God shows off (Our Adoption Story, Part 3)

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of Our Adoption Story

From the very beginning, God has used our adoption journey to show off. Like, really show off. Over and over he reminded me that He is the “God Who Sees Me” (El Roi – Genesis 16:13). God kept telling me that He SAW me during this adoption – that He cared about the details. That He would never leave or forsake me during this process. That He was worth trusting.

In the midst of a long, hard journey, knowing that I had a God who sees me – sees my pain, my fears, my excitement, my hopes, my insecurities… my BABY in some other mother’s womb… this was the hope that I clung to. I was never alone. God saw me and all of the big feelings I was feeling, and I was never alone.

The same week that we chose our adoption agency and started the process, God brought me three big freelance clients. I have always done occasional freelance work above and beyond my job, but these were HUGE projects. One was coordinating all of the social media for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastor’s Conference – a gig that required about 10 hours a week, plus meetings, plus a trip to St. Louis to work the actual conference. I spent March through June working my “regular” full-time job, then stopping for an hour or two to play with Wrenn and Will and eat dinner, and then once Wrenn was back in bed, I would stay up working on my laptop late into the night. I did this several nights a week, and worked at least one day each weekend. Almost all I did during those four months was work.

But it was okay, because I knew where that money was going. It was going to help pay for our adoption.

Y’all, God provided every penny we needed for our adoption. We hadn’t saved toward it, since we thought we were a year away from starting the process. And God provided, without us ever asking anybody for a dime. Mr. Right got some extra, unexpected real estate deals, we both worked our tails off, and God paid for that adoption.

But it wasn’t just about the money. We wanted to get Wrenn into a preschool to offer some stability for her (and a break for me) once the baby got here, and God moved mountains to get her into a school with a 2-3 year wait list… in less than a week.  He is a God who cares not just about our adopted baby, but about Wrenn, and making sure she was taken care of as well.

Or there was the time that we were scheduled to be interviewed by a birth mom, and of course I was a nervous wreck. Four days before our interview, a girl I hadn’t seen or spoken to in 6+ years reached out via Facebook to tell me that God had placed me on her heart and she had been praying for me, but she didn’t know why. In particular, God had told her to pray about expanding our family. I told her about the adoption and the upcoming interview, and I was reminded that I have a God who sees me.

There were so many people who popped up from my past and randomly reached out during our long wait, having no idea that we were adopting but just feeling led to check on me. Friends from around the country whom I hadn’t seen in years were praying for our adoption, even though we never publicly mentioned it on social media.

Then there were the tiny bits of blessing he gave us during our journey. We managed to take two amazing trips, perfectly timed between big milestones in the adoption. It was God’s way of offering us rest and renewing our spirits at the exact time we needed it. Because boy, did we need it… after each trip, things got HARD.

If you learn nothing from our adoption story, I hope you will hear this: Our God was faithful every step of the way. He didn’t protect us from pain or heartache, but instead sustained us through it. He comforted me when I cried. When my empty arms ached for the baby I so desperately wanted. He is a good God not because He answered my prayers the way I thought I wanted them answered… He is a good God because that’s who He is. Period.

And when our worst-case scenario ended up happening… He was still a good, good God.

(more to come…)

Researching and Choosing (Our Adoption Story, Part 2)

Click here to read Our Adoption Story, Part 1

Once we knew we were ready to start the adoption process, we had to pick an agency. It was so overwhelming. It seemed like one of those things where there were 100 ways to do it, and we had no idea where to start. It’s an overwhelming industry, with hefty price tags and huge life decisions. It requires so much trust.

But as you will see, God’s hand was in this adoption process every step of the way. He showed me again and again that He is the God of details. We just “happened” to have a dear friend who has worked as a social worker at several different adoption agencies, and we invited her over for dinner so we could “ask her everything.”

