Monday, February 24, 2014

Momma Monday - The Most Amazings Words My Mother Ever Told Me

So, today’s “Momma Monday” is dedicated to my amazing Mom, Jean Marie Seiwert. If you have been reading for a while, you know…I think my mom was pretty much one of the most amazing women to walk the face of this earth.  She has been gone now for over a year and a half, but there are words that she spoke to me often that I think of every single day, multiple times a day, those words are “Don’t be hateful.”  They are three simple words, but words that can change your life completely if you chose to employ them.

I feel like I could truly write a novel on these words…they can be used in so many situations.  I want to give you some examples from my life, and hopefully I will be able to convey just a small part of my heart and the way I honor my mom every single day.

In My Role as a Mom
Let’s face it, my beautiful, amazing, wonderful children are also ornery, inexperienced at life, and don’t like to listen to what I say.  So, there are moments in the day when I can become frustrated, and as much as I don’t want to, I can lose my temper pretty easy.  Enter Jean Marie…when those frustrations rise and I feel myself getting upset I truly do consciously make the effort to not be hateful towards my own children.  They don’t understand most of the time what they are doing and even if they do, it’s my job to not jump down their throat and flip out…it IS my job to talk to them and teach them.  It doesn’t mean I can’t be upset, but what I can do is calmly tell them why I am upset and what they could do differently.  Mind you, this works WAY better with Kolten than with McKinley, who is at the stage when you talk to her and say anything, she responds with, “YA!” – as much as that could comfort me to think she knows why I am talking about, previous experience as taught me otherwise. ;)
Kolten's attempt at taking a "selfie" of us all :)

In My Role as a Wife
I have explained this pretty well in my “L word” post (if you didn’t catch it, check it out here). However, what I just want to make sure that I do touch on is this is in two fold.  I will NOT publicly (on facebook or any other social media outlet or even over and over to friends and family) “vent” about Keith and what my get on my nerves or about a fight we may have had.  It’s just not going to help anything get resolved between Keith and I and it is not going to help anyone else truly know what is going on in our relationship , Keith is not there to tell his side, it’s just going to give them an obstructed view of Keith, which helps no one.  The second part is though that I will not be hateful TOWARDS Keith.  Everyone knows that when you are in an argument or tensions are high about a situation, things can be said that you very well may regret.  When it happens to me, I’m not kidding when I say I feel like I hear the words I my head directly from my mother’s mouth, “Lisa Marie, DON’T be hateful”.  
As a Sports Fan
Here is a good one, I’m serious too folks!  I am what some would say an “enthusiastic” college basketball fan - (that’s fancy talk for the fact that I yell, A LOT – I can’t even blame this one completely on my dad, my mom was HILARIOUS to watch sports with!) …I have that syndrome in which I believe that the teams can actually hear me through the TV! ;) It’s a completely true story that one time, before I was even pregnant with Kolten, during March Madness I was watching games at home while Keith was at work and I was yelling so loud during a KU game that I scared our dog into his kennel and he wouldn’t come out!  Something that I have learned over the past few years (as KU has done not so great on occasion and I have been humbled and WSU has done better and better), and I know this is a hard subject honestly for some people to comprehend, BUT…to be a fan of a team does not mean you have to be rude and hateful towards other teams!  Why in the world can’t being a fan just mean that you have incredible pride in YOUR team?? There is a difference in a little playful banter and such (some of my best friends are K-State fans and I live in UNI country up here in Iowa) but don’t be nasty.  There is no need to “Boo” at games and make fun of players because of hairstyles or anything like that…it’s not going to make your team play any better…on any given night, either  team can win…that’s the beauty of the game!

