The World We Currently Live In..

The current situation in our country has lead me to do some seriously deep thinking, and I’m just going to try and put some of my thoughts down. Many will not like what I’m about to share; trust me, I don’t like it either. I am not one to share personal experiences that have caused me this amount of pain and heartache usually, but I have to get this out of me. It’s eating me on the inside. It’s causing me emotional turmoil and heartache, because I feel for every single person in these situations that ended up there by no cause of their own. My heart weeps for this world gone mad. My heart hurts for the world we are building for our children, not just in this country, but every single country in the world. It’s caused my emotions to go crazy, when I personally have things going on in my own life that need me to be more focused on. Maybe it will help to write this, and just get it out of my system. I hope so.

Until about 2 weeks ago, my family and I were homeless. Homeless is defined as having no home or permanent place of residence. We were not living on the streets, much like the image you see of people sitting or lying in the nooks of buildings, or the man you’ve encountered standing outside of a business, begging for your money, food, or just a smile to make their lives just a small bit better that day. We had a place to sleep at night and could buy our own food, thanks to very good friends, family and my husband actually having a semi-decent job.

How, I’m sure you are asking, did we end up in a situation such as this, which so many American’s have dealt with recently? A long chain of events, but here’s the rundown.

First of all, I lost my job last December. This was the biggest smack in the face I’ve ever dealt with, in my career life. The company hired me out of my job that I had been at for three years, and was promoted twice in, to keep me for a little more than a month and then let me go. They told me that it was because I wasn’t learning this new job fast enough; come to find out, they had over-hired and I was the last one in, so obviously, I’m the first one out. I can’t even begin to give you a glimpse into my mind at that time. After searching for the love of my life for so long, and finally, FINALLY finding him, I should have been the happiest women in the world. I was happy about that, but I also have been the one providing for my little family for so long now, it threw me to not be the one providing for every need. This caused a downward spiral of depression for me, which is something I’ve struggled with almost my entire life.

Secondly, I will fully admit, though it is embarrassing to say these things, that we are incredibly terrible at money management. I always have had this problem…my husband as well. Together, we have been a disaster of spending money. There are certain things, such as budgeting, that truly should be taught in high school, and obviously, we missed out on teaching ourselves these things. I’ve survived up until now, mostly on stressful scrimping when bills needed to be paid, and the help of my parents when I couldn’t make everything come together. It’s just the truth, however ugly it is.

We fell behind on our rent, into the second month, and our apartment complex had tightened down on how far they would let people fall behind. Evicted. Of course, we tried everything to get them to not evict us, but by this point, they had already filed, and it was all done.

A good friend offered to let us move in with them while we tried to find a place for ourselves, and we were so grateful for that. So began what I like to call a small little bit of hell though. See, once you have an eviction on your record, no landlord that is worth their salt, will rent to you. I understand their position! I mean, you’ve proven yourself already to be a risk, and why would they want to knowingly enter into a contract with someone who is a risk? No matter how much you beg, plead or bargain, your past choices have consequences, and this was ours.

After 4 months of struggle, we came into a program that has us in a home. It isn’t permanent, but it’s just us here and I can go to sleep at night now, without fear that we are going to have to get out when we can’t afford to pay or we make one error in judgment on money. It comes with quite a few strings attached, but it is a home for my family, especially over the holidays.

hands

I am eternally grateful for this place, for our good friends that took care of us when we needed it the most, to my mom for exactly the same reason, my family for being there for me, to all of the people who prayed for us or just listened to us. We can’t even come close to repaying the debts we owe to so many. I’m hoping that us proving that we are better and can grow and learn from this will help though. We still have a long road back to just the middle, but we can do this and we will persevere.

Back to the situation that currently is happening in our world, and how I can personally relate. You see, I’ve been scared many times before for my children, and their safety and just to have a place to sleep and eat. I’ve known struggle, fear and regret. Maybe not fear of death by starvation or exposure. Surely not fear of decapitation or being shot in the street. I still know fear for my child, and that fear is crippling. To look into your child’s eyes, seeing them scared and questioning you and everything in their world is heartbreaking. All you want to do is protect them…make everything better and to be a better human being for them.

I’ve always called myself pro-life, and deep in my bones, I truly am anti-abortion. My sister happened across an article recently and shared it, and it struck me deeply. It was an article about are you truly pro-life, or are you more anti-abortion. The question is truly a deep one, because being pro-life means that you also believe on top of believing that abortion is wrong, that you support life in all forms, and humanity and compassion for life, not just for the unborn baby. Being pro-life would mean that you are against the death penalty, against the terminally ill being able to choose to end their lives with dignity, and that you truly support and love every single human life on this Earth. These are the things that truly make a pro-lifer, and I guarantee most are not on board with every single one of those things.

What side do you personally fall on?