Some of our questions/decisions included:

  • Did we want to adopt an infant? An older child?
  • Open or closed adoption?
  • Use a private agency or go through the foster care system?
  • How much do adoptions cost?
  • What would the process look like?
  • How long would it take? (the magic question)
  • What should we look for in an agency?
  • What pitfalls could we avoid?
  • After the adoption, then what? How can we help our child thrive in her new family?

Our sweet friend patiently answered our questions, and helped me come up with a list of questions to use as we interviewed agencies. Based on our family’s needs at this time, we decided that domestic, private, open adoption of an infant was the right fit for us at this time. We reached out to all of our friends who had adopted, did a lot of googling, and called/researched agencies for about a month.

We ended up choosing the original agency we called that January day.

Once we had committed to our agency (March 2016), we started the long process of filling out all of our application paper work. It was harder than writing my master’s thesis, harder than any work project I’ve ever completed. There were just so many things we had to collect – I had to track down the blue prints from my house. We had to get physicals at the doctor. We had to provide copies of all of our health/life insurance, wills, financial documents, references from just about everybody who had ever met us. We had to fill out pages and pages of questionnaires. All this while both of us were working full-time (plus some part-time gigs… more on that later).

It was a LOT.

We finally wrapped up that paperwork in May and attended an all-day training that was required by the adoption agency, and then… we waited. When it comes to adoption, there is a LOT of waiting.

 (More to come…)

Surprise! We adopted a baby girl! (Our Adoption Story, Part 1)

Surprise! We adopted a baby girl!

It may seem like a huge surprise to some, but for me, it was a ten-year journey. Before I tell you how we got Baby M, let me tell you how we got there…

Way back in 2007, through some random events, God placed the desire to adopt on my heart. Now mind you, I didn’t meet Mr. Right until 2009… and we didn’t start dating until 2010. So before I met him, I knew that someday, with someone, I wanted to adopt.

And then I met Mr. Right, and after things got serious, we started talking about our hopes for a family, and I shared my desire to adopt. His response, “I’d love that too!”

And that was that.

Our question was never IF we were going to adopt… but WHEN. We decided to try for a biological child and see what God would do, and after many months of trying, and a high risk, difficult pregnancy, He gave us Wrenn. She was my miracle baby, my answer to many, many months of prayers.

Two years later, we decided to try for one more biological child, and we got pregnant almost immediately. What a wonderful surprise! And then, all too soon, we had a miscarriage and lost our precious Baby Truett.

I was almost 35, and my ticking biological clock was almost deafening. Should we try one more time for a biological child, or was this God telling us that now was the time for adoption? I felt like if we committed to adoption, we would be forever closing the door to a biological child, which seemed to have such forever consequences.

We decided to just pause and pray (and heal). And both of us came to the conclusion that it was time to adopt. Not right that minute… but that our next child would be through adoption.

Now we had a plan, but no timeline. Mr. Right wanted to wait a full year before we started the adoption process, so we could enjoy some peace and healing as a family. After a difficult few years of health problems, job changes, etc., we were finally enjoying some fun and easy times as a family. I wanted to adopt yesterday. It was one of those times that we decided to just pray separately and see what God did.

And God changed Mr. Right’s heart overnight. One day, a few months after we started praying about it, a friend at lunch casually mentioned that an adoption agency was low on adoptive parents. She knew that someday we wanted to adopt, and thought she’d simply pass the info along. We decided to give the agency a call (What could it hurt, right?), and after one conversation, Mr. Right was all in.

That was in January 2016.

 (more to come…)

My Epic Solo Roadtrip – The Backstory

I’m sitting in my condo with the balcony doors open wide so I can hear the sound of the waves crashing outside. The ocean is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. It’s both relaxing and also a wonderful reminder of how powerful my God is. He made those waves. He made that ocean. And He is so much bigger and more powerful than anything He created.

Here’s how I got here:

About 18 months ago, I found myself. Really found myself. As weird as it sounds, I believe the catalyst was our miscarriage. It was so heartbreaking, but that tiny, unborn baby has brought me such healing and confidence and bravery. What a legacy.