Keith and I at the WSU vs. UNI game in Cedar Falls in Feb 2014

  On Facebook
I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook about the idea that dirty laundry belongs in the laundry basket, not on Facebook, and I totally agree!  I am so truly thankful for Facebook…it allows me to stay connected to people back home and even get to know my new friends up here in Iowa a little more as well.  However, sometimes Facebook is used as a place to just spew negativity…whether it’s about current events happening in the world or people posting negative comments on other people’s posts.  I guess with this one, I think of two sets of words…”Is it Hateful?” then “Is it Helpful?”  Really, do the words I have to type or my “two cents” to add to a situation have anything to add that is going to be helpful?  I have been known to thrown in my own opinion just because I feel like it, but I know I don’t always appreciate it when someone else does it to me, so I try to be aware of those situations as much as possible.

For Myself in General
This one is a HUGE one and one that took me a long time to come around to.  This is probably the part that I could write on the longest, but I am going to try and keep it to two points.   I spent most of my life comparing myself to so many people around me that I almost literally made me sick…the thoughts that would run through my head on a daily basis were, “I will never be that skinny”, “My could never look that good”, “I will never make enough money to be able to afford that”, “They are so much better than I am”.  It took me 28 years (yes, this thought truly only came to me in the last year), to realize what my mom had told me all of those years was applicable most to ME!  I should not be hateful towards MYSELF!  When that thought finally became apparent, it literally changed my life.  I no longer felt the need or desire to try and impress other people or compare myself to them or their situations.  I began to focus on myself in order to improve myself to be what I wanted to be.  What I do want to be is a healthy, strong (literally and figuratively), supportive example of faith and encouragement for anyone and everyone around me.  When I focus on the good that I have done and everything that God has blessed me with, it’s incredible to truly see what else is possible in my life.  I am no longer hateful to myself and that makes an INCREDIBLE difference in every aspect of my life!

The 2nd part of this is truly the general point that I have taken away from my mother’s incredibly simple, but life changing words.  As I said before, she said to me, “Don’t be hateful.”  While it is not a direct translation, to me it is in the same realm of these amazing words from the Bible:

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” Matthew 7:12 (NLT)

Some refer to this as “The Golden Rule”; I like to refer to it as just simply TRUTH.  In any situation you are in, especially if it’s a difficult one, remember two things: Matthew 7:12 and Jean Marie’s words, “Don’t be hateful”…would you want someone to be hateful towards you?  I highly doubt you would say, “Yes, of course!”  It has helped me in so many situations!  To be honest, sometimes if you don’t want o be hateful, it means you have to be quite (I like to call it “The Thumper Approach” – If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all).  

I will be totally honest with you…each and every one of these things is a daily point of full on intention on my part.  Every day it gets easier and I am so very grateful for my mom in so many different ways, but the words, “Don’t be hateful” with be with me in my heart forever and I will pass them to my children and I know that Jean Marie is looking down, smiling and one day when I see her again, I will be able to tell her how much truly thankful I am!

Have a blessed day friends!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oooo...the "L" word! :)

So…there is this day coming up next Friday, some love it, some dread it…some think of it as just a dumb, made up “Holiday” that was designed just drive consumers to buy flowers and jewelry.  Whatever your view is on Valentine’s Day, the fact remains that for many it is a day that they set aside to truly show their significant others how much they mean to them, how much they love them.

I think love is a word that truly is used actually pretty lightly by some people.  I think I used it pretty lightly for a long time myself.  In the last few years I have really taken the time to truly reflect and find out to me, what it means to LOVE someone.  In the context of this post, I am talking about a romantic type of love, specifically the love I have for Keith, my husband.

On our Wedding Day - November 27, 2004
 When I started to look into it, I wanted to really have God at the center.  I wanted to know what God told me about love.  One of the best places I knew to start was 1 Corinthians 13, it’s what people commonly refer to as “the love verse”.  It has really helped me to fully understand to ME what love means.  So, I wanted to share it with you today! 

