Jackass was standing there. She told me she was SO excited she couldn’t hide it! But the most extraordinary thing that happened to Lauren, was the person that she blossomed into. The person she was destined to be. A ray of Sunshine in so many people’s lives.

In September Lauren was put in remission, just a month before her 21st birthday. The day she told me I couldn’t hold back the tears of happiness. I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I had a hard time focusing. On her 21st birthday she had a huge “Monster Mash” costume party (her favorite holiday is Halloween). That party was the dream party she had talked about for as long as I had known her. There was a DJ, a live band, beer pong, a ton of people having a good time, and her family. Everyone had a ball! What everyone didn’t know was the pain that Lauren was hiding behind her smile. She knew this battle wasn’t over. She felt it in her gut, literally. She was having so much pain in her stomach and trouble breathing that she could barely walk. When she went to the clinic to try and figure out what was wrong they just said she was constipated and that the pneumonitis she developed from radiation was making it hard for her to breathe.

On the Friday night a week after her birthday, I met her at Love Shack with her dad and sister. She asked me to take her home early because she was in a lot of pain. When we tried to walk to the car she couldn’t even make it there, I had to pull the car around to get her. She couldn’t breathe. I called my mom (whom is an RN) and asked her if I needed to take her to the ER, she advised me that I should take her right away. When we got there, Lauren really began to panic. I think she knew something was really wrong. I stayed with her until her dad got there with his stuff to stay the night. The last thing I heard that night was that they had found pneumonia in her lungs. From that point on things just continued to go down hill. I’m not really sure what was going on, all I know is that there was an infection and fluid had filled her lungs. They could not preform a procedure on her to get the fluid out because she was not strong enough to do so. She could not breathe well enough.

The next Friday Lauren text me and said “You might want to come to the hospital, the doctors found some stuff out and I want you to be here when they tell my family”… soon as I stepped in that room I knew what the doctor was going to tell us. I began to weep. He proceeded to tell us that Lauren had maybe a week to live, that there was medically nothing they could do for her now. As he spoke these words I felt in a state of panic, I had another panic attack in the middle of him telling us everything. I had to leave the room and a friend of mine took me to the bathroom in the hospital where I hid in a shower for a good hour, trying to compose myself and catch my breath. I wrote Lauren a letter telling her how much I loved her and put some inside jokes in it. I’m glad she was able to read it.

That Saturday everyone and their mom came to say their farewells to Lauren. When I got my turn to go in the room that day I gave her a big hug and let her know that she was my best friend and that no one would ever replace her. She said to me “Remember the promise I made you, I’m not going anywhere, I will always be here with you” That night she went into a coma and was down to 4 breaths a minute. The next day they removed her breathing apparatus to let her pass on but 45 minutes later she woke up out of the coma. For the rest of that day and the next day Lauren would come in and out and talk to people. She said she was on a “rampage of love” and kept telling us how happy she was. When she had first woken up she asked her mom “Why am I in the hospital? I was having so much fun, I want to go back” she also said how beautiful heaven was, and told her aunt that she should never be scared to die, it’s beautiful. She let everyone know how much she loved them and that she was happy. She wanted to go on her own terms. On Halloween, which was Monday, they took her hospital bed outside on the patio and threw her a little party. She gave people lots of laughs, and closure for many.

On Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:11 am Lauren’s breathing apparatus was removed. She was again in a coma at this point. But right before she took her final breath she opened her eyes, looked straight at her mom, and smiled. She passed onto her next life a few minutes later. She passed with love, and peace. She did it her way. Although it has been extremely hard, and I cry every day. I am happy to know that she is no longer in pain and that she is happy in heaven.

Before she passed she requested that everyone wear pink and glitter to her celebration of life service….it was a sea of pink that day. So many people showed up to remember this beautiful person they had all come to know. People that didn’t even know her but had heard her story came to celebrate with us. The service was perfect, so Lauren. We could all feel her there with us.

I miss her every day but I know she is still here with us. And I will make sure that her story NEVER dies. Long Live Lala!"

Well, Hello there!

Well, well....I finally get to do something I love, which is write down all of my thoughts and hopes so that anyone who wants can read it and either gain something from it, or learn how crazy I am....haha!

It has been so long since my last blog. November 1st, actually. And lots and lots of stuff has happened since then! I won't list it all...don't want this blog to turn into a novel!

Needless to say, I have been beyond busy. Life always seems to become jam packed from Thanksgiving through New Year's. I have struggled a lot with my ability to have time to do things that matter....things that make a difference in lives of others. I always feel like my life is simply wasting time, day by day.....being nothing but busy. Whether it's homework, running kids to their various activities, doing what it takes to please everyone or bending over backwards to make sure everything for everyone is completely taken care has me exhausted. It seems as though the only break I get is when my body gets sick and I have no other choice but to stop and rest. I absolutely loved and need many messages given to me this week!!
One was this....."That when you need a break, - take a break. You will often find that the world does not crumble when you are resting. Others will move in to take care of those details that you think cannot be done without you."

How necessary was this for me to hear??? VERY!!!! Why is it in our female DNA to think we are the only ones who will ever do things the right way??? We take on so much and then wonder why we are so busy all the time??? But think we have to do it all because we are the only ones who can!! This is a trait I wish would just disappear!

The other was given to me by a very precious friend of mine, who when I explained my busy-ness.....gave me a different perspective. She told me this...

"you being busy with your precious growing family IS God- oriented. This is the job He blessed you with, and it only brings honor to Him for you to make them happy, and make yourself happy. All too soon they will be grown and away from home. So, don't kick yourself for your busy-ness. I really deep down in my heart believe that is God's job for you. So, you keep loving it, keep doing what you're doing, kay? Your thankfulness and blessed feeling make God's heart happy."

So in the busy-ness of life that us mom's always seem to get ourselves into, remember these words. I know they blessed me tremendously and I hope they bless you too!! With all of the loss and sickness I have experienced over the past couple of years....I am determined to complete the God-given tasks before my life is over. I know that when I die, I want to have made a difference in others lives. I want to have done something that is bigger than myself. And I know that season will come, but for now...I am in the exact season that God wants me in. I just need to enjoy it, appreciate it, be humble in it, and love others as much as I possibly can!!

Love to you all!!!

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