I think it was the catalyst because for the first time in my life, I walked through grief – deep grief – in a healthy way. I gave myself space to hide away from the world for a whole month. I was really open about my self-care. I was frank when people would ask how I was doing and I would tell them, “I’m feeling pretty awful, so I’m going to hide away for a few weeks and mourn and heal, and then I will go back to living.

I also learned during that time, even more vividly than I already knew, that my God is a great comforter. And He can handle it when I lean into Him with my grief and my stress and my anxiety and my fears of the future and my insecurities and even my anger. He can handle it. He did handle it.

A month after our miscarriage, Mr. Right and I got our matching tattoos. He thinks that was a turning point in my life – where I just went for something big. A tattoo is not big to the average person, but to me, the ultimate rule follower, it was SO big. It was one of the first times in my life that I decided to do something and didn’t care a bit what other people thought. I did it for me.

As a life-long people pleaser and rule follower, the past 18 months have been so freeing. It’s like at the age of 34, I realized that the people around me love me and don’t care if I have a tattoo. Or pink hair (which came later). Or a perfect home, job, family, apperance… life.  And the ones who do care – well, I don’t really care anymore what they think. And not in a “I don’t love people and care about them” way. No, it was more of a “I’m going to put on my big girl panties and just be Bethe and not worry about what others think about me” way.

I finally felt free.

At age 34.

Now, 18 months later, just two weeks shy of 36, I am celebrating finding my voice. I’m celebrating the things that God has shown me about Himself. I’m celebrating my marriage to my husband – which is so far from perfect, but is also such a gift from God. I’m celebrating being a mom to a daughter who is a delight. And a hand-full.

But I’m not just a wife. Not just a mom. Not even just an employee. I’m not defined by those titles.

I’m just… Bethe.

Before this gets too fluffy, let me also say that we have been walking through something really hard this year. So very hard. Just three weeks ago I experienced one of the greatest traumas – one of my worst case scenarios – and it hurt. And so I did the thing I did after my miscarriage – I holed up at our house and told people I didn’t want to face the world. But that it was only temporary. That I’d be back. Because now I know that you can grieve now, or you can grieve later, but you WILL grieve. And so I leaned into the grief, and slept and slept and cried and got angry at my lot and had some very frank conversations with my Creator. And guess what… He can still handle it.

The details of the trauma doesn’t matter. In due time, I will share all the details with you (goodness… if you know me in “real life” you already know all of it… or at least, most of it). But the type of trauma doesn’t matter. It’s the way you overcome it. The way you trust your Savior with your hurt that matters. It’s the way you get back up and keep living that matters.

And so that’s why I’m here.

A week after my worst case scenario happened, Mr. Right and I were on a fancy date, celebrating life in the midst of heartache. And he hatched his idea for me to go on an epic solo road trip to visit my girlfriends. To see my girlfriend who moved to Orlando, and my other girlfriend who moved to Oxford, Mississippi. ­To stop and spend some time at the beach. To rest, and to heal, and to have special girl time with my friends. To just drive and drive and spend some alone time with my God and a good audio book. To find an adventure. To celebrate finding my voice.

And so two weeks later, I’m here. And now you know. I’m out here, driving 1500 miles alone over 7 days, to celebrate. To celebrate life. And freedom. And growth. And healing. To not be a wife or mom or employee or any other label I have given myself. To just be Bethe.

To feel free.

Chosen and Not Rejected

PrintI took a personality test, and one of its findings shows that I have a need to fit in. I’m not the person who blazes the path – I like to be in the middle. I’m a doer and a world changer and hard charger, but I want to be safely arm and arm with other people as I do it.

Being an outsider is really hard for me. Rejection is hard.

It makes this verse that much sweeter to me. I am chosen. I am not alone – God is with me. On my hard days, I’m not alone. I don’t have to be scared. I don’t have to push through as one who has been rejected. God has promised to strengthen me, to help me, and to uphold me with his righteous right hand.

