Walmart Grocery – My New Found Love

Last week I tried the new grocery service offered by Walmart called Walmart Grocery. Oh my goodness, I think it is a match made in heaven!  (P.S. that link right there contains a coupon for $10 off your first order if you want to try it too!)

Here is how Walmart Grocery works:

  • Go here, sign up for an account and add items to your cart. With Walmart Grocery you don’t only have to buy groceries! School supplies, beauty products and more are options too!
  • Check out and choose a designated pick-up time (there will be time slots such as 2-3 pm). They offer delivery (for a fee) in some areas but not in my area yet.
  • On the day/time you’ve chosen head to your Walmart and park in the designated spots for grocery pickup (located on the right hand side of most stores).unnamed
  • When you arrive call them (you’ll be given the number of your store’s grocery pickup line at checkout) and they’ll be out with your groceries in just a few minutes! There is no fee for the service and no tipping allowed. There is also no monthly or annual subscription fees and they do not charge any markups on their items! Just like that you’ve done your grocery shopping and can head back home!

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This employee came out with my groceries in this cart just minutes after I arrived and loaded them into my car for me before heading back in! I would call that good customer service!

Three things I love about Walmart Grocery:

  1. If you have young children you know how stressful it is to grocery shop with them in tow! My kids are often either complaining, running around the store, or whining for me to buy them a certain something whenever I go shopping. With Walmart Grocery I can order online the night before and then, while I’m out running errands the next day just stop by Walmart to pickup my groceries on the way home. Doesn’t matter if I have the kids with me or not because they’ll all stay in the car anyways. Avoid dragging them into the store with me and still get my grocery shopping done? Yes please!
  2.  Ummmm, hello? Shopping online in the peace and quiet of my own home while my kids are sleeping and I’m in my pjs. Sounds heavenly to me! Shopping online without kids hanging all over me allows me to actually focus on the items I’m trying to buy and figure out what is the best deal for the amount and what I actually need. When the kids are with me I usually just throw in the cart whatever I see first to try and make the trip as short as possible. For instance, when I put together my order last week I ordered basil leaves. When I searched for basil leaves all the different brands came up on the page allowing me to quickly see what was the cheapest/best deal and add it to my cart. It took like a minute. Have you ever been able to find the cheapest spices at Walmart that quickly?!? Usually I’m standing for several minutes in the spice aisle before I even find the spice I’m looking for, let alone figure out which one is the best deal!
  3. Ordering online allowed me to buy ONLY what I needed and keep an eye on my final bill. If you’re trying to stick to a budget it’s hard to add up your groceries as you go when shopping in store (especially with kids!). With this service, I knew what my final bill was going to be before I even checked out, allowing me to put back or add items as needed. Also, by shopping online I avoided adding enticing looking items to my cart on the whim as I am prone to do. 😉

Oh, and because it was my first time using the service they even gave me a goodie bag as a thank you! How cool is that!?

I had a great experience with the service and will definitely be using it again and again. I’m hooked! I actually do a lot of my shopping at Aldi because they have great prices on fruits and veggies but I can’t get everything I need there so I also have to make a weekly trip to Walmart – and this is definitely how I’ll be doing it from now on!

If you’d like to try it out for yourself and see if you love it as much as I do here’s a code that will give you $10 off your first order: $10 off!  Try it out and come back and let me know what you think!!

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The Day I Was Accused of Copying a Coupon

A few months ago I was shopping at Wal-Mart and had a cart full of groceries as well as three children in tow. (Yes, shopping with three children is a chaotic adventure that is another post in and of itself.) Before paying I handed the cashier two coupons I wanted to use. They were two of the same coupon. Low and behold they wouldn’t scan. They were ones I had printed off line and I often seem to have trouble with those type. Usually stores will just type them in manually and move on.

But not this time. This time the cashier called over her manager who came in a huff, irritated to be bothered. She glanced at the coupons for a few seconds and then said, “These won’t work. You copied them.” I copied them? It took me a while to register what she meant and by that time I just mumbled something, asked the cashier to remove the items and got my antsy kids out of there as fast as I could. But later her accusations really started to bother me.

