6/24/2015

Cinnamon Roll Bites

Easy Breakfast Bake
I whipped this up for Father's Day on Sunday, and you guys -- just thinking about this breakfast recipe makes my mouth water!

It's so easy, and so good.

Cinnamon Roll Bites

12 oz. Tube of Refrigerated Biscuits
3 Tablespoons Butter (melted)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Glaze:
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoon Butter (melted)
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk

Grease 8x8 pan.
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
Cut biscuits into four, and dip into cinnamon/sugar mixture until coated.
Place in pan and spread melted butter over biscuits.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-minutes.

Mix glaze ingredients until well combined and pour over warm biscuits

ENJOY!

Source: Lil' Luna

6/22/2015

What I'm Learning With My Feet Up

Recovering From Broken Foot
It's been a month of having my foot out of commission.

A month of pain pills, a bulky, heavy boot over my foot, no driving, and no fancy summer drinks on the deck.

For weeks, I've had to depend on everyone around me to take care of our two girls while my husband works 2.5 hours away, and we keep praying about a move.

To say the past few weeks have been trying would be a vast understatement. Fortunately, there are multiple seasons of Scandal to catch up on. [That show is legit, folks. Check out Season 1 HERE!]

But seriously...here are six things I've learned while recovering from this injury:

1. It's okay to slow down. Literally.

Errands and entertaining can wait.

I think often times we're so busy, we forget to just sit and BE.

Turns out, when you've got nowhere to go except doctor's appointments and physical therapy sessions -- plus no way of really getting anywhere -- you learn to make your own type of fun.

Sure, sometimes that fun consists of singing "Skidamarinky Dinky Dink," 230974 times in a row, but you know what? That's okay!

[Side note: Kids can be entertained for HOURS just by singing. Just sayin'...]

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

And it's okay to accept help when it's offered.

Whether it's a ride to the hospital or help with laundry or a refill of my chocolate stash, I'm learning to ask for a hand and accept the help when it's offered.

3. Being patient is hard.

I'm learning to become far more patient than I've ever wanted to be.

Apparently, rare bone breaks take awhile to heal.

I've always been the type to want things done right away, but this ordeal has certainly tested my patience in all aspects possible.

4. It's good to plan ahead.

I'm learning how great it is to plan easy meals and prepare for the week ahead.

I've been able to find new, easy recipes on Pinterest and get 'em ready before the week starts.

5. Physical therapists are amazing.

Look, science is not my forte. At all.

And there is some truth that "PT" could also mean "Physical Torture."

But you guys... the human body and how we're built is fascinating. Seriously.

I'm grateful I get to spend three days a week with a gal who doesn't complain about rubbing my black and blue foot (And who likes my polish!).

Plus, I'm convinced she'll have me in better shape than I was before I broke my foot. Sah-weeet!

6. Gratitude runs deep.

You're never too old to depend on your parents or your spouse's parents or your friends for help.

I can't tell you how great it is to have dear friends and family members who genuinely care about my recovery.

Here's hoping I'll be back on my feet soon [literally].

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Related content:
Goodbye, Home

6/17/2015

To the Woman Considering an Abortion

Letter to Pregnant Woman Considering Abortion

To the Woman Considering an Abortion...

I have no idea what it's like to be in your shoes right now. 

I can't imagine how lost you must feel after seeing those unexpected pink lines on that plastic test you picked up at the grocery store.

I'm sure you prayed it was a false positive. 

Perhaps the test didn't work right...

Or you were just imagining an extra line.

But now reality's setting in: 

You're pregnant.

There is a precious, beautiful life growing inside of you right now.

And as scared as you are -- as lost and confused and angry as may be -- I want you to know:

YOU'RE going to be okay. 

Before you head to that appointment, I want you to know this procedure you're considering likely won't erase the pain. It won't get rid of the confusion, the emptiness, the anger or the sadness you may feel. 

I've never been in your shoes, so I'm not going to try to tell you what's right or wrong. 

Only you know what's best for you.

But I want to tell you this:

Adoption is an option.

Choosing life and a family for your child is so brave. 

Recognizing your circumstances may make it difficult for you to be the mother you believe this child deserves is selfless. 

Deciding to carry a child and pray for her and love him for nine months only to place that miracle in another woman's arms is courageous.

Adoption isn't easy, but oh my gosh...it can be really, really amazing. 

I know many brave birth mommas who would say the same.

My friend Sarah is one of them.

I asked her what she would say to a woman considering an abortion, and here's part of what she said:
My great heart breaks for her... 
Her choice will stay with her forever. 
She will never hear the first cry, first tears, first steps, whereas in an adoption you get to possibly experience this. 
There are so many resources out there who will help her and get her through the process with open arms... 
I would have never been able to live with myself had I chose abortion instead of adoption. 
It will shake you to the core. 
Even after adoption, I felt empty... 
But at the same time, so full of love for a new family I created for someone else.  
I can never express in words my whole experience, what I went through, and what that adoptive family means to me. 
I'm tearing up writing this because it brings back so many raw memories, and knowing what it felt like when I felt like I had no other options...
To the woman who's pregnant and considering an abortion:

Please know you are not alone.

This is not easy, but you will be okay.

My prayers are with you.

PS: If you are a woman who has more questions about the option of adoption but you don't know where to start, please contact me. I'm happy to connect you with people who have been in your shoes and resources that can help. 

6/08/2015

These Are Our Children

I'm hurt.

I'm angry.

And I'm terrified that my daughters have to grow up in this world.

Why?

Lemme show you why:


Yesterday, this video started popping up all of my Facebook news feed from McKinney, Texas.

