Sharing my adventures, thoughts and occassional jokes. Sorting through laundry, and a little bit of life…This is How I Train My Dragons…


“Every accomplishment comes from the decision to try.”

Last May, Ray graduated from UNC. As I was sitting there watching my kids’ reaction to him walking up on stage and getting his college degree, I vowed to myself that I would go back and finish as well. But, there was a catch. I would only go back if I didn’t have to retake the public speaking class that I received a “D” in during my first go round at UNC. How did I get a “D” you might ask? Easy. I wouldn’t show up on the days of my presentations.  Well, I showed up for my first two, I believe…and that’s it. Not sure how many of you know this about me, but public speaking terrifies me. My two biggest fears are snakes and public speaking. That’s it. Terrifies me.

Anyway, I decided to meet with a counselor, and found out that I didn’t have to retake it! Music to my ears! Also, the icing on the cake was that I could probably finish my degree in 18 months to two years. Even better. I enrolled, and I am now in my second semester back at UNC.

I know for a fact that God has a sense of humor because as I was sitting in my first class (last semester), the professor began going over the syllabus and as I’m skimming at the same time I see in bold letters, Oral Presentation. Wait…I said I wouldn’t do this if I had to get in front of people and speak. Yet, here it says oral presentation? I stressed the entire semester over this presentation. But, when those 6 minutes and 40 seconds were over, I felt so proud of myself. I did it!

On to my current semester!! Feeling like a million bucks, the first week of classes I found out that I have a presentation in Every. Single. Class. Immediately, the balloon of confidence I was riding in popped. No way I can do this. I thought for sure somewhere in the syllabus I would find the word SNAKES too! Might as well!

Switching gears for a second, this year, Elijah decided to wrestle. He has grown so much as a person and as a wrestler. It’s been pretty amazing to watch his progress. My Elijah is so much like me, sometimes it hurts. He gets down on himself very easily, so when the arm of his opponent is raised, you can see his “balloon of confidence” slowly start to let out air every time.

Saturday was a rough day for Elijah. He did pretty good his first match, but his second match, it was a totally different boy on the mat. He was backing away from his opponent and every time he would get on his back, he would cry out to me or his big sister, Emaleigh. He was trying to do anything to get the ref, or his coaches to stop the match…but it kept going. It was really heartbreaking to watch as Elijah has never done this before.

He came off the mat, completely scared, defeated and deflated. He immediately called Ray. Now, I’m not sure exactly what Ray told him, but from what Ray told me later, it went something like this: He told him that his coaches or the refs would never put him in harms way. He told him that he has got to believe in himself because if he goes on the mat already defeated, he will lose. He needs to go out there, confident in himself, and he can win! He told him he has the tools that he has learned in practice to be a great wrestler…he just needs to believe in himself. And, most importantly, he told him that he is always with him. Although he can’t be there physically because of work, he is there in his heart…always.

The next match, Elijah went out and pinned his opponent in 57 seconds.

Just as Elijah needed a pep-talk from his Daddy, sometimes we all need that same word of encouragement from our heavenly Father. As I watched Elijah sitting on the bench after that awful match, I couldn’t help but think of how I started this semester feeling already defeated and how much I could use a pep talk myself.  No, I don’t want to do presentations, but I know that God is teaching me something. It would be easy to just quit, or find other classes. But, I’m not learning anything if I am constantly sitting in my chair of comfort. I knew gong back to college wasn’t going to be easy…but I will finish on top, just like Elijah did.

Yesterday at church, I got the same piece of encouragement that I needed. Our pastor preached on having a vision. In a nutshell, there are 4 steps of vision:

1.The Spirit’s Prompting

2. Uncertainty

3. Resistance

4. Divine Clarity

Can I just encourage you (probably because I need to remind myself) that when you get to the uncertainty and the resistance of your vision (because you will get there), don’t let that stop you from completing the vision that God has put in your heart! Push through, persevere because seeing your vision come to pass in God’s timing will be totally worth all of the sweat, tears (and presentations)!


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Choosing To Be A “Mary”

I try not to ever make New Year’s Resolutions. If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that IF I ever make a resolution, I quickly let myself down.  January 1st, I am all about the change and how I’m going to be bikini ready by May. (Insert laugh here) Yet, already by January 5th I have already let go of that resolution because (being completely honest here) I simply love food too much to ever go on any type of diet. I love bread. I love sweets. I love chocolate, although my kidney stones don’t.  So, I get discouraged because it’s something I can’t follow through on.

I have also started off the new year by saying that I vow to read the bible every single day for a year. So, I begin a bible reading plan beginning with Genesis. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Genesis, so I decide to skip a few days and then before I know it, I’ve lost track of the plan. Again, please bare with me while I am being completely honest here. Again, I get discouraged because again, I’ve let myself down.