I copied them? Doesn’t that lady know that you can print two of the same coupon from each computer and that just because I had two identical coupons it didn’t mean I copied them? (I went home later that day and saw that each of the coupons had a different bar-code printed on them. Wish I would have noticed that in the store!) I have been couponing for almost 10 years. I am not an extreme couponer by ANY means. I mean, that day at Wal-Mart I had a cart packed full of groceries and only had 2 coupons. I do enjoy combining coupons with weekly sales and getting good deals but I don’t stress out about using one on everything I buy. But hear me say this: Never in almost 10 years of couponing have I EVER copied a coupon! It’s illegal!!

The more I thought about the manager’s words, the more insulted I felt. I had done nothing wrong, I had simply tried to use coupons that I had legitimately printed off my computer yet I was so upset that she would accuse me of such a thing. Then I thought about this… Sure I’ve never copied a coupon, but what other tiny little sinful actions have I done? Actions that hide under the guise of an “innocent half-truth” or a “little white lie” when in reality they are just plain sin? Integrity is a character trait that I so badly want to uphold in my life and yet in my humanness I fail more often than I’d like. The world’s version of honesty and integrity is far removed from God’s and we need to make sure we are constantly aligning our thoughts with God’s and upholding His standards (not the world’s)! From coupons to completing our taxes and everything in between we need to live a life of honesty. It’s not always easy to do and sometimes it seems like we could get ahead if we didn’t hold such high standards. But it doesn’t work. God does not honor deceit.

Copying a coupon is not the end of the world. Trust me, I know there are much bigger issues at hand in the world today. But what those coupons helped me remember is that God desires integrity from us even in the smallest details of our lives. As Christians, we should live lives that point non-believers to the Lord by our actions. Let’s rise up and be different than the rest of the world. Let’s be a reflection of Christ in our high standards, integrity, and honesty. It starts with the little things…like coupons.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

How To Keep a Clean House in 20-30 Minutes a Day

I’m generally an all or nothing type person. When I start a project I like to finish it as soon as I can. I don’t like starting something new until I’ve finished up what I started earlier. This personality trait has, for all of my adult years, carried over into how I clean my house. For years my cleaning schedule has gone like this: 1.) wait until the house gets dirty enough that I can’t stand it anymore (which isn’t long…I’m a neat freak) 2.) spend the whole day cleaning the entire house from top to bottom 3.) crawl into bed at night exhausted with dry hands and a sore back.

That schedule worked ok for a while and I’ll admit there is something so soothing about having your whole house clean at once. But, let’s face it… with kids the whole house stays clean for a total of about 5 minutes before something’s messy again. Plus, it was getting harder and harder for me to find a day where I could devote 5+ hours just to cleaning my house. I pay (too much) attention to detail when I clean and also end up sorting, rearranging, putting things away while I clean. That, coupled with lots of interruptions from the children, made for very long days of cleaning (yes, they do help me with cleaning but their “help” often creates more clean up for me!).

But everything has changed! You guys…. I have found a solution! I have changed my cleaning habits from a project into a practice. I’ve implemented THE TWO WEEK CLEANING SCHEDULE! It totally goes against my grain but I have gotten into the routine of it and I am loving it! All it takes is about 20 -30 minutes of cleaning a day. And the good thing is…my house always feels clean!

Ok so you may have seen people post before about how they clean one area of their house each day of the week and then they always have a clean house. Yea, well, that sounds good in theory… but cleaning each part of my house every week is just too much for me (honest truth). And, while some areas of the house could use a cleaning once a week, there are many areas that I think do just fine with a cleaning every two weeks. So that’s what I do. I choose one area of the house to clean each day and complete the whole house over a two week period. Here’s my sample schedule:

Week One:

Monday: Vacuum
Tuesday: Deep clean kitchen
Wednesday: Master bathroom
Thursday: Guest bathroom

Week Two:

Monday: Empty trash throughout house, clean windows (not all my windows but things like the slider and back door which the kids touch)
Tuesday: Dust
Wednesday: Sweep
Thursday: Mop

I have chosen not to clean on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because I like to have the weekends free and I also like to have some extra days in case one day I just can’t fit in the time to clean. I also do laundry on the weekends and meal prep. But if you have a larger house or more areas to clean you can always add some or all of those days to spread out the work. Also once a month on a Friday or Saturday I do something that only needs to be done once every couple of months like windows, blinds, ceiling fans, and baseboards. As a side note, this schedule does not include things like dishes, picking up toys, putting away clothes, vacuuming or sweeping up spills and messes, etc. These are things that I do on a daily basis and don’t need to add to my cleaning schedule. I will also swipe the toilet or wipe down the bathroom sink real quick if need be in between cleaning days. This list is just for the more scheduled deep cleanings, not the quick things I do daily.

