Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Your Presence, Lord, I Will Find My Strength...

I used to work at a coffee shop/bookstore that was attached to the church that I attended for many years.  Every Sunday night there was a Bible Study at the coffee shop.  This one particular night, Britt Merrick was speaking.  I LOVED when he came to our church.  His teachings always really pierced right to the core of my heart.  His adorable wife Kate was standing near the cards and mugs, looking like the most stylish glowing pregnant girl I'd ever seen.  They were just the cutest couple...I remember thinking, "Man....I want your life!"  Cute surfer couple, married and in love, a sweet baby on the way...sigh.

Fast forward 12 years later....I wouldn't want their life for anything.  They are still adorable, still pouring their lives into others for Jesus, have two precious children, Britt still gives messages that pierce right to the core of my heart...but their world has been turned upside down.  Four years ago, their sweet 4 year old daughter, Daisy Love (who has the same middle name as Shiloh) was diagnosed with the last 4 years she had over 30 rounds of chemo, 6 major surgeries and been diagnosed 4 times with cancer.  A few months ago, they found 2 inoperable tumors now, and her doctors advised her parents to take her home and enjoy their last precious days with their sweet girl.

As a mom, wow.  There are no words.  I have spent SO many days just weeping for this family.  I cannot even comprehend the pain, the fear, the anger, the heartbreak that they must be going through.  This kind of do you recover from it?  How do you even live through it??  I have told God that I don't understand how this could happen to them.  I have told him that it doesn't seen fair that she is so sick and there is nothing her parents can do.  It doesn't seem fair that there are SO many parents dealing with this kind of pain and sorrow....and I have to healthy, amazing, well bodied children that I get to enjoy everyday.

You hear the question all of the time...."If God were so great, how could He let all these terrible things happen?"  I have asked it...Why God?  How could you let this happen?  Its a normal human question...and really some doubt is normal in your faith.  It just means you have to trust that even though there is the doubt, you are choosing to believe...

I want to talk about a few things that I learned that rocked my whole world from Britts latest message.  I mean, literally ROCKED me to the core.  

So, lets talk about this.  Jesus, when he was hear on earth, was pretty clear to his friends, his family, his followers.  "You WILL lose everything if you follow me!"  These were just dudes, just people.  They didn't get WHY this was going to happen.  There was no theology of suffering yet.  Jesus just said, "Even though you are obeying me, you will not be immune to suffering."

Jesus tells will suffer, you will be in pain, you live in a fallen world, you might die....but DO NOT FEAR.  The insanity of this command!!!  How???  How can you not fear in the midst of the darkest of nights?!?!  Does it make sense???  Does it make you doubt that this is all just ridiculous???  Its ok to doubt and struggle.  The struggle, the will still be there....

The issue (when times are hard) is not our bodies, sickness, pain, disease, even death, unfair, issues, circumstances that overwhelm, people, what they can do to you. Fear not.

Don't fear circumstances, people, rejection, what can kill you. Fear not, fear God.

Why does an innocent bird fall from the sky?  Why did my husband beat me?  Why did my friend betray me?  Why did I lose my job?  Why does my baby have cancer? He knows that the these questions are hanging there!!  He knows we want to know....yet He still does not tell us!!!

Does WHY heal a broken heart?  Does WHY take away the pain??  If he told us WHY all the bad things happen, would it really help??

Sin?  yes.  Gods glory?  sure.  But God is great.  He is so great....could he not bring glory to himself in any other way than an 8 year old having cancer for the 4th time??
Asking why is not the right question.

He gives us something so much greater than the answer to Why.  He points us to the saving factor...they only way to make it through the suffering...he changes the answer from Why to Who.

Not even a sparrow will fall from the sky without the fathers care and presence.  


Fearing God is not being terrified of Him.  To fear Him means to revere, respect, honor, extol, to trust Him enough to believe by faith that He is good, sovereign and present when life is cruel, hard, and out of control. And then, to honor Him in the midst of it all.