When I watched it on my phone, my jaw hit the floor and my heart sank.

My two precious daughters were innocently and intently watching Barney, and I sat behind them with tears rolling down my face.

"Mommy sad?" Olivia asked as she broke her gaze away from her purple dinosaur friend on the TV.

My chin quivered.

I quickly joined in her singing so as to distract her from the suffocating feelings of this unfair, unjust world wedged deep within the crevasses of my heart.

But even the happiest of songs couldn't keep tears from bubbling over the corners of my eyes because all I could think about was that teenage girl leaving a pool party in her bikini and her brown body getting slammed on the ground with her face shoved into the grass while a 200-pound man jabbed his knees into her spine before straddling her.
Brandon Brooks YouTube Video
Screenshot Credit: Brandon Brooks/YouTube






















How ANY mother -- any parent -- can watch this video and not be outraged is beyond me.

How ANY parent can sit back and condone a power-tripping police officer waving his gun around a bunch of [black] children is repulsive.

These are our children. 
"Sir? Sir. We just came to a birthday party. Please..."
Someone please tell me why these kids deserved to be dehumanized -- thrown on the ground like garbage, cussed at, handcuffed and treated like dirt.
"Officer, I can't find my bike..."
Someone please tell me why these teenagers deserved to carelessly have a loaded gun pointed at their faces by a man sworn to serve and protect all people by the letter of the law.

Please. Enlighten me on the egregious racism shown in this video.

I am not black, but my beautiful daughters are.

I am not black, but I see the pain, the injustice and the inequality shown to people of color every day.

And I care.

And frankly, I think we all should.

PS: Brandon Brooks -- Thank you.
PPS: Before you comment, please know this is not an anti-police post. I am pro-police with a belief that systematic racism exists and must change, and the first step is recognizing it. I believe there are many good police officers who do great work in their communities. For more on my stance, click here.

6/03/2015

When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

Two years ago, when I actually did my hair and make-up and wore nicer clothes than my comfy t-shirts and yoga pants, a loyal TV viewer connected with me.

Her name was Sara.

Sara was kind, honest, and a huge supporter of my work.

She was home bound for health reasons, but always kept up on current events. 

When I walked away from my television career, she continued following my blog. 

"Love that little Sweet Cheeks!" she'd write whenever she saw a picture of Olivia. 

We became Facebook friends and exchanged frequent messages about life, our mutual love of coffee and current events. 

For Christmas, I asked if I could drop off homemade cookies.

We sat and talked for almost an hour. 

I gave her a big hug when I left, and I promised her I'd bring Sweet Cheeks by to brighten her day.

That was in December.


Sara was one of the first people who found out about Kendra because she grew worried with my brief hiatus from social media.

But when she learned why I hadn't logged on, she rejoiced in our happiness.

That was in January.

Weeks after wrapping our heads around Kendra's whirlwind adoption, I got a card in the mail from Sara.

She sent us $25 with one instruction: For Chris and I to go to the movies on a date.

That was in February.

In the following weeks, we swapped a few stories over Facebook and email, and she always left messages about how beautiful my daughters were whenever she'd come across a photo. 

"Did you go to the movies yet?" she asked.

"Not yet...we've been so busy," I said as I explained Chris' job transfer and our impending move 2.5 hours away.

That was in March.

Days went by, and I got an email in my inbox from Sara.

Subject: Sorry
Message: Shelley – I’m sorry to send this information via email – but, I know you’re a prayer warrior and so, I’m choosing to share this with you.

Sara went on to tell me about her kidney cancer.

It had spread and she chose to forego treatment.

Her care manager was Cedar Valley Hospice.

That was in April.

I asked Sara if I could bring Sweet Cheeks and her Lil' Sis for a short visit.

"What kind of ice cream do you like?" I inquired, insisting we bring some on our visit.

"I love strawberry milkshakes from Culver's," she said. 

Our visit was postponed after Olivia was sick in the Emergency Room.

Then Kendra was sick a week later.

I apologized the two times I had to reschedule, and -- in typical Sara-fashion -- I received her complete understanding each time.

"You just keep giving me something to look forward to!" she said with well-wishes to feel better soon.

A few weeks later, I sent Sara a message and said, "I'm going to be an auntie! My sister's going to have her baby!"

"WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! I'll join with you in singing 'te deums!'" she replied.

That was in May.

And that was the last I heard from Sara.

Sara died.

Now it's June.

She's gone.

Now I'm sitting here hunched over my laptop trying to process the death (and life) of such kind, thoughtful woman.

And even though I know she wouldn't want me to, I'm kicking myself for not rescheduling our visit sooner.

I'm also reminiscing at how two strangers became friends, and I'm grateful for that.

I loved and valued the unique friendship I had with Sara, and I'm reminded how quickly it can change.

We all have someone in our lives we've been meaning to connect with, and for one reason or another it just hasn't worked out.

You know...that friend we've had a hard time making time for because our schedules don't line up or our kids are sick or have a tournament or swimming lessons or whatever.

If there's anything I've been reminded of now more than ever, it's that we need to prioritize time for people in our lives who are important to us. 

Life is busy. Next week is even busier. But tomorrow? It may not even come, you guys.

Think of that person right now that matters to you.

Think of that person you haven't made time for.

Call her.

Call her right now.

Send her flowers. Mail her a card. Shoot her an email.

Better yet, hop in your car and hit up the nearest drive-thru for a strawberry milkshake and hand-deliver that sweet goodness to her in person TODAY.

Don't wait. 

Because tomorrow may not even come. And then it'll be too late.

Related content:
Why I'm Walking Away From TV
My "I'm Not On TV Anymore" Bucket List