The beauty of a schedule like this is you can customize it however you like! You can do a little something every day of the week or cut it down to just 3 days a week. You can clean the bathrooms once a week instead of once every two weeks if yours get dirty quicker (I’ll admit they probably do need it but I just hate cleaning bathrooms so I figure once every 2 weeks is enough!). If your dog sheds and you need to vacuum every day then add vacuuming along with something else to your schedule. The only carpet we have is in our bedrooms so I don’t need to vacuum as often. The key is, don’t overload the schedule! If your cleaning is going to take more than 20-30 minutes you probably aren’t going to get to it each and every day because it’s too time consuming. You want short, quick jobs that you can accomplish quickly and that you won’t be able to talk yourself out of.

I’ve been loving my two week cleaning schedule so far and it’s taken alot of stress off of me as I know that at any given time most areas of my house are clean. What about you? What methods of cleaning work for you? What household chore do you absolutely hate to do? I’d love to hear!

 

"If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no"

So I just realized that I didn’t post any blog posts in December. Nadda. Zero. Zilch. Oh well!

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December was a great month for us. Just busy! The kids are at such fun ages and it made Christmas such a magical time this year! But since they’re getting older now we’ve also added more activities to our plate during the holiday season. Isaiah had parties at school and a basketball performance at the half time show of a local basketball game. Eloise had her first ballet recital. We saw Santa at several events. We took one last trip to SeaWorld before our season passes expired (WOW!! SeaWorld at Christmas time was AMAZING! Even though we’re not buying season passes again for 2016 we’re still planning to try and make it there at Christmas time again. Truly magical!). We stayed up late looking at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods. We spent one evening at Adventure Landing for WinterFest. We crammed in as many Christmas movies as we could. We moved our Elf on the Shelf (“Elfis”) around the house every night while the kids were asleep and tried to come up with something creative for him to be doing the next day (man that’s stressful!!).

We hung Christmas lights on the outside of our house for the first time ever (and then (after hanging up 5 strands) realized we didn’t’ have enough to go all the way around the house so we tried to buy more… and then found out that they were out of stock at all the stores and were being discontinued (thanks Target!)… so, since we didn’t want to buy 10 completely new sets (because just 5 new ones wouldn’t match the 5 we already had) and since by this time it was just a week before Christmas, we just decided to get back up on the roof and take them all down. And…the story gets better. When we took them down we put them in a garbage bag and set them in the garage (why did we do that?!?)….and then a week later accidentally threw away the garbage bag full of 5 strands of perfectly good icicle lights (bangs head on table). Yea, that was one of our Christmas adventures I’d rather not remember!). We read the Christmas story several times and and sang to lots of Christmas music. Drew and his dad spent Christmas Eve (after our Christmas Eve service) setting up the new trampoline we bought the kids so they would be surprised on Christmas day. We made a gingerbread house, Christmas cookies, crafts, and decorated the house. Not to mention buying all the gifts for friends and family which rests pretty much solely on my shoulders. We had alot of late nights and early mornings. It was a busy month for sure!

And now I’m just focusing on rest. I usually don’t add too much to my plate but this holiday season I feel like I did. I’m usually good about putting up boundaries. About saying no when I need to. About declining a play date or forgoing an event if it’s just too much. But as 2016 is beginning I want to refocus on this. I want to make sure that I go all in on what GOD is calling me passionately to and weed out everything else that just creates busyness. If it’s not an emphatic YES, then I want to say no. Of course ministry and serving sometimes need to be done whether we feel like it or not and, if God is calling me to it, it needs to go under the emphatic YES category. I’m talking about saying no to things that I add to my plate that are simply things I want to do or even feel compelled to do. I want to say no to those things so that I can have room to say yes to more important things.

Have you ever heard of Jen Hatmaker? Oh my gosh. If you haven’t you totally need to look her up. Here is her blog. She is an amazing woman of God and an amazing speaker. I could really listen to her for hours. She is actually speaking at the IF Gathering (if you haven’t heard of that it’s so awesome too. Click the link!) in February and my mom and I are going to a broadcast of it at her church while we’re in Indiana visiting them later this month. I’m so excited!

