"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." -Linda Wooten

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ministry Happens in the Mundane

I started this blog a few years ago - with the hopes that God would use me to encourage weary working mamas like myself.

I planned and brainstormed to write about topics that I felt were relevant and that, honestly, would draw readers in.

I kept a notebook full of series ideas. I had grand plans. And then I failed.

I would write - and plan - and write - and plan...and then I'd stop for a month or so.

And then the cycle would start over. I wanted people to come to my blog and leave changed. I wanted to make a difference. I, I, I.

I knew (and still know) that God has called me to this type of ministry. But when I failed on my blogging venture - I felt like my ministry was over. I mean - there isn't much ministering going on if I'm not writing something for people to be ministered by, right?!


There was - there is ministry going on. It's happening every morning as I make breakfast for my littles, as I tie shoes, pack backpacks and brush blond ringlets into ponytails.

Ministry happens when I choose to be gentle instead of yelling - and when I apologize for the times that I do yell. 

It's ministering when I put hot food on the table every evening - even when my body aches from a full day of work - when I greet my husband with a kiss, when we kneel to say bedtime prayers, when I clean up kids who get sick in the middle of the night and didn't quite make it to the bathroom.

Ministry happens in the mundane. 

Motherhood IS ministry. Working to be a Godly wife IS ministry. Being a good friend, offering a helping hand to someone in need - all those little things that we do every day are really making a HUGE impact for the kingdom.

No - I don't get 100 'likes' when I put a band-aid on a boo-boo. I don't get 'shares' when I offer someone my shopping cart in the grocery store. No one notices when I tuck that little note saying 'Mommy loves you' into the lunch box - but God sees. The heart of the recipient of those small acts of grace knows. 

I know - mama, I know - that these little mundane tasks that we do everyday can be exhausting - are often done in vain - and more often taken for granted.

Understand that what you do matters - you don't have to be Ann Voskamp or Lysa TerKeurst to have ministry. Don't feel like what you do for the kingdom is insignificant because your name isn't on a book or on the itinerary at a national conference. 

You are raising up arrows. 

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. 
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." 
Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

Let me start with this disclaimer - I am NOT a couponer! I wish I had that gift, but simply, that whole process frustrates me and I just don't have the storage space to start a stock pile (I wish!!) So I am not the most savvy shopper.

I cook most nights of the week - granted, there are some weeks when we have a lot of sandwiches and take out - typically, we have a home cooked meal at least 5 nights a week.

Meal planning has saved my sanity! I am not one of those that can just load up a grocery cart and wing it at dinner time each evening. I NEED to know what I'm making each night!! The organizing nerd in me cringes at the thought of spontaneity.

I meal plan on Thursdays and grocery shop on Friday or Saturday.

I have a folder full of recipes I have found online and a Taste of Home cookbook that I have found a ton of yummy recipes in.

But...Comfy In the Kitchen is absolutely my go-to for most of my recipes. Janelle even has an awesome meal plan on her blog that I reference ALOT!! I highly recommend her recipes. I have tried a ton of them and they always DELICIOUS!!

I created a cute "Collins Family Menu" in word that I update each week. I print out 2 copies - one gets posted on our refrigerator and I keep one in my home management binder.

I often cook enough on certain nights of the week to leftovers for the next night. Below is our menu for next week.

Date Night! :)

Chicken & Dumplins *click title for link to recipe
Pinto Beans
Crockpot Mac & Cheese *click title for link to recipe

Sunday night leftovers

Mini cheeseburgers *click title for link to recipe
Onion Rings

Tuesday night leftovers

Sandwiches or Take Out

Right now - we have soccer practice on Monday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday mornings - so I try to schedule leftovers for those evenings (we, often, aren't back home til 7:30ish).

(If it will help you - I would be happy to post my weekly menu to the blog with links to the recipes - just let me know by commenting below!!)

I try to use all natural or organic ingredients when possible. But let's be honest - I try to cook things my whole family will eat!!

I grocery shop one time a week. I try to buy all non-food items at Wal-Mart, Dollar General or Family Dollar.

I buy most of my food items at Wal-Mart, Food Lion and Aldi.