So, this year I have decided that I’m not even going to think about any kind of resolution. I know myself well enough that I won’t follow through with any plan or diet or any resolution-ish type thing, so I am just not going to do it. This year, instead of a resolution,  I just want to resolve to simply be a better me.

Tonight when we got home, I had some free time, so I decided to do a little bible study while the kids and Ray were occupied. Emaleigh came and sat next to me and asked to join me. We sat together and had a little bible study together. It was awesome. We read the story of when Jesus goes to visit Mary and Martha. Martha is so busy preparing everything that needed to be done for Jesus’ visit, and her sister Mary sat and the feet of Jesus the whole time and didn’t help Martha. Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to get up off her behind and help (not in those words) because she has done everything and this is how Jesus responds:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41

As I was reading this with Emaleigh, I began thinking about my own life and how much of a Martha I am. Sometimes, I feel like I am so busy being a Martha, that I miss out on the reason I’m making all of the preparations. I know that Martha loved God just as Mary did, but I think she missed out on very special time with Jesus because she was occupied with the household chores. I feel like I am always doing “chores” around the house (obviously that’s one of my jobs as a stay at home mom), but I need to realize that it’s ok to let the laundry pile up, have dishes in the sink, and so on to not only spend time with God, but put all of that to the side to spend time with my family that isn’t distracted by folding laundry or “hold on let me clean this real quick” excuses.

I don’t want to miss out on time with God. All of the “stuff” that I have to get done will still be here at the end of the day. I don’t want to be consumed with busywork anymore. So, in order for me to become a better me, I need to quit thinking like a Martha.

In a world full of Martha’s and Mary’s…in 2016 I am choosing to be a Mary. Even if I go back to being a Martha, I know that won’t be a letdown to myself because I know that whether I am being a Martha or a Mary, God loves me just the same.


Ballerina In The Box

My Rocky Parenting post from yesterday…🎀

Rocky Parenting

“It’s a girl!”
Those words still echo in my mind, and forever remain in my heart.

A girl.

The day that Emaleigh was born was the first day that I got to experience a miracle firsthand. Ray and I created her!

A first time mom, I remember being exhausted. But, I could easily stay awake for hours at night just rocking her. Staring down at her in amazement.
She was perfect. We never wanted to put her down.

Looking back it seems like just yesterday. How can it be that she will be turning 11?!

I remember when she turned one. It was around this age that her little personality came shining through.
Her love for Disney Princesses…any of them really. She loved them all.
The colors pink and purple were all over our house.

When she was being potty trained, the one thing that really worked was if a…

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Just Another Wrinkle From Time

In the last couple of weeks, I have read a few really good and inspiring blogs and Facebook updates written by and about women. About our appearance, weight and just over all body image.

My favorite of these blogs, was a woman writing about how she doesn’t mind her sons seeing her naked because she wants them to see what a body of a real woman looks like…not the modified versions in magazines. I love that!! And it really got me thinking about how hard I am on my own body and the way I think about it.

I remember being mortified when Emaleigh first noticed my stretch marks. Yeah, unfortunately I’m not one do those lucky women who’s skin shrunk right back to where it was pre-baby. When she was about 2 1/2 years old she walked into the room when I was changing and said, “Oooooooh Mommy! I like the color of your tummy!” I asked her what she meant and she sweetly replied, ” You have stripes!” Yes. Yes I do. All the Vitamin E in the world will ever change that.

Although that was probably the nicest way that an almost 3 year old could point out my flaw…it kind of hurt. I will never look like Pre-Baby-Caiti again. But, I soon realized it’s not a flaw at all. It’s me and it’s what I’ve been through.

But lately, I have realized that it’s not even my body that I am the hardest on.

Sometimes I catch myself looking through old pictures and noticing how young I looked. My face looked so soft and smooth! I know that sounds silly since I’m only 32 years old…but the Caiti then looks way different from the Caiti now. But, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, right?

A few months back, Ray and I were headed to church (he was driving) and I opened up the visor mirror. For some reason, those mirrors seem to magnify everything! Even my nose hairs were magnified! (Too much?) I immediately noticed and began nit picking every little thing on my face. I slightly moved my mouth and noticed a huge wrinkle on the side…right where I smile. I moved it over and over to make sure it really was there for good, and sure enough it’s not going anywhere. I pointed it out to Ray and his response is what made me begin to start looking at all of my “flaws” differently.

“Honey, I love that line on your face. You know why? Because it only shows up when you laugh or smile!”