Anyways, Jen posted this on her Facebook a few days ago and it exactly put into words what I want my year 2016 to be. I’ll just let you read this and I’ll slip out the door because, really, what more could I say?

 
“As you move into 2016 hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter the most, let me share the decision-making filter my agent Curtis always gives me:
“If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.”
So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn’t-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes?
NO. Nope.
No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity. I am so flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I am at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I’ve already committed my time and energy this year. I’ve loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x, y, and z this year, so as a family we’ve agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won’t be able to do more right now.
Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap to life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong…the hell yeses? ALL IN, BABY.”

Six Years as Mrs. Hutcheson

This post is going to be a bit sappy. But, to be fair, I hardly ever post mushy love posts and it’s my anniversary so cut me some slack. =)

Six years ago on August 7, 2009 I made the second best decision of my life – I married Drew (the very best decision of my life being to give it to Christ!). I had no idea how to be a wife, no idea what marriage was really like, no idea how to truly set aside my selfishness for the good of another person. But I jumped into marriage with both feet and faced the steep learning curve. Let me tell you, marriage is not for the faint of heart. Choosing to combine your life with someone for better or for worse is not an easy task considering the sinful state of human nature. But it’s worth the work because marriage can be refining, healing, beautiful, and fun!

God says that marriage is GOOD:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 

I’m so glad God gave me the good gift of Drew. Is he perfect? Nope. But he’s perfect for me. He is weak where I’m strong and he is strong where I’m weak. He balances me out and helps me think from a different perspective. In marriage it’s easy to get stuck on the little annoying things your spouse does. But a few years into our marriage I realized how silly it was to pick fights over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube (FYI: Drew and I now have our own SEPARATE tubes of toothpaste because we finally decided to just agree to disagree!!! =)). But seriously, I’d rather save up my energy to fight battles that really matter, like conquering sin with each other’s help or fighting through difficult life circumstances together.

We’ve done a lot in our six years of marriage. We’ve lived in two different countries, three states, and six different houses. We’ve had three children, completed an international adoption, and lived in Africa for a year. We have said hurtful things to each other and we have forgiven and been forgiven. We have had a blast together on numerous crazy adventures and we have laughed together till our sides hurt.

Interested in a healthy marriage? Listen to this:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

Colossians 3: 12-15

That’s a big pill to swallow!! But the closer to Christ we become the better we are able to love our spouse like this…. and it creates a sweet, sweet marriage.

I must say that my second year of marriage was better than my first, my third year was better than my second, my fourth year was better than my fifth, and my sixth year has been better than them all combined! Our marriage just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as we continue to learn each other in and out, as we face and overcome trials together, as we walk through valleys and as we rejoice on mountaintops together. There is no one else I would rather live this life with than my very best friend!

Engaged!
Married (we saved our first kiss for our wedding day!)
First Year – Isaiah was born a month and a half after our first anniversary. 
Second year!
Third year! Eloise joined our family!
Fourth year!
Fifth year! Olive joined our family!
And Sixth Year!

I love seeing how our family has grown, our love has strengthened, and our lives have changed in these six short years. And I look forward to the next 6 (and 16 and 60 years, God willing!!).

Grandma’s Funeral and The Time I Almost Missed My Plane

My blogging pattern is usually a reflection of what is going on in my life at the time. When things get quiet on the blog it usually means that my life is crazy, stressful, busy, or sad. That has been the case this past month.

A couple of years ago my Grandma Luckey was diagnosed with cancer. She had chemo and things looked ok for a while. Then, a few months ago, she started to go downhill fast. My Grandma was in Michigan so my parents (who live in Indiana) kept me updated by phone. Slowly we came to the realization that my Grandma wasn’t going to recover this time. On Saturday, July 11, my mom called and told me that Hospice said Grandma had probably 8-48 hours to live. On Sunday I booked a last minute plane ticket for me and Olive to fly to Michigan that Tuesday. Then I scrambled to find people to watch Isaiah and Eloise, cancelled all the doctors appointments the kids had scheduled the following week, and prepared meals for Drew to eat while I was gone. Everything fell into place and I prayed that my Grandma would still be alive when I got to Michigan so that I could say goodbye one last time.

Grandma getting chemo several months ago.