Friend… you, too are chosen. You are not alone. You aren’t rejected. You don’t have to figure this out by yourself. No matter who has rejected you, criticized you, forgotten you, left you behind… the Great I AM is with you. You aren’t alone… you are the daughter of the King.

Find comfort in that, and hold your head high, dear chosen one!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Several people close to us started talking about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And like a virus, it was contagious. I bought the audio version and read it in a week, and since then, well, I’ve purged half the house. Mr. Right has purged the other half.

Wrenn is lucky we kept her and all those toys of hers (although a few have since disappeared).

Here’s my thoughts on the book:

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1. Cleaning out my closet – REALLY CLEANING IT OUT – as in, getting rid of more than half my things, has been so freeing. I am pretty scatterbrained and naturally messy, and I spend half my day trying to find something I’ve misplaced. So, when I decided to look through my closet and adopt the KonMari method of keeping only things that “spark joy,” well, there went all those clothes I’ve been keeping because I might someday need them, or used to love but have since seen very little wear, and all that was left were the items I love the most. I can now go in my closet and every single item makes me feel good when I put it on – which makes it so much easier to get dressed in the morning. I think I had five white cami’s – but I only like to wear one of them. So, that’s the one I kept. Half my socks had holes, and I rarely wear socks anyway. I found a swimsuit I had forgotten about that I LOVE (because it was hidden between all the clothes I never wear). Now, everything in my closet has a place. The lack of clutter has done wonders for my eyes and my mind. I even added a few framed photos to make my closet another “happy place.”

And, several weeks later, it’s still clean. That, my friends, is a miracle.

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2. The book gave me permission to get rid of things I’ve kept all these years, just because. Because someone gave it to me as a gift. Because it was expensive. Because I liked it before, so now it feels weird to get rid of it. Because I “should” have it. Because what if I needed it again at some far away time in the future? Maybe. Y’all – I just LET MY THINGS GO.

3. The book is a little weird on the spiritual side. The author thinks her possessions have souls, and if you get rid of a shirt, it will find its way back to you as a sock. Lord help me if my old air cast finds it way back to me. I don’t endorse the spiritual side of the book, but I do think the concept of decluttering fits well into a Christian worldview. My possessions don’t own me. They don’t control me. I won’t be ruled by them. And so, by simplifying my stuff, I free up time to enjoy more important things – like living. Having less clutter is calming for my brain and for my spirit.

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4. I really love giving things away. I hate hosting garage sales. HATE THEM. Instead, I have been having a “reverse garage sale” – leaving baskets of items on my front porch and encouraging friends and neighbors to pick through them and take whatever they need, and then donating the rest. It is SO FUN. I love the thought of a dear friend getting to enjoy a small blessing from us (or our youth group at church enjoying a box full of Christian books – for free). Giving things away is so much more fun than letting things collect dust in closets.

5. Simplifying is going to take awhile. Mr. Right and I have been purging with the KonMari method for about a month, and so far, we’ve hit: my side of the closet/drawers, the kitchen, my books, our bathroom drawers/cabinets, the garage (y’all – several neighbors wondered where I was because my car FIT IN THE GARAGE for the first time in years), Will’s tools, the spare bedroom’s closet (mostly gifts/wrapping/storage), and our serving ware (placemats, etc.). I’ve decided we’re naturally going to have more cooking/entertaining items than most, since that’s something we LOVE and do so regularly. And that’s okay. It’s all about finding what fits with your family’s priorities.

Simplifying our life has been something that has been a huge focus for us this year. We had already simplified our schedule, focusing on creating margin to make ourselves available to love on people that God brings our way. I have tried to simplify my expectations for myself, as a wife and mom, and focus on doing things that bring health to all of us. And now, it’s another step in the process to simplify the junk that we’ve had to manage – junk that requires energy and time and money – and just letting it go. For me… it makes total sense.