Wow. Let me just say, that is one of the many reasons I love my husband. It was then that I realized not all of the lines (wrinkles) on my face are something to be ashamed of. Or something that needs to be hidden with concealer and powder.

You see, that line was formed from the time that I smiled so hard when I first met my kids. And the time that Ray made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants (I said almost). And, maybe all of the times that I have smiled and laughed with countless friends and family.

Being happy is the reason for that “wrinkle”. So, if that’s the price I have to pay… I’ll pay it 1,000 times over.

Oh and the sun spots under my eyes? Those are from the many hours playing outside with my family. That was fun.

The lines under my eyes? I remember many late nights holding and rocking my babies to sleep…that’s where those came from.

The scar on my forehead that I conceal with makeup (and even cut bangs to help hide it)? Yeah, that wasn’t so fun, but it’s part of who I am.

I’m ready to quit looking at my wrinkles, gray hair and stretch marks with such a negative attitude. Every single mark tells a story. My story.

As women, we tend to judge each other on appearance. Why?
We are all different. It would be a pretty bland, boring world if we all looked the same.
Let us all just be comfortable in our own skin! Embrace what we once thought were “flaws” and just love ourselves. Our bodies are amazing, it’s time to recognize that.

So, the next time you start being a little hard on your face (or any other part of your body) remember what special times brought you those marks.


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Nineteen Eighty Eight


Wow. 1988.

Twenty-six years ago I was having the time of my life in Disneyland.
It was my first ever family vacation and it was something that I am able to look back on and just smile. This trip embodied many “firsts for me”…

We took a road trip. This might explain why I love road tripping with my own family now. Anyway, with this trip we traveled to Nevada, Arizona and California. It’s kind of funny the small details that I remember of this trip, but then they were huge to me.

We drove through Nevada and we stopped at Circus Circus. I’m not even sure if that place is even around anymore, but I toted a sweet pink Circus Circus fanny pack for the longest time. Loved that thing. That was my first time in Vegas. First (and probably last) fanny pack? Score.

Back in the motor-home we celebrated my Grandma’s birthday. She stood there opening presents as we travelled down the road. I couldn’t tell you what she got, but I can still hear the rustle of the paper as she opened her gift. I glanced up at her and saw a smile that could light up a room. We were together.

We got to Disneyland. The very first thing I remember is walking up to the ticket gate. My mom was walking (and videotaping as in VHS) and she walked right into the brothers and I laughed so hard. And yes, it’s recorded.
Laughter. I remember a lot of laughter.

I remember riding a ride that I didn’t necessarily want to so I pretended to fall asleep. My mom held me tight…I remember begging my dad not to spin the tea cups too fast because I was a weenie. I think he then rode with my brothers so he could spin fast.

I remember It’s A Small World being my favorite ride and almost being in tears because I loved it so much.

We watched a parade that night and I remember Oliver and Company was the big movie at that time so all of the characters were dancing on a float. Man, I’m getting old!

I remember going to Sea World, Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Studios. I thought I was going to get swallowed by a tsunami and eaten by King Kong at Universal so I try to block that out. My mom was super pumped to get her picture taken by Tom Selleck and his Magnum P.I car. (Don’t worry mom, I won’t post that picture)

Then we went to the ocean.

I remember screaming. No, I wasn’t scared, just incredibly excited. Literally, I screamed the entire time…and it wasn’t a “oh I was so cute!” scream, it was a “why didn’t someone tell me to zip it?” scream. (Seriously…we have a video of it.)

I was 6. It was the first time I had ever seen an ocean and it was HUGE! I can remember drawing in the sand and I looked back and saw my dad in his jeans and tennis shoes. It was November, but that didn’t stop me and my brothers from getting barefoot and running (and screaming…lots of screaming) through the sand and letting the salt water splash our legs.

The end of our trip was celebrating Thanksgiving with our family in Arizona. Being grateful. That’s what it’s all about right? Family, friends and just being together.

I remember lots of things. But none of them were what I got that trip (except the fanny pack). All of my memories are of how I felt. The laughter, smiles, screams (oh the screaming) and all of the fun that I had with my family back in November 1988. I can only hope that Ray and I are able to create some of the same memories for our own kids now.

In 1988, I learned that it’s not about how much money is spent or what I had and didn’t have. I learned that what is important, is how much TIME we spend together.
So let me just say…Invest in your kids! It is something you will never regret spending! (You might regret the fanny pack.)




That Feeling…

The first Sunday of every month, our church calls Worship Sunday. It’s where our kids stay with us for the worship portion of church. I love this. It gives our kids a sense of what worship (with music) is like.

Today was Worship Sunday. And for me, it was one I’ll never forget.