On Tuesday Drew took off work early to bring me to the airport. I flew out of Orlando, about 2.5 hours away. We didn’t leave much extra time for any unexpected delays in getting there as Drew couldn’t take off any earlier than he did. I was nervous about cutting it so close but tried not to worry. Well, about half way into our trip I started to worry!! We suddenly ran into STAND STILL traffic on the high way. After doing some research on my phone (don’t you love technology these days!??!) I found out that there was an accident ahead…. I also found out that there were miles of cars lined up in front of us. This was not going to be a short wait.

As the minutes ticked by and we crawled forward little by little, I began to panic! Olive started getting antsy in the back seat which only added to my stress level. Drew and I could only wait and pray that I would make my flight. After an hour in traffic we FINALLY started to move again. And boy did we move! Let’s just say that Drew went a little above the speed limit!! When we finally pulled into the airport I was nervous and shakey. And I had only THIRTY minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. I grabbed Olive, the stroller, and my bags and rushed into the airport. Sorry, Drew, no time for a hug goodbye!

There was no line at the check-in counter, praise the Lord. But the lady who checked me in was not optimistic. “I don’t mean to be negative, but you’re not going to make it. They close the doors 15 minutes before the plane takes off,” she said as she pointed to the incredibly long line that I would have to pass through in order to get through security and to the terminals. “Well, I’m going to try,” I said as I took off running. Thankfully I didn’t have any bags to check or it probably would have taken just a few minute too long. I packed light and only took a carry-on!

By the time I got to the security line I was sweating and shaking like a mad woman. “PLEASE, I HAVE to get on my flight. I HAVE to get to my Grandma’s funeral” I sobbed as I handed the gentleman at the beginning of the security checkpoint line my boarding pass and ID (I didn’t have time to explain that she hadn’t passed away yet but that I was trying to make it there in time to see her alive AND to be there for her funeral….it was just too long to say…lol). The LORD was in the details because He caused the man to have compassion on me and he directed me over to a VIP line which was 10 times shorter! Praise the Lord!

Have you ever flown on an airplane? You know the drill. Take off your shoes, empty your pockets, take out your baggy of liquids. I hurriedly and shakily did all this, looking down at my phone and seeing that I had 20 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart….and FIVE minute before the lady at the check in counter had told me they would close the doors! My perfectly straightened hair was now all kinky, drenched with sweat. I felt like I was going to pass out. Drew, who was waiting to see if I would make the flight before driving home, texted me if I was good to go. I didn’t have much time but texted back NO. I was so frazzled I couldn’t get the stroller collapsed and for a second I seriously thought that darn thing was going to prevent me from getting on that plane. I finally just told the gentleman that I could NOT get the thing collapsed and that I was just going to have to push it through the detector instead of putting it on the belt. He took pity upon my tears and my shaky hands (and probably thought I was loony) and let me push it through. Olive was FREAKING out at my behavior and would not walk through the detector on her own. Every second of a delay made me think more and more that I wasn’t going to make it.

After I made it through the detector and got Olive to walk through I started putting back on our shoes and repacking my bags….and noticed that my diaper bag had been set aside for additional screening. COME ON!! “PLEASE do it quickly. I NEED to make my flight!” I told the lady (again, with tears running down my cheeks). Thankfully she did work quickly. She just did a quick check on Olive’s sippie cup and when she was done I grabbed the bag and RAN!

I had to take a tram after that to get to my terminal. By the grace of God a tram arrived within a few seconds and I hopped on. A man on the tram asked me if I was ok, he probably thought I needed psychiatric help!! As the tram got closer to the terminal I could SEE my plane!!!! I started to feel hopeful that I was going to make it. I got off the tram and RAN to my gate – Gate #35. Thankfully I had a stroller so I didn’t have to run while holding Olive, my bag, and the diaper bag. She rolled along smoothly in the stroller!

When I got to the gate my heart sank. It was closed and empty. I rested my arm on the check in counter and cried. An employee came over and asked if I was ok. “I HAVE to get on that plane. Please, let me on. I HAVE to get on” I sobbed. He smiled, “Are you heading to Chicago? You’re at the wrong gate. It’s gate 34 behind you and…. they’re still boarding.” =) I felt like kissing that man (sorry Drew!). I looked behind me and HALLELUJAH! He was right! They were still boarding MY flight! I got in the line and was the second to the last person to board. I called Drew and told him to head on home! Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus! I have never before in my life been so relived to make it on a plane. I was going to see my Grandma!!