I know I am anti-abortion, except in the case of the child not being able to survive outside the womb. I know I am steadfast in this belief. Trust me, it has been tested. I believe the death penalty should be used, but only when the evidence is irrefutable to the guilt of the person in question. I believe that people should be allowed to end their lives when terminally ill, because I’ve seen slow deaths, and it is their right to die with dignity. I believe that every single human being deserves basic civil rights, that do not infringe on their right to live and believe as they choose to. I believe that people have lost their compassion, in the midst of their own trials and pain. As I have been shown more recently, we all struggle. Sometimes it is easy to believe someone’s life is better than yours. They don’t find themselves in similar situations that you do. They don’t have to struggle for money, or physical or mental illnesses, or people in their lives that hurt them in a physical/emotion or with addictive behaviors. But, I guarantee they know suffering in some way, shape or form. They have known loss. They have known defeat. They have struggled to make the best life they possibly can for themselves and their loved ones.

I believe that if we all started to just see this one thing, that every single person in this world has their crosses to bear, and that instead of placing the blame and condemning, we just loved them the way that God loves us, we might start to see a real change in this world we live in. God didn’t place any conditions on us when he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” in John 13:34. God didn’t say turn your eyes away from the children of the world.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 There is a Sunday school song that pops into mind and I’m sure most of you have heard it before. Jesus loves the little children….all the children of the world…..Red and yellow, black and white….they are precious in his sight….Jesus loves the little children of the world.

jesus with child

How simplistic! It doesn’t matter what gender, color, age, ethnicity, religion or social situation these children are. Jesus loves them! When you look at that from a Biblical standpoint, we are God’s children and He loves us, no matter what, even if we aren’t calling to Him in our prayers. Does that make anyone else feel good? It does me, for sure.

I understand the fear, especially in the world we live in currently. There is a real threat to us and our way of life out there. I am not discrediting those things. A wise woman recently stated that it only took 19 terrorists to bring this country down to its knees. Once again, how simplistic. No matter how we’ve fought, no matter all the laws and regulations that have been put into place, we still will see evil and look it straight in its face. This is nothing new, and it will continue to manifest itself until the Lord calls us home. Did anyone believe that a small group (which obviously grew larger) would be able to incite so much fear and hate, that ultimately 6 MILLION Jews were slaughtered in Nazi Germany and surrounding counties? Nobody truly can know what is going to happen and I sure don’t have all of the answers, but I know what I can do to make the world just a little bit more livable than it currently is, and I know which way the Lord is leading me. Do I believe that comes with risk? Of course I do! I just know that there are plenty of good people; men, women and children, who have nothing in their hearts but fear and desperation for their lives and livelihoods. I don’t know what the compromise is, but I do know that God has always been constant in His love for us, and God has always led us to loving one another. I’m still filled with questions, but I at least know that.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

 

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Words.

You know….words are important.

They describe everything. For so long now, I’ve been a person who loves words. I’m an avid reader, an okay writer and I love to flourish my sentences with expressive words to describe things in a big way.

Words can build a person up, like pretty much nothing else really can. When my husband looks at me and tells me I’m beautiful, or when he expresses his love to me, it makes me feel on top of the world. When my minions tell me things like I’m the best mom in the world, I know it’s the truth in their world, even when I feel like I fail so much. When you complement your kids, there is no words that really can express the look they get on their faces, especially in their eyes. You can see the pride there.

Words can also tear people down. So, so much. We thrive on the way the world around us sees us, regardless of whether we want to or not. It builds our self-esteem, more than it should really, but nevertheless, that’s what it does. When I admonish my kids, you can see the feelings they are having right on their face about whatever it is they are being corrected about. When I say something negative or nasty to my husband, in the heat of the moment, I can tell immediately that it’s struck a chord with him. These things are typically the things he thinks about himself and how he is doing as a husband/parent, instead of all the praise that I and others as well give him about the role he’s stepped into in our family. It breaks my heart to know that because of my big ol’ mouth, he’s more negative towards himself than positive. Trust me, there is way more to be positive about, but that’s what he hears. I can’t take them back once they are said, and I feel like a complete fool for ever hurting him like that, same with my kiddos.

What does it do for us, to tear others down? How does it really, in any way at all, help us to speak negatively towards someone? A loved one. A mate. A perfect stranger. I’ve noticed a trend recently. There has been a whole lot of stuff happening in our country that seems to want to divide all of us. Racism….marriage equality….presidential candidates….the list could go on and on. The way the media presents things to us only fuels the fire. People see an ad on something, get click-baited into reading an article and get themselves all fired up over something that didn’t even require their opinion being weighed in on to begin with. Then, publicly, they decide that everyone must know their opinion and if you disagree, you are a bigot….racist….homophobe…privileged….thug….un-American….traitor to your kind….