So… who’s with me? Let me know what area you are working on simplifying. I’d love to know I’m not the only one!

Practice Hospitality: An Update on our Goal of 200 in 2016

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The year is halfway over, and this may be the first time ever that I have kept a New Year’s Resolution. Since this never happens (except for the one year my resolution was to have a baby… and I was already a couple months pregnant, so the odds were ever in my favor), THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

Our goal is to host 200 people in our home in 2016. Again – it sounds like a lot of people, and it is, but this isn’t something new for us. We have always loved hosting people. It’s kind of “our thing” as a married couple (and was “my thing” and “his thing” before we met). But, hitting our goal of 200 means that it’s the topic of many, many discussions as we intentionally try to map out our calendar, extend invitations, and also create margin for last-minute opportunities.

Here’s how we’re doing so far:

As of the end of June, we have hosted 73 guests in our home. Now, some of those are repeats (like one of our favorite seminary students who spends the night quite often so as to be closer to work on Mondays). Others had never set foot in our home before.

“Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host – the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs – whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance – are the primary concern. Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.” – Note from my bible under Romans 12:13 – Practice Hospitality

Y’all, it’s so true. I don’t think a single person has come to our house expecting perfect hosts. But several have left telling us that they feel safe in our home – like they can open up and be themselves. This is why we do it.

So 73 guests is actually right on track. We have at least two big parties planned this year (which should cover about 60 people – both parties take place in the second half of the year), which means 140 guests over for dinner (or to hang out – dinner is not a requirement). We actually hosted only once in March and twice in April, because of a very heavy travel schedule, but then we had months like May (we hosted 8 different times) and June (6 times). We have had overnight guests somewhere around 10 different times… we think (we kind of lost track at some point).

If you’re looking to start hosting, check out my previous post for 5 Tips for hosting a dinner party that won’t make you lose your mind. We have also learned a few more things the hard way this year:

  • Don’t host on back-to-back nights during the week. Give yourself space to regroup.
  • Keep the guest list small. We have found that hosting 2-4 adults allows for the best conversations. If the group gets too big, we don’t get to spend quality time with each guest. (Kids don’t count – we just pile them, as many as will fit. And turn on a Disney movie, or set up a pack-n-play for the babies to snooze while we hang out.)
  • Leave margin in your schedule for those last-minute opportunities God sends your way.
  • Talk about the why – constantly. For our family, hosting is our opportunity to show God’s love to other people in a practical way.

Now we need to start planning for our next 73 guests. If you’re local and want to come eat, leave me a comment and we’ll do our best to get you on the schedule. And bring a friend. Or two. And a dessert… please (I like chocolate).

Do I have faith when the stuff hits the fan?

Last week I wrote about how God has provided in a BIG way to our family this year. That we have been saving toward something BIG, and that He has been so faithful to bring us extra work to cover the costs. I wish I could tell you more, but someday I’m going to have a big story to tell you. It’ll be worth the wait.

Well, a few days after I praised God for providing for us, our air conditioner bit the dust. On Father’s Day, while I waited for Mr. Right and Wrenn to return from a weekend at a relative’s ranch, the house started getting hotter and HOTTER. Texas summer heat is no joke, y’all. We called our trusty AC guy, who we had just paid $2,000 about a month before to fix our ailing unit… and he came out and declared our AC dead. As a door nail. Unfixable.

I cried. Like, ugly cried. And then we quickly threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and headed to my in-law’s house for an extended stay.

I wish I could tell you that my first response was, God’s got this. Not fear or worry or anxiety, just trust. But no, my first response was to ugly cry. And feel sorry for myself. (Not to mention I had dinner reservations to take Mr. Right out for an amazing Father’s Day dinner in Dallas… all the details arranged… and instead, we were hurriedly packing our things. In the heat.)