Finally on the plane! What a glorious feeling!
This photo was actually taken in the airport on our way BACK from Chicago. There was absolutely NO time to take pictures in the airport on the way there. Haha. =) 

I arrived in Chicago safe and sound and stayed with my parents in Indiana. The next day we drove to Michigan to see my Grandma. It was truly heartbreaking to see her in the condition she was in. She was sleeping most of my visit but she did come to enough at one point to recognize that I was there and even said, “Oh, hi Amber.” That alone was worth the cost of a last minute plate flight and a stressful trip. Through tears, I was able to see and touch my Grandma one last time. I was able to kiss her forehead and hold her hand one last time. One last time I was able to tell her that I love her and am thankful for all the wonderful memories we have together. I was able to say goodbye.

The family had an early 80th birthday party for Grandma exactly one week before she died. This is my Grandpa and Grandma at the party. 

My Grandma had a strong will to live and fought hard. She held on much longer than anyone thought. I went and saw her again on Saturday but this time she didn’t move or even open her eyes. We knew the end was near. And early Sunday morning, the Lord took her to Heaven. She met Jesus face to face on July 19th, 2015 – exactly one month before her 80th birthday. Oh the joy and pain mixed together in that moment.

This was taken a year and half ago but here is Grandpa and Grandma with many (but not all!) of their grandchildren. 
And several (but not ALL) of their great grandchildren!

I was scheduled to come home on Wednesday but I ended up changing my flight so that I could be there a few days longer and be there for Grandma’s funeral. That was a very hard and sad day but I am so glad that I could be with my family and friends during that difficult time. I come from a very close knit family. My Grandpa and Grandma got married when my Grandma was only 16 years old! They have 8 children (plus spouses), 33 grandchildren (plus some spouses), and 25 great grandchildren (with more to come)!! I love this big, beautiful Luckey family!!

This is the Luckey family members at the burial where we said our last goodbyes to Grandma. 

Grandma, you have left behind a wonderful, godly legacy of men and woman who will follow the Lord behind you. It was a sad, tearful goodbye but one day we know we will rejoice again with you in Heaven. I love you, Grandma. See you later!

(Oh, and my flight back home was extremely uneventful….Praise the Lord!) =)

*Grandma’s obituary can be found here*

Do What Makes You Oh-So Happy (Not)

I came across this cute little sign last week while I was browsing the decorations aisle at Target (you know, because I go down that aisle every time I go to Target…). The sign says, “do what makes you oh-so happy”. And as soon as I saw it, I immediately got defensive and thought, “That’s not true! Life is not about doing what makes us happy!”

Even God did and does things that don’t necessarily make Him happy…. sending Jesus to die on the cross comes to mind. God sent Jesus (and He went willingly) to the cross but it was not with happiness over His painful death. It was with deep sorrow that He had to do this to save His creation in the first place. Also, I think about the consequences the Lord bestows upon humans because of sin. I don’t believe He punishes us with happiness but instead with sadness over our disobedience, just as I don’t discipline my children with joy but with grief over the choices they’ve made. God does things that are just and right, not necessarily things that always make Him (or us) happy.

You see, life isn’t really about happiness at all. Sure there will be plenty of happy times! God has given us {SO MANY THINGS} to bring us JOY in this life!!! And because we are children of God, I believe our Father desires happiness for us just as you and I do for our children. But the Bible surely doesn’t teach Christians to do whatever makes them happy. There are many things I can think of that would be fun and would make me super happy but I know, without a doubt, would be against the Word of God. When we live our lives trying to do whatever it takes to make us “oh-so happy” we often end up oh-so miserable in a life of sin. Chasing worldly happiness eventually comes up empty. Because only living a life in obedience to Christ can bring deep, everlasting joy and happiness.

I’d rather do what honors the Lord in the long run than what make me oh-so happy in the moment. How about you?

Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by Drew on February 27, 2012. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.


Because Father’s Day is just around the corner, I thought that this Throw Back Thursday Post should honor one of the best dad’s I know – my husband! In looking through our old blog for a TBT post for today I came across this post where Drew listed some of the sayings that he lives by and teaches his kids. I can attest that Drew truly is a man of sayings. He is currently teaching the kids The Two P’s – Patience and Perseverance. Both Isaiah and Eloise know The Two P’s and what they mean!