Life is always going to present things that will insight fear....when these things happen, we have a choice to either fear god, or fear everything else.  When everything around us says He cant be trustedtrust His goodness. When everything else is against us, when everything else is telling us He isn't even there, pursue Him. Pursue god, not just to pursue answers, not just for a desired outcome. In the most difficult time of life, we want clarity.  In the most difficult times of life, God wants our trust... these are in opposition to each other. Clarity wont help.  It is not promised.  His presence is promised.  Even if He could explain it to us, we could not comprehend his infinite purpose. Whatever makes us scared, His presence is enough. In fact, it is the only thing that can offer us comfort and hope.

The command "do not fear" is ALWAYS followed up with "I am with you".  That promise is always there....Nothing happens apart from our Fathers care.  His presence cures our fears.  It soothes our fears. Whatever is happening now, isn't outside of His control, and it isn't ultimate.  The pain and the fear of this life are not bigger than the Love and the Presence of the Father.

Do not put your hope in a certain outcome, but in someone, the someone who never fails, never gives up...Seek the presence of Christ. He will ALWAYS meet you.

We cannot fear the circumstance. We have to fear God. We have to stop asking him why and start asking WHO....who is there during the suffering?

When we stop asking why and start asking who, the silence ends....the heavens open....we hear that Gods presence is enough.  It is there.  It is always there.  It is always enough. Fear not this life, or anything in it. There is One who is greater than all...and He hold Eternity in His hands.

One week ago, Daisy Love's sweet mommy posted this:

At 2:40am this morning our sweet Daisy went to be with Jesus. She was sleeping and in no pain. Christ is with us as the God of all comfort. We are thankful.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Daisy believed this and so do we. More than ever.
The Merricks
It was my birthday. I was in the car with friends and my husband, on the way home from celebrating. I got a text from a dear friends who said that Daisy had died. I could hardly breathe. I cried. I just wanted to get home to my own babies and hold them.
I tried to remember Gods promise. I tried to trust that He was there, comforting her parents and her big brother as they just endured they greatest loss that they will probably ever have to live through. Its hard to remember His truth...
Kate posted this a few days later:
Dear Friends…
Early Saturday morning we had the privilege of witnessing Daisy’s departure from earth to a place outside of time and space where her joy is complete; heaven.
Our darling girl gave us kisses at midnight, with lips dry from thirst and hot with fever.  Tiny and sweet, the words “that’s awesome” came from her tired body after letting us know she was having good dreams. She is safely home… Finally well.
I have refrained from giving details of her suffering over the last few weeks, as it was immense.  Out of respect for her dignity and loveliness we have been keeping these painful moments sacred.
Thank you for your partnership in loving our girl. Please know we are broken hearted for ourselves but so happy for Daisy, who is with Jesus in paradise able to run and eat and play with abandon. We believe that wholeheartedly, and as they say in Narnia, she is going further up! And further in!  She left the Shadowlands for a place more real in every sense.
Please join us as we celebrate the strong, kind, brave, goofy, thoughtful, amazing girl we call Daisy Love. Please wear what you feel best in; sandy feet and boardshorts, tutu and snorkel mask, or the prettiest dress in your closet. Wear black only if you must, but I’m wearing what Daisy would like most.  On her last night on earth, she requested we watch “The Hobbit” (70’s version) and dress like hobbits.  If ever there was a girl confident in her own skin, it was her.  Among her favorite ensembles are animal ears of all kinds, astronaut, flightsuit, monster, pirate, dinosaur, Indian, mermaid, bear, cowgirl, fireman and explorer.
Feel free to laugh and cry and hug. There is no single way to grieve. And while we miss her on earth, we will pick up where we left off when I have the privilege of going to where she is, in the presence of God where there is fullness of joy.
My final request to all who read this blog: love. Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters. Love each day like it’s your last. All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you. Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!  Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.  Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown. It has been my honor and privilege to love Daisy these last 8 years. I’m thankful for every minute; the joyful and the terrible alike.
I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:8-11 NLT)