STOP!

PLEASE?!

We are the ones who are tearing apart our own country from within. We are tearing people down with words of hatred. We are only hurting others and ourselves more and more every day.

snoopy

Guess what happens when we all come together, and decide that our differences aren’t a terrible thing? We can start building one another up, and by cause and effect, make a difference in the world we live in. We can believe that our differences are to be celebrated, instead of treated everyone and everything different from us has some form of leprosy and we are all going to catch this plague and become as crazy as them.

Trust me, you can’t catch through a sneeze somebody else’s opinions. But, what you can catch is some respect for differences, and love for the common dignity and humanity of someone.

kind

We just celebrated the 4th of July, and that happens to be one of my very favorite holidays. The Declaration of Independence begins with these words, and I’m just going to leave them here for you to read and reflect on.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Let Freedom Ring

There is so much more I could write about this, but it mostly will fall on deaf ears. I’m going to keep trying to pursue happiness though, for me, for my husband, my children, and all of those around me. And maybe start handing out Snicker’s to people, cause they always seem so angry anymore. 😀

what if

Oven Fried Chicken Recipe

Seriously, this is my favorite recipe for chicken currently. I have honestly mixed about a dozen different Oven-Fried Chicken recipes, so the credit can’t really go to me. I never would have thought to put chili powder and paprika into my seasoning mix, but it’s so good. You should have seen my little man eating it the other night. No joke, he ate at least a piece and a half of a chicken thigh! My mini-me (my daughter) is currently trying to act like she’s a vegetarian, who just so happens to not really like vegetables, so feeding her is a daily challenge. She didn’t eat it, and she was sadly missing out!

Maybe, one day, I will be able to get some pictures snapped of this. It never makes it long enough for me to get any good pictures.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Chicken (I use either thighs or tenders…completely up to you)

1 cup buttermilk (I make my own. 4 and 1/2 tsp white vinegar, the rest is milk) 

1 cup flour

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup cornmeal

Butter, up to 3 tablespoons, melted

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, for easy clean up and less sticking. Coat the parchment with the melted butter. 

Place your chicken in a bowl or bag and pour the buttermilk over it. Let it soak while you are working, or you even can do this earlier and give it awhile to just soak. 

In a big bowl, mix all spices (salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic, onion powder), flour, panko breadcrumbs and cornmeal. You could also do this in a ziploc bag, but I’ve found it better to hand bread, so you can really press it into the chicken and get a good coating. 

Grab a piece of chicken from the milk and dredge it into your flour mixture. I really press those breadcrumbs into the pieces, so make sure to get in there and just have fun with it. Good job for little ones too, if you can drag them away from Minecraft (or currently Skylanders, here in the house). 😀 

Lay each piece of chicken on your butter-covered pan. The butter really does add to the flavors on your chicken and helps crust up the breading! 

Once finished with all your chicken, cook for about 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) on one side, then flip it and cook again for 5 to 10 more minutes. I’ve put it under the broiler before, but it’s definitely not necessary for the deliciousness to be there. Totally a personal call.

That’s really it and there you have it! I make this at least twice a month here, and it’s a huge hit. There are many more recipes that I plan to share, but most of them will be as I make them, so I can get down my format and how I do everything. I’m thinking of starting a small recipe catalog so I can pass these to both of my minions too, one day. I was given all of my Granny’s recipes before she passed away, and I cherish those so much. The box they were in still even smelled like her, which was so cool. I’m a scent-driven person, and those are the things I remember. I’ll never forget rolling out cinnamon rolls with my Granny, as she sat in her wheelchair, and showed me how to lavish my family with love by cooking. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I went to culinary school. 🙂

Leave a message for me, if you love it as much as we do! Or just because. Those are pretty awesome too.

B

Singing to YMCA and other stuff.

We had such a great weekend as a family together. Currently though, I’m with my feet up and laptop in my lap, listening to Spotify, while a 70’s playlist plays, writing this post. My husband is playing on the XBox and giving me crazy looks as I sing along with Y.M.C.A. Honestly, it’s a scene I’m pretty used to. I’m a big goof ball and I get weird looks from my kids often. I don’t mind, and one day, they will remember back to the mom who danced and sang like nobody was watching while vacuuming/doing dishes/doing anything really. Isn’t that a way cooler image to have of your mom than it being one that isn’t pleasant at all? I think so.

This weekend also marks my husband (you will get to know him as BP)  and I being married for one month. While I am definitely not the girl who remembers and has to celebrate every single life event that happens between BP and I, this was just a cool reminder of what we did one month ago. A few short years ago, if you had talked to me, you would have found a women much different. I was sad and lonely, hardened by so many past failures and pains. My way to cope was to retreat into the protective shell of my small apartment and protect me and my kids from any sort of possible pain. We’ve been through a lot, and that’s really putting it mildly.