I am incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful man as my husband and the father of my children. I am so thankful for the time that he invests in training our children in the Lord and how he aims to leave them a godly legacy. I’m so proud of that man! 

Happy Father’s Day!


Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

Below is my collection thus far of some quotes, one-liners, and their explanation (if need be) I have collected from others over the years and or have created from something I’ve learned. I want to instill these into my children.
“Envy is the seed of discontentment; it gives birth to chaos!” – From James 3:16
“Teach-ability is the posture of humility.”
“You can have the best jam in town, but if you spread it on too thin, the toast is no good.” – Stewart Hamrick, on spreading yourself too thin in life.
“God will not protect you from anything he will perfect you through.” – Bill Muntz on losing his toddler son to a drowning accident.
“Per-se-vere is a three syllable word. Just as ‘life’.” Referring to life being birth, living, and dying and that trials will come. But we’re to persevere well through all 3 eras.
“Unresolved anger is like bad coffee.” Referring to unresolved anger or bitterness being like coffee on the burner for too long. If you drink pop over coffee, then it’s like pop that’s gone flat.
“Discipline is doing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of how you feel.” – Ron Sauer, Greek Prof at Moody Bible Institute
“Cheer for the team, even in defeat.” – On loyalty
“Do > Say.” – On James 1, being a person of action makes for more influence than merely a person of words.
“Be offensive towards defensiveness.” – Referring to being a person who takes ownership of mistakes.

“Who cares if God doesn’t?” – On learning in life what matters to the Lord.

Leaving a legacy our children will be proud to carry on is a more difficult feat to conquer than ever. Amidst so many distractions our world promotes today, it is more of a sheer fight to focus on what really matters most.

You can easily look at one’s Twitter or Facebook page and easily see where their priorities are. No, I’m not trying to play the role of judge nor cirtic. I just often find many disclosing things virally which are a tad weightless and vain. Do you agree? (And I myself have been victim of this.)



Having said this, one thing I have come to want to be known for by Isaiah and future children, as well as friends and family, is to be a man of sayings for the Man of sorrows. Simply meaning, I want to have several expressions, phrases, figure of speech which I collect or create which teach a life-lesson, a principal, or a token of character. They don’t have to be from the Bible or even from a Christian. But, I would love for the greater portion of them to help me and those who hear me say them live life well, and in turn, reflect the work God has done in me through his cultivating grace.

Trying to conquer fixing the sink together.

As I am a young father, I write this post with other young dads, older dads, and future ones in mind. As we’re all terminal, and as life is such a blink, seemingly smoke on a mirror, it will be what we did and were known for which lives on following our passing. What is so awesome is that even our words are seeds which give birth to action in the lives of others. Hence, what we say and how we say it hold great potential in leading others in how they may live. Therefore, I want to be known not merely for the things I do, but for what I say.

If you have any that you could add to the list or you say often, I’d like to know – so please share!

The Hutcheson Family’s Top Ten Best Moments of 2014

I’ve been a little MIA lately and I apologize! We moved into our new house the middle of December and a week later my parents and little sisters came for a visit! Christmas with them was wonderful and I will try to post some Holiday pictures soon. They left yesterday and now I’m back to trying to unpack and get settled in this new house!

I am feeling overwhelmed with all I have to do and have hardly had time to sit down, let alone blog. I had wanted to write a Christmas post and put up our Christmas card but never got to it! =( Drew’s hair is so long and I desperately need to cut it but haven’t had the time. My family is seriously living on Pop-Tarts and oranges as I try to pull it together enough to make meals! =) Life is crazy but I know it will settle down and soon enough we will be comfortable and at home in our new house. Anyways, I just wanted to pop in to wish you all a (belated) MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

God has been {SO} faithful to us over this past year and I wanted to take some time to post our top ten best moments of 2014. 
To God be the glory!

10. We vacationed at Myrtle Beach for the first time over the summer and had a great time with our extended family.
9. We realized how much we LOVE Chick-Fil-A now that we live near tons of them!
8. Drew finished his first semester of grad school!
7. Isaiah turned 4 years old! What a funny kid he is and always keeps us laughing!
6. Eloise turned 2 years old! This sweet little girl (with a big attitude!) is so snuggly and loving. We are so glad she’s in our family.
5. Drew and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. So thankful I have such a great partner who points me to the Lord as we navigate this crazy life together.
4. We moved to Florida! Drew never ever thought he’d move back to his hometown of Jacksonville but we are adjusting to life in the South and learning to make a home wherever we are!
3. We bought our very first home! We are so thankful for how far God has brought us since this time last year when Drew had no job and we had very little to our name. Only the Lord could bring us this far.
2. Sweet Olive Kay joined our family in April! Praise the Lord for a quick and easy delivery and a healthy baby. She brings so much joy into our lives!
1. Everywhere we went and in everything we did the Lord provided for our every need, going with us every step of the way.