I wanted to take specifically verses 4-8 and show you how I honestly have reflected on them for myself.  You don’t have to agree with me, and you don’t have to believe what I believe.  I am lead by my heart and love to share my heart with others, so…enjoy!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient,
I do not need an immediate response to questions or immediate action to a request, I need to be patient (one of the hardest things for me on a daily basis!)

love is kind.
DO NOT say nasty things in any way, shape or form.  Not only TO Keith, but ABOUT Keith…I don’t need to and should not complain about him to others.  It IS my responsibility as his wife to talk to him if I have problems or concerns.  That is where solutions can be found, not in bad mouthing him to others. Be kind not only in words that are spoken, but thoughts as well!

It does not envy,
Honest truth and example, for a while when I started staying at home, I used to be jealous of the fact that he went out and got out of the house and had conversations with actual adults every day!  I love my children VERY much, but it was an adjustment to have more conversations with a 3 year old all day, every day.

it does not boast,
Ooooo…can I say….TOUGH ONE!!! Here it is…when I am right and he is wrong (when it happens, because one of the most amazing things about Keith, even if it is frustrating at times, is he is almost always right! Yes, I know I put it in writing on the internet and now it is documented for life – it’s true!)  BUT when it does happen, I do not need to and should not do a “happy dance” and make a huge spectacle to prove and relish in the fact that I was right. 

it is not proud.
I should not be too proud to admit when I was wrong either.  Along with the admitting, I can take it like a champ (yes – I am can be a CHAMPION at being wrong, it’s not always about winning) and move on.

It does not dishonor others,
This kind of goes back to being kind, but I try very hard to be conscious of what I am doing and saying around others because as Keith’s wife, I believe that it is FAR from my place to be disrespectful or dishonor him in any way. 

it is not self-seeking,
I do not need to look at and focus on what I need from Keith and I’s relationship.  I can tell him (because sometimes – not all, I am aware it is not a blanket statement – men need things to just be plain and simple, laid out and explained in plain English to what women want because we as women can tend to be a little cryptic sometimes, we all know it’s true.) what I am feeling, but I do not need to focus on myself, I need to focus on Keith and what I can do to be a better wife FOR HIM.

it is not easily angered,
Sometimes I feel like this specific part of this verse was written specifically says “All decendants of Lawrence Seiwert, please highlight this, underline it, and MEMORIZE THIS”.  I am completely joking of course…I do think that genetically I did get my “hot” temper from my father, but it’s MY temper and I am the one who can and should control it.  This one is probably the most hard to follow for me.  It’s a truly daily struggle, but I work very hard to try my best and that is the most I can do.  I will continue to work and seek God’s help and I know in time it will become easier, it has already!  

it keeps no record of wrongs.
When I first started thinking about this one, really truly thinking about it and what it meant, I won’t lie, I thought at first, “I can follow them all, but this one…I don’t know about this…” You know what??? It has taken me a LONG time and it is still a daily battle as well (really all of them are – I am human, that is what being a human is all about), but I can tell you with full honesty that this is the one that can be the MOST freeing and truly improve your relationship the most. When you are “wronged” in your relationship, LET IT GO!  I am not saying that you have to forget everything thing that has happened, you probably won’t ever forget.  That is also a part of being human, we don’t forget wrong doings - “Forgive and Forget”, I’m sorry, I don’t believe that actually exists.  You CAN however FORGIVE and let go.  Let go of the hard, ill, hurtful, sick, damaging feelings that are associated with the action and it will truly change your life.  I think I could write an entire post on this.  It has been truly life changing for me, it’s not something that is easy, and it’s something that many people never fully be able to grasp and practice, but I hope for you that you can take a look at your life and try, really try to make this a common practice.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
This one was kind of hard for me to wrap my head around at first.  What it came to mean for me at least, is that I do not relish or focus on the bad (evil) in my relationship; I focus on the good (truth).  I don’t need to let evil rule over my truth in knowing I chose Keith and he chose me and we made a commitment before each other, our friends and family and above all, God to our relationship.