Isn't she amazing???  Still, in some of her saddest moments, she trusts in the Presence of the Lord.  My life is forever changed because of Daisy.  She is in Heaven now.  She has a healthy body.  And her family holds on to the truth that they will see her, hold her, laugh with her, and be close to her for eternity, very soon.  I offer you this challenge once again, just as Kate did....
My final request to all who read this blog: love. Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters. Love each day like it’s your last. All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you. Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!  Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.  Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown. It has been my honor and privilege to love Daisy these last 8 years. I’m thankful for every minute; the joyful and the terrible alike.
And in the midst of it that His presence is enough...
I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:8-11 NLT)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Dinner Dilemma Finale

We are going on three full weeks of meal planning and mega organization overhaul. I LOVE it. The prep for all of these new systems is definitely time consuming. But, it is oh so very worth it. Seriously. I started with my problem, in The Dinner Dilemma Part 1. Then I came up with the following possible solution (for which I have Jeana to thank) in The Dinner Dilemma Part 2. It is proving to really help me A LOT. You have the option of reusing what you come up with: 4 beef meals, 4 chicken meals, 4 easy vegetarian meal, 4 pasta meals, and 4 breakfast for dinner meals- you can stick with a staple (especially if you are just getting used to planning meals) or you can switch them up every 4 weeks. From there I showed you how I picked my meals for 2 weeks, and under each day, I listed what I needed for the grocery store to make the items, in The Dinner Dilemma Part 3. I made my grocery list and didn't have to go to the grocery store 5 million times in 2 weeks....just once. It was truly bliss. I loved it. I shared with you how it was going in The Dinner Dilemma Part 4. For me, the most important part was picking easy meals. Meals that I didn't have to buy a ton of weird ingredients for, meals that I pretty much didn't even need a recipe for. Im finishing off this post with my finale 2 weeks menu plan below.

Week 3


Cinnamon Rolls and Eggs
Cinnamon Rolls

Sour Cream

Pasta and Alfredo Sauce and Apple Sauce
Apple Sauce

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken
Parm Cheese

Week 4

Corn Potato Soup

GF Pancake mix

Meatloaf and Potatoes
2lbs ground beef

Mozz cheese

GF Noodles
Mozz cheese

It has proved several things to me. The first is, wandering around the grocery store and trying to plan meals in my head, or make sure that we have enough stuff to last us 2 weeks is a big fat waste of money. I have decreased my grocery spending by over $200 a month!!! Its kind of amazing! Also, the big thing for me is that I have a plan. I don't go into Hell Hour or Killer Hour or whatever you want to call it blindly. I know what Im going to make for dinner and that stress is not on my shoulders. Now, Im still cranky and the kids are still super emotional and cranky, so obviously we all still have to exercise mass amounts a little self control. Its a process. I get irritable very quickly, and Im trying to get a handle on that. Listening to my tone of voice, hearing how I speak to my kids, being present, being quick to apologize....its all apart of growing.

Im working on a few other totally awesome systems that are all apart of my organizational overhaul including fabulous chore charts, budget system and family schedule. I will be sure to post about them as they come into play.

For now...God is still just chipping away at all of the parts of me that I wish would just disappear...He is so good and so faithful....and He has given us EVERYTHING we need to change peoples lives all for His glory. THAT is phenomenal news....because it is not at all us and totally ALL HIM!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bringing Heaven to Earth

When I was a wee lass, I took a life changing trek around the world.  I was 17.  I was alone.  I was terrified.  I sobbed for a majority of the flight.  I was so afraid.  I didn't want to go, actually.  I wanted to stay in high school, keep my blinders on, be a girl who kept on living in a bubble of western life.  God made me go.  You see, He echoed the words "Uganda" in my life, through people, through media...a place that I had never heard of before, it was know the only thing that I could think of.  I lived and breathed Uganda.  God placed a desire, a passion, a love, for ministering to children.  I never thought it was a gift.  I just knew that it was a passion that God only drilled deeply into me.