Happy New Year!

 

Dear Tired Mama

Dear Tired Mama,

I know. I know your baby kept you up half the night. I know she wanted either a snack or a snuggle every two hours. I know your toddlers fought all day. I know it seems that you are constantly disciplining and not only do you constantly doubt that you are disciplining the “right way” but it seems that nothing you do or say seems to impact them anyways. I know the munchkins destroyed the house and you picked it up 9 times. I know they cried when they didn’t get their way. I know you did 5 loads of laundry, cleaned the toilet, and made dinner all while your children were ungrateful and wanted you to do more (like play with them…who has time for that?!). I know you have either been home alone all day with them and feel like you may go insane for lack of adult interaction or you have worked at a stressful job all day only to come home to more work on the home front. I know it seems like you are constantly wiping either a bottom or a nose. I know your children decide to fight and scream and desperately “NEED” you every time you are on the phone. I know your baby wants you to hold her just when you are trying to get something done. I know you always have to be watching to make sure she doesn’t play in the dog food or put a Lego in her mouth. You are always on guard. I know sometimes your sweet little ones won’t nap and don’t allow you to get anything done. I know sometimes you feel like you live in a tiny little kingdom controlled by an army that you made yourself! I know. I’ve been there. I’m there.

These days are tiring, but I am choosing not to let the difficulty of these days take away from their sweetness. Babies are only little for a while.

I remember when we brought our first child home and I felt like I could get nothing done. I was always looking for ways to get him to sleep longer or play on his own longer. Now, four years later, I look at him and wonder where time went?  I thought those sleepless nights and busy days would last forever. And yet somehow he’s so independent, so grown up. He sleeps soundlessly through the night and plays on his own during the day. He doesn’t need me as much as he used to.

Tired Mama, let them be little. Because they’re only that way for a while. In the blink of an eye they grow up. My oldest is only four and I know he has SOOO much more growing up to do. But I can already look back and realize that these years FLY by.

With my second I held her a little more. I cherished her sweet “babyness” a little more. I tried not to let the days slip by so fast. I rocked her a little longer at bed time. I told her I loved her a little more often.

With my third, now 5 months old, I admit that I let her sleep with me often at night. Sometimes, I just can’t bare to put her back in her bed. I take pictures of her sweet face sleeping on my chest. I trace her face with my finger, trying to memorize it’s baby softness. I start to cry if I think about her big siblings and how fast they have grown up, knowing she is doing the same thing.

Try and enjoy these days, Tired Mama. They will be gone before you know it. Kiss those sweet babies more often. Hold them a little longer at bed time. Don’t yell when they get out of bed for “a drink of water” and then “they have to go pee pee” and then “they need a snack.” They just love you so much they can’t bare to part with you at bed time. When your baby wants you to hold her constantly, strap on a baby carrier and go about your day. There will come a day when your “baby” doesn’t even want you to drop them off closer than one block away from school, let alone hold her all day! When she wakes up at night, of course there is nothing wrong with sleep training, but remember also to cherish those sweet times with just the two of you. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night.

There is scarcely anything more important in your life right now than raising your children. Your job IS incredible. You ARE making a difference in the lives of your children and impacting future generations to come. Be encouraged. Take heart. These days are long and tiring now but they won’t be forever. Make the most of your time with your children now because you can never ever EVER get these days back.

Some day you will look back on your life and evaluate it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m going to say, “I wish I had held my children less, made them grow up faster, and spent more time wishing away their childhood so that life could get easier.”

Go kiss your babies right now. Love on them. Enjoy them. Try not to stress so much over the little things. Try not to blow up when the days don’t go like you had planned. This is a season of life that will soon pass. Enjoy it while you can.

Love,

A Tired Mama

 

 

“So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while

 

 

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little”
-Let Them be Little by Billy Dean (redone by Lonestar)