It always protects,
I will protect Keith at all costs literally and figuratively.  I would lay my life down for him if it came to it and I will protect him and his name in the same way I talked about being kind and not dishonoring him, I will defend him and also not talk about him in negative ways to others.

always trusts,
I trust Keith.  I trust him in his word (what he tells me) and to lead our family and truly be the head of our household.  End of story.

always hopes,
I will NEVER lose faith in Keith and in the man that he is and can be.  He is absolutely amazing.  It has been proven, tested, and proven again that he is a true man of God and he is just incredible.  I will help him as his wife to be the best version of himself at all times.  That is what I know I can do for him as his wife and I count it as a privilege.
always perseveres.

Love never fails.
This is a HUGE one for me. I will always do my best to never fail Keith.  When I make a promise, I will follow through.  When I know he is relying on me to do something (even as small as make his lunch every day and set out his AdvoCare stuff for the next morning.  I do it every day, and there are nights that I forget…but I will not let myself go to sleep until I make that lunch and get everything set out for him. It is something I can do for him and he relies on, so I do it), I will always do everything in my power to follow through for him.  It is truly simple, but can me so very much.

So, like I said, in everything I talked about, I am talking about how I love Keith, my husband.  I want to add too, these are the ways that I love Keith, I am responsible for only myself to this point.  I am responsible for my actions, and what I do to show love.  I am not responsible for Keith and I am not holding count of what he does for me to show he loves me and compare it to the ways that I believe I can show love for him - there is no score card in loving someone.

This love is also a different type of love than the love I have for my friends and family, but every single one of these same truths apply in each situation.  The descriptions may be different, but the truth of love is the same. 

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day and if you have a special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with on Friday, that is truly wonderful…but don’t let that one day be the day you shower them and show them in every possible way how much they mean to you and how much you love them.  Do it every day (maybe just add in a special card on Valentine’s Day – and maybe dinner, dinner is nice too! ;))!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Uncomfortable comfort...what?!? my new (it's still been less than a year and I am still adjusting, so I say new) world of being a stay at home mom of two of the most amazing little people God has ever created (aka Kolten and McKinley), I find myself often having the TV on during the day at times and I do have my "shows" that I like to watch or have on in the background, and one I have started to watch a lot is "The Chew."  It's on at noon here and on ABC, it's a show all about food.  I am pretty much a food-aholic...I LOVE to eat.

They had this segment on a few weeks ago that really got me thinking.  They were talking about "Comfort" Food.  You know exactly what I am talking about, usually fried, usually cheesy, fattening, make you feel warm inside, yummy goodness.  It does just what the name says, it makes us feel comfortable when we are eating, we drown ourselves in what we are eating and let every feeling good or bad wash away and the food can "make it all better" - it comforts us.

I really started to chew on this (pun intended - NAILED IT!)...I am a comfort food kinda gal!  I LOVE Chicken Fried Steak and for a period of time I would jokingly refer to myself as a "connoisseur" of the meal and had it every time we would go out to eat (which was at least 3 times a week, if not more).  During that time I was also at my heaviest and I would look in the mirror and seriously feel so upset with what I saw in that mirror. I would get so upset about it that I would yet again, drown my feelings in more "comfort" in cream, cookies, brownies, chips, whatever I could find to try and ease my feelings.  All it took as another look in that mirror and that cycle started itself over and over and over.

Probably mid "connoisseur" peak time - New Years 2010 - 6 months after having Kolten

What I started to realize along the way that is was all my "comfort" food that was making me UNCOMFORTABLE in my own body!  I was ignoring signs that I needed figure out who I truly was as a person, become COMFORTABLE with my self and stop seeking comfort from all the foods I sought out for so long.  There is this AMAZING verse in The Bible that helped me so much on my journey and into understanding fully what it meant to take care of this body God has given me:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
- See more at:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
- See more at:
 "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for got bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body" - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I just had never really thought of it in that way before.  God gave me this body, this one body.  I need to take care of it!  Yes, I wanted to get healthy so that I could be around longer in my lifetime to be around my family longer (it seemed like an odd fact to me at the time, but as I started thinking more, I am gonna be 30 soon, it's not like time is going backwards!).  Yes, I want to set a good example for those around me and especially my beautiful children.  However, in everything I do, I want to give glory to God and truly know that I am honoring him.  He gave me this body, I better do my best to take care of this business! :)