My first trek lead to another, much longer, month on end trip, which then led to another trip to Uganda and then to Rwanda and Sudan.  Life was never the same for that girl...over a span of 5 years, I had been to Africa 3 times...and my world was fully and completely rocked.  Some of the things that I saw and went through there cannot even be understood by others.  I have journal after journal full of struggles, pain, bliss, healing, love, restoration and so much more.  Uganda felt more like home to me than any place I have ever lived.  It will forever be the most treasured place to me.  Those memories find me in the most random moments...a thunder storm, the certain smell of something burning, the humidity, little moments with my own children...and those moments keep the longing to someday return alive.

Fast forward almost 10 years.  I'm a mom.  I have spent the better part of motherhood being ashamed that I was "just a mom."  I felt embarrassed every time someone asked me, "What do you do?"  Being a mom doesn't require a degree...lets be honest, it actually requires nothing.  So I spent year after year hating my job...longing for the day that I could actually do something worth while....something I could be proud of.  Now, if you have half a brain, you probably think, "Um you're a psycho not thinking clearly."  I wasn't.

One of the biggest, most amazing lessons that God has been revealing to me is what I am about to share.
And friends, I'm SO happy to be learning and loving this lesson.  For it is the most amazing lesson of all time.

Satan didn't want me to feel the passion that God gave me for children.  He wanted me to believe his daily lies...which kept me from being the woman God wanted me to be.  Paralyzed, hating the job that God had set before me, I just wallowed.  God didn't get the best version of husband and children got some of the worst versions of me.  Hearing and believing those lies....that I had no vision, no skills, no worth, they were effective falsehoods that cut me off at the knees.

There is a great ending to this is usually the case with God.  God has been slowly but surely teaching me to filter the lies, to take every thought captive, to peel away the blinders....and my memory has been foggy, but friends, it is as clear as can be now.  God reminded me that He placed a love for children on my heart.  He is as passionate about me as He wants me to be for His most beloved young ones.  That fire has been reignited...and it is burning so bright.  He has given me the best job(s) in the world.  I get to raise my children to know Truth.  To be passionate, generous, Glorify the Lord with all that they do.  I get to teach them how to be responsible, hard working, compassionate and loving.  Me.  I get that incredible honor.  God hand picked these incredible children just for me, to lead, teach, direct and love.  Its is an amazing gift.  And it has become the most important role to me.  Everything else is second to being a wife and mom....and me putting my family first is NOT missing out.  In fact, anything but putting them fully first (second only to God) is when I would be missing out.

You don't have to be a pastor, or a talented musician, or a fearless evangelist.  What do you do?  What do you like to do?  Do you like to cook?  Start finding people who need a little extra care and make them a meal.  Do you like children?  Go spend a weekend or two a month in your church's childrens ministry and bless parents who get to find healing in God's word because of you and your willingness to use what is in your hands.  Do you like to meet new people?  Volunteer at a homeless shelter, or minster to the hurting in another way.  These things are little....but they are earth shaking to the lives you will be touching.

When I found my amazing church, I was a broken, hurting, sad mom.  I hated myself.  I didn't want to live any more.  It was terribly dark.  I had given up on finding any freedom.  My awesome husband and lovely sister all but physically forced me to go to this awesome church, Pittsburgh East.  I went.  I didn't hate it.  I mean, after all, I got a break from my kids.  I went back....and you know what kept me coming....I got to leave my kids in the hands of loving, smiling people....and listen to the most healing messages I've ever heard.  That broken mommy, is now whole.  All because a few people gave their time, an hour or two a month to care for my that I could find the freedom that Jesus Christ wanted to give me.  So while it might have seemed to those caring for my kids like they were just wiping noses and calming a crying little is far beyond the truth.  It is because of them that I was able to find the loving, immeasurable compassionate healing that my great God had for me.

Use your talents...use what is in your hands.  God gave you those hands, as little as they might be, to fulfill what He has placed in your heart.  Don't count yourself out.  Serve Him.  Reach your out hands....and bring Heaven to Earth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Response Is Always...