Ahhh, Aldi!! If you want to save money - this is the THE place to shop. The selection varies - so I make sure Aldi is my first stop, so I can move on to Wal-Mart or Food Lion for the items I can't find there. They have the BEST prices on produce and, surprisingly, carry ALOT of organic items. My kids love that we get to bag our own groceries too.

I will try to find a way to post a picture of the template I use for my menu and for grocery shopping...until then...

How do you meal plan? Where do you shop for the best deals on groceries?

Friday, February 20, 2015

When It All Goes Wrong...

It has been one of those days - the kind where you just want to shut yourself up in a room - cut the lights out and make the world disappear for a little while.

We were running late (as usual) - the girls were fighting, tattling and just driving me up the wall. I responded with yelling and threatening and complete chaos ensued. I rushed them to the car, I rushed them to put their seat belts on, I rushed them to school, I rushed them out of the car and the I rushed myself to work.

I unlocked my office door - thankful that I was, at least, the first one there - dropped my stuff beside my desk and started my morning.

Checked my email

Checked my to-do list

Checked my calendar

Checked my attitude...

Checked my phone

And all of these posts regarding Lent filled my Instagram feed. I sat there - feeling like a total failure! 

Here we are 40+ days out from the recognized crucifixion of our Savior and I am drowning in the mundane, every day, 'makes no eternal difference' madness.

I am side tracked, unfocused and missing the mark.

My priorities are totally out of order. For a minute I felt sorry for myself...and then I remembered...

We have brothers and sisters in Christ giving their lives up for Him - facing persecution every day - and living for Him despite the risk - and here we are...HERE I AM in America -

with freedom...

And we're restless, we're bitter, we're angry, we're rushing...why?

Because my jeans are snug and I've gain ANOTHER pound. Because the kids pick at their breakfast and at one another and I'm late for work. Because it's 5 degrees outside today and its inconvenient for me...and the list goes on...

Friends - I confess - my priorities are SO out of order. God often ends up at the bottom of my list - I put everything else, everyone else, first - I get frustrated, and upset and cry and at the end of my day I go crawling to Him, complaining about the mess I'm making of my life - when what I really need to do is start off my day in WORSHIP of the one true King.

Thanking Him for hanging on that cross and taking on My sin...

Thanking Him for conquering death...

Thanking Him for returning on that 3rd day - proving He is the one true Messiah - and offering us redemption for our ridiculous ways.

I am convicted and shamed with tears running down my face as these fingers desperately hunt for the keys on this keyboard.

I am feel like a farce - I write blog posts hoping to encourage you as a mom - today I want to encourage you as a child of God.

I, too, am guilty of putting husband, child, job and ministry first - when Jesus is the ONLY one who should hold first place in my heart.

So, during this Lenten season - I will spend more time at the foot of the cross. I will spend more time today - and each day hereafter - seeking His face first!

Will you move your focus to Him with me? Have you become distracted? What changes will you make in your life to seek God first?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Soup

 This potato soup is so EASY and everyone in my family 
(even my super picky Lillian) loves it!!

1 30 oz. bag of frozen, diced hash browns
1 32 oz. box of chicken broth
1 10 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (do NOT use fat free)
Bacon bits
1 package of dried Ranch dressing mix
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add frozen hash browns to a crock pot sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • Add in chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and small handful of bacon bits
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours
  • An hour before serving - add in cream cheese (cut into small cubes) and the packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
  • Mix a few times, while cooking, to get the cream cheese mixed in well
  • Top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits (to taste) when ready to serve!!
I like to serve this soup with salad and Pillsbury honey crescent rolls!

Winter Finally Arrived in the South

I apologize for my absence this week!! I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the past for days - and then, over night, an ice storm hit our area.

We spent today outside playing and sledding - so I have not gotten around to posting yet this week!!

I will be back this afternoon with our Tasty Tuesday recipe!! Believe me - it is worth the wait :)

Wednesday - I will post the next entry in the 'Managing Mama' series (that usually goes up on Mondays) and hope to get back into my somewhat normal blogging routine.

How is the weather in your area? I would love to actually see some snow before spring hits - but if the snow isn't going to come, bring on the warmer weather!!

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