Truthfully, my whole change has taken a long time to come about.  It was NOT overnight and is a continuing journey.  There are some pretty amazing things I learned along the way....I never knew we needed supplementation to truly get the nutrients our body needs.  I always thought loosing weight and being "healthy" was based on calories (excuse me while I shake my head and laugh under my breath at still gets to me that I focused so solely on that for so long! :().  I thought that if I ate "healthy" and "clean" that was it. was about what nutrients my body is getting and the truth of the matter is that the food that is around today is no where near the nutrient filled food that was around years ago.  It's still so very important to eat as clean as possible and avoid highly processed, sugary, artificial and carb-loaded foods, but supplementation make a HUGE difference!

Kolten and I at Keith's Uncle Norm's wedding in September 2013
What I know now though is that I STILL LOVE food!  Don't get me wrong either, I don't ALWAYS follow plan 100% (to be honest, I usually shoot for 80-90%).  If I do have an occasional day of shooting the plan out of the water, instead of swaying a bit and letting the bottom fall out form under me, I know now that an occasional slip up is OK!  It's about the long term here people!!!  Get back up, get back on track and all it's all good! :) What IS different now too is I love to LEARN about food.  What is best for my body, what can fuel me to do what I want to do and help me reach my health and wellness goals.  Those goals involve weight loss because I do have weight to lose, but my focus is to get HEALTHY and weight loss is just an amazing side effect! I have realized that all the comfort I truly seek is to look in that mirror and be happy with what I see.  I won't let food be my comfort, my comfort lies in knowing I am doing what is best for myself and my family and I am doing it ALL to glorify God!  Now, THAT is COMFORT!

Have a blessed day friends!!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Confessions of a former full-time working momma...

OK!  So, for "Momma Monday" I wanna address something that I feel like I was not truly able to admit until truly the last month or so.  Here goes!

Most of you know that before we moved to Iowa, I worked as an Assistant Director in the Office of Admissions at Wichita State University.  I LOVED my job!  Keith and I are both WSU Alumni and I truly believe WSU is one of the best schools around and has so much to offer students and I am incredibly sad that most (including me - I didn't start out at WSU) don't give it the chance it deserves (sorry - didn't mean to get off on that subject - but I think I may have found a subject for another post!). I said, I loved my job, I loved our daycare provider, I had always said it would be nice to stay home with our kids, but I never thought of it as an actual possibility.  When Keith got this job though, and God placed the INCREDIBLE opportunity of AdvoCare into our lives, that dream that I never thought was really a possibility became a BEAUTIFUL reality!

Door to my office decorated from when I came back from maternity leave (note the #Dreamcrusher on the top of the's a subject for a later post)

So...most of you have seen my kids, some have even met my kids.  I will tell you this truly with out the slightest bit of hesitation...I have AMAZING kids!  They are truly a huge blessing.  They have been amazing sleepers, eaters, listeners, well tempered, just all around great for their entire lives.  Kolten was a great baby and I remember being terrified when I was pregnant with McKinley of all the horror stories that sounded something like Stephen King could have written about the 2nd child being just horrible!  Well...that was not our experience.  Dare I say, McKinley has been an even BETTER baby than Kolten was.  As our kids grow, I am continually amazed at what they learn and the little things that happen each day that I get to be a part of and I do count myself as truly blessed. 

Straight Up HAMS and I love them SOOOO MUCH!