That was Sunday. On Monday, I woke up with my stomach in knots, and cried some more. Sweet Wrenn even prayed for me, that God “would help mommy feel better.” I took her in the car to run an errand, and in the car, while she slept soundly, God and I had a heart to heart. Here’s how it went:

Me, crying:

God, I’m so scared. I don’t know what we’re going to do. We have worked SO HARD to save money for {that thing}, and I know it’s your will. I KNOW IT. And now, we’ve got to spend all that money on an AC instead. Why? It’s not fair! We can’t afford it right now. That money has a NAME. What are we going to do???

Here’s what we’re going to do. God, I trust you. You are a good God. This didn’t surprise you. You knew all along our AC would break and we’d have to pay for it. I have to trust you. HELP ME TO TRUST YOU. I have to give you my fear. I don’t know what to do, so I am giving it to you. I trust you with this problem. I trust you to provide. I trust you to give us wisdom. Help me to FEEL that trust in my gut. I am laying this at your feet. I know you can handle it.

Y’all… God loves real, raw prayers. Don’t be afraid to tell Him you trust Him, but you are going to need Him to help you FEEL that trust. God can handle it.

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Here’s what I know. My God isn’t just worth trusting when things are going smoothly. When everything is falling into place. When it’s easy. No… my God is worth trusting when the you-know-what hits the fan. When there is no good solution. When things hurt. REALLY HURT. That’s when I’m going to trust him too.

My friend is claiming Romans 4:20-21 as she walks through something hard. Really hard. She asked me to design a print for her, so she could continue to keep this promise in front of her. It turns out, I needed to dwell on this verse as well. This is mine, too. It can be yours, too. If you need to remember that God has the POWER to do what he had promised to Abraham, and to YOU, then please enjoy a free print. On me. Just download it here.

Let’s be people who cling to God’s promises when we’re being tossed around on the waves. When we feel like we’re drowning. When there’s no way out. When our feelings don’t match what we know to be true. When it’s really, really hard to trust God. When we’re holding on for dear life… He can handle it.

I love you, friends.

Ain’t No Party Like a Baptist Party

PrintThere’s a reason why I haven’t written a post in two months. Well, technically I wrote a few posts in my head during that time. And trust me, they were SO GOOD (kidding). It’s a shame those words never made their way onto my keyboard. But here’s why:

Back in February, my pastor, who happened to be the President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastor’s Conference, called me into his office to ask me if I would do all the social media for the national conference. You know, in my spare time. (laughs uncontrollably)

But here’s the deal – Mr. Right and I are in the midst of saving for something big. BIG. I can’t go into details, but the same week we decided to save for that thing, I was offered this freelance job. And, actually, several others. All in the same week.

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Some of our team from the SBC Pastors’ Conference

God was providing.

And so, for four months, I have been working my regular job, and then putting the kiddo to bed, jumping back on the computer, and working until bedtime. Several nights a week. And weekends. And some early mornings. And on three out-of-town trips. Basically working ALL THE TIME. It was exhausting, but I kept telling myself, if God has brought me this work, then he will bless it.

And bless it, he did.

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Passion, taking a selfie with my phone

The social media gig ended with a trip to St. Louis this past weekend to live tweet/instagram/facebook the SBC Pastors’ Conference, an event that featured more than 5,000 pastors, plus their guests and church members (I’ve heard estimates of 10,000-12,000 attendees). I got to hang out backstage with the speakers. And Passion Band (they were SO nice… like, SO nice). And I got to sit in a state-of-the-art mobile production trailer and work with some of my favorite friends from our church. It was kind of like sitting in a space ship TV studio. I still have no idea what everybody else was doing in there, but they sounded REALLY smart.

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Top: A view from backstage; Bottom left: Me, after working 33 hours in 2 days; Bottom right: Our state-of-the-art media truck

The whole time I kept thinking to myself… here I am, the girl who didn’t grow up Baptist… the girl who hasn’t gone to seminary… the girl who wanted to be a stay-at-home mama…  here I am, the mouthpiece for the entire Southern Baptist Convention.