Sometimes in our lives, I think we sit here thinking, "Boy, I am really something.  I deserve a lot.  I have every right to be offended when people do inconsiderate things.  I have the right to live my life believing everything my emotions choose to tell me.  I will live my life doing what feels best for me."  I am the first one to admit that I live this way fight this off daily.  But lets be honest here....what a huge delusional disappointment.

Now, I believe that I have a purpose in this world.  It is to serve a God who gave everything for me, a God who looks at me, sees that even though I am SO flawed, His love is enough to cover it all.  He reaches out to me at every moment wanting to pour into me His love so that I can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is NOTHING in this world that can separate me from that Love, knowing full well that if I allow myself to even experience that kind of Love for a moment, my whole life cannot be lived the same...because that Love will fill me in a way that every hole in me will be filled and I will, in turn, overflow at every moment with this unexplainable, immeasurable, never ending, cant-be-earned Love.  That is my experience this Love and pour it out onto everyone around me.

What does that look like?  Well, in my marriage it looks like- no matter how irritating, inconsiderate, and rude my husband might be, my response is always...Love.  No matter how many times I get my pretty little feelings hurt, my response is always...Love.  No matter how many times I don't feel listened to, loved, respected, heard, my response is still...Love.  Can you imagine what this would look like?  Can you imagine, if my response was always this kind of Love, how transformational this would be?  Can you imagine the testament to Love that this would be to our children, our friends, our family?  In a world that tells us we have to right to feel however we want, that we can believe every lie our emotions tell us to believe, that we are entitled to all of that, this reprogramming is not easy.  In fact, its often a moment by moment battle.  But the looming question of "Can you imagine what that kind of Love in your marriage would look like?" it keeps me fighting like my life depends on it (because actually, its does) to be filled and fill others with the most incredible, all consuming, undeserved Love.

I think my marriage is the hardest place to apply this.  It is the area tested the most, for me.  Second is my relationships with my children.  I know that there are times when Im THE WORST example of this kind of Love.  THE WORST!!!  When I have shut off the valve that allows Gods love to freely flow into me, everyone around me suffers.  I am learning how to quickly forgive, reconcile  and change...beating myself up, withholding mercy, it only escalates the damaging cycle.  Im learning that truly accepting the Love of Jesus on a daily basis looks like me loving freely, unconditionally, remembering that I do not have the right to be constantly offended and entitled...and when I fall short, (just like when others do) that open door of mercy never closes.  And every time I think of closing it on myself or others, I'm turning the valve that keeps that Love of God from overflowing out of me.

I used to think it was so hard to forgive myself for being, um, a human.  But Im realizing how much more effective it is for me to quickly forgive myself and others....because anything else is just robbery....stealing away every bit of Joy, Love and Blessing that God wants to pour into me endlessly.

Oh how he loves up, receive it, and once you do, you will KNOW, there is no other way in the world to respond to His love, other than living your whole life pouring that very Love into the lives of others....because there is no other response.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Dinner Dilemma (Part 4)

It took me 5 minutes to make last Mondays meal...and I did it at 10am!!

3-4 frozen organic chicken breasts
1 bottle of Wildtree Slow Cooker Sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Leave it in the crockpot for about 6 hours, stirring/forking it occasionally until it all falls apart and then serve on buns.

Im IN LOVE with my new system of meal making.  I love that I really picked meals that were easy, with few ingredients, that taste yummy.  Its the best possible way for me to stick with it.  I want to add in a few other recipes but I think sticking to this basic idea is really going to help me stay strong.  I might be dreaming, and I will have to sit down and crunch exact numbers, but I definitely feel like we have saved money and I KNOW we have saved a lot of time.

Now, that "hell hour" that I was speaking of, well, the kids still act the same....but I have a calmness about me.  Because I have plan of attack.  I don't feel like I too am flailing about.  I know that dinner will be made in less than a half of an hour....and I can totally deal with that.