So, here comes the "confession"...this Stay at Home Mom business is HARD!  For the first 3-4 months that we moved up here, I was trying to just get adjusted in the house, unpack, find out where everything was in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, just trying to adjust.  When the summer got here, I was busy with trips home, trips to Success School for AdvoCare in Dallas, TX, Kolten's birthday and such.  Then as the Fall rolled around, I had still not found my "groove"...I felt like we were spending every day just like I had when I was working full time and I had a day off.  We lounged in our PJ's, we would watch movies and TV shows, not venture out much, just kinda coasting through each day.  Honestly, that was when I started to realize I was in trouble...I started to feel myself get almost depressed...those that know me pretty well know I am creature of habit and I like things to have a plan, and order, a purpose, I like to get things DONE!  So, my day to day actions were not fulfilling my own desires of what I really wanted my life to be.  SO...what did I do?  I planned!  I decided that instead of stewing around, getting mad at all the snow outside (which is VERY easy to do up here - let me tell you what!), we needed to just bundle on up and get out of the house!  We have made some AMAZING friends up here and I am so very blessed that we have been welcomed openly into a Small Group Bible Study on Sunday nights, I am currently doing another Bible study on Wednesday nights at our church and every other Thursday we have a Mom's Connection group at our church as well.  We also had Kolten try gymnastics (he was not a huge fan - he was the only boy and just didn't like it all too well) and are looking in to other activities outside the house as well.

Kolten playing with the dress up clothes and puppets on the stage at the Phelps Youth Pavilion in Waterloo
McKinley was not too keen on the PYP until she found some little stools to push around so she could walk on her own ;)

McKinley enjoying a rockin' horse ride at the Indoor Park in Cedar Falls
They had a horse for Kolten to ride too!  It was perfect!

The planning didn't stop though with things to do outside the house.  I started to look at what we were doing AT HOME that I could help with getting a plan set and some structure started.  So, we have a bit of a routine started now that we wake up, eat breakfast, play, have a snack, McKinley goes down for a nap and while she is napping, Kolten sits down for some "games" (I signed him up for - it's GREAT!) and while he is "playing" (SHHHH....he's learning too - don't tell him:)), Momma get's  her WORKOUT on!!! I have been doing AdvoCare's Can You 24 DVD set and they are AWESOME!  They are perfect for what I need, there are 3 different intensity levels so I can pick how hard or easy I can work out that day and each workout is 24 minutes long. It's absolutely wonderful!  So, after working out, I usually can jump in the shower quick and when I get out, get lunch ready and McKinley gets up, we do lunch, play some more, snack and then we can have time to watch a movie or some PBS (Wild Kratts, Curious George, Word Girl, you name it!) and then Keith is home!

Playing at home....I LOVE watching them play together!!

It's not perfect, and I am still trying to get a cleaning routine down (I swear - it's amazing, I had a better cleaning schedule when I was working full time than now when I am home almost all day!).  It is a work in progress now though instead of just "coasting".  I have also started to work hard at really managing our money better and making my "job" truly managing our day to day functions of our household (money, groceries, cleaning, kids, etc).  I joked with my MIL as we were looking at filling out paperwork to buy a car over Christmas that when I was asked what my Job Title and Salary were, I felt sort of robbed for having to not be able to truly report anything.  I feel like I am the "Household Manager" of sorts and I should somehow figure how much I save in groceries every week and how much we save in child care and such so I can report a salary! ;)

In all honesty, I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity I have to be able to stay at home. It is a HUGE responsibility I feel to raise our beautiful children and I am so grateful for having such a loving husband that works so hard so I can stay home and have the joy of raising our kids.  I also am so very grateful for the opportunity that AdvoCare has provided us. Let me make something very clear as well, I don't sit around all day and do AdvoCare just because I stay home.  I schedule my time with AdvoCare just like everyone else, that's when it works best and allows me clear focus to help others is when it is scheduled and dedicated (Sorry, again - another post, another time :)).  I thank God repeatedly, every day (I am serious.) that I get to able to watch my children and be an active part in their development every single day.  It's not all roses - there are temper tantrums, crying fits, moments of pure insanity (and that's just me - not the kids!).  As with most things though, I have found it's best to do 3 things: 1) Say a Prayer 2) Drink a Spark (possibly chase with Oasis) and 3) Give it all you've got!

Have a blessed day friends!!!