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Left: A selfie with Pastor John Meador and one of our main speakers Derwin Gray, former NFL Player and now Senior Pastor at Transformation Church; Right: Me, totally exhausted and happy at the end of the conference

God uses the least of these to complete his mission. His plans are so much more interesting than our plans. And he cares about the details – like providing for us financially… getting me out of my comfort zone… using my gifts to further his kingdom.

Now I’m back. I’m so excited to have my free time again. Time to write. Time to sew. Time to rest my brain. Oh, how this mind of mine needs to rest.

But man, it was such a fun adventure while it lasted.

Life Hacks for Busy Moms – Grocery Shopping

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As I grow a little older and get a little comfortable in my role as wife and working mom, I’ve come to realize that life has to be simple. Prioritized. I can’t do everything, and my time is so precious, I want to spend it doing the things that are important to me and my people.

That 90 minutes it takes to drive to the grocery store, load my cart and check out, drive home, and unload groceries (not to mention meal planning, which I am terrible at) is time I would rather spend playing in the backyard with my kiddo. Or catching up on chores. Or knocking out a work project. Or (gasp) taking a nap. Maybe taking a bubble bath. Heck, even cooking dinner.

I only go to the grocery store about once a month now. Granted, I have an amazing chef husband who runs by the store to pick up random items that pop up at the last minute, and he does ALL the grocery shopping when we host friends (bless him), but the rest of the time, here’s how I automate my shopping (note: I did not receive any compensation for this post – all reviews are purely my own):

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I have been using Blue Apron for about six months and it’s glorious. Someone else meal plans for me, and every single ingredient is delivered to my doorstep on Saturday morning. Our family has 2-3 meals a week like this, plus lots of leftovers. The downside: meals rarely repeat, so we aren’t creating family food traditions. The upside: I don’t have to mealplan, the meals are tasty and healthy, and we get a lot less take-out. Plus, I still get to crank the music up in my kitchen and cook healthy meals for my family. It’s kind of relaxing.

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God bless Amazon. I don’t know how working moms did it before this life-changing invention. I use Amazon NOW for fresh/cold food items in between our big grocery store runs. It’s great for restocking lunch meat, or apples/bananas, even laundry detergent. They deliver milk, although it’s more expensive, so I reserve that for emergencies only.

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Did I mention I love Amazon? I use Pantry for most of our toiletries (we always have at least one back-up of everything on-hand), cereal, granola bars, apple sauce for Wrenn, and household cleaning items. Just about everything on there is comparable to our local grocery store. Delivery is $5.99, but considering it saves me precious time and gas money, it’s well worth it.

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Occasionally I can find cleaning supplies or toiletries on “regular” Amazon, and with my Prime subscription, delivery is free. Back before Wrenn was potty trained, it was my go-to for diapers and wipes, and I still use it for house-hold items (Lose a sippy cup? Need batteries? Just pull up my Amazon app and I can place an order without ever having to give it a second thought.)

imgresWe have a Braums close to our house, and we use that for milk, bread, basic produce, and meat/dairy. There’s never a line, parking is close, and since it’s so easy, I can buy smaller amounts more frequently, which means less waste. I had never considered Braums until my lovely husband introduced me to it- now I wonder why it took me so long! (PS – their milk is SO cheap!)

And there you go. I free up so much time and brain space by simply pulling up apps on my phone and purchasing items or stocking my cart as I realize a need instead of trying to remember. (Running low on shampoo? let me grab my phone…) And that leaves me with extra time to do fabulous things… like laundry. And cuddling on the couch with my tribe. Even washing my hair.

For more life hacks, check out my post over on the Fort Worth Moms Blog.

And now for a giveaway! I am giving away a FREE MEAL from Blue Apron to TWO of my readers! Comment below with what you could do with the extra time you saved from NOT going to the grocery store, and I’ll randomly draw TWO winners! Deadline to enter is Monday, April 25.