I am currently coming with with a chore/responsibility plan for our home....which I can't wait to get into place.  Do you use something like this?  If so, tell me about it.  Is there anything you love/hate about it?

And, lastly, God has been dealing so heavily with my heart.  I love it and also, its not easy.  :)  I can't wait to bring it all together and share.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shiloh Selah Love

Shiloh is the best little thing on earth.  We had a rough start, but we really are falling more and more in love with each other each took 3 years, but Im fully seeing the promise that God made to me when I found out she was a girl unfolding before me at lightening speed.  I was so scared to have a little girl.  I just don't feel like "girl mom" material.  God promised me that the baby in my womb was perfectly hand picked for me....and that baby was going to teach me more than I could ever imagined.  I was so scared to be her mom.  But here I am, and Shiloh is a great teacher.  She is the best little buddy to hang out with.  She does everything with me.  She talks to me while I do my chores.  She helps me with everything!!  She is a rockstar at house hold chores. She can vacuum, put dishes away, clean and organize like no ones business...and can almost do laundry from start to finish.  She is also the electricity patrol....the other ady she got sent to time out and almost had a panic attack because she didn't turn her light off and electricity was just sitting there wasting away for 3 whole minutes.  Its kind of hysterical.  She is such a neat, to a fault...cough, me, cough.  She is SO funny.  The things that come out of her mouth crack me up.  She loves talking in what we like to call a Kardashian accent.  "Haaayyyy, Mommmmay....I Laaaveee  Yaaaaaou...ohhh kaaaaayyyy."  It is SO funny. The other day she said, "Mommy, Im so big now....I don't lick things anymore!!!  Just you, and me...and no more licking anything else.  That means I'm big."  Ahh, I remember the day when I stopped licking things...oh, no I don't.  She has the most wild fashion preferences...I love it.  Everyday I look forward to seeing the color and pattern explosion that she puts on.  She loves making "set up's"...which is basically taking tons of tiny things (cars, princesses, little people) and setting them up in a doll house or on the floor  Everything has a place (in her head) and they are always very strategically and thoughtfully arranged.  She loves to dance.  She loves cheese and yo-grit (yogurt).  She wants to be touched all of the time- hand held, face touched, legs touching when we are sitting.  She will let you stare into her eyes and smile lovingly at her for ages.  Its precious (and a little awkward haha).  She misses her California Gramma every day and talks about playing Barbies with her to almost everyone we see.  She loves doing crafts and wrapping fake presents for people.  The list goes on of all her funny little quirks and passions.  I just love getting to know her...and I love falling deeper in love with her every day.

*Photo Credit to

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Dinner Dilemma (Part 3)

The way we work our budget, every two weeks, we fill our envelopes once I have my grocery cash in hand,  Im off to the store.  So I picked out 10 meals for the next two weeks.  Once I figured out what we are having on which day, I listed the things that I didn't already have in stock at home that we still need go out and shop for.  I made sure that I am making the easiest stuff (And stuff that could be eaten in the car if necessary) on nights that my biggy boy has Karate.  Here is what I came up with:

Week 1

BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries


Hot Sauce

Spaghetti And Garlic Toast

Burgers and Roasted Potatoes

Week 2

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Eggs, Hash Browns and Toast

Artichoke and Red Pepper Pasta

Pizza and Apple Sauce
(sub coconut flour)
Apple Sauce

Free day!!! sooo...

Sloppy Joes, Fries and (box) Mac and Cheese (for the kids)
Box Mac and Cheese

Im going to make my grocery list according to the things that I still need to buy and Im going to do everything that I can to stick to it. I have a marker board that I may write it all out on or I might find something a little more crafty and cute (Any ideas???) so that each week, it is staring me in the face and if I deviate, hubby and the kids will know!!

I used to do meal planning once upon a time...but I was never great at it. I really tried to start simple but I would LOVE to hear what you do, how you make it work, your process, and how you stick to it. Excited for the week of yummy dinners!!!