My son, Elijah, stood in front of me for all 3 songs.
You see, he is my snuggler. He is 8 years old and still never flinches to hold my hand. In parking lots, down the hall at school, and today at church. Standing in front of me, he held my hands around his neck the whole time. Well, actually not the whole time. He started off clapping, but I think he quickly got frustrated because he couldn’t get the beat (definitely got the rhythm genes from me). So, he held my hands. He held my hands so tightly to his chest that I could distinctly feel his heartbeat the whole time.

It wasn’t until the second song, that I felt it. I could feel Elijah worshipping God.

Let me explain. Since he was standing in front of me, I couldn’t hear him singing. The only thing I could feel was the vibrations of his voice on his chest, and his sweet heartbeat acting like the metronome…keeping beat for him.

As hard as I am trying to explain it, it was almost an indescribable feeling that came over me. I have felt the presence of God during worship before. You know, that peace that just comes into the room? But today it was different…

I could feel the presence of The Lord...through my son. His son.

If we just open our eyes, open our hearts, and allow God to enter…it is then we will feel Him. Even when we don’t know it…He is there.

He is here. He is all around us. He is the whisper in our ear. The nudge at our back.

That’s Him.

The amazing feeling I had today. Remembering that He is in our kids…we just need to help them to allow Him to make a home there…in their hearts.
All you have to do, is look into the eyes of your child…or any child…and that’s HIM.



When Words Don’t Come Easy

My Rocky Parenting blog for today…

Rocky Parenting

Ever feel like you have so much to say, you just don’t know where to begin? Like you just vomit on all of the words that are in your mouth but they are just stuck?
Or, you don’t know what to do other than just…cry? So many questions that you want to ask, or know the answer to. Yet we can’t. Maybe we won’t ever know the answer.

Yeah. That’s kind of where I’m at.

I’m not great with words. Sometimes, I find myself crying. Not because I am necessarily sad, or mad…just because. Because that’s my release. That’s my way of communicating my feelings. And that’s when I write.

Life is hard. To be honest, there are times, life flat out sucks. And it’s in those crappy times, our own life seems to be put into perspective.

What matters.
What doesn’t.

Last week some very good friends of ours…

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Getting the Big “W”

My blog last week for Rocky Parenting 🙂

Rocky Parenting

Well, it’s official. I’m a soccer mom.
As a matter of fact, I’m probably THAT soccer mom. And, no, it’s not because I now drive a van.

When Elijah first began playing soccer at the age of 4, it was more of a cuteness factor. All of the kids running after the ball causing constant pile ups, shin guards and socks that would constantly fall down because their little legs were still too small, and no goalies.

As he has gotten older, he has learned that he really enjoys soccer. He gets it. Elijah is usually my quiet, a little bit timid, A-LOT-like-his-mommy child. But when it comes to soccer, I see a spark in his eye and he comes alive on the field. He is not afraid to get in there and be aggressive. I live for that. It’s amazing to watch your kids realize that they are really…

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Rescue Me…

Here’s my blog for Rocky Parenting. Enjoy!!

Rocky Parenting

The other night, I woke up to my 3 year old crawling over me saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” Thinking nothing of it (as this has happened before) I assured him that he was safe and to go to sleep.

That next morning, he mentioned his bad dream again. Normally, Eydan doesn’t really remember his dreams.

“I fell in the water!”
I could hear the panic in his sweet little voice.

“You were there…you should have grabbed me Mommy.”

Those words stuck like peanut butter on the roof of my mouth. He fell in the water and I didn’t rescue him? He then proceded to tell me that there was a bat (the kid is obsessed with Batman, so of course there is a bat). After he fell, he flew into the sky and was rescued. So, not sure what part of this dream was actually what…

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More Than A Wrapper

My Rocky Parenting Blog from yesterday…enjoy!!

Rocky Parenting

Our senses can do some pretty miraculous things. Not only do they let us see, smell, hear and (sometimes) taste the world around us…they also let us remember what the world around us used to be like for a brief moment.

For instance, the smell of fresh cut grass takes me back to summer in the 90’s. Or the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys and the smell of licorice takes me back to rollerskating around Warnoco West. Any of my Greeley peeps remember the Snowball skate, or the Birthday Bear?

Anyway, I remember when my Grandma passed away, I kept one of her sweatshirts so that I could always remember the way that she smelled. There’s no words for me to explain what the smell is like (it’s gone from the sweatshirt now), but whenever I get a large black trash bag and open it up…the smell is there…

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Stephanie Bernaba

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My Lord and My Blog: A blog by Arron Chambers

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Sharing my adventures, thoughts and occassional jokes. Sorting through laundry, and a little bit of life...This is How I Train My Dragons...