Enter the man I now get to call my husband! I had a POF (plenty of fish) account and really had very little success with it up until that point. My profile just happened to say at the very end of it; “If you know the reason why I would love to own a ’67 Chevy Impala, you need to message me immediately!” He did, and as they say, the rest is history. We’ve had our own struggles already. BP has never been married or had kids, and he’s just a tad younger than I am. None of those things mattered to me, but they still bring about a different growth for all of us. He’s sacrificed things, he’s became the main breadwinner in our home because of my own problem currently with finding a job that fits our family, he’s figuring out how to play the role of a father figure to my two kids who have really never had an active father in their lives, other than my own dad. He’s caring and kind to me. He makes me feel alive and he treats me like a queen. He genuinely wants to build a life with me and the minions. He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me, and we both are growing every single day into the best possible spouses, parents and human beings we can be.

My favorite tattoo BP has, and had this picture taken the day we got married. I love it!
My favorite tattoo BP has, and had this picture taken the day we got married. I love it!

Am I lucky or what? I think I am! Of course, we have our bad days. Today actually hasn’t been super great in our house. I’ve been sick with a head cold for days and I still am not very much better. I’ve actually not been feeling well for quite some time now. Body aches, constant tiredness, headaches almost daily, all of which are making me grumpy and irritable. My youngest minion has also been sick at the same time, and was in the ER a few nights ago because we couldn’t get his asthma under control. It’s scary and tiresome to not only never feel like you are at your 100%, but also have a child that is never really there either. Tensions have been a bit high recently, and I know with summer break coming in one week (OI, I’m just not ready) I need to be better on my game. We bicker and nitpick, and we are going to have to get on the same page. But, I keep being reminded every single day how much he loves me, how much he loves my kiddos and I am grateful.

I don’t have any wise words, though sometimes I fake it until I make it on advice. I think everyone does. What I do have is a great husband, great children, a wonderful support system around me, and a few people who knock me on my tush when I need them to. I’m truly blessed.

My question to others, I even ask my kids this to get them thinking is this; Have you made somebody smile today? Have you passed along more happiness than grumpiness? Do people know how blessed you are just by your behavior? These are the questions I have been asking myself, my husband and my kiddos pretty regularly and maybe they are annoyed by them, but maybe my words make an impact on them, which means they are making an impact elsewhere too.

I‘m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

Michael Jackson

This is hanging in my kids school, and I love it! MJ fan here....Don't hate....appreciate!
This is hanging in my kids school, and I love it! MJ fan here….Don’t hate….appreciate!

 

Just A Little Something I’ve Been Wanting To Do For A Long Time Now

Hey there and welcome to my first blog post! My name is Brook. That’s the only name I will be sharing of my family here on this blog, and I have good reason for it! It makes me feel that I am doing my best to protect us while still being able to share my life, thoughts, feelings, recipes, style….pretty much anything that seems to come to mind. As of this moment, I am only doing this as an outlet for myself. If an opportunity came up to make money from it, that would be awesome as well!

You will get a chance to get further into the mind of this nerdy girl, and maybe see things through my own eyes too. I always wonder how much people actually care about the things I say, not because the number matters, but because of the content. I’m nobody really special, though my husband and close friends and family may disagree, but if something that has happened to me or to my family in the past could help someone currently struggling, then maybe it would all be for something more.

I’ve always counted myself blessed to be very passionate and vocal about the causes dear to my heart (Just to name a few….FOOD! My children and family. The Right To Life Movement. Body/Mind/Soul Acceptance. Family values. Mental Health Awareness.) and I promise one thing to you. I have my opinions, but they are just that. I respect everyone’s right to have their own as well. What I can’t tolerate is forcing people to accept your OPINION as their own too. I’ve lost people that were valuable (at that time) to me, because they couldn’t change me to the ways they wanted. Of course, they weren’t worth the friendships I had invested in them, but to say that it still doesn’t sting me to have lost them would be false. Please, share your own views in a respectful way and don’t expect anyone to change their own views to yours. I promise to be respectful with my words too, which trust me, sometimes is very hard to do. I can have a sharp tongue, it’s one of the things I work on constantly within myself.

Sometimes, my posts will be light and fun, full of happiness that I want to share with others! Sometimes, my posts will focus on some darker things that I just feel I personally need to lay down and may even ask my readers to help me with that, by encouraging words, advice or even prayer. I personally am still struggling with my own relationship with God, and you may see some of that here too.

Above all, I want to be able to have a place to just put some of these things down and talk and laugh with some awesome people. Cause at the end of the day, my very favorite things to do is to laugh, and make other people laugh!

So, welcome to Talk Nerd Stuff With Me! I may not be a super-big nerd, but it’s what we call ourselves here in our home, and I’m